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 went to my regular restaurant, the one I favor over all others. I ordered my favorite dish only to be disappointed. It lead me to wonder why it wasn’t as good as usual. In my head I worried the quality of the restaurant was slipping, are they ordering a lower quality product that isn’t … Continue reading Peanut Butter, Butter, and Lingonberry Jam Sandwiches
As a kid, learning to cook a fried egg and bologna sandwich is like teaching me how to load a gun without establishing any safety guidelines. While the combination of griddled bread, egg yolk, mayonnaise, seared bologna, and American cheese is white trash foie gras, perfecting the fried bologna without having made a grilled cheese, … Continue reading Cheats, Lies, and Hucksters (How to Cook a God Damned Grilled Cheese Sandwich)
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)
Is it the heat in August, or the midday cicadas—grinding, grinding, grinding—that reminds me of the time of year? The horizon, corn pollen and gravel dust, is smudged. This is the first August I can ever remember going outside after lunch to find it refreshing instead of repressing. The sun is as bright as on … Continue reading Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
Something as simple as good corn on the cob shouldn’t be elusive. There shouldn’t be any big secrets but there is and it is this, the best corn on the cob in the world is cooked in a pressure cooker. It couldn’t be simpler to do and the results are divine. I live in corn … Continue reading The Best Corn on the Cob in the World
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)
Some people collect cars, for others it is playing golf, for me, it’s barbecues. I don’t collect them per se but rather I cook with them. Their value isn’t termed by condition but in hours of use. Much like a cast iron skillet I can gauge the worth of a good smoker by the black … Continue reading A Real Winner: Seared Cauliflower Steaks with Salsa Verde and Almonds
You don’t need a recipe. You can make these from scratch and it will take you less then 10 minutes. Of course that doesn’t include grocery time, I am making the assumption you did a little pre-planning. Although when I made this the other day it came out of leftovers, no planning required. (Don’t want … Continue reading No Recipe Greek Nachos
It’s not for a lack of eggs. I raise chickens, I have more eggs then I can use most days. So what drives me to this dish. I especially like sprouted tofu, a lot. It’s not just tofu though. I like the process, the feel of the tofu as I crumble it between my fingers … Continue reading My Favorite Tofu Scramble
Rarely do I use my microwave. I use it to take the chill off my coffee. I heat leftovers for lunch. Whenever a recipe calls for “butter, melted” onto the glass turntable the fat filled Pyrex measuring cup goes. I don’t cook with my microwave in any real culinary sense. I sometimes wonder why I have it, why I allow it to take up precious counter space when I know everything for which I use it can be done just as easily on the stove.
Of course there is also the fear that has been around as long as the microwave, that somehow it poses some sort of health risk. I don’t know if it does or not but if I error on the side of solid scientific research, it would tell me the microwave is harmless. Even so, I will lean on the side of caution and repeat the mantra I continually voice to my children, don’t put your face right up to the microwave door to watch as a cooking pizza pocket swells and shrinks, as if it is coming to life, and please, stand back an arms length.
I don’t believe the microwave has ever lived up to its original space age expectations. Nonetheless I read an article touting the healthy aspects of cooking vegetables in a microwave. Because it basically steams the vegetables, the vegetables retain a large portion of nutrients then if you used other cooking methods. It made sense, and I am buying in, or at least I want to and there are lots of reasons why. Continue reading “Perfect Microwave Broccoli”
I have been, and will continue to be a believer in simple good recipes that follow great technique. I often feel as though complicated directions and hard to find ingredients set us up for disappointment and failure. Don’t get me wrong. I understand the law of diminishing return. That today’s worlds best recipe will be boring tomorrow.
