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”
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”
To be honest I lost interest in New Year’s Eve a long time ago. If memory serves me, the last New Year’s Eve I celebrated was sometime late last century. For that matter, I am not sure what year it was that I last made it to midnight. It doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate, I … Continue reading 5 Resolutions to Make You a Better Home Cook (+ Pot-Roasted Collard Greens )
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”
Frying chicken, at its best, is a state of mind formed much in the same way as the quiet back beats of a porch-sitting session with a dear friend. It has a rhythm. It is good company on a sunny summer afternoon. It is pointless to rush. Futile, even. Besides, the comfort of a good friend comes from the effortlessness of meaningful conversation and is further heightened by the knowledge you have nothing you would rather do. Continue reading “The Art of Honest Fried Chicken (A Lifestyle Choice)”
Inside the house a Frank Sinatra record blares loudly from the phonograph, a big stereophonic console meant to look like a fancy sideboard. The family room windows of the atomic ranch-style house are open wide. The music makes its way through the open windows to the patio, soft enough to be background music for the adults socializing on the small concrete patio.
There are tall, slender glass pitchers of Tom Collins set on a picnic table bar next to a faux gold ice bucket, highball glasses, and an assortment of potluck appetizers. The parents sip cocktails and have lively chats. Their laughter can be heard four houses down at the babysitter’s, where all the children are being housed for the evening. Tiki torches release black citronella smoke meant to keep mosquitoes at bay, and in the belly of the kettle-shaped grill the coals glow the color of the suburban sunset. Continue reading “Kebabs Come of Age”
Stanley Coats, sprawled out in his overalls and dozing on the porch swing, knows he’s becoming the old dog with the saggy balls. The one beginning to get gray around the snout. At the sound of tires on gravel, he lifts his head a little. The dog dozing on the porch floor below him does the same, and they both crack an eye open to see who’s coming up the drive.
The searing pain behind his other eye has abated. Stanley refuses to believe it could have anything to do with a hangover and instead diagnoses himself with becoming his mother. He hopes it’s not terminal.
It’s not that he doesn’t love his mother. It’s the naps. For as long as Stanley can remember, sometime between two or three in the afternoon, his mother always took what he has come to call a twenty-minute sink-down. Continue reading “Stanley Coats: An Introduction”
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 have a simple rule, whenever I figure out what good restaurant cooks like to make at home I follow suit. It’s because most professional cooks like simple but deeply satisfying meals, roast chicken is one of those, it is a cook’s meal. When I say simple I don’t mean in flavor and not necessarily … Continue reading A Delicious Roast Chicken for Any Night
This morning little Lynnie keeps yelling and pointing in excitement at the cake I made for last night’s Sunday dinner. She is telling me she wants it for her birthday. The heels on the last three slices of the cake have been nibbled. Last night she kept slipping her little hand in and under the … Continue reading Breton Butter Cake
When I used to go to the bookstore looking for cookbooks to add to my collection I could spend hours flipping the pages of different books. It was much like when I was younger and I would buy albums, then CDs, flipping through the alphabetized record bins searching for disk in hopes of finding something … Continue reading A Girl and Her Pig
We all know gravy or pan sauce in large quantities might be good for our soul but it isn’t so good for our heart health. After all we are doing nothing more then adding flour or cornstarch to the fat in the bottom of a roasting or sauté pan to thicken it and adding back … Continue reading The Unctuous Possibilities of Pan Juices
Back when I thought I could eat gluten I was a biscuit hound. It was nothing for me to scarf down two or three. I have been known to forgo the rest of dinner for a good biscuit. I always considered myself a connoisseur, from angel biscuits to crescents or buttermilk to sweet potato I … Continue reading Saving Grace Biscuits
I spent the better part my early years learning to capture moments on film and to see as a photojournalist. Now I can’t escape seeing this way and I don’t want to either. The reality is I enjoy it. I can see things in a way most people can’t. I have a different view, my own view, of the world. One that comes in fractions of a second.
It may seem odd but I set my cameras down and walked away from photojournalism almost twenty years ago, nevertheless throughout those camera-less years I continue to see and continue to record. Now I do it with words.
On a daily basis decisive moments are captured and processed with my eyes. As a photographer, I continued to capture the moments. As a writer, however, I let the moments dissipate and simmer and roll around in my head.
