Corn, beans, and squash are the trinity of native American staple crops. The fact that they can be planted all together—beans climbing corn, squash crowding out weeds on the ground—only adds to their iconic appeal. This meal took shape around the happy presence of all three in the pantry, all in different states, and the result was quite satisfying.
Keep reading Three Sisters…
Yesterday evening around 5:30, hard at work in the studio, I realized that I needed to go in the house and make dinner or there would be hell to pay. I was not pleased about it, so I was grouchy, and the relative shortness of time made it even less relaxing. Fortunately, a well-stocked pantry came to the rescue as it so often does.
Keep reading You Can Tell By The Way I Use My Wok…
There is no more useful thing to have on hand at all times than good homemade stock. Witness this meal, a hurried response to lingering sickness and general wintry malaise that no cardigan can allay. I have written a lot about risotto, because I make it pretty often, though not because I love it particularly more than other things. I make it often because it is so easy; all it requires is rice, stock, and a condimento: an herb, a flavor, a vegetable or three for color, depth, and direction.
Keep reading Rice With Chicken Soup…
If for no other reason, agreeing to be a part of this contest has meant that you all get at least one post per month to enjoy since I’m not really feeling the blog right now and with a broken flash and darkness falling so early decent photography that coincides with actual dinner time is not possible. Having said that, though, this dish would deserve a post even if there were no such contest. I made cassoulet before my trip to France, and did a decent job of it, but Kate showed me her method and it drove home the importance of having all the component parts be as immaculately sourced as possible. I know she has a cassoulet app coming out soon, so pay attention to her Twitter feed and jump on that when it drops. The fact that her technique has continued to evolve is proof that this is a dish that warrants many repetitions and refinements in your own kitchen. This version was made mostly with lamb, since that’s what they sent me. Cassoulet is superbly adaptable to what you have on hand.
Keep reading Lambs And Clams, Fit The Third: Cassoulet…
Yesterday I was out all day for a story—90 minutes each way in the car, three hours of chatting, 375 pictures taken, stop at farmers’ market on the way home—so dinner was not in any danger of being a complicated endeavor. Circumstances conspired to make it another one in the seemingly infinite series of “chicken parts cooked in a vaguely winglike manner” meals that I’m sure you’re all thrilled to read about on a regular basis. But bear with me; this technique works a treat and is dead easy with any bird parts you might have laying around.
Keep reading One Thighs Fits All…
Just a quick one today, since I’m on deadline. This was an utterly unremarkable dinner the other night: fried chicken and cucumber salad. The chicken didn’t even get a buttermilk marinade, because there was neither time nor buttermilk; it just got tossed in seasoned flour (salt, pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder) and fried in a mixture of canola and peanut oils. It was perfectly fine. What made this meal something that you really want to put your face in was the sauce, which I threw together based on what was in the fridge.
I used roughly equal parts of the mango salsa, barbecue sauce from the lamb ribs, and kimchi. And those three links right there show exactly why it ended up being so transcendently good: rather than bottles of various store-bought condiments, they were all homemade. That richness and depth of flavor (and uniqueness, since apart from the kimchi they were one-offs) is the key to making ordinary food into a celebration of sustenance. Anything you can do to equip yourself with homemade tomato purée, chutneys, salsas, and pickles will reward you with interest when you need to phone in something on . . . → Read More: Dump And Stir
It’s been alternately sunny and rainy lately, with a few straight days of each before it changes again. Spring has been pretty perfect so far, though I’m behind on the garden, but that’s pretty much a given. On nice days, we eat lighter food outside on the porch, and on cooler rainy days I try to make heartier things and we eat them inside. At least in theory; this meal was on the substantial side but the day was as nice as they come. Go figure. In any case, it highlights a technique that I don’t see talked about so much, but which makes for a superlative chicken in very little time.
Keep reading I’ve Got A Spatchcock In My Pocket…
Swordfish. Leftover polenta re-cooked with milk and alliums (scallions, onion, wild garlic). Miso-mustard-honey-cider vinegar sauce. Black pepper. Chervil.
True story. Regular blogging will . . . → Read More: Minutes In The Making
As much as I complain about never having enough time to make the meals I see in my mind’s eye, very often I actually do. Sometimes, prior to the crepuscular rush to get food on the table, I have an idea, and it comes together like I imagined; other times I have no idea, but the ingredients on hand provide all the fodder (literal and figurative) that I require.
Keep reading Kvelltanschauung…
Look: another sighting of my dinner, rare as hen’s teeth these days. It’s been strange getting back into the regular cooking routine after so long out of it. It’s not the actual making of dinner, which I have not in fact forgotten how to do, but trying to reconcile all the wild flights of culinary fancy that my mind embarked upon while my hands held sandpaper and brushes (rather than knives and pan handles) with the quotidian realities of wandering into the kitchen at 5:30 and making good food from a cold start. So much of what I rely on to lift my meals up a level or two are the various time-intensive processes and ongoing experiments and just plain old leftovers that are in the fridge on any given evening, so it’s taking a little while for those secondary rhythms of production to catch up and I feel a little clumsy.
Bread-baking never stopped, although there were some hiccups. The vinegars are thriving. Cheesemaking is back under way, which is grand, so whey is in the mix, and of course there’s plenty of charcuterie about for mincing into soffriti to lend that lavish depth in an instant: salami, guanciale, duck prosciutto, bresaola, and lardo. And the freezer always has something worth eating in it. What galls me most at this time of year really is the dearth of good vegetables; there are still greens in the garden, sure, and a few roots, but I daydream about being able to walk outside and load up a basket with all the fat bounty that is still invisible over the horizon. This mild hardly winter isn’t helping, either; I keep feeling like I should plant stuff. The birds and spring bulbs are equally confused. I’m sure we’ll get some monster blizzard in a few weeks after everything is all budded out and lose it all.
Meantime, comfort food is still on the menu, though this example was leavened some with a couple of summery ingredients to symbolize my yearning for spring and the ephemerality of life, man.
Keep reading Sasquash…