Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Fresh Sausage:Grinding it out for Charcutepalooza

Recipe: Chorizo Stuffed Poblano Chilies

I’ve never spent much time thinking about sausages. Eating them, you bet, but really thinking about what goes into making one – not so much, at least not since I read The Jungle as a teenager. We read Upton Sinclair’s classic in history class; and at the time I believed that concerns about food safety, contamination and inhumane conditions for meat packers were just a part of history. And I probably never stopped to think about the lives of the animals. What can I say?  Clearly I was a child of the eighties.

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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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It Was A Dark And Stormy Afternoon *

It is, really. It’s hailing like crazy while I’m writing this and I can hear thunder in the distance. And the wind is so loud. I’m sad about all the cherry blossoms I can see flying through the air, a little worried about the very delicate chard plants that went into the garden last week and very glad that Mishka and I already went running today.

I get to sit back and enjoy the storm. And the cookies that go with it.

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Smoking – It’s Addictive

Smoke is magical; difficult to control; fickle with a hint of danger. No matter how well built your smoking apparatus or precise your temperature measurements, no two fires, even in the confines of the same backyard grill, are ever the same. You either love the process, or hate it.

I am a live-fire freak. So I went all out for this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge. I smoked salmon and trout, I made another batch of bacon, I made Canadian bacon – I even smoked a couple of pheasant breasts. Not to mention the almonds, and the cheese.

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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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Transitional Pasta

I’m so tired of winter.

I know I haven’t had it as bad as some of my friends who live in the Northeast, or the Midwest. And I know in December and January it was a lot drier in Boise than in Seattle, but I am so ready for spring to come – more so than in years past, I think.

I’m tired of waking up to sub-freezing temperatures, bundling up to walk the dogs, and walking instead of running because of icy sidewalks. Everyone we’ve met here in Boise keeps telling us it has been a much greyer, wetter winter than normal for the Treasure Valley.

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Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sweetened condensed milk is one of those flavors you expect to outgrow. I’m 42 and I’m still waiting.

I love Vietnamese Coffee, Carrot Halwa, Nanaimo bars, and Foolproof Fudge –  and my recipes for all of these treats owe their flavor to Gail Borden.  Lately, I’ve been wondering if I could make my own sweetened condensed milk, mostly  so I could use local milk, but also to tone down the cloying sweetness just a tad. Most of the recipes I found on the web called for powered milk, or when they did stick to real milk, thickened it with butter, which wasn’t an addition I wanted.

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