Love to eat


Posted: October 19th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Cooking | No Comments »

Beet, Goat Cheese, and Green Olive Verrine

I hope to see a verrine trend. Ours has beets, goat cheese mousse, cerinogla, and sesame.

Smoked Beans

Posted: January 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Cooking | Comments Off

Inspired by the Smoked Heirloom Bean Cassoulet at Tilth here in Seattle, I set out to smoke some beans on a foggy, chilly Seattle afternoon: cranberry, cannellini, and flageolet.

Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad

Posted: January 20th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Cooking | Comments Off


Likely brought on by the new year thing and Netflx recommendations, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the last several weeks watching documentaries on the obesity epidemic in the US and nutrition as medicine. The best of the bunch were Food Matters, Forks Over Knives, and Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead. The gist of the films is that we Americans are in crisis, diseased by our food habits and our institutions. It’s a nasty state. But what to do (or not do)? Do juice, do vegetables, do raw, do supplements. Don’t do milk and dairy, don’t do meat, don’t do processed foods.

Being a former vegetarian, these films made me question my decision to start eating meat again. Will I go back to vegetarianism? No, not in the strict sense that I once adhered to. I like being mostly vegetarian, a sometimes vegan, an occasional carnivore. It is pure joy to consider the limitless flavors, textures, aromas that I now allow myself. I am fortunate to have the means to eat good food, really good food, I love cooking, and a spinach salad brings me as much pleasure as pastrami … well, almost.

So in this year, I hope to better document the richness that is my eating life, starting with the spectacular salad that was my lunch today from 101 Cookbooks: Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad. I used harissa in the dressing in place of cayenne and added a good dose of diced preserved lemon.

Pastrami Notes

Posted: December 31st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Cooking | Comments Off

Test batch

Bought the point end of the brisket, because it looked like a big, thick ol slab of meat. Should have bought the flat. Ended up trimming about 25-30 % of it off because it was fat.

Bought a one-pound bag of pink salt on Amazon, but the butcher sold smaller amounts. Need to return the pound bag to Amazon.

Dirtied too many pots to arrive at the right one for brining. Regular stock pock was  big enough for the <5-pound piece.

Smoker is running hot. For the about the first 30 minutes, it looks like it’s been at 300. Turned the flame down a bit.

First hour in smoker at about 300. The pastrami is taking on a golden color. After an hour the wood chips were gone, but there were a few big, blackened chunks left.

After 90 minutes, the temperature has gone down to about 275. Added more wood chunks and chips. Internal meat temp is about 130. Color is getting darker. More deep brown now than golden. Meat is also tightening up and getting shorter and thicker.

After two hours, the temperature has remained around 275. Internal meat temp is about 136. Turned meat over.

After two hours, 3o minutes, the temperature was just shy of 275. Internal meat temp is about 145. Smoke died down quite a bit and water in pan had reduced to 1/3 and was bubbling. Added a little more water and more chips for last 30-6o minutes of smoking.

17 Eggs: The Mozza Cookbook’s Fresh Ricotta and Egg Ravioli with Brown Butter

Posted: January 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Cooking | No Comments »

ravioli with an egg yolk

Last week it snowed in Seattle, which means all kinds of fantastic things: working from home under the electric blanket, listening to the list of closures on the local news, and being home early enough to cook dinner. Since Dylan and I were both home we decided to attempt an ambitious weeknight dinner — ravioli from The Mozza Cookbook.

Single-serving-sized ravioli with a runny egg yolk topped with a fried sage leaf and brown butter sauce felt a little two years ago to blog about, but I don’t care. We used fresh goat ricotta, sage harvested from our snowy yard, and an obscene number of eggs. All told, the recipe called for 17 eggs: 9 in the pasta dough and 8 to fill the ravioli. It was magnificent, but definitely not a typical weeknight dinner. We started cooking at 5pm and by 8pm we were eating the ravioli with a side of braised kale.

Sunday Pizza

Posted: October 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cooking | No Comments »


Pizza Crust from the Mozza Cookbook

During a good week, we might eat at home three times. On a typical workweek night I’m at the office late into the evening until my stomach protests. My refrigerator bulges with weeknight dinner possibilities that I just can’t seem to bring to fruition. Every week I tell myself, I’ll try to eat in a few more time this week.

What has emerged from my harried workaday Monday through Fridays are weekend-long cooking sprints, when I finally have some time to roast vegetables, blanch tomatoes, and coddle dough. Which has lead to Sunday pizza nights. I love pizza. Did I mention that I love pizza?

Early in the week my copy of The Mozza Cookbook, pre-ordered months ago, finally arrived and I spent the rest of the week anxious to get to that pizza crust recipe. Today was the day and the photo above is the best I could muster between greedy, crackly bites. The crust was pillowy, ethereal, with just the right amount of chew and crunch.

That being said, I did tweak the recipe in a few slight ways. First, I let the sponge develop for about 6 hours, instead of 1-1/2 hours, and I omitted the 1-1/2 teaspoons of wheat germ. I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase a pound of the stuff, only to use 1-1/2 teaspoons for the recipe. If I can manage to find other interesting uses for wheat germ, I’ll include it next timr to see if it makes a difference in flavor or texture. Also, I divided the dough into 3 parts rather than 6.

We dressed our pizzas with the Passata di Pomodoro, also from The Mozza Cookbook, whole milk mozzarella, and fresh marjoram from the yard. Our bellies were happy and full.

Soba Noodles with Beet Miso Puree

Posted: July 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cooking | No Comments »

More CSA Adventures

I have had terrible luck cooking beets. They are always hard. I swear up and down that I cook them for an adequate amount of time, but I am cursed with turning beets to stone. I’m hoping to change my luck this year and so far so good.

