Posted by    |  May 25, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Technique

I am not going to lie to you and say that making homemade pasta doesn’t take any time.  It’s a bit of a project.  But once you tackle the few steps involved and appreciate the superior taste of freshly made pasta, you’ll be hard pressed to not make the time to create your very own.  Enjoy the process, get your friends or family involved, and the time will be most enjoyable. Read more

Produce Primer: Real Strawberries

Posted by    |  May 11, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Ingredients

There is a strawberry season.   It’s in full swing right now in sunny California.  “Oh please,” you may say, “I can get strawberries year-round.”  In the dead of winter you can always pick up a pint of fruit called “strawberries”– those giant, scentless, underripe, and largely flavorless strawberry-shaped objects.  A little red styrofoam, anyone?  The truth is that those babies are engineered to fill containers cheaply (the bigger the berries, the easier to handle), look pretty (red and shiny on the outside, white and dry on the inside) and ship looooong distances without bruising or spoiling.  Flavor and texture are minor considerations, since you aren’t allowed the reality check of a taste before you pay for them. Read more

A Salad to Come Home To

Posted by    |  April 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Technique

Whenever I’ve been traveling I have something I look forward to even more than my own pillow when I arrive home: a big salad.  Eating well while on the road is a challenge, and all-too-often I’m forced to settle for something between two pieces of bread rather than a bountiful bowl of greens and veggies.  Returning home,  I’m back at the helm of my own kitchen.  Invariably, I want to create a healthful, balanced, and cleansing ensemble of produce that will help me put the unfortunate meals of my trip behind me. Read more

Chicken Adobo–Happiness on a Plate

Posted by    |  April 20, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

In my experience, Filipinos seem be among the happiest people on the planet.  Despite widespread poverty that forces many to take work overseas in order to support their extended families back home, it’s rare that you’ll come across a Filipino who doesn’t have an infectious smile and giggle always at the ready.  I suspect that one reason for their happiness may be chicken adobo.  It’s one of the Philippines’ great contributions to the culinary world.  It’s incredibly simple to make, inexpensive, and hauntingly delicious–or as they say in Tagalog, “galing galing!”  Try and say that five times without chuckling. Read more

Produce Primer: Fava Beans

Posted by    |  April 19, 2010  |  Filed under: Home

It’s spring time, and fava beans are hitting the market stalls.  I’d venture a guess that the vast majority of people have never tasted these emerald gems, let alone cooked with them.  Fear not the fava, however.  We’ll have you working magic with them in no time!

Fava beans are from the Mediterranean.  Fresh favas have a brilliant chartreuse color, delicate texture and distincitve flavor.  They can be used fresh in soups, purees, ragouts, or salads.  Dried beans can be pureed into dip-like spreads or to thicken soups.  Think of them as a relative of the pea, which they are, and you’ll have some idea how to approach them. Read more

Mas o Menos? Menos, Por Favor!

Posted by    |  April 12, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Technique

It’s not very often that you’ll be encouraged to aim for less.  But many times in the kitchen, the axiom “less is more” is a rule to live by.  Buy great ingredients, handle them simply, and add as little as possible.  Restraint can be your best friend! Read more

Flounder with Chorizo and Clams

Posted by    |  April 12, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

This dish is a great example of the sophisticated flavor you can get from using high-quality ingredients in simple ways. To be sure, this recipe isn’t even as simple as it could be, but with just five ingredients, you will really enjoy the range of flavors, textures, and aromas it produces. Read more

When life hands you rutabagas…

Posted by    |  March 24, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Ingredients, Recipes

So I picked up my Community Supported Agriculture mystery box of veggies this week, and I thought I’d show you how I approach cooking my way through the contents.  Why not start with some chard and rutabagas?  Now, I know–who doesn’t have a dozen “go-to” rutabaga recipes in their repertoire already, right? Read more

Kale Chips

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes

DSC_0383Really? I mean, really? KALE CHIPS?!?

Yup. This is not like that recipe that the health nut mom with the hemp diaper bag gave you that you can only bring yourself to eat because they’re good for you. Kale chips are so good you’d want to eat ‘em even if they weren’t good for you.   Read more

Winter Squash

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Ingredients

One of my family’s favorite tales to rehash time and time again takes place while we were camping in an extremely crowded national park–tents cheek and jowel so that every noise your neighbors made could be easily overheard.  On this fateful night, my Dad, in the throes of some all-too-vivid dream, leapt from his sleeping bag and proceeded to attempt to climb the tent pole outside of our shelter.  Blame it on exhaustion or on having an exaggerated sense of culinary guilt, but his horror of horrors this night was summed up in his chorus:  “It’s the Squash!  I can’t cook it!”   Read more

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