Category: DIY

May 18

Front yards are overrated. Sure, it’s good to have some grassy space to kick a ball or toss a disc with the kid, but otherwise lawn is a waste of square feet and resources, especially water. Rip out the grass, run a nice fence around it, and build some raised beds, though, and you’ve got yourself a one-stop shop for food, physical activity, neighborly sharing, and epic curb appeal.

Read the Post I get my back into my living

February 8
June 3

I decanted last fall’s vinegar crop over the weekend, and it was a good one. Three kinds, all fully fermented and super sour: straight cider, made from biodynamic apples, cider macerated with sumac for a few days and then strained, and blackcurrant. Half a gallon of each should last us a while. The cloudier bottle of cider was from the bottom of the jar; it has settled now and is quite clear.

Read the Post I Love To See You In The Morning Light

April 1
March 8

Paneer is one of the easiest cheeses to make at home, and it’s superbly rewarding because A) there’s almost no waiting and B) if you live, say, in an area that has no good South Asian restaurants, you can make yourself a steaming bowl of saag paneer whenever the urge strikes. And you can make a lot of it, because as we all know Indian food is even better the next morning for breakfast.

Read the Post Positively 6th Street

March 1

Espelette peppers, named for the town in Basque France that made them famous, are a unique food. Dried and ground, they have a particular aromatic quality: earthy and yet bright at the same time, with a fairly gentle but insistent heat that represents (in general, based on my own anecdotal experience) the upper limit of most French palates’ tolerance for spiciness. The great hams of Bayonne are cured with copious pepper, and it gives them a gorgeous flavor and tint. It’s not really a cooking spice, but rather a finishing one, especially given how much money a small jar commands. A pinch sprinkled on top of fish, chicken, or potatoes (or a hundred other things) adds an irresistible trebly zing and a not insignificant coloristic bump.

Read the Post Bust A Capsicum

January 16
July 2

As regular readers know, I’m a fan of from-scratch standards (often sandwiches, for some reason) as an ideal format for drilling down into the essence of food while following it up the supply chain as far as possible. It helps me understand cooking better. More often than not it also tastes really fucking good, so there’s also that. In this instance, to celebrate the ninth anniversary of our fun summer wedding (we had the legal one the previous December while my Mother was still alive), I prepared what was by any measure a simple meal. But it technically took seven months to make it.

Read the Post Lavorazione Artigianale

April 10

We were in Vermont for a few days over Spring Break, during which time we visited Taylor Farm, as we always do when we’re up there. In addition to their excellent Gouda–their aged is my favorite–they also sell raw milk, and sometimes cream. For whatever reason, Milo got it into his head that he was going to make butter, so he did. I guided him through the process, but the work was all his doing. I’m all about better living though child labor.

Read the Post It’s Like Butter, Baby

September 15

So for this month’s pâté and terrine project, I vacillated back and forth between a few ideas and then decided to make all of them. I had invited over a bunch of food writer/blogger types, so I figured quantity and variety would both be desirable. I emailed Northwind Farm and placed an order for a duck, a rabbit, and a pork butt, and picked them up at the weekly market here in town. Over the course of a couple of days, I turned the three things into three different pâtés, using a couple of tricks I’ve learned in my couple of years of terrine making, and which really do improve the results dramatically.

Read the Post Ain’t No Pâté Like A Charcutepalooza Pâté