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Showing posts from August, 2011

Rutabiya: Tagine of Meat with Dates

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I love a tagine.  So much so that one fine Christmas morning, I came downstairs to find that Santa had left a tagine for me under the tree.  Santa knows me well.




The clay pot with the conical lid, itself called a tagine or tajine, lends its name to the dish itself.  Tagines blend meat with vegetables and savory with sweet, and they pack a punch with a pretty spectacular blend of spices ranging from cumin to cinnamon, ginger to saffron.  According to Claudia Roden, Middle Eastern cooking sage,  Moroccan cooking was the most of all the North African cuisines to be influenced by the Arab invasion from the seventh to the fourteenth centuries.  The culinary culture of medieval Baghdad is blended with the indigenous Berber traditions and the Spanish influence.   That's a blending of gastronomic customs that I can get behind.

This week at book club, where we discussed The Tiger's Wife, one of the members brought a tagine.  Yes, please.  While the tagine has its roots in Moroc…

Quesadillas with Mushrooms, Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Poblano Cream

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About one year ago, I made watermelon sangria from the Dona Tomas CookbookWe also just got a watermelon in this week's CSA box.  Guess what I am going to make tomorrow afternoon?

In the mean time, one should embrace the quesadilla from the fantastic restaurant Dona Tomas.  These fancy little quesadillas can be as high end as you desire (morels, you cheer) or as low end as your budget necessitates (button, you mumble).  We split the difference and went the oyster mushroom route, mostly because I like the color of oyster mushrooms.




What delights me about this recipe is its unabashed embrasure of three--count them, three--types of milk fat.  Milk, sour cream, and whipping cream.  Well, yes, please.


 This little number is also pretty easy.  The only "difficult" part is making the poblano cream just because you do need to roast up a poblano and make a roux.  However, neither of those are difficult, just a little time intensive for a lunch.  Nonetheless, you can make the pobl…

Devil's Food Cake

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Some people love cake.*  Growing up, we were not cake and ice cream eaters.  Sure, Mom would trot out the Betty Crocker box of chocolate cake mix on birthdays and graduations, but we ate only our obligatory slice.  There were games of Squirrel! (a game my kindergarten-teaching mother made up) to be played and presents to unwrap.  But cake was always present at such occasions.  While I am not a huge cake eater, I do believe that cake should make an appearance when there is something to celebrate. *I think this blog is one of the funniest things out there.





It's not everyday that I make a cake.  In fact, it wasn't even recently that I made a cake.


But I did make a cake this spring.  I teach high school, and one of my students had something to celebrate, and I have always wanted to make a layer cake, so I took it upon myself to spend a Monday night baking and a Tuesday morning frosting the cake in my office.  And then we all huddled around the cake, ready to dig in.




Verdict from teen…

Mussels Linguica

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It has been a while since I posted.  There are excuses--many of them involve the ocean and John Steinbeck.  I see nothing wrong with blaming both of them equally for a month of intensity.  At Steinbeck camp, an NEH-sponsored seminar for secondary (and some middle) school teachers (and a librarian) in the past month, I have been thinking a lot and cooking not at all.  I am happy to return home, to put my hands back into the kitchen.  To wash things.  To chop things.  To steam things.
I find myself back in my house, unpacking, cleaning, getting ready for guests this week; instead, I think I just want to think about the smell of the ocean--mussels smell exactly the way the ocean does.  Salty, fresh, and a tiny bit like decay.  

To make everything even more exciting, this is a recipe from page 210 (see my about page to find out why that's important to me) in the Mark Bittman The Best Recipes in the World cookbook, a gift from the husband.  Boy, it feels good to be back in the kitch…

Family Feast July 2011

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July 02, 2011 Berkeley Campari and Soda Scropino
Peach Bruschetta Samosas 
Watercress, Grapefruit, Beet, and Avocado Salad
Grilled Corn Salad Couscous Grilled Salmon
Cherry Clafoutis









Family Feast May 2011

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May 28, 2011 Oakland
An all Ad Hoc Menu
Cipollini Onion Chutney Olive Tapanade Herbed Toasted Walnuts Spiced Mixed Nuts
Grilled Asparagus with Prosciutto, Fried Bread, Poached Egg, and Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Chicken Mar i Muntanya  (with Shrimp, Mussels, Green Beans, Piquillo Peppers and Chorizo) Saffron Rice Cheese Plate with Quince Paste
Brownies