We need to search out new tastes, techniques and flavors but it is also important to return to the classics. For me, I also like to share my childhood favorites with my children. These rolls are a part of me. They connect me to my past, and by sharing them, they connect me to my children. Continue reading “Dinner Rolls and a Bonus Southern White Loaf”
My favorite kind of coleslaw is the classic, creamy variety; it comforts me because I grew up eating it at a mom-and-pop catfish bar whose coleslaw was second to none. Their version was made with finely grated cabbage and bright orange ribbons of carrot. It was a bit tart and a little sharp — the way horseradish can be — because the cabbage was freshly grated. It paired perfectly with deep-fried catfish, whose crispy tails tasted of bacon. This is the slaw by which I judge all others. Continue reading “Classic Creamy Coleslaw”
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”
There was a time when my father and I would have walked the distance up the hill to Gordon’s Rocky Top. We would have crossed the creek, stepping gingerly across the slick rocks like seasoned hopscotch players, hiked to the fork in the path, taken the trail on the left, and then quietly ascended the long, wooded hill. On our way, we would have walked past the pond, and if we were lucky, we might have spooked an owl or happened upon some white tail deer. Continue reading “Morels with Asparagus & Five Reason to Eschew Recipes”
Whenever a simple, delicious dish — like this spicy chickpea curry — is placed next to me at the table, it doesn’t just make me happy; I become protective of it in a selfish, rabid dog sort of way. This recipe is based on Indian khatte channe, which is grounded on good Indian home cooking … Continue reading Spicy Chickpea and Sour Tomato Curry with Pasta
Have you ever had a friend who knows no strangers? The kind of genuine person to whom everyone in the room gravitates — someone who doesn’t have to work at meeting new people, because somehow it is coded into their DNA for others to like them? For me a potato gratin is just such … Continue reading A Classic Potato Gratin With No Recipe
Sadly, as I sit at the bus stop watching my daughters play, I have to tell myself: summer is so last season.
All summer I have been grilling vegetables for salads. Mostly zucchini and summer squash; I char it deeply and then chop it and toss it with basil, lemon juice, and olive oil, in sort of a grilled chopped salad. It captures all the flavors of early summer one could want. But at some point, either the zucchini or I tire and the dish no longer appears on the table. At least not until next summer, when the annual craving for these flavors peaks again. Continue reading “Everything but the Hamburger, Special Sauce Included”
I quit eating bananas years ago because I would buy them and not eat them. They would sit in the fruit bowl idling away, eventually passing through the different stages of ripeness. I would watch, like a gambler calling another’s bluff, knowing that I had until they turned black to do something with them. It was then that I would convince myself I needed to make banana bread. I even froze them for future use and had a stack of them in the freezer, until one day they fell out onto my wife’s toe and broke it.
Continue reading “Grilled Bananas with Buttered Maple Sauce and English Toffee”
If I didn’t already have a list of reasons I need lots of herbs in my life, Italian Salsa Verde (green sauce) alone would be enough to convince me. It’s delicious on almost anything. Take my dinner tonight: salsa verde is outstanding on steak and takes long-cooked kale up a notch. And when I got a little on my baked potato with sour cream, it was no longer a plain old baked potato. It was sublime. Continue reading “Using Herbs with Abandon”
I know, I know you are thinking cheese and you are right to do so. It is, after all, one of the many things fondue can mean but simply put it means “melted” but fondue is also used in other culinary applications beyond the Swiss national dish.
To fondue something is to sweat it over low heat until it becomes very tender. Vegetables are often used in fondue where they are left on the stove over low heat eventually breaking down into an unctuous mess of jam. It is looser then jam and while I am sure you could preserve or can fondue I don’t. I usually don’t make a fondue in those quantities. I more or less consider it a quick jam or pickle, and much like a quick pickle it is something I will store in the fridge and use within week or so.
This particular fondue goes well with grilled pork chops, is better then great on beef quesadillas and is wildly good on hotdogs and brats. In other words you will want to have this little gem around for summer grill outs.
Everyday my diet pushes further in a vegetarian/vegan direction. I don’t know if it is because I am older, my tastes changing, or maybe I am I just tired of all the same foods I have spent life eating. If I really think about it, which I am prone to do, I don’t think I … Continue reading Lentil Cakes, Red Onions and Sweet Potato Fries
The rain is really coming down now.
