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 →
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 →
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 →
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.
A few weeks ago we went to M Wells Dinette, the Long Island City schoolroom-decorated restaurant by the M Wells Diner team, Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis.
Smoked oysters were served in basically every item on the menu. Truly. Our server told us that the last day of their oyster festival had been cancelled (in retrospect, I see that they probably meant the last day of the Great GoogaMooga) and that they had smoked the remaining oysters.
I started with a bloody mary topped with two smoked oysters, thinking I would drink the bloody mary and give away the oysters. It did not happen that way. They were woody and sweet and meaty like nothing I had ever tasted before. We ended up ordering a New England savory pie with rabbit and smoked oyster filling and then, in a glutinous frenzy, a side of smoked oysters served on saltine crackers.
If you do not have a smoker, go buy one. (I bought the Brinkmann Smoke and Grill. Do not judge me – it was $49. Works great!) Are you smoking something already? Make room for some oysters.
I love food and I hate wasting it. CSA season started a few weeks ago. If you don’t have one, a CSA is a Community Sponsored Agriculture group, commonly known as a farm share. Every week we get a huge assortment of just harvested fruits and vegetables from nearby farms and we attempt to eat all of them. Success varies from week to week.
Summertime CSA is hard because we get so many greens. We get mixed greens, spinach, arugula, radish greens, bok choy, and mizuna. We also get greens on carrots, greens on beets, greens on kohlrabi, even greens on our broccoli. Cooking, shredding, and eating these is a full time kitchen occupation. There are other challenges.
Last week we got apples. These were fall apples and already pretty gamey by the looks of them. I ate one with yogurt and reserved the rest in a bowl “For cooking. Later.” They were browning and a little soft. The fruit flies arrived before later did and forces were conspiring. The apples looked like they were bound for the trash.
No! I will eat them! was my defensive response. I will cook them into applesauce. See? I am cooking them right now.
I just went to a wedding shower and wanted to bring some savory pies. A wedding shower is a saccharine event and a little bit of hearty food can be a welcome break from the brownies and cakes. Pies made in muffin tins are easy to transport and serve, easy to hold with a drink, and easy to eat.
Cornbread and collards are a classic combination. Try this recipe any time you want to make them portable. I used the Jiffy Mix recipe. If you don’t keep a few boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix around your shitty little apartment, you are missing out. Jiffy is 99 cents a box and contains flour, corn meal, sugar, and lard. The fact that products like this are still available for purchase is incredible.