Archive for the ‘Narrative’ Category

Christmas Bars

Recipes: Candy Cane Brownies, Butter Rum Blondies with Chocolate Chips

We’re keeping things minimal this holiday season. With so much of our stuff in storage, it seems crazy to do much decorating, and anyway, the house we are in right now is too small for two big dogs, a tiny cat, two humans and a Christmas tree.

I’m not going to send many cards this year – but, that doesn’t mean I’ve become the Grinch. I bought a beautiful handmade wreath at our farmers market, and I’m making up care packages for our closest friends. And I’m planning a family brunch for New Year’s Day.

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Charcutepalooza: A Year of Meat, Chaos and Hope

Recipes: Duck Prosciutto Fig Spread, Mostly Poultry Cassoulet

It’s been a year of living dangerously: curing raw meat, making cheese, tending bread and yogurt starter, making sauerkraut in crock that belonged by my great-grandmother – a year of re-defining normal. And I owe the attitude that fueled all that to Charcutepalooza. I started out nervous. And I’m ending triumphant, with a renewed enthusiasm for all things culinary.

Would I have started making my own cream cheese if I hadn’t signed on? Would I have decided my diet is best defined by a proactive standard, i.e. humanely raised, locally grown, fair trade, etc. versus just drawing an arbitrary line in the sand and eating “no mammals” without Charcutepalooza?

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Food Network Virtual Thanksgiving: Blue Cheese and Rosemary Celebration Potatoes

Recipe: Celebration Potatoes

This year is the Food Network’s first ever virtual Thanksgiving. Featuring recipes from all over the web – from food blogs of all sizes and scopes, this compilation is sure to be helpful if you (like me) are still in the planning stages of your Thanksgiving meal. Time has just gotten away from me this year. I know it is mid-November already, but my personal calendar is still stuck somewhere in October.

I’m really lucky the next Charcutepaloza deadline isn’t till December 1st.

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The Road To Cassoulet

In an ideal world this post would include a recipe, rather than just a link, for cassoulet– the classic French bean dish that I have yet to make. I’m half way there – yesterday I made duck confit – duck legs preserved in fat; an essential element of cassolet.

But while I’m excited about what I have done this month for Charcutepalooza, skinning and boning a duck for roulade, rendering duck fat, and making the confit, the cassoulet will have to wait.

An old friend I haven’t seen in five years arrives for a weekend visit tonight with her daughter. And someone very close to me goes in for important surgery next week. I’m saving the duck legs for her recovery. It’s going to be a celebratory cassoulet for a Sunday dinner sometime soon. I’ve got a lot of hope pinned to those duck legs.

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A Five Dollar Fairy Tale

Recipe:Black Bean Soup with Roasted Corn and Indian Spices

Slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food. This was the tag line for Slow Food USA‘s recent $5 challenge: sharing a fresh, healthy meal with loved ones, friends, or strangers for less than $5 a person.

I’m not sure how much of a challenge it was – the reality is that anyone who participated in the challenge, is probably already a slow food cook; someone who has the knowledge, access,
resources and the time to cook from scratch with real ingredients. If you work a 16 hours just to make ends meet, or live in a food dessert, a cooking challenge from Slow Food USA is about as interesting as a green energy tax credit. It’s a fairy tale.

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Procrastination and Half-Baked Paté

 Fear is always at the root of serious procrastination; fear masquerading as self-doubt, the nagging worry that I’m not up to the task at hand.  And in this case, fear that I might not like the final product.

This month’s Charcutepalooza challenge is packing – making paté, or pork pie.  I know from following the charcutepalooza twitter stream that it’s been a dream challenge for many Charcutepaloozians –Francophiles and many others who are accomplished and experienced in all things meat.

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Let It Rain

Recipe: Maple Pecan Cookies

I may be the only person in Seattle looking forward to the fall.  Mention the feeling of change in the air, and people here shiver and change the subject. You can’t blame them – it’s been a pretty lame summer in the Pacific Northwest– with just a few days above 80, and many more that were cold and grey.

But since I got here three weeks ago, it’s been stunning –August and September are always Seattle at its best. And after spending all the late afternoons in June and July trapped in my air conditioned house in Boise, I’ve been living it up. Long afternoon dog walks, picnics on the beach, stunning sunsets. And I’m hoping we still go kayaking before summer’s official end.

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