On the few days it has been nice I have been to the garden looking for the tiniest hints of spring. Maybe thin asparagus tips might be peeking at me through the damp dirt. The tarragon is growing, so is the sorrel and savory. The purple chive blossoms are ready to burst open and there are strong whiffs of lovage. I have already made my beloved lovage cream cheese spread even if it is only beloved by me.
I know I could go to the store and buy asparagus. I know it would taste good. I have already seen countless asparagus recipes tempting me, one for an asparagus tart that looks amazing.
The mustard greens are blooming now, a toad has dug his way up from the mud. Around dinner time he wrestles himself in between clumps of dirt getting himself as close to the earth’s warmth as he can. He needs to protect himself from the night time cold. During the heat of the day a snake is searching the compost pile for mice. Soon…I think to myself…soon you will get to taste the sweetness of the asparagus that only happens when you grow your own. Continue reading “The Asparagus Has Not Sprung”
A wonderful blend of deeply caramelized onions, spicy tomato broth and creamy chickpeas. Khatte Channe, as it is know in India, is traditionally served with a flatbread but as it is cooked in this recipe it has lots of sauce so it makes sense to serve it with simple steamed rice and some sort of … Continue reading Chickpeas in a Spicy Tomato Gravy
This time of year potatoes are a shot glass full of sunshine, they are the break-up song I can’t stop listening to, they are my noodle, my rice, and my comfort. They are soothing in the way a pacifier is to a child and they get me through the edgy emotions of late winter. They … Continue reading Everyday Potatoes
For some it might have been potato or green bean, but for me my gratin affinity began at an early age with macaroni and cheese. You know, the good old-fashioned kind with real cheddar and whole milk thickened with roux or egg yolks. The one that is baked until the correct ratio of crispy, crunchy … Continue reading Celery Root and Potato Gratin
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”
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
Yes, I could imagine a cookie just like this being created during the Great Depression. The nutmeg lends itself to the past and makes the cookie feel like something a grandmother would make for her grandchildren on a Sunday afternoon. She might also make it when she notices her grandchildren are a little sad. Whatever … Continue reading Depression Cookies
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
I had an email arrive in my box a couple of weeks back from a company by the name of Dexas. I have never done a sponsored post but in this case I decided to. I don’t know why, maybe it is just time but instead of me reviewing a product I thought I would … Continue reading Dexas Turbo Fan Salad Spinner-Dryers
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
Most people, it seems, remember the first time they ate spinach pie. Chances are you were at an ethnic restaurant, maybe on your first food adventure to a Greek establishment, feeling continental and worldly. Maybe you where in college and eating at the local hippie restaurant where they also introduced you to North African Peanut … Continue reading Spinach and Feta Pie
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
This tart is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner and, maybe, all three. Lacinato is also known as Cavelo Nero or dinosaur kale. It is becoming ever more popular not only for its great taste but for its presumed health benefits too. While this has many healthy components they are just a nice side note … Continue reading Lacinato Kale and Ricotta Tart
While having never been to Greece this seems as though it would be something that you might eat at a small taverna on the Mediterranean Sea. It is sort of an “a la grecque” dish which if done right is always good to have on hand and usually are even better the second day or, … Continue reading Olive Salad Taverna
If you know me you know I love greens. I go to them for comfort, for quick meals and just about any reason, now that I think about it, I am not even sure I need a reason. There was a day not all that long ago when I would always add some sort of … Continue reading Gumbo Z’herbes with Yeasted Corn Biscuit Dumplings
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 am not sure when my fascination with carrots began but it wasn’t as a kid. I really don’t think I thought much about carrots until I started growing them in my garden. I think the fact that a good carrot in the middle of winter taste so good and feels so completely nourishing while … Continue reading Glazed Carrots with Lettuce