Confit Don’t Fail Me Now

This bowl is the third in the new set; it’s an almost disaster that I salvaged into a candy dish sort of thing with a flat bottom. My limited skill on the wheel is greatly enhanced by my post-wheel surgical chops and willingness both to coax things back from the brink and celebrate their lopsided uniqueness. I suspect that after I throw a hundred more I will be a lot less precious about the process. In any case, this duck confit made a worthy passenger for the bowl’s maiden voyage.

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Fifty Shades Of Whey

When your kid loves yogurt, making it at home makes a lot of sense. When your kid loves Greek yogurt, straining it makes for a more or less inexhaustible supply of tangy whey; the yield is roughly 50/50 so our weekly gallon of yogurt makes a half of each. There’s always some stock around too, either in fridge or freezer, so between that and the whey I never want for rich liquids with or in which to cook dinner.

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A Momentary Lapse Of Season

It’s been cold for so long that I forgot what an astonishing difference good weather can make to my level of inspiration. Tuesday was glorious: warm, sunny, smelling of spring—everything I needed to get my own sap flowing. Also, the happy arrival of some new vessels for eating and drinking helped thaw my previously frozen kitchen mojo; besides the box of my grandfather’s glasses that I finally unpacked, I brought a few pieces home from the pottery studio. I make ceramics to inspire me to cook better, and they do, and this batch worked perfectly.

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Tail Of The Cock

I do so love my new camera. And, as if on cue, thanks to the Muslim tyranny of Obamalight Savings Time™, now it’s fully light out at cocktail time! I do hope Rand Paul succeeds in his quest to have all those huge government warehouses full of extra daylight opened up. Just think how much brighter we’ll all be then!

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You Gotta Stick The Landing

There has to be a special circle in Hell reserved for people like me who go to the trouble of marinating chicken in whey for 24 hours and then can’t be bothered to make proper fried chicken with it the following evening. I look forward to seeing what delights await me; I imagine it’s like that scene in Being John Malkovich where Malkovich himself goes through the door except that everybody is Paula Deen and they speak only in emoticons. Probably the frowny face ones with the tears, on account of it’s Hell and all.

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Natural Light

Oh, how I have missed it. Also, can you tell I got a new camera, complete with very good lens? Such creamy goodness, such low light capability. I’m likely to start making bloggings again, now that I have some ambient candlepower to work with at dinner time.

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Winter Thorns

Today brought the fifty-seventh snowstorm of the winter; another three or so inches brought the depth in the yard to about two feet or so, making my shortcut into town a vigorously aerobic trudge. That path takes me by the garden, where I took this picture. It has a suitably prison-y vibe to it, given how confining this climate gets around this time of year, especially when it keeps snowing so there’s no trace of bare ground or greenery anywhere. It turned out that my decision to skip any winter gardening under cover was prescient; all this snow would have crushed the hoops and merely opening the gate would have required a ton of shoveling.

But sap season has begun, and the sun climbs noticeably higher in the sky (on those few days when it comes out) so soon enough the snow will inevitably retreat. When it does, I am going to crawl around on all fours eating all the wild chives, ground ivy, garlic mustard, and nettles I can find, and I’m going to comb the garden for the first new sprouts of volunteer cilantro and returning chicories. There are plenty of vegetables in the stores, of course, this being the land of plenty and all, but they all come from California and I’m sick of buying them. They taste like shit compared to homegrown produce, and after this year I don’t think it’s sound planning to expect those crops to be as available in the future. This may be the year I build a greenhouse.

All Your Diet Are Belong To Us

For the February Chronogram, I went to visit Winnie to talk about her new book and annoy her with my camera while she made me lunch. As an expert denizen of sectors of the food-focused Internet that I assiduously avoid, she has much to say about the current fad for elimination diets and the alarming level of absolutism surrounding certain foods. She is far more patient, understanding, and diplomatic than I will ever be on this subject, and I hope those traits help her win over people too easily swayed by the dietary totalitarians, zealots, and snake oil-peddlers who seem to dominate so much of the discussion these days.

Mayo Clinic

I had a request for fish and chips, which I make occasionally, and since the day was dreary and cold fried food seemed a fitting repast. I don’t do this sort of thing often, since frying is a pain in my ass and makes a big mess (in addition to being unhealthy). On the plus side, it tastes good and best of all it allows me to pour oil all over my table when I take pictures of the finished dinner. You know, for ambiance.

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Cold, Comfort

Well, that felt good. I was overdue for a tirade, I guess. If I had any savvy I’d rave like that all the time, since those posts (see the “best of” page for all you newcomers) always get mad traffic.

I forgot to mention that a contributing factor to the blogstipation around here has been a matter of simple laziness; since I’m out at least once a week shooting pictures, my tripod, light stand, and other gear tend to stay in the car. So when dinner time rolls around, the prospect of going out to get them and set them up in time to shoot a plate of food seems like too much work. Come summer, this will all be moot in the abundant natural light, but for now it represents an obstacle, if a silly one. I did, however, want to show off this new bowl—part of my first ever firing in a wood kiln.

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Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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