Archive for the ‘Nostalgia’ Category

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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Potatoes of Kabul

Alu Kabli is one of my very favorite quick Indian dishes.  It’s street food  – something mothers in Kolkata might prefer their sons not eat on the way home from school. But I don’t think that ever stopped K.M.

Like me, K.M.  learned to cook more from books than from his family.  But when we make Indian food – Bengali food in particular, he has the great advantage of knowing what it should taste like. And that gives him final right of approval over any recipe we try out. And 10 years after we first made these potatoes, we both still love them.

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Irish Thanksgiving for Charcutepalooza

What happens when a boy whose parents are from Belfast marries a Catholic girl, whose not-so-distant roots go back to Poland and southern Ireland? Their children grow up skeptics, who are not inclined to discuss religion. And St. Patrick’s day is a pretty subdued affair.

My parents had already been married twenty years by the time I came along, so whatever discussion or discord the holiday may have once caused in our household was long over, with only two tangible results:  I was forbidden to wear green on the 17th of March, and we always ate corned beef for dinner, always with sauerkraut.

I hated them both. And don’t ask me why the sauerkraut, rather than cabbage.  None of it is authentically Irish, anyway.  Maybe it was rebellion on my mother’s part. All I know is that both the sauerkraut and the beef came from and tasted of, their respective cans.

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February’s Charcutepalooza Challenge: Blown Away by Bacon (part 2)

(Read Part 1)

My homemade bacon turned out to be emotionally complicated. I’m still wondering if maybe rather than write about it, I should have just developed a recipe for bacon ice cream.

Close friendships are sometimes hard to hang on to.  Especially the ones that define you when you are young. You grow, you and your friends take different paths, your life’s realities, good and bad, change you.  You make new friends, maybe you share your life with one, two or a few people who become part of the continuing nexus of who you are. If you are lucky, as I am, some of those people are the ones who “remember you when”, and love you anyway.

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Truely Foolproof Fudge

December is the time for nostalgia – at least when it comes to food.  My best friend and I took a pledge not to buy anything for each other this Christmas, but to come up with homemade gifts.  She’s probably drawing me something beautiful, or crafting something that would put Martha Stewart to shame.

But, since my creative talents begin and end in the kitchen,  Gwyn’s known from square one that I would be sending her something to eat.

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Pie Crust Confidential

I’ve never been intimidated by any aspect of cooking.  My attitude has always been, I can read, so, of course,  I can cook.  My obsession with cookbooks started in my late teens and only eased off a few years ago.

Apple Raisin Pie

As I enter my third decade as a cook my habits are changing and with them my cooking style.  I’m using recipes less and less and relying more on instinct. Part of this comes from shopping at the farmer’s market and belonging to a CSA, but my style has been evolving in this direction for a long time.

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An Omelet and a Glass of Beer

K.M. makes amazing omelets. Perfect in texture, creamy on your tongue, and always with fillings that give the eggs an extra pop – blue cheese, chilies, sausages, or maybe smoked salmon. His omelets are the classic American type – oversized and finished in a hot oven where they always rise to an incredible height; the perfect way to start a lazy weekend day.

Living alone, I’ve missed them. And my own attempt to create one last week, while it hit all the right notes in taste, was pretty messy to look at and had all the height of a flat bike tire.

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