I have cooked with whole grains for a long time. My fascination began, simply enough, with bulgur wheat used to make tabouleh. It was a gateway to all sorts of other grains; winter wheat, soft summer wheat, oat groats, farro, you get the idea. There are lots of grains readily available that a few short years ago were very difficult to locate. A good earthy health food store went a long way to rectifying the shortage but now about every food store carries some sort of whole grain. Continue reading “Barley Salad with Kalamata Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Parsley”
I don’t get the allure of risotto. Years ago at culinary school, every student revered the dish except me, and slowly I’ve come to hate it. It’s overrated. I’ve practiced making it at home with the guidance of some of the best cookbook authors of the day. I stand at the stove as instructed, stirring, … Continue reading Searching for the Perfect Risotto
What you need to know about lentil soup is everyone has their “simple” version. Knowing this, it reminds me how easy it is to get a nutritious hot bowl of soup to the table. It also tells me that it must taste really good if there is a reason to keep publishing simple lentil soup … Continue reading A Delicious Lentil Soup With A Dirty Little Secret
Just about anything can be cooked in a pressure cooker. It does lots of things well. Stews, roasts, soups and one pots all come to the table hot and delicious. Even so, what really keeps the pressure cooker on the stove top is the basics. A pressure cooker cooks beans, grains, rice, and stocks effortlessly … Continue reading A Simple Pot Of Beans (And Tips For Pressure Cooking Them)
I often wonder what makes a recipe so good it goes viral. I am sure it’s lots of factors. Sometimes it’s the recipe itself, other times it is what the author expresses in words through their post, and sometimes it is simply because the author is very famous. This recipe, originally posted on the … Continue reading A Life-Changing Loaf of Bread (Redux)
Now that picnic season is upon us, I get nostalgic over classic summertime fare. There is nothing quite like a family reunion over fried chicken and a potluck dinner, tables threatening to buckle under the weight of all the CorningWare and Pyrex.
Of course, there are the old favorites: green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes, pea salad with bacon and mayonnaise, three bean salad, and most certainly a mustardy potato salad — and, if luck is with me, an old-fashioned custard pie sprinkled with a little nutmeg. I love all these foods — but this year, I want something new. Continue reading “Three Bean Salad, Redux”
If my extended family’s eating habits are an indication as to what the preferred meat was on my grandparents and great grandparents farm then it is obvious to me I come from a long line of pork eaters. It’s not as if this matters or that I need some sort of familial approval for my … Continue reading Seasoning with Pork: Polenta with Peas and Pork Sausage
Paella to me is the ultimate one pot meal. It also is the time of year where I am not ready for a stew but want something more substantial than the usual summer fare. Paella is a great answer. Although paella is considered Spanish I think this one is more Mediterranean. I use Italian sausages … Continue reading Chicken, Sausage and Red Pepper Paella
This dish has a history that is connected to two other dishes. The two dishes were last summer favorites and they were a pesto recipe from Saveur magazine, Trofie al Pesto, that called for green beans and potatoes. It is, and still is, by far my favorite Italian pesto dish. The second dish comes from Momofuku, a favorite cookbook, and it is a recipe called Scallion Noodles.
What both dishes do is chop or process the pesto ingredients fine enough that when tossed with hot noodles they cook. One of the things I don’t like about most pesto dishes is the raw garlic taste that you carry with you the rest of the meal and maybe even the rest of the day. These two recipes have solved that problem.
The pesto created here carries on with the finely chopped tradition but is also packed with a little more unami by its use of the traditional Thai flavors of fish sauce and lime.
If you want to round out this meal a steamer tray full of potstickers and a Thai style salad would definitely do the trick. Continue reading “Thai Pesto with Brown Rice Noodles”
There are so many different kinds of bread. You could make sourdough where you feed a starter flour to grow it and keep it alive, you can retard loaves in the refrigerator overnight, there are paté fermentes, bigas and all kinds of other preferments and sure it is great to have knowledge of all these breads but at the same time it is nice to have a tried and true everyday bread. A bread with some shelf life, a bread that little kids like and one that is good with which to make a variety of sandwiches.
For me this is that loaf. It debunked the idea that my two girls would only eat white bread. They love it. It fits into my notion that I won’t make bread that isn’t at least 75 percent whole wheat. It makes two loaves that will be around just long enough that you won’t need to throw it out because it is old.
Be sure to buy a fine grind whole wheat flour and make sure to buy it at a store with high turnover of its whole wheat. Countless times I have brought a bag home only to open it and it is rancid. Whole wheat flour should smell like a wheat field not rancid oil or some other off smell.
