# Friday, March 17, 2006

Since I’ve been testing out my new iPod the last couple of days, I’ve been checking out some podcasts (the new iTunes/iPod support for podcasts completely rocks), and I found one that I totally dig.  It’s called “Eat Feed”, and it has all kinds of food related content, including recipes and (best of all) food history.  I listened to their latest show this morning, which focuses on winter-time “comfort food” but also has an interview with author Jackie Williams, author of the very good books (I’ve read them both) Wagon Wheel Kitchens: Food on the Oregon Trail and The Way We Ate: Pacific Northwest Cooking, 1843-1900.  Ms. Williams had some very interesting things to say about eating in the Northwest in the latter half of the 19th C.  Very cool stuff.  I had no idea that people in Washington State were exporting oysters to the California gold fields in 1850. 

Anyway, if you’ve got any way of playing MP3 files (iPods included) check out the Eat Feed podcast.

Friday, March 17, 2006 9:04:03 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, March 08, 2006

So I had this leftover pork, and needed to do something with it, so I decided it was the perfect candidate for pozole, which has got to be one of my all time favorites.  I made it a bit differently than I usually do, and the results (IMHO) were pretty darn good.

I started with some chicken broth (I like Pacific Foods organic), a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, and a big (24oz?) can of Mexican style hominy.  That was followed with a chopped onion, and the leftover shredded pork.  For seasoning, I added one dried California chile (that I pulled out whole before serving) and some Mexican oregano.  Make sure you get Mexican oregano for this.  It’s a different plant from the Italian kind, and tastes quite different. 

That all simmered until the onions were transparent.  I served in big bowls with plenty of space for fresh garnishes.  I used cubed cheese (Cassero in this case), diced avocado, and shredded lettuce. 

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 5:49:34 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My lovely wife got me a new slow-cooker the other day, and I was itchin’ to try it out.  Luckily, my buddy Greg turned me on to his pulled pork recipe, and it was just the thing.  And it couldn’t be simpler (best kind).  Basically, you put some pork, some onions, and salt/pepper in the slow cooker and cook the dickens out of it. 

In a little more detail, I put the pork (I had a picnic roast) and 3–4 sliced onions in the cooker with salt/pepper and maybe a 1/4 cup of water, then cooked on low for close to 24 hours.  After that time, shred up the pork with a couple of forks, slather with BBQ sauce of your choice, and go to town.  I serverd over sourdough hoagies with pickled jalapenos.  Baked beans would have made a good side, if I’d have thought of it.  :-)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 9:46:21 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, March 03, 2006

This one was a big hit.  I was being lazy, and it turned out for the best. :-)

I started with a box of Pacific Foods’ beef broth, added a can of diced tomatoes, and some Costco frozen Italian meatballs.  Once that was all hot, I dumped in a bunch of spinach (I like the prewashed baby spinach) and just barely wilted it.  At the last minute, I tossed in some torn up fresh basil, which gave it a really nice smell.  Served it up with a loaf of New Seasons’ fabulous Como bread, and all was good.

Friday, March 03, 2006 5:59:14 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, February 02, 2006

I was cruising New Seasons last evening, and was inspired by some nice looking greens, so came up with something to host them.  I was thinking about the northern Italian dish whose name I can never remember involving buckwheat noodles, cabbage, potatoes and cheese. 

I got a bag of red fingerling potatoes, and set them to roasting at 400° coated in oil, salt and pepper.  Then boiled up some pasta.  I used organic whole wheat gamelli.  While those were cooking, I sauteed some broccolini and some kale (the really skinny, dark kind, usually labeled “dinosaur” or “lacinto”).  When everything was cooked, I added the pasta and the taters (chopped) to the greens, and tossed in a goodly portion of fontina cheese.  Stirred up enough to melt the cheese, and it was good to go. 

Very tasty.  The kids were down with it too, probably thanks to the cheese.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 6:08:38 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, January 30, 2006

My wife wanted to host a “tea” at an SCA event this past weekend, and so I needed to whip up some finger sandwiches (since that’s what you have at tea).  I went with the standard egg salad and cucumber and cream cheese, and for something different I tried making a chicken salad for some of the sandwiches.  It turned out to be a really big hit, and since it was so easy I wanted to pass it along.

I used canned white meat chicken (whatever brand they have at Costco, I didn’t notice), added some manyonaise (I use Nasoya brand tofu mayonaise) some salt, a healthy dose of Penzey’s sweet curry powder, and some raisins.  That’s it.  Beat everything together and spead on bread.  I was kind of surprised that it was so popular.  In a perfect world I’d have added some chopped celery, and some roasted cashews, but I didn’t have those things. :-)

Monday, January 30, 2006 6:09:05 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I got two great new cookbooks from my Mom at Christmas, and I’ve been cooking out of one of them pretty much non-stop all weekend.  Mangoes & Curry Leaves, by Jeff Alford and Naomi Duguid is my new favorite Indian cookbook. I cooked a bunch of stuff out of it over the weekend, including their pork vindaloo, and scrambled eggs with curry leaves.  Great stuff.  I love all their other books, so I’m not surprised that this one’s a winner too. 