Over the years, decisive moments switched from concrete images or snippets to ethereal feelings that turn and juxtapose the lives and scenes in front of me into lead sentences and paragraphs. I found myself using words to capture what is suggested, but often unseen, in decisive moments
Words allow me to capture the things photographs can’t. Actually it is more like the words complete the photographs I always want to take. I am pretty sure this is the reason I gave up defining myself only as a photographer. No matter how hard I tried I could never complete the story as I saw it because the pictures I was seeing didn’t exist and couldn’t exist without words.
When these two parts finally came together the images I was seeing could finally be captured. I could get at the whole story and tell it in a way that felt complete. continue reading Continue reading “Soul Mates”
It is shortly after all the present opening hullabaloo, when I look up from cutting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in half, that I see the look on Vivian’s face. I catch a glimpse of disappointment in her eyes and it is very clearly the look of self pity caused by not getting everything she wants for Christmas.
I know exactly how she feels. I remember the first time I felt the same way. I also remember the shame I felt for being selfish and while I know which feeling is right at her young age, I am still not sure which feeling is worse.
Oddly, I guess with age I have come to have similar emotions about New Year’s.
For instance, each year when I take stock of myself in the time between Christmas and January 1st, I am always looking back in disappointment at the things I wanted to happen but didn’t, the things that went wrong, or the things that I will have to deny myself to make the coming year presumably better. It seems silly.
After all, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to point out to me that I am a very blessed person, and really, I want for nothing. Well, I suppose I could stand to lose a few pounds, and proudly I have lost a lot this year, but a few more wouldn’t hurt. Even so, I don’t really need to deny myself. I just need to eat differently. Continue reading “Karilean Borscht with Resolution”
I really enjoy making and eating the foods of Southeast Asia. I make trips to the Asian grocery and buy up all kinds of different produce that aren’t found in my garden or at the local grocer. I don’t really drive but an extra five minutes to get there, the groceries cost less which makes … Continue reading Laotian Beef Salad (Larb)
This is to pig what XO is to cognac.
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
Plastic dough scrapers make one of the best dirty dish cleaning tools around. For my pans they are non-scratch, get into the crooks and crannies removing all the stuck on stuff in a jiff. I always have two on hand just for dirty jobs like getting the ring of crud around the top of a … Continue reading Plastic Dough Scrapers
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
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
One of the things I like best about the French dish Hachis Pamentier is the looseness of the recipe. Unlike Shepard’s Pie which connotates lamb as the central ingredient Hachis Parmentier quite often simply lists chopped meat and then leaves it to your discretion. So anything on hand, usually cooked, usually leftovers which is generally … Continue reading Hachis Parmentier
This is a tart with an agenda. Its roots are old fashioned and small town but don’t let that fool you. It is as luscious and silky as Scarlett Johansson sauntering the red carpet. It is as lascivious as True Blood and as beaten-up as Mickey Rourke on a bad day. There are tarts and … Continue reading Madeira Tart
Why do so many people fear canned fish? I don’t mean tuna, it doesn’t even count. Was there some massive food poisoning event in the United States back in 1908 or something and the canned fish market never recovered or do we just have a lot of closet canned fish eaters in this country. Canned … Continue reading Smoked Herring Salad
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
One perfectly good reason to buy whole slab or make your own bacon is you get the smokey rind. The pork rind is perfect for keeping a roast juicy and adds tons of great flavor, and besides, when the smokey hammy fat oozes down on the vegetables, oh my… Wrapping a roast in fat is … Continue reading Barded Pork Rib Roast with Fall Vegetables
I really like chowders and really like French onion soup. I don’t like pasty chowders so I didn’t thicken it except for the starch released from the potatoes. One tip I learned from Jasper White’s 50 Chowders is to let the chowder rest covered for thirty minutes. It is really does make a difference by … Continue reading Three Onion Chowder
The delicate flavor of white fleshed fish, for me, is best when cooked simply. In fact the most important thing is seasoning the fish properly and making sure not to overcook it, which is a good reason to salt it an hour before you want to eat and why it makes sense to finish cooking … Continue reading Dover Sole with Herb Oil and Zucchini
