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Bounty hunters: A review of two new local-foods cookbooks

As the local food movement expands and the numbers of small farms, CSA programs, and farmers markets increase, so grows the crop of cookbooks aimed at helping people make the best use of that seasonal bounty. Following in the path of Deborah Madison’s excellent overview of America’s farmers markets, Local...

Book review: Appreciating Elizabeth Andoh’s “Kansha”

Elizabeth Andoh is a prominent figure in my cooking consciousness. Her 2005 book, Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen, opened a new frontier to me: the deceptively simple and elegant world of home-style Japanese cuisine. By following the recipes and techniques in Washoku, the food I cooked was...

For when you Karo too much: In honor of MLK, Jr. Day, my great-grandmother’s pecan pie recipe

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a big fan of pie, supposedly. (Who isn't?) A few years ago, Austin, Tex. artist Luanne Stovall was baking a buttermilk one in honor of the civil-rights activist and decided to turn sharing it into a vehicle for peace and reconciliation on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Now, she...

Two cookbooks give winter vegetables a starring role

The temperatures have plunged below the freezing point, the first major snow of the season has blanketed the ground, and winter is officially here. Baby, it’s cold outside, and there’s not a cute fresh tomato in sight -- to which I can only say, thank goodness. After a superabundance of August heat and lush...

Neophobia 101: When picky eaters confound Ethicureanish intentions

My four-year old ate a vegetable frittata the other day. Mind you, this hardly ranks among the most staggering of childhood achievements. It's not exactly up there with the 2-year-old who gained admission to Mensa, or the kid who paints like Rembrandt, or the 13-year old best-selling author. But in our...

Cooking outside the zone: Agretti, paired with fregola

At last week's farmers market, one of my outside the zone choices (made in honor of National Farmers Market Week) was agretti (Salsola soda) from La Tercera Farm. Agretti is a deep-green, spindly vegetable that goes by many names, including barba di frate ("friar's beard" in Italian), roscana, marsh...

Cooking outside the comfort zone: green tomatoes

In the world of science, there's something called "publication bias," which recognizes that studies with positive results are more likely to be published than studies with negative ones. I suspect there is a similar bias in the world of food blogging: a blogger is much more likely to spend time writing a...

Cooking outside my comfort zone, Part 2: Fresh chickpeas

Last week, I vowed to escape my farmers market rut and cook outside my comfort zone in honor of National Farmers Market Week Aug 1-7. Farmers markets are spreading like (edible) weeds around the country. There were 5,279 as of 2009 by the USDA's count, up 13 percent from the previous year. The new figures...

Cooking outside my comfort zone, pt. 1: A remembrance of squash blossoms past

In honor of Farmers Market Week next week, I vowed here to get out of my market rut and cook outside my comfort zone. That's how I came to be picking up these beautiful squash blossoms on impulse at the Berkeley, Calif. Farmers market on Saturday. Squash blossoms, or fiori di zucca as they are called in...

Cook outside your comfort zone in honor of National Farmers Market Week

It's the height of summer, and the tables of farmers markets around the country are overflowing with firm-fleshed, scarlet tomatoes; bunches of fragrant basil; and -- depending on where you live -- juicy stone fruits, avocados, and more. Such bounty makes it easy to celebrate National Farmers Market Week...

Two recipes – and lots of opinions – from ‘Farmers Market Desserts’ author Jennie Schacht

Summer fruits from the farmers market are the supermodels of the produce world. Just like Heidi Klum doesn't need makeup to be beautiful, a super-fresh White Lady peach or Seascape strawberry doesn't need extra sweetening or seasoning to shine. But given the right recipe—one designed expressly for fruit and...

Students slice and dice for a better future in ‘Pressure Cooker’ documentary

With a supervisor who doesn't mince words and likes to yell, men and women battling over hot stoves for their big chance, and a ticking clock and other on-camera conventions, Pressure Cooker could be mistaken for a prime-time reality show. But it's actually a "real" story about students in the Culinary Arts...

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