I like to braid this loaf for two reasons. One it looks pretty and two, when I make this loaf on a Sunday it is nice to bake it about two hour before dinner, remove it from the oven to cool a little, then serve it warm and let people tear off a hunk. It will tear at the braids like dinner rolls would. Continue reading “Farmhouse Whole Wheat”
White beans and tuna have always been combined in salads and pasta and have long been purveyor’s of pantry dinners in Italy. I have taken up the habit of pantry pasta myself and while I don’t keep many canned goods I do keep tomato sauce, tuna in olive oil, dried beans and pasta on hand. … Continue reading Tuna with White Beans and Spaghetti
Hippy food has long been a bastion of vegetarian eats for many reasons. Some political, some personal but in all honesty mostly because it is cheap and often utilizes every last morsel sharing some of the same philosophy as head to tail eating, ironic?, well, yes. Never mind the reasons though because that doesn’t mean … Continue reading Stems and Seeds
If you have ever had fresh raw fava beans then you know the wonderful tender pop, the tender chew and the juicy flavor. It goes wonderfully here with the green beans and the dressing. Wheat berries are another wonderful addition to your repertoire. They add a subtle chew and give the dish a pasta flavor … Continue reading White Wheat Berry Salad with Fresh Beans
The term farro can be very confusing. If you look it up you will see no one really wants to pin the tail on the donkey, and as such, all the authors of the articles seem to want to avoid naming a specific grain as farro. People really want spelt to be farro but I … Continue reading Farro and Roasted Garlic Pilaf
I never feel like people like to cook rice unless of course they are from a country or region where it is a staple. I will say it took me a while to get the hang of it. Even after culinary school, because I didn’t cook rice often, it was a struggle. It seemed like … Continue reading Peas and Rice with Crispy Shallots
This is so good for you you won’t even know it taste really delicious. Seriously good eats and a great side dish for roast birds of any kind and I’ll even throw salmon onto that list. Yes, I know it uses two sauce pans but, please, neither grain leaves behind a sticky mess. You could … Continue reading Wild Rice and Barley Pilaf
The one thing that stays the same around my kitchen, has been a continuous thread, is collard greens. Collard recipes have been prepared in many incarnations but eventually I rendered them all down the most basic of recipes. I like collards in every fashion imaginable, and while I can spoon potlikker right out of the … Continue reading Pot Roasted Collards and Purple Hull Pea Fritters with Spicy Buttermilk Gravy
The first time I had Texas caviar I was in Santa Fe. There I think they called it Cowgirl Caviar but that might have been the name of the restaurant. I remember lots of pictures of cowgirls. Maybe the name of the restaurant was called Cowgirl Hall of Fame. That seems more right to me. … Continue reading Texas Caviar
The only thing that might make this cornbread more Southern is using white cornmeal instead of yellow. Most certainly the cornbread debate has set off more feuds than history has recorded. Should it contain sugar or not is usually the big question but why should you have to make a choice. That is not to … Continue reading Bona Fide Black Skillet Cornbread
It is the time of year, at least for me, where I have remnants–odds and ends–coming from the garden. A few rebellious plants refusing to be defeated by a light frost are still putting forth small amounts of tender vegetables. The real fall plants, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts haven’t yet committed to blooming. In … Continue reading Okra and Sweet Corn Purloo
This is a perfect example of vegetarian food that stands on its own. Not much different than falafel which has stood its ground for years. Your could in fact replace the mayonnaise with a yogurt sauce of your liking. Something with tomato and cucumber would draw down the heat nicely. It would go well with … Continue reading Smokin’ Black-eyed Sandwich
Street walkers pasta and now poor wretches pasta. Leave it to the Italians to come up with an interesting name for their local eats. This is Sicilian by birth. The pine nuts and currants aren’t traditional but I like what they bring to this dish. Eggplants are abundant at the moment. You could take the … Continue reading The Poor Wretches Pasta
These cakes have become a standard in our rotation. Not always as Indian cuisine but as other styles too. The Lentil du Puy base is a really good foil for all kinds of flavors and the texture of the meal is toothsome which is also very satisfying. I would imagine the possibilities to be endless … Continue reading Lentil Cakes Tikka Masala
I snuggled in behind the wheel of what became known as the Starship Enterprise, it was no longer a minivan fit for a family vacation. Instead it morphed into a party pod for a convoy of misfits headed to Mardi Gras. I was old enough to know better but I never let that stop me. … Continue reading Mother’s Grits and Debris
This is a love story. One with big hands, fat spoons and where ladles are measured in busty bra sizes. It harkens back to the days when hand hewn tables were made of whole trees and crusty loaves of bread were the size of clouds. One where wine was quaffed, not sipped and swirled, and … Continue reading Fugly Lentils and Drunken Pig