I have yet to try the other one, the Cafe Flora Cookbook.   It’s one of my favorite restaurants ever, so I’m really looking forward to trying some of the recipes for my favorites.  I’ll report back when I do.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006 7:10:24 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I had some leftover green beans from Thanksgiving, so last night I decided to try my hand at something that I always loved as a kid:  greenbeans and spaetzle.  Of course, the ones I loved as a kid were the frozen Birds-Eye variety, so I figured I could do better than that.  If you’ve never had spaetzle, they are little tiny noodles/dumplings made by dropping little bits of batter into boiling water.  Mine came out a little larger than pea-sized, and tasting basically like egg noodles.

I also had some leftover ham, so I decided to work that in too.  I cubed some of the ham and sauteed in in some butter in a heavy pan.  Meanwhile, I blanched the greenbeans for 3 minutes in boiling water, then took them out and ran cold water over them.  The recipe for the spaetzle came from Jeff Smith’s “Our Immigrant Ancestors” which is a great cookbook with a smattering of dishes from all over the world. 

The spaetzle started with 2 eggs, 2 T. of olive oil, and 1/2 cup each of water and milk.  Blend that up (I used a hand blender with a whisk attachment on it) and then add 2 – 2 1/2 cups of white flour, 1/2 t. of salt, and 1/4 t. of baking powder.  You end up with something like thick pancake batter.  Now comes the tricky part if you don’t have the right equipment.  I have a groovy little spaetzle maker I got from Lehman’s that makes it super easy.   If you don’t have one of those, I’ve also used a metal colander (messy) or a big potato ricer (hard to get them even).  If you don’t have a special tool, the colander is probaby your best bet.  Put a couple big scoops of the batter in the bottom of a colander while holding it over a pot of boiling, salted water.  Then rub the spoon around the inside of the colander (use the back of the spoon) to get the little balls to drop through.  When the spaetzle float, they’re done.

I added the spaetzle and greenbeans to the ham, and brought everything up to temperature.  Salt and pepper to taste.  It was quite the hit.  My daughter even ate the greenbeans, despite their green-ness. :-)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 6:47:01 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, November 29, 2005

For the first time in years I got a chance to cook Thanksgiving dinner at my house, and it was a blast.  I tried something I don’t think I’ve ever done before, and made an entire menu out of a magazine article.  I made pretty much the whole Thanksgiving menu from the latest issue of Chow magazine, which is rapidly becoming my favorite foody rag. 

I did the “turkey two ways”, which involves removing the legs, brining the carcass, and cooking the legs separately in a confit, i.e. covered in oil in a casserole and baked.  The legs especially were a big hit, as it’s something out of the ordinary.  I’ve never tried a confit of duck before, but I think now I may give it a try some time.  I’ll also never cook a turkey without brining it again.  It came out moist and juicy, with a fabulously crispy skin. 

The stuffing was also a bit hit.  It included some Italian sausage, fresh sage, and chestnuts.  Very flavorful, and easy.

I think the biggest hit with the crowd was the corn dish, which involves heavy cream, roasted red peppers, and chevre.  Very much more interesting than the standard corn with butter, or creamed corn.  (We won’t even talk about corn souflee/hot dish.)  I also made the green beans with bacon (can’t go wrong there) and the acorn squash with red onions and currents, which I liked but didn’t go over with the crowd.  Winter squash can be a hard sell, which I don’t get, as I love it. 

In addition to the magazine recipes, I also made some sweet potatoes, which I chopped into bite-sized pieces and then tossed with some sliced banana and a few prunes in some heavy cream with a little honey, rosewater and cinnamon and then baked until tender.

We rounded out the meal with my Mom’s wonderful pumpkin cheesecake, and her (justly) famous cranberry chutney (which, sadly, is almost gone already).

The menu worked out so well I’m really thinking about trying their Cuban Christmas menu next month.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 11:19:18 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, November 14, 2005

This worked out really well…

I started with some baby shiitake mushrooms I happened to have (little ones about the size of button mushrooms) and some leftover corn on the cob, so I worked from there.

I got a red bell pepper, chopped it, and sauteed in olive oil until they softened up a bit, then tossed in the mushrooms, and the corn (cut from the cobs).  When that had heated up a bit, I added a box of Imagine Foods new Creamy Sweet Potato Soup, and maybe another 1/2 box of water. 

Seasoned with salt, white pepper, a little thyme, and some ground mace, which worked really nicely with the sweet potato.  I had intened to sprinkle the tops with some green onions, which would have completed the color balance, but I totally spaced it.  Next time.

It came out really well.  Just the thing for a cold and blustery night.

Monday, November 14, 2005 8:49:52 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]