Archive for the ‘Nostalgia’ Category

Another Cure for Charcutepalooza: Duck Salami

Recipe: Duck Salami

Charcutepalooza is almost over. And with the second to last challenge we’ve come full circle – back to curing. I choose the apprentice challenge this time, curing Salami. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for a long time.

My mother’s mother and her step-father were both great cooks. My grandmother, who was born in 1910, never saw a reason to pay for something she could make or grow at home and so largely missed out on the food that was normal in my childhood years – Wonder bread, Tang, Hamburger Helper, and frozen peas. My grandparents had a large garden, fished in Puget Sound, ate seasonally, and cooked with butter, olive oil, and lard. Grandma Blanche lived to be 87, Grandpa Con, 91. Continue reading

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Stop, Smell and Eat the Roses

Recipe: Strawberry Rose Cupcakes

I’m not a big fan of the house we’ve been renting for the past 10 months. It’s a vanilla-bland subdivision, 3-car garage, late- twentieth century sprawl-special. The dogs get a lot out of the ¼ acre yard, but being surrounded by such relentless, plastic same-ness depresses me.  I can’t wait to live in an old-fashioned neighborhood again.

But I will miss the roses. The property has six rose bushes– and four of them are prolific bloomers. I haven’t lived with roses like this in a long time. My father loved roses. The entire south side of my childhood home was covered in them. Dad kept them blooming May through November, most years.  And every few days, he cut bouquets for me –even when I was 17 and he and I could barely have a civil conversation.

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Summer Grilling: Goat Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Recipe: Goat Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Summer is just around the corner. I just bought Max and Mishka their first suburban-dog kiddie pool for hot days. I’ve started planting flowers outside.  In the garden we’ve planted tomatoes and melons and pulled up most of the row cover.

It’s time to grill.

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First Harvest: Rhubarb and Chives

Recipe: Rhubarb Chutney

I brought my first harvest home from garden class last week.  Chives and rhubarb – both planted by previous year’s classes – may not sound like much. But to me, it is a bounty and a harbinger of all that is to come. Expect to hear a lot more about the garden’s yield, between now and our last class in November.

Last spring, in Seattle, I joined a CSA and became a loyal farmer’s market shopper. I put a few raised beds in my front yard to grow salad greens, strawberries, peppers, tomatillos, and tomatoes. But I knew I wanted to do more.

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Happy Mother’s Day: Lemon-Lime Brulee Bars

Recipe: Lemon-Lime Brulee Bars

Lemon bars and Mother’s Day seem to go together – though, to be honest, I’m not sure why.  I’m not even sure my Mom was a fan, though she loved most tart tastes.

I realized recently that this year it’s been twenty years since I celebrated Mother’s day with my Mom. I can’t really wrap my mind around that span of time – even though it is the timeline of my own narrative. It’s incredible.

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Kolkata Chicken Rolls: The World’s Best Fast Food

Recipe: Kolkata Chicken Rolls

When K.M. and I visit his family in Kolkata, we always have a secret agenda. Spending time with loved one comes first, of course, but eating as many kathi rolls as possible is a close second.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that kahti rolls (kathi or kati is a Bengali word meaning stick; traditionally the meat in these rolls is cooked on skewers, hence the name) are simply the best fast food I’ve ever eaten. They have the same effect of me as potato chips: I can never eat just one. I am not one of those Americans who travels to India and comes home 10 pounds lighter.

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Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Stout Cake

I like odd recipes. Doing something that seems wrong – in this case, blending stout, a pound of melted butter and a lot of chocolate together-  and having it turn out sublime is a pretty big thrill. (Yeah okay, I need to get out a bit more. Maybe.)  Based on an old Bon Appétit recipe, I think this may well become my new go-to chocolate cake.

I made this cake for St. Patrick’s day, but like my turkey pastrami, there’s nothing Irish about it. I used Rogue Brewery’s Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout  and you can taste it in the cake. In the 1800’s when oatmeal stouts were first conceived,  these brews were marketed as health drinks, specifically a tonic  for mothers and children.  I don’t think my nieces will buy it though, so should either of the them ever ask for a chocolate birthday cake,  I’ll probably stick to something more conventional. But K.M. and I are sold.

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