Savoring the sour: Tamarind Tofu Noodles

Recipe: Tamarind Tofu Noodles

Last week it was lemon ice cream –  today it’s tamarind noodles, and Friday a post about a lemon shallot shrimp salad. Maybe it’s a salt hangover from Charcutepalooza. (Have you seen the contest winning post? It’s really something special.) All I know is that I’m all about sour flavors right now.

I love tanginess almost as much as I love the heat of chilies – which probably explains my strong attraction to South Asian food. Sour and hot? Hand it over, now.

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It all started with an Ice Cream Manifesto

Recipe: Tart Lemon Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream

After two full years of making my own ice cream, it’s become second nature; easy even. If I have eggs, sweetened condensed milk, half-half, and whole milk in the house, I can come up with almost any flavor, and end up with a creamy, yet firm texture.

I’m ridiculously proud of this skill. It’s a case where practice has made, if not perfect, at least a huge difference. I can look at the warm custard and tell if it is going to freeze properly – not too hard, not too chalky, but with just the right mouth feel.

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Summer Sunshine for the New Year

Chicken Corn Soup

One of my favorite rituals is hanging up new calendars. All the promise of a New Year, held in your hand and hung on the wall; the illusion that the way we order and divide time matters. Or maybe the allure lies in just being able to flip ahead from January to June and be reassured that summer is just a few page turns away.

It’s important to believe in that possibility on days when the sun sets at 4pm. And it can be vital to eat something restorative and colorful at this time of year – something like Chicken Corn Soup. Who can think of corn without thinking of sunshine?

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Christmas Cupcakes and Railway Trivia

Recipies: Gingerbread Cupcakes and Northern Pacific Dark Fruitcake Cupcakes

I’m a little late with this post in every way – not only am I posting a fruitcake recipe just a few days before Christmas, but it turns out that National Cupcake day was last week. Who knew?

I know a lot of people out there are over cupcakes – but I’m still into it, even though I hardly ever make my own – there’s not a lot of incentive, frankly, with Cupcake Royale less than a mile away. But cupcakes make a great holiday gift, in ones and twos, or by the tray. No utensils or formality required. And if you don’t frost them, you can even pass them off as breakfast.

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Seeking New Traditions: Indian Food

Recipe: Chicken with Red Chilies

K.M. and I tend to make the same few Indian favorites, over and over again. Chicken Rolls, Chicken with Almonds and Sultanas, and Shrimp in a Dark Sauce, (both from Madhur Jaffery’s Indian Cooking), and Alu Kabli. They are all spectacular dishes – but how did we end up reducing the cooking of one of the worlds’ most vibrant and interesting countries down to four dishes?

It’s not like K.M. grew up eating just these four dishes. Not one of them is even a Bengali recipe. So one of my goals for the New Year is to break out of the rut – use the cookbooks I have and look for some new ideas. I went to a food photography workshop back in November and was lucky enough to meet Sala – the talent behind the blog Veggie Belly. I was blown away by her photos and her Indian recipes – and I’m excited to start cooking from her blog.

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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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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

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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Will Bake For Food: Chocolate Chip Espresso Shortbread Cookies

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Espresso Shortbread Cookies

I’m excited to be baking for this year’s Will Bake For Food sale. It’s the second year in a row that Jenny Miller (Rainy Day Gal) and Jenny Richards (Purple House Dirt) have organized this blogger bake sale for hunger here in Seattle. This year’s charity is the Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle and King County.

Seattle is home to an extraordinary number of food bloggers and there will be some incredible talent on display. Molly Orangette is baking. CakeSpy created the event logo. Herbivoracious, Not Without Salt, and Seattle Food Geek are all participating along with many more whose food, writing and photography I admire. I’m a little intimidated, but one thing I’ve learned this year is when the food community comes together, great things (CharcutepaloozaA Pie for Mikey), happen. I know I’ll meet some fun people and I’m certainly going to eat well.

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