Showing posts from 2013

Pork Loin Braised in Milk, Bolognese Style

In September the great Marcella Hazan died, and like most cooks, nay eaters, I was saddened to hear of her passing.  I have been known to cook from her cookbooks (yes, here and here and here).  Many others have written about her death, with much gratitude surrounding the way that she taught them to cook among other things.  I add my tribute to her as well.

While I have said a lot about her background in some of those earlier posts, one thing I haven't yet written about is the night we almost saw Marcella Hazan.  She's of such celebrity status that the almost sightings are as elevated an experience as the actual sightings, so celebrate we must.  Many years ago, Oliveto's, an Oakland retaurant within walking distance, held a night of cooking with Marcella Hazan.  She apparently consulted on the menu and I imagine did a little bit of bossing around in the kitchen--actually I suspect that's mere fantasy.  She was far too much of a fan of Olivetto's to do any bossing a…

Turkey Day Gratitude

In a repeat of the last twoyears, I give to you my annual gratitude post, in no particular order...

1.  Two Thanksgiving Dinners this year.

Thanksgiving is complicated--living now on the West Coast, I don't see my family for Thanksgiving anymore.  The husband's family celebrates the eating of a turkey in a big way, and once I started dating the husband, I made the decision to spend Thanksgiving with them.  I love the early start time, the walk through the garden with a glass of wine, the extra long table (made by putting a giant piece of plywood on the table and then covering it up with a beautiful tablecloth), the lounging on the couch, the new surprises of guests (sometimes friends from New York or Utah, this time a friend from Seattle).  There is no television, no talk of Black Friday deals.

This year, I went back to Illinois last week.  My sister threw a pre-Thanksgiving dinner, complete with two roasted chickens, the requisite mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, fluffy rol…

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk, Miso, and Lime

Squash soup.  Sure, everyone trots out their favorite recipe for the humble gourd this time of year, and I am no exception.  One of my favorites (detailed here) includes white beans and kale, while another (which I really do need to write into a post) requires a boiled cashew base with a chipotle cream.  However, after a time, these old favorites can feel a little tired, and I am a firm believer in varying up your squash soups.  Have one that is just plain comforting (see above link) or have one that has a little Mexican flair (as in the chipotle cream drizzled one--I know, I know, I really do need to make a post here).  This one, which comes straight from my new birthday cookbook, Vegetable Literacy from the marvelous Deborah Madison, is clearly Asian inspired, what, with the coconut milk, ginger, miso, and sesame oil.  Now a newly christened favorite, this version of squash soup will now be part of my fall rotation.

My father sent this cookbook my way in order to celebrate my tur…

Ottolenghi's Salmon Steaks in Chraimeh Sauce

Oh, what a sauce this is.   What a glorious, glorious sauce.

And it comes from our new Jerusalem cookbook, from one of this blog's favorite chefs and current culinary darling, Yotam Ottolenghi.  I need not detail that this blog has featured recipes from Ottolenghihere and here and here and here,  but I will anyway because, whoo boy, I love these recipes. 

This sauce comes from the Sephardic Jews, who resided on the Iberian peninsula until the Spanish Inquisition.  After their expulsion from Spain in 1492, many Sephardic Jews were folded into the Mizrahi communities in Northern Africa and the Middle East.  Such intermingling of people and cultures has produced some culinary superstars; this being no exception.  Indeed, you can taste the Spanish, Moroccan, and Libyan influence on this sauce.

Sephardim pride themselves on their chraimeh recipes, and often serve them at Rosh Hashanah and Passover celebrations (whereas Ashkenazim might serve gefilte fish).  The husband father's f…

Ottolenghi's Raw Artichoke and Herb Salad

Well hello again.  It's fall.  It's my favorite season of the year, and generally it means squash soup and apple butter and warm blankets and sweaters.  However, the weather has been warm during the day (but brisk at night), so instead we have Ottolenghi's raw artichoke and herb salad.  This is a good thing.

We have a new cookbook, my friends.  And we all know how much I love new cookbooks, and it's even better to have a new cookbook from Ottolenghi, given that I am quite a fan of his other cookbook (see here and here and, yes,  here).  This cookbook celebrates the variety of foods from Jerusalem, where Greek Orthodox monks, Russian Orthodox priests, Hasidic Jews, non-Orthodox Jews, Sephardic Jews, Palestinian Muslims, Christian Arabs, Ethopian Copts, and Russian nuns (to name a few) all come together in this global city to create, as Ottolenghi says, "an immense tapestry of cuisines."  Ottolenghi, with his business partner Sami Tamimi (Click here for a love…

Alton Brown's Blueberry Muffins

As I mentioned in a recent post, the niece recently visited foggy California from muggy Illinois, and kid loves her blueberry muffins.  Thus, we decided to have a taste test of two different blueberry muffins.  This time around, we tried Alton Brown's method.

Now Alton Brown, Food Network star, is a master of the science of cooking for a popular audience.  Further, his approach is often humorous, and his written voice is quite distinct and quite funny.  I recommend his cookbooks for their science and their irreverence.  A fine combination.

The husband, admittedly, made these; I did not.  He woke up early one morning before the niece and I were awake.  He padded around the kitchen, mixing and measuring. He reported that the recipe was a snap and that he followed it basically to a t.  He did have to make a decision regarding the amount of blueberries to include, given that Brown suggests 1-2 cups of the "extras."  The husband chose 1.5 cups, and we believe he chose wis…

Cook's Illustrated's Blueberry Muffins

The niece, who came to visit for two weeks in July, is a blueberry muffin hound.  Consequently, we made two batches of blueberry muffins.  One set was for the beach.  The other set was for camping.  

Having her visit was so delightful.  She is almost 14 years old now, and she is funny, sassy, and a bit ridiculous: meaning that she fits in right here.  There was much singing (our operatic renditions of our daily activities were something to behold) and much face making and the occasional need to "dance it out" in the car when I grew frustrated by my belief that I had donated an unyet worn pair of shoes to Goodwill (which turned out not to be the case).  There was a trip to Romeo and Juliet.  There was shopping for the latest in teen wear (turns out to be the same thing I wore in 1992 (who knew flannels and combat boots were making such a strong comeback?)).  There were many beaches. 

As in, a lot of beaches.

There's just something about the beach that calls to her …

The Best Shepherd's Pie

I have just returned from the land of heat:  Illinois.  I am back in my own element now: the fog, the cold, the sweater in July.  Oh, it is good, good, good to be home again.

It has slowly been happening, the metamorphosing into a Californian--the ache for sea and fog, the smell of salt in the air--but it has happened, indeed.  Yesterday to get my fix of water and fog, I took the niece, who is visiting for two weeks, and the husband to the Berkeley Marina for a short walk.  The bay was littered with boats, more so than normal because the America's Cup is here this year. Someone was flying a red kite with multicolored streamers and four smaller kites (that looked like puffer fish) attached to the main line.  The wind was strong, and admittedly cold, but I linked arms with the husband and the niece, and we walked along the rocky embankment with barely a view of the city because of the fog.  Oh, the fog.  Ah, Northern California in July.  Welcome home.

But this was only a quick fix, as…