This is no Time to Cook…and Yet…I Do. Just Minimally.

This week’s Food52 contest is Your Best Mint. I was not overjoyed at this ingredient considering all we have growing, mysteriously, is chocolate mint which I have yet to find any application for. I was going to sit this one out, but of course that fragrant ingredient kept coming back to me and once I decided to pair it with pork I knew I’d be making something related for dinner. My many ideas were this: Some variety of fragrant, tiny pork and dried shrimp meatball on a stick that you dip first in a sweet, spicy mint sauce and then … Continue reading

    My Grilled Chicken Standby

    Years ago my sister’s neighbor introduced me to Yoshida chicken. This was when I first became aware of Costco and the marvels that hid within. And this marvel was a giant tub of sticky sweet soy sauce that you boiled some chicken in, then threw on the grill. Unlike lots of other grilled chicken I had had that barely had time to marinate or were just dried out breasts, this had flavor throughout and the leftovers were wonderful. Throughout the years I purchased many giant tubs of yoshida to simmer chicken, mix into mayo for a dip or sandwich spread, … Continue reading

      A Pile of Love, a Punch of Flavor

      A summer staple for us is often the zucchini noodle. Quickly ‘cooked’ in salt, the thin strilkes (is this even a word? I always thought it was yiddish and it clearly defines its shape…but I can’t actually find any proper mention of strill-kee anywhere) become a toothsome platform for any number of toppings and we take full advantage all season long. This time around, it was topped with homemade ricotta, super thin slices of multi-colored tomatoes and a lamb sausage similar to this with torn cilantro and basil and a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil to top it off. … Continue reading

        Variation on a Theme: Spring

        Long live the pantry and freezer. Without them in their typical decent-to-fabulously-stocked state this busy family would be eating take out many nights a week. But armed with a variety of quick cooking grains and legumes, proteins in the form of nuts (or eggs which don’t qualify but are a busy mom’s best tool) and frozen meats and vegetables you can turn otherwise slim fridge pickins into some really great meals. And now that the herb garden is in full, luscious swing, creating simple but deeply flavorful meals is quick and easy. So that is exactly what I did for … Continue reading

          A Great Spring Platform

          This meatless month has been a real roller coaster of easy inspiration and complete idea ruts. Last year I began the month by poring through a stack of cookbooks making physical and mental notes of all sorts of ideas to get us through. Occasionally I had a slump, but by then the weekly vegetable box arrived with a challenging vegetable which I used to search my sources. This is how I discovered new favorites like a molassesy turnip radish dish. This time around I just wasn’t as into it from the very beginning and while having a  pre-dreading chat with … 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

              SouFAIL: Part 2 – Redemption

              I am not a professional chef. In fact, other than catering parties when one of us is crazy enough to accept such a job, neither my husband nor myself make any sort of income related to food. But I enjoy cooking a great deal. Other than the occasional stress that rises from a shocking explosion of dishes paired with a grumpy toddler, full time job and growing business, cooking is usually a form of relaxation for me. A meal I can meditate on and plan all day and then prepare and enjoy with someone who cares as much as I … Continue reading

                Crèpes: Just Another Vehicle for Clearing out the Fridge

                I’ve been steadily working on slimming down the pantry and freezer and as part of that took an inventory of all the tiny, leaking, and often unmarked baggies of flours, grains, seeds and legumes. When I saw the buckwheat flour I knew I would be making crepes so I put it aside and went to investigate the fridge and freezer. Another thing I am working on as I eat down pantry and freezer is to try to only add better, new versions of these staples. So last week when I was making this organic wild rice blend, I made triple … Continue reading

                  The Beet Grows Fonder

                  Last weekend we were thrilled to be able to carve out a couple days to go to Paonia for their Harvest Festival. Not only is it a magical little town tucked in the banana belt with a thriving ‘cultcha,’ but the drive is beautiful. And this time of year, with the leaves turning yellows and oranges, that alone can recharge your batteries. Even with a whiny toddler in the backseat. We stayed at a farmhouse b&b called Fresh and Wyld about a mile outside town that boasted a large garden, chickens, a friendly german shepherd type dog named Pablo, walking … Continue reading

                    Thai Sausage Banh Mi

                    A couple months ago I made a big vat of thai sausage, and just pulled out the last batch from the freezer. As we had carrots, cilantro, cucumber and jalapenos I instantly thought of Banh Mi and decided to get a baguette and some daikon. The first time we served the sausage we had cold, sweet corn soup on the side and the flavors went so well together that I started thinking I might have to serve little corn soup shooters with the sandwich. That didn’t seem quite right, but I was pretty sure I needed sweet corn in some … Continue reading