My favorite foods are often ones which dot the front of your shirt in ruddy brown or red and when cooled in a deli container become a block of gelatinized broth. Think pozole, pho, tonkotsu, backbone stew and menudo. One of the bonuses of living near a vibrant Mexican community is weekend menudo. A soup requiring too much effort to make on weekdays is a treat best saved for Saturday and Sunday, sometimes solely Sunday. Continue reading
Some times you find a gray hair or a wrinkle and you realize you are old. Some times you hear a song from your childhood and realize it is 30 years old. And then there are times, you accidentally make Wether’s Originals from bone marrow fudge and your own aging slaps you in your droopy jowls.
And no this is not an April Fool’s joke. Continue reading
As we left our our Valentine’s Dinner recap earlier in the week, mention of dessert was neglected. I do not have a huge sweet tooth. She likes her doughnuts. I like my coffee. Doughnuts and coffee are great friends and I thought I would try making them more complementary.
People talk about dunking doughnuts in coffee, but to me that sounds like a good way to lose donuts and gain pastry dregs at the bottom of your cup. Doughnuts are not built for dunking in a sustainable way. To make them more structurally sound for dunking, I tested a bunch of different donuts to see which can be baked a second time giving them dunkability and turning them into doughnut biscotti. Continue reading
After returning from a week in Japan, I have stayed away from ramen. We had it daily and I was spoiled by the quality. While the broth is what I base my judgements on (I am a rookie and Gaijin), as we ate ramen on a lunchly basis, I began to notice how noodles could easily be more obsessed than the broth. We saw different shapes, doneness and texture at each shop. When I look at even the best places to get ramen in the Chicago area, the noodles are less than great generally. Sun Noodle is the best I have had here. When I went back to read Lucky Peach #1, their issue on ramen, I noticed a recipe to make your own noodles using baked baking soda. Continue reading
Labor Day has come and gone. Whites are in the closet, but I refuse to put away the smoker. BBQ is a twelve month season, but, as I tend to do, I filled the smoker with ribs and an entire leg of goat to make sure I took advantage of the bag of coal and chunks of wood. This left us with a meal of ribs (and then some) and about seven pounds of smokey, rich goat. As I put all of the goat in the fridge, I was forced to stack some random fridge goods a top a bag of the goat. When I checked in the next day, all of the gelatin and collagen had then the pulled goat leg like a terrine, but in nearly sausage-ish form. Continue reading
Sitting outside and looking at the blossoms on the rose bushes growing in our backyard, my older daughter remarked, “I wish the bushes had those flowers all year.” It is interesting to see how my inability to enjoy moments without lamenting their fleeting nature has been passed down. I walk around my garden, thinking of how I wish my purple mustards would hold off from seeding for another month at the same time I beg the tomatoes to get color. It clarifies how it is not that I do not appreciate moments, but rather I am greedy for all of the peak moments. I get nothing from the low moments. Like little R, I want the roses blooming, the purple mustards edible without cooking, and the tomatoes soft, red and warm from dangling in the sun all day – and just like little R, I want all of those things all year long.
But I know this is not reality. Seasons are reality. Lilacs to roses to jasmine to the red maple to bare branches is reality, but I am a greedy child in an adult’s body. Continue reading
There has been a lot written lately about how food has become more photogenic than delicious. While I do not dispute food becoming more photographed and photograph-able, I think when someone says care for flavor and texture is losing out to beauty they are picking nits. There are examples where it is true, but there have always been examples of beautiful dishes which taste like nothing, or worse. My opinion is because of the volume of exposure to the creative process, it is more likely we, as public, are being exposed to more of the creative process, and more of the editing process, than in the past when whatever little we saw, was refined and edited to the nth degree. There is a ton of demand for the exposure to that process and then encouragement to make the experiments available to the public. Herein lies the conflict, the photos and exposure are free marketing and far more far-reaching than word of mouth reports of a delicious roasted chicken or a soulful bowl of beans. Continue reading
In preparation for cooking from the Pok Pok cookbook this winter, L grabbed some galangal from the local Korean grocery. Only she picked up three pounds of it. After using the first bit, I froze the rest. I knew I was coming up on the end of the useful life span of the remaining 3/4 of a pound and before 6 months was up, I wanted to make good use of the galangal. Short of ice cream or candy, my best guess was as a liquor. Continue reading
Sunday night was a mess. We had rolled off of a twelve hour trans-Pacific flight spanning fourteen hour time zones, made it through customs and took a cab home. Once we got home, I started unpacking our bags. They were full of souvenirs and it hit me, we had spent a week in Japan. It was an amazing time, but one so filled with activity making it difficult to be anything if not in the moment. It was not until I unpacked, when I began to think back on the trip itself. Continue reading
Yes, the title of the post is correct. Garden planning for me is half planning and half impulse purchases. When the fertilizer settled, I realized, like many who buy flowers, I buy vegetables and herbs based on appearance. I apparently love purple herbs – shiso, oxalis, chives, basil. When I walked through the yard looking at everything I had planted, I felt a little embarrassed. The feeling passed when I realized while ogling photos posted on Twitter by Alain Passard color is part of the experience. Continue reading