Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm Baaaack

OMG! It has been way too long, friends. So sorry about that!

Partially the blog hiatus has come about because I'm 30 weeks pregnant and well, there is just a lot on my plate at the moment. I haven't stopped cooking, of course, but blogging what I cook has taken a back seat. Okay, a trunk seat, really.

But I'm back! Because last night I made a new dinner so delicious that it would be just plain wrong to not share it with you all: Meatball Sandwiches with Kale Rabe on the side. I'm working on getting that post ready; should be up in the next week or so. (You guys, I have leftovers for lunch today and I cannot WAIT! Seriously. As soon as the recipe goes up, make these.)

So thanks for hanging in there with me and stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recently Heard on the Internets

My father always says, "You can't have it fast, cheap, and high quality. Pick two. If you want it fast and cheap, it's not gonna be very good. If you want it fast and good, it certainly won't be cheap."

-- commenter on Serious Eats' post about the brou-ha-ha surrounding the recent discovery that Taco Bell's "beef filling" is only 35% beef, 5% below the FDA requirement that it be 40%.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Food Poem of the Month

(And this food poem goes out to my husband as we celebrate eight years together this month. Sodden with luck indeed. xoxo)

French Toast
by Anya Krugovoy Silver

Pain perdu: lost bread. Thick slices sunk in milk,
fringed with crisp lace of browned egg and scattered sugar.
Like spongiest challah, dipped in foaming cream
and frothy egg, richness drenching every yeasted
crevice and bubble, that's how sodden with luck
I felt when we fell in love. Now, at forty,
I remember that "lost bread" means bread that's gone
stale, leftover heels and crusts, too dry for simple
jam and butter. Still, week-old bread makes the best
French toast, soaks up milk as greedily as I turn
toward you under goose down after ten years
of marriage, craving, still, that sweet white immersion.

"French Toast" by Anya Krugovoy Silver, from The Ninety-Third Name of God.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Three Basic Recipes for Everyone

You've heard me rave about Mark Bittman before. I make no bones about the fact that I love him, his food philosophy, and his very simple "anyone can do it and everyone should" approach to cooking.

Well here's another example of why. He recently wrote an article about how few people in the U.S. actually cook, or even know how, and how that is a national problem that needs fixing. If we want healthier Americans, lower healthcare costs, healthier food systems, and a healthier planet overall, we're going to need to teach each other to cook.

He acknowledges the truth that most of us, these days, are not being taught how to cook or even about food by our parents. That idea of passing down recipes and cooking lessons from generation to generation has mostly gone the way of the Dodo bird. Maybe some of us are lucky to get one or two recipes from our parents, but that's about it. It's not like we grow up knowing how to instinctively put together a menu or shop for the right ingredients or throw an impromptu dinner together at the last minute.

So Mark is making an attempt to right that wrong, but giving us three very basic recipes that we all ought to know how to make -- WITHOUT a cookbook. And I agree with him: that once you have a few recipes (be they these or others) that you can confidently cook consistently on your own, you're well on your way to being a home cook. You can extrapolate and make your own recipes and dishes by riffing off what you already know. You will no longer need to order takeout or make a run for the nearest fast-food "restaurant."

As he puts it:

Make these three things and you’re a cook. And with luck and perseverance, these foods will crowd out things like (to single out one egregious example from hundreds of its competitors) KFC’s Chicken Pot Pie, which costs about $5 (so much for the myth of cheap fast food; a terrific meal for four can be put together for $10); contains nearly 700 calories, more than half of which come from fat; and has well over 50 ingredients — most of which cannot be purchased by normal consumers anywhere — including things like “chicken pot pie flavor” and MSG.

By becoming a cook, you can leave processed foods behind, creating more healthful, less expensive and better-tasting food that requires less energy, water and land per calorie and reduces our carbon footprint. Not a bad result for us — or the planet

So without further ado, here are Bittman's Three:

1. Simple Stir-Fry (and really, the variations on this are truly ENDLESS)

2. Lentils and Rice (or very easily beans and rice; my Black Beans & Rice is ridiculously simple)

3. Chopped Salad (check out Robin's School Garden Salad for the most divine dressing ever)
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