There is a long circular path on which many of my thoughts travel. After making both giardiniera and xo consomme, I had an idea that making an aspic from both of them which encase an egg would be a delicious and interesting dish. Only once I made them, one suspending cauliflower florets in the aspic and the other peas, eating them never quite appealed. I used tumbers to create the suspension which meant that I had eight ounces of aspic per egg and that was far more oddly flavored jello than I was willing to consume in one sitting. The project went on the pile of posts that seemed like a good idea until I actually did them and goodness left the building.
I am a hoarder. I admit it. In fact, I admitted it to a communal dining table on Saturday evening. Granted, the table was filled with a few friends, others known online and a few less than that, but, in my mind, the first step to solving a problem is to admit that you have one. Admitting that I hoard animal fat was the start I needed to solving the problem. Continue reading »
After a twitter rhyme regarding ham jam, I knew that I was going to try, but didn’t know when. Just before bringing last week’s country ham home, I realized that I needed to clear fridge and freezer space to make it happen. I had just a bit of some beautifully fatty country ham from Cypress left in my fridge and I had an idea of how to piece a batch of ham jam together Continue reading »
Going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day is not how we do things. Going to the mattresses at home is one of those things that I get to do pretty infrequently – mostly for larger family gatherings and dinner parties. Making dinner, I do every night, but not like this. Every night is usually a little protein, colorful veg, and green leafy things, but Valentine’s Day is a fun day to go all out.
With the Super Bowl later today, I set out on yesterday’s long run in the snow with the goal of arriving home with a few ideas of dishes to make which would be creative, use what we had on hand, and fit the football party atmosphere. It was really helpful to set out with something specific to think about because once I walked outside, I knew that the run would be difficult. We had about 4-6 inches of fresh snow and, since I head out at 5 AM, not a single flake of it had been shoveled. Throughout the thirteen miles, I thought of all of the terrible emails sent notifying me of a chicken wing shortage or how spinach-artichoke dip can be made at home (and with only 3 cans). The one flavor I kept going back to was buffalo sauce. I love the sharp blast of vinegar-y heat and the way the butter keeps the that heat and acidity on your tongue for far longer than a salsa or hot sauce. Continue reading »
After over seven months preparing, early October brought my first marathon. Without going into too much detail, it went well, very well for a first marathon, but coming out on the other side, I knew that I would need a break, and more importantly, L would need a break. She was the one caring for the girls during my training runs. With that in mind, a few months back, we scheduled a kid-free weekend in the Northwoods of Wisconsin for the weekend following my race.
A fall weekend in the woods away from kids meant that we will both do our favorite things, L will sleep and read and I will cook and read. Our plans were only bolstered by the weather – it was cold and sunny on day one, but cold and rainy the next two days. It was perfect. We moved from couch to couch reading. I would get up to tinker with my new Aeropress coffee maker or grab a bite of cheese or feed the fire in the fireplace. As meal time approached, I would move my tinker from coffee to food. Continue reading »
Each week this Spring, it seems, a new flashy cookbook is released from one of the world’s cooks. We are talking about some of my favorites: Cosentino, Bloomfield, Pelaccio, Aduriz, but with limited time and resources, how can I choose? Damn that I have to choose, but I do. For me, instead of choosing between these new cookbooks, I have decided to wait to be gifted these books (given a May birthday and Father’s Day, there is still time) and to back fill my collection with some more classic cookbooks for cents on the dollar. Continue reading »
True confession time. I am a saver. I want my favorite things to last forever, so I do what every “saver” does to their favorite preserved foods – I continue to take a bit and return it and by doing so, I can never run out. The only problem with this is that when food is “saved” for too long, things begin to grow. So when I looked at the lamb mortadella from Cypress a few weeks ago and noticed that a little bit of mold had joined the party, I knew that I had to act fast. Continue reading »
There are traditions that are well known of which I have never experienced. Over Twitter this week, I have read about lamb cakes and, for the first dozen times, I honestly visualized something like the trotter cake. A small, crispy patty of lamb was what I thought, but what it actually is – a freakishly white cake with frosting layers large enough to push legal limits of blood sugar (see photo below) – scared the living hell out of me. Coming clean about my ignorance of this actual cake, I decided to create an Easter lamb cake worthy of your attention. Continue reading »
With March in it final days, winter is ending and with it go some winter favorites. Braising turns to grilling. Roasting goes to grilling. Hell, it all goes to grilling. Cooking foods over fire is one of life’s great pleasures, but, despite two weeks of record high temperatures in Chicago, I had been putting off cooking rabbit and could not let the winter go by without making this winter-y dish. Continue reading »