Cassia Bud Lambcetta

Sitting at dinner with great company on a frigidly cold winter night, a dish came out with lamb pancetta. A few of the guests were surprised by the substitution of lamb for pig in the pancetta. After discussing the intricacies of how to make lambcetta, I offered to make some for a friend with a fantastic sense of taste. I asked what he wanted flavor-wise and he suggest to go off-script with cinnamon. When looking through a spice shop, I noticed cassia buds which are simply dried buds of the cinnamon tree and carry similar, but more floral flavors than more traditional cinnamon. Continue reading

Sai Ua Samun Phrai

As I shopped in my suburban grocery and noticed fresh turmeric had moved from the novelty produce to the everyday produce section, I wondered when things changed, food-wise, around me. My opinion is we are on a different path than 5-10 years ago. Cooking shows have become the new reality TV and farmer’s markets are now places to meet your future mate instead of place to score rhubarb for jam. Is this good? I am not sure. It is different though. When fresh turmeric reaches mainstream, it is safe to say we are in a vastly different place than the potato, corn, broccoli, carrot and bagged lettuce oligopoly of the produce section from a decade ago. Continue reading

BBQ Goat Leg

With Memorial Day giving me an extra day to finish planting our garden and making the last preparations for summer, I also had time to fire up the smoker and try smoking not only a new cut of meat, but also a new beast altogether. On the last Monday in May, we ate a leg of beast – to be more specific, a leg of goat. Well, not all of it. Continue reading

Cured Cod Roe

When strolling through Mitsuwa, our national Japanese grocery chain, I spotted a little styrofoam container with what I recognized as a sac of fish eggs. Typically, when I think of these styros, I think of boneless, skinless things with very little flavor, but this was exciting and new. I picked up a single sac and thought of curing it like bottarga, the deliciously briny Sardinian cured mullet roe. Continue reading

Pork Tart

In most cases when one wonders why something does not exist there is a reason – usually surrounding feasibility. However, I like to tinker and try. I like to extrapolate and interpolate. When looking at a photo of a pork pie, I wondered why there are not actual pork pies or tarts, open-faced like pumpkin or apple pies. To me, a pâté en croûte is a fancy pork pie and a little too crust forward. I wanted something a little lighter. I was going to find out if a pork tart was possible by trying to make one. Continue reading

Ramp Root Salt

Ramp season is upon us and with it comes the sometime over-the-top ramp fervor and almost always over the top ramp prices. Luckily I accidentally ran into a ramp patch. I mean, I literally ran into a patch of ramps by accident while trail running. This pushed me to go running later that week carrying a hand shovel and backpack and also led me to bringing home a little over a pound of ramps. Continue reading

Pickled Rhubarb Ribbons

Looking at my scraps sitting on a cutting board after using a peeler to prepare rhubarb for making a hot and sour sauce, I noticed how the red fibrous ribbons looked better than the slices I put into the sauce. The next day I found myself at the store staring at stalks of rhubarb wondering if I could turn the rest of the rhubarb into those ribbons and when I did, how I could use them. Continue reading

Rolled Pastrami

There is flashy food travel – New York, San Francisco, Charleston, but this year I’ve been to some places that do not scream fancy. Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill. I am not saying the fancy places are undeserving of their praise, but these other towns have shown me great things, food-wise, as well. On our recent trip to North Carolina, we had shrimp and grits at Crook’s Corner, chaat at Lantern, chicken biscuit (this was a revelation) at Time Out and, during a random stop at Rose’s Meats and Sweets in Durham, we bought some pastrami. Continue reading

Koji Rye Rugbrød

As much as I loathe to admit it, I am a creature of habit. Over the past 18 months, a big part of my weekend routine is working a dough throughout Saturday then waking up removing the loaf from the fridge where the loaf finished the second rise, then going for a run and finally returning to bake the bread. The inspiration for most of the loaves and all of the technique have been Chad Robertson’s Tartine books. His first bread book, and even more specifically the first chapter of that book, providing weeks of tinkering – trying to figure out what worked for me. Continue reading


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