It’s still early in the season, so the bunch of beets in my recent CSA box was manageable – four petite bulbs. Paranoid that just roasting them with the expectation that I’d be enjoying a tender beet salad would again be a let down, I searched for something different. I found beet hummus over at Not Without Salt.

At 11pm with beets roasting away in a bit of water and covered with foil, I distracted myself by listening to old Spilled Milk podcasts, allowing the beets a full 50 minutes of roasting. Ah ha! The beets were easily pierced with a knife and were tender. So I set forth with hummus making only to find (argh!) that I was out of tahini (bad beet luck strikes again!).

I did have miso. So to my four roasted, peeled, and chunked beets tossed into the food processor, I added a couple healthy tablespoons of white miso, a good tablespoon of toasted sesame oil, a teaspoon of lemon juice, a few glugs of olive oil, and black pepper.

The flavor of the puree reminded me of dressings used on soba noodle salad, which inspired this dish: soba noodles tossed with the beet miso puree, a bit of tamari, and garnished with green onion, kale kimichi and julienned radish. Yum. Yum. Yum. And it looks good too.

Tail to Trotter: Four days celebrating the hog

Posted: July 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cooking | No Comments »

Massaging salt into pork belly. Yes, please.

Scallion and Kale Kimchi

Posted: July 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cooking | No Comments »

The joys of figuring out what to do with the CSA and home garden bounty

I’ve always regarded green onions (i.e. scallions if you want to be fancy) as garnish, providing an oniony bite and burst of green to starchy dishes or eggs. It’s an ingredient that you don’t need much of and I’ve composted bunches in my life after garnishing aforementioned starch and egg. So when a sizable bundle was delivered in my CSA box, I decided it was time to figure out how to pump up the volume on my green onion usage.

To my delight I found Spring Onion Greens Kimchi at Food in Jars. I read a few more recipes and discovered YOU CAN KIMCHI JUST ABOUT ANYTHING. So I did a simple kimchi with my CSA green onions and tossed in some kale, just to be cool.

Food In Jars used this recipe from Tigress in a Pickle. And I did too for the most part, using the 1/2 cayenne and 1/2 sweet paprika modification. The resulting kimich is good, although a bit on the spicy side for me. It’s drier than store bought, jarred kimichi and the kale gives it a hearty chew. I didn’t have ginger when I made it and that component is definitely missed. Two weeks later and the color has remained a strikingly deep emerald.

Thinking About Going eCookbook

Posted: June 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cooking | No Comments »

One hundred and five cookbooks and counting

Cookbook Shelf

I just ordered At Elizabeth David’s Table while looking at my latest addition Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch sitting lonesome away from the rest of the collection, because the bookshelf is full. I have 105 cookbooks … just counted! And with another one on its way and a growing number scattered about the house, I’m considering the eCookbooks.

My immediate reaction is “eww, I don’t like it.” Ironic, given I spent several months helping select recipes for a series of eCookbooks for work. Not to mention I can’t stand the little ‘e’ big ‘B’ (I also detest the little ‘i’ big ‘iNsertGadgetNameHere’). But what am I suppose to do? My obsession with cookbooks isn’t going away anytime soon and there are only so many bookshelves I can fit in the house, so I’ve decided to give the e-thingy a try.

I don’t own an e-reader device (aside from my cookbook collection, I try to keep collecting “stuff” to a minimum). So I installed the Kindle app for my Mac and purchased Andrea Reusing’s Cooking in the Moment.

Screenshot of Cooking in the Moment Kindle edition on MacMy first problem with the format is that there is no 2-page spread. You can attempt to mimic the 2-page spread by turning on the 2-column layout, but that just doesn’t work for content that wasn’t formatted for columns. For example, the photo accompanying “wilted ramps” is the photo for “campfire bacon and eggs” which appears on the proceeding “page.”

Maybe it doesn’t matter when you’re in the woods, staring at the laptop (right?), reading the recipe, and getting ready to cook up some bacon and eggs in a bag over some hot coals. You already know you want to make those bacon and eggs and we’re all smart enough to do the mental mapping that tells us: “Hey dummy, the photo is BEFORE the recipe. Get over it.”

Which makes me think about what cookbooks are to me. Sam Sifton in the NY Times recently nailed it. In a recent Sunday Book Review, Sifton says: “They’re mostly lifestyle catalogs, aspirational instruction manuals for lives we’d like to live.” I can’t see eCookbooks sparking that aspirational excitement that makes me dream about making those delectable dishes. I want to see the wilted ramps gleaming with oil and dotted with char along side the text that tells me all about how to recreate that moment in my kitchen. The Luddite in me wants the 2-page spread with the photo and text paired gawdammit.

However, the second part to Sifton’s assessment is that cookbooks are instructional. I guess that’s where an eCookbook can excel. It can relay textual information. I can add notes and highlight and see what others have highlighted. I can do text searches! Now, if I could do a text search across all of the eCookbooks in my “library” I’d be laughing.

So what I’m seeing here is an expensive proposition (or the evil genius of capitalism): I want both formats to address those dual needs. I want the rich and thread-bound pages to peruse on a Sunday morning while I sip coffee and think about Sunday dinner. And then, when I’m in the thick of preparing Sunday dinner, I want to be able to quickly click across recipes and see that note I made last time about adding more salt.

Or I’m just going to have to wait until focus groups have been conducted, data synthesized, design rejiggered, and developers develop and a product that can excite and instruct is born. In the meantime, it’s time for another bookshelf.