Category Archives: 02 dining

Moist Gingerbread Cake Validates Entire Holiday Season

I think we can all agree that the holidays are terrific, food-wise. Carry the feeling of eating too much deliciously-spiced food with you into the joyless polar vortex that is January with this moist gingerbread cake.

I’m always trying to remember which gingerbread cake recipe is the one I like, which is the good one that is warm and sticky where the spices blend together and the whole thing does not taste like a jar of molasses. The answer is: this one. This is that perfect gingerbread recipe.


Modified from Thibeault’s Table.

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Rabbit Brats with Curried Cole Slaw

Bratwurst is traditionally served with Sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage.  I really wanted to make some Brats and Sauerkraut but most recipes require 2-3 days for the cabbage to soak in all the brine.   So I opted to make a coleslaw which can be made in less then an hour.  However as I was cutting up the cabbage I thought it might be interesting to add more spice to the dressing.  Before I knew it I was making a curried coleslaw by chance.  It worked great with the Brat, which I cooked by simmering them slowly in beer and topping it with a spicy beer reduction.  Recipe below – Continue reading

How to Make Salt and Pepper Kale Chips (Why Make Salt and Pepper Kale Chips)

Kale is amazing, so says all people alive with mouths. You have a kale salad and it changes your whole life (here’s the one that changed mine). You feel great, your oxidants are getting zapped or whatever, and obviously your skin and hair look perfect instantly; you’re made entirely of vitamin K and fiber. You’re thinking, “I’m invincible. I will eat kale every day!” So you buy a bunch of kale and then like four days later, you’re thinking, ” Oh @!#&, I forgot we had kale. Now it’s all wilty.”

I’m not saying that this happened to me, but this weekend I did make some kale chips with some slightly wilted kale (pictured). Like kale itself, kale chips are amazing. I have been known to pay ten dollars a box for bombay cheddar kale chips at my local Organic Extortioners, so you know they’re good to eat plain. Kale chips are also great mixed back into raw salads to provide a different texture, like kale croutons. And somewhere I’ve been eating a sandwich that has a spread on it made out of roasted kale, cream cheese, and other delicious things. So you see, not only are kale chips good, they’re practically a staple that you should have around your house at all times, like eggs. Making them is easy – Continue reading

Summer’s Bounty Rustic Ratatouille

This is a rustic recipe. By rustic I mean uncomplicated. Its deliciousness is derived from the deliciousness of the component ingredients. I see Joël Robuchon and Thomas Keller telling me to cook every bit separately, to layer each item carefully, to fuss and rearrange. I like a poetic, modern meal as much as the next foodie jerk, but unfortunately for the proponents of needlessly complicating delicious-tasting foods, these gentleman came into my life long after a certain woman named Rita who had her own opinions on the matter.

Ratatouille was introduced to me at Thanksgiving, where it was a staple for some reason I don’t remember. Imagine a table laid out with meats and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and pie; and then imagine a bunch of kids lined up in front of a bowl of slimy vegetables and you will begin to see what my mother wrought in our hearts and minds concerning squash. I still make mom’s version at least once a month. It’s delicious, full of vegetables, has almost no fat or oil, takes no effort to prepare, and even the masters agree: ratatouille tastes better the next day. (It’s also vegan, glutin-free, everything free, but whatever.)

So with all due respect to Ms. Julia Child, who would slap me for putting corn in this dish (and for cursing as much as I do), I present my love letter to summertime vegetables: ratatouille with the vegetables I have on hand, sweet corn, and fresh peas because they’re delicious  – Continue reading

How to Pickle Peppers (Why to Pickle Peppers)

You know how you like to put hot sauce on pizza? Stop doing that and start putting pickled peppers on your pizza. Pickled peppers are also great on sandwiches and Rhode Island-style fried calamari. In fact, stop what you are doing right now and pickle some peppers, your new favorite condiment.

If you like hot things, use hot peppers. If you like mild things, use mild peppers. If you like using things that you already have, use whatever peppers are on hand. Basically you’re going to take a sterilized glass jar, fill it with sliced pepper rings, and then pour pickling brine on top of that. Easy. How to below. Continue reading

Smelly Tomato = Delicious Tomato

The seasonally available tomato: a delight and a rarity. We demand fresh tomatoes year round, and most of the year round that means bland, mealy fruit confetti for side salads. In a fairly standard description of how to harvest and handle tomatoes, one sinisterly named Bio & Ag Engineering School’s  guidelines gave the following ideal handling times: Tomatoes harvested at the immature green stage, a stage they assure will produce fruit indiscernible from vine ripened fruit, can be chilled and stored 21-28 days. And that’s before you buy them. Gross. Horticulturalist Harry Lee described the problem to NPR:

Growers are simply not paid to produce good – great-tasting tomatoes. They’re paid for how many pounds of red objects they put in a box, and there’s a disconnect, I think, between the consumer and the grower, and there’s no financial incentive for them.

So what made mine (pictured) taste so good? Continue reading

Pan Fried Buttermilk Flounder over Summer Ragout

I was working my CSA shift this morning when I met the first person I’ve ever known to hate cilantro.  I’ve heard of this before, of course, but always assumed it was fake, like you can make $4876 a week working from home, or a lie that people tell themselves, like I really don’t like dessert. No, this poor soul was real and she made it into adulthood thinking that cilantro, if not the king at least some sort or duke of herbs, tastes like soap. I mention this story because I love cilantro and I used it to garnish my pan fried buttermilk flounder today. It was terrific and that’s being modest. If, however, you think that cilantro is gross (like Julia Child apparently!), you might want to use that fact as a benchmark by which to gauge how you will probably feel about all of my recipes.

Moving on. Flounder! The ugliest fish you love to eat. I coated my flounder in buttermilk and breadcrumbs and then quickly browned them in a cast iron pan. The fish was fresh from the fisherman this morning and all of the vegetables came off of my farm share’s truck. Summertime! Fresh vegetables! Flounder!

This recipe is inspired by the wonderful things my parents used to do to fish to encourage me to eat it in the dark years during which I was just beginning to experiment with seafood. They would fry flounder and serve it with a cooked kind of chutney, made very similar to this one except using either avocado or mango instead of zucchini. If you have either of those lying around, I highly recommend both variations, especially if you have an annoying child who needs help eating fish.

This meal can be ready in 20 minutes.

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