The Best of the Fat Fried in Fat

Both of my parents cooked well and often for the duration of my childhood. Their styles could not be more different though they did come together often in collaboration. My mom was the one buying the weird fruit (buddha’s hand anyone?), surprising me with a tiny, whole octopus all spread out on the counter and forcing me to eat my vegetables and drink 8 ounces of milk (the idea of which still makes me gag). My dad was banging out crazy production numbers involving deep fried walnut chicken, broccoli with hollandaise and chicken liver paté that seemingly took all day … Continue reading

    Leftovers Worth Fighting For

    When I was growing up my mom kept a container in the fridge labeled “Hog Casings” in which she kept safe any leftovers she thought my dad might hoard for himself. It’s funny now to think that her method was clever survival, resourcefulness and self-preservation while my dad’s was greed, gluttony or sneakiness. Sometimes he would shamelessly claim certain praised items while shunning the things the rest of us were forced to eat. Heck, he might even cheers us, oblivious, while happily smacking his lips after the last bite of a coveted morsel. So I certainly don’t blame my mom … Continue reading

      Orange-Scented Smoked Tea Ice Cream

      I have only made ice cream once and it ended up being more of a hassle than I anticipated. Not the actual making of the ice cream, but what was required of me for the next several weeks after dinner each night. It was our first Thanksgiving back in Denver and, coincidentally, my birthday. Being my favorite holiday, and having many family members arriving to share it in our old/new home, we planned a pretty awesome meal. Beginning with sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter sage sauce and ending with pumpkin ice cream topped with spiced, candied nuts and bruléed … Continue reading

        Tofu Fritters with Coconut Corn Broth

        This has been the first summer that we’ve had a real garden harvest. And that has happened despite the things that are failing. We have many, many things doing well. But also piles of plants that look fabulous yet are either not producing anything (cauliflower I’m looking at you) or things that are pretty terrible (yes, you cucumber plant I ripped from the ground today for producing the worst bitter taste I have ever encountered). And one failure at this house has been legendary. Corn. Growing up my dad would try planting it on the side of the house. Oh … Continue reading

          An Abundance of Peaches

          I’ve always been a bit conflicted about the peach. I love, love, love the juicy, sweet innards. And Colorado is no joke when it comes to some amazing fruit. But the fuzz. I have a real hangup with the fuzz. And for me, fruit is best when it is good right then to eat—cut into bite-sized pieces or at least washed and ready to just eat already. So I am probably not going to peel a peach. It might sit there one day too long when it goes from ripe perfection to near-puddle-of-waste in the blink of an eye. But … Continue reading

            A Belated Admission

            Dear Dad, You were right. Pressure cookers ARE great. Fall-aparty meat is where it’s at and pressure cookers can deliver in 15 minutes flat. I’m sorry I screamed and cried and ran from the room when you tried to make me use one. “What were you, like eight?” Ryan asked as I told him the story. “No, more like fifteen. And I was scared of air pumps and bicycle tires, jumper cables and anything else that might potentially explode.” But in thinking back on this awesome display of drama on my part, I think I am realizing I was in … Continue reading

              An Old Fashioned Arm Workout

              One of the many reasons I could never be a true locavore is my intense love of citrus. Especially limes. I know there are people growing bananas and all sorts of other crazy things in Colorado, but my guess is that local limes are not anything we’d see any time soon. And we probably shouldn’t. And so it is that I buy large bags of limes and sometimes lemons at Costco. They are so inexpensive this way and I am able to zest and juice them, then freeze my efforts for what I consider an absolute staple. And for this … Continue reading

                My Favorite New, Old Pan

                I finally gave in to my years-long fear of nonstick pans and stopped using the heavy duty pan we got a few years ago at a restaurant supply store in Madison. I can’t say this is the complete and total end of teflon in my world, but it seems a valid thing to stop ingesting. So I turned to an old standby: my dad’s 9″ cast iron pan. The thing I remember my dad cooking most in this pan were burgers. Or, a burger, rather, just for him. He would buy the leanest hamburger possible, often grinding a good, lean … Continue reading

                  Smoky Cheese Addiction : Part 2

                  Often when my husband and I sit down to eat a home-cooked meal, one of us—usually the head (or sole) chef of the night—will ask, casually, what would you do (quietly implying “if anything”) next time? We are good at giving honest and productive advice and I like to think we also take the criticism well. Alternately, growing up, my dad would often fish only for compliments in what became known as “how’s the soup?” If enough proper praise was not doled out the first time, you could be sure he’d ask again, maybe in a different way. I have … Continue reading

                    Celery is Everywhere and I’m Hiding in Fear

                    Celery has nothing to be proud of. It’s mostly flavorless and it’s only real redeeming quality—the crunch—is often ruined by the fibrous strings that come loose sticking in between your teeth and dangling from your lower lip like curled party ribbons. How festive. Don’t agree with me? Try googling “Ode to Celery” or “Celery How I Love Thee” and you will find the following: Celery is a vile, inedible weed. Celery is a method for getting peanut butter into my mouth without having to dip my finger into the jar. i’d rather eat a diaper I can’t believe I finally … Continue reading