Monday, December 29, 2008

Too warm for chili?

Hiya. I need a good chili recipe for a meeting tomorrow night. anyone got one? Easy is preferred!


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Citrus × meyeri

I have always had a fascintation with citrus trees. I have early memories of visiting my grandparents for the Christmas holidays and heading downstairs to see the lemon, lime and orange trees basking in the afternoon sun.

I bought my first citrus tree last year from The Tasteful Garden-- the Meyer Lemon (citrus x meyeri). I was so excited about it, thinking about all of the recipes I could make with it's extra sweet, slightly tart flavors. When it began to bloom in January, I could hardly contain myself. I was a bit discouraged when I read that it could take up to a year for the fruit to ripen - thinking this must have been a misprint. Not really.

Ten months later, my tree is heavy with golden fruit. The first recipe on our list, lemon curd. The recipe comes from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat.


Juice and zest from 4 meyer lemons
4 egg yolks
4 eggs
300 grams of fine sugar
200 grams of unsalted butter

We use a double boiler set-up, so start heating your water over medium low heat. Combine eggs, yolks and sugar in a large glass bowl, and mix until sugar is dissolved. Add juice, zest and butter and heat over simmering water. Wisk until curd begins to thicken...this could take a while (20+ minutes). Since you don't want scrambled eggs, be careful with the heat. Your patience will definitely pay off.

Recipe makes approximately 4+ small mason jars of lemon curd. Using standard canning method, simmer canning lids and rings in hot water for 10 minutes, while heating clean mason jars in an oven of 275 degrees. Remove the hot jars and let them cool briefly (no reason to waste your hard work by scrambling the eggs now). Fill with lemony goodness, finish with lids and rings and let cool.

I know you think you might share with your friends, but I wouldn't count on it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pollan for President?

A letter written to our future President from Michael Pollan concerning Food Policy. Find it here. Very interesting. I, for one, would love to hear where the candidates stand on Food Policy.

Check it out.

What are your thoughts on food policy and the governments involvement in the food we eat?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Musings on Fall and Food

The time is drawing near for my little honeybee to embark on a new adventure: solid food. (Well, it will be another three months or so, but that's relatively near.) I'm so looking forward to experimenting with butternut squash, avocado, sweet potatoes... It's a big joy, I've learned, to feed things. And not just people, but dogs and plants and birds as well. It must be some innate element of maternal instinct. And maternal instinct, in my opinion, is something you don't need a baby to have.

I'm also dreaming of fall food: pumpkin, apple, squash, wild rice (although why I label that as a fall food I don't know.)

Yesterday, I ate at the restaurant at the Botanical Garden and then took the bee on a stroll. Anyone ever eaten there? Chicken and polenta and barely-steamed haricot vert (oh, how I love a green bean with delusions of grandeur.) It was delicious. And full of little old ladies coiffed like rain clouds with big white poofs standing out from their little pearl-laden ears.

Do it. It was worth it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Long Gone

Oh, little second Blog, how I have ignored you. Between travelling and illness and moving (yes, is becoming a hobby!) I haven't been able to think, much less write.

The season is changing slowly but surely. Fall is creeping in and I couldn't be more excited. To me, fall is the season that really starts the year. Maybe it was too long in schools, maybe it is because I abhor hot weather, but either way I always think of Sept as the beginning. This year feels that way especially. My life looks much different than I thought it would, both good and bad. I am hoping that as the leaves change and fall, so too will my sadness and grief. That chilly mornings and brisk afternoons will awaken me. Plus, the culinary possibilities are so different from Spring and Summer. Pumpkins and Apples everywhere! Root vegetables and warm soups. Football and chili.

I am ready.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Zucchini love

I must confess that I don't actually love zucchini. I just love cooking with it. With broccoli at something crazy a pound (for organic) I've been looking for cheaper ways to put green things in the diet. So I've started cooking with zucchini. I slice it for veggie stir fries and soups or shred it for pasta and meatloaf. One of my favorite things to do with zucchini right now is to shred a huge pile of it and add it to chopped onions that I've already got cooking in my deep cast iron skillet. I'll sautee the whole thing up with some grape seed oil until tender then mix in basil pesto, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and finish with a drizzle of olive oil. I put the whole thing over a plate of spaghetti smothered in sauce full of homemade turkey meatballs. With a side of Caesar salad you can't beat it. The other slightly inventive thing I do with zucchini is grate it up for meatloaf. Sometimes I'll do an Italian inspired meatloaf with plenty of garlic, onion, and Italian seasonings. This time around Allen has requested a bbq version with zucchini, onion, bell pepper, bbq sauce, and chunks of cheddar cheese. Yummy.

For not being a huge veggie person (gasp), I'm learning that there are some very tasty ways to cook up some of our humbler comestibles. The main thing I've learned from all this though is when in doubt pesto, olive oil, and fresh grated parm make just about anything better.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Adventures in cooking

Since David and I have both finished reading In Defense of Food, and returned from Scotland, I've been attempting to make more recipes completely from scratch, meatless, and whole food-ish. My finished products have been pretty successful and delicious, but this week has been pretty dissuading.
First, I made dal. It was horrid. This was my second attempt, with a different recipe, and although I keep telling myself that, although I am not of Indian lineage, it can't be that hard to make good Indian food. Wrong. I'm leaving that to Taj from now on.
Second, I made the peach crumble that Mrs. Hall posted. I completed the cooling process and dug in with reckless abandon and noticed immediately that something was very wrong. I was thinking, why is this supposed to be good. I then returned to the recipe and realized that I missed a pretty crucial ingredient - sugar. Not so good without sugar folks.
Yesterday I took on the task of making pizza. I made the dough and sauce, and got one of those soft mozzarella blocks to shred myself. 10 hours and much scrambling and cleaning later, it came out pretty good, but was it really worth it? Probably not. The dough was not too difficult, but that sauce was a pain.
So, there isn't really a lesson to the story, other than that being a amateur chef isn't as easy as it looks. But it never really looked easy. It just sucks when you slave away, soaking the beans, chopping those one billion veggies into fine chunks, and destroying your home, and in the end what you produce is mediocre at best and I have to call the husband and say "You might want to grab some food on the way home".