Last night’s rain, soaked up by the hot earth, is rising again this morning as steam. As the truck rattles down the long gravel drive and we get close to the orchard, the apple trees emerge from the light fog, the treetops magically floating in a cloud. Then, through the mist, I begin to see … Continue reading The Chicken Massacre at Crooked Creek
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
I like to use a wok for these kinds of dishes. Besides everyone should own a good wok. By good I am not talking about those little non-stick thingies hanging from the wall at the five and dime. Those aren’t even big enough to make a half order of fried rice for a toddler. What … Continue reading Bodega Chicken Curry
I often follow my instincts, albeit, it is my primal instincts in this case. I follow them nonetheless. I can never get enough when it comes to marrow bones. I love the fatty mouth feel of the marrow and the way the hot fat renders in my mouth. Now, before you go getting all crazy … Continue reading Grilled Marrow Bones with Chimichurri Salad
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
Sweetbreads make the perfect po’ boy for anyone not living close to the ocean and oysters, well, and for that matter even those living near the sea may want to give this a go. It is so amazingly delicous but then you have to be a fan of sweetbreads. If you have never eaten them … Continue reading Sweetbread Po’ Boy
Good soup is hard to come by but it isn’t hard to make good soup. It’s only as difficult as you want to make it. While I know there are all kinds of prepared soups on the shelves of every supermarket I just can’t bring myself to do anything other than make it from scratch. … Continue reading Chicken and Rice Soup with Saffron
This is a straight up rip of Momofuku’s Asian Fried Chicken. I won’t even call it an adaptation but it isn’t plagiarism. This is credit where credit is due. The Momofuku cookbook has been around for a couple of years now and it is still, hands down, one of my favorite resources of inspiration. I … Continue reading Asian Honey Ginger Fried Chicken
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
A la minute. A French cooking term used to describe a meal that is cooked of the moment. Meaning every thing is fresh and the dish should come together easily, in other words, if you have done your prep you can bring this dish together in less then 3o minutes. This dish is a great … Continue reading Beef Medallions with Mushroom Madeira Sauce
A good bowl of creamy chowder has always been one of my favorites. Even when I was a little kid I would gobble the stuff up. As I have become more refined (defined: I have stopped eating with my hands and slurping my food) I don’t care so much for the clam shack version that … Continue reading New England Clam Chowder
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
In the heat of the summer sometimes it is good to have a dish you can simply slide out of the fridge, slice off a hunk, add a condiment, some pickles and you have lunch or a light dinner. Somehow and I am not sure how but I believe collagen has a cooling effect. While … Continue reading Jambon Persillé Maison
Nothing new, been done countless ways and yet if you get, grow or steal perfect sweet corn and make this dish you will continually come back to it again, and again, and again throughout the summer. SERVES 4 8 ears of the tastiest sweet corn, still in the husk, you can lay you hands on … Continue reading Mexican Street Fair Corn
Don’t let its simplicity fool you. A well made dashi packs a wallop and is the foundation of Japanese cuisine. If you want the real deal you have to make this stuff from scratch. Possibly the easiest stock of all to make but again you will have to make a trip to the Asian grocery. … Continue reading Dashi
For real, once you make this soup and see how easy it really is you will make it time and again. It will fall into your weeknight rotation and you will start stocking the stuff you need in your pantry. It is seriously good folks. You are going to have to take a trip to … Continue reading Japanese Beef and Noodle Soup
Although I have never been for a visit, I have been fascinated with this region of Italy ever since I first tasted tagliatelle with a game ragu. I like the richness of the food, and yet it never seems overly heavy and filling. I think it has to do with the restraint and balance of … Continue reading Meatballs Emilia-Romagna with Pasta Sheets
The tiny bright green stars of okra and the fresh lima beans, so tender the veins show through their thin skins, are nestled into a bed of bi-color sweet corn just shaved off the cob. Together they simmer in a liquid that is mostly melted butter, seasoned quietly with salt and black pepper. Succotash is … Continue reading Smothered Chicken
This dish epitomizes Midwest and plains state farm food of German heritage. It is something that your grandmother most definitely would have made and when you walked into the mud room to park your dirty boots on the old rag rug you would get the warm fuzzies. You knew not only would the steak be … Continue reading Swiss Steak