March 14, 2013 § 5 Comments
Looking back through the archives, it seems that every year around this time pickles make an appearance. Perhaps it’s to do with the lull between winter veg and new spring veg, since I certainly eat pickles year round. But right now, in March, pickled vegetables perk everything up; they’re light on effort and brighten up even the most ordinary vegetables and meals.
I hadn’t made pickled carrots in a while, and so when I’d got everything else ready it dawned on me that I was out of fresh ginger and frozen ginger. But, recalling the jar of candied ginger used in the pear-ginger sugar muffins, I decided to give it a try, subbing out some of the added sugar in my typical carrot pickling mixture for the sugar inherent in candied ginger. « Read the rest of this entry »
June 24, 2012 § 6 Comments
Peaches have long reigned supreme as my most anticipated summer fruit, but this June the tiny dusky purple plums at the farmers market have been stealthily taking over my kitchen fruit bowl. Almost more pit than fruit, the plums’ sweet fragrance and juicy flesh encased in astringent skin make them ridiculously easy to enjoy by the handful, with only the pits to stop one from inhaling the whole basket at once.
Really the two fruits aren’t — shouldn’t be — rivals; they go excellently together. So, as I didn’t want to use up all the tiny plums at once, and because I had a bruised peach to consume, I decided to cook the stone fruits together, basing my recipe on a recipe from Nigel Slater’s fantastic Ripe (or Tender Volume II as it is titled in the UK). « Read the rest of this entry »
May 2, 2012 § 11 Comments
Lately I’ve been on a bit of a preservation/pickling kick, as evidenced by the pickled beets previous. After impatiently waiting for a few weeks while the salt and acid worked its magic, I can enjoy the fruits of my labor, preserved lemons and preserved oranges.
The preserved lemons are a classic Mediterranean/Maghrebian/Middle Eastern dish, with each region having a preferred spice mix. My version seems to be most common in Moroccan cuisine, with coriander adding a nutty warmth and slight muskiness to the bright lemons. I also poked in a dried chilli because I like spice. The lemons are great chopped finely and added to tagines and couscous dishes, and they also go well with poultry too.
As for the preserved oranges, I decided to take them in an almost Chinese direction, with a hint of Szechuan peppercorns adding a tingling spiciness, chillis for yet more added heat, and my favorite, a broken point of star anise providing a licorice undercurrent. They’re an almost-fusion experiment that turned out even more successful than I could’ve hoped. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 15, 2012 § 7 Comments
When left to my own devices, I’m not that likely to cook a whole meal at once. More often than not, I will make a few dishes that roughly coordinate and then assemble them into meals as hunger and patience levels dictate. For those who similarly appreciate this casual “cut and come again” style, these beet pickles will hopefully become a part of your repertoire, as they’re so easy to make, last a while in the refrigerator, and taste like more effort was put into them than really was. These are high impact, low effort fast food, once you take into account that there is a two day waiting period while the beets and the spicy, sweet, and sour pickling liquid mingle.
Beets were never a huge part of my food lexicon growing up, but within the last few years they’ve graduated from idle appreciation to full-out obsession, which is surprising since they’re a rather humble vegetable. However, their clear, sweetly earthy taste, satisfying crunch even when pickled, and most of all their showstopping colors, brighten even the dreariest day. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 9, 2012 § 4 Comments
Chickpeas and I go way back, starting from when I was a little kid and enjoyed eating them mashed up as hummus, and in college they appeared frequently both in my dining-hall meals, and later in curries when I lived in an apartment off-campus. More recently my fondness began to wane, prompted by a twelve dollar chickpea salad that was both appallingly dull and expensive.
Fortunately, Super Natural Every Day came along and reminded me that chickpeas are still part of a healthy diet and budget, thanks to the incredible chickpeas and kale with aleppo pepper and lemon recipe that I adapted from it. Spicy, tangy, and garlicky, with tender chickpeas nestled among kale leaves that retain just a bit of their bite, this salad is perfect to take to work for lunch, or for serving family-style at a relaxing dinner.
November 20, 2011 § 11 Comments
And now for my second new Thanksgiving dessert I present rice pudding! It’s admittedly not a classic dessert for Thanksgiving, but it is so rich, so luscious, and one of my favorites, so we’re going to have it and that’s that. We’re also having the previously mentioned Preakness pie muffins, as well as a few kinds of pie, though I’m not making them in advance enough that I can share them here. That’d be too much pie for one week, and even I have my sugary limits.
But back to the rice pudding: I was prompted to make it mainly because I had some soy milk around and didn’t really know what to do with it. I remembered some arborio rice from the bulk store was bagged up ready for risottos that never happened, and it hit me that vegan rice pudding might be something to make. Confident that someone probably had come up with a vegan rice pudding, I headed to my bookshelf, thinking perhaps I’d seen a recipe one of my many cookbooks on desserts, vegan cooking, or (most likely) online. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 30, 2011 § 8 Comments
October so far has been a whirlwind: the month started out with an exhausting, amazing trip to Rhinebeck, New York, for the New York Sheep and Wool Festival and to hang out with my knitting friends and then a quick stop in Manhattan to see another awesome friend. The following weekend was hanging out with my best friend on her way from California to Chile for her new job, and then yesterday battling actual snow in October on one of the most congested highways in the country.