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Showing posts from 2016

Canederli Tirolesi (Tyrolean Ham-Dumpling Soup)

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I sent a picture of this to my friend, and she said, "What is that?" 

I suppose without context, dumpling soup doesn't look all that interesting. But, people, let me tell you that it is not only interesting but quite good and even, wait for it, frugal. Which might be exactly what we need as we start the new year.

So let me set some context because I promise you, this little soup is worth a spin through your kitchen.



Canederli Tirolesi is an Italian speck and chive dumpling soup. But wait a minute, you may be gasping--dumpling soup? That seems more Bavarian than Italian, you say. And you'd be pretty close to right.

You see, this soup originates in Alto-Adige region of Italy. (Think: Ruffle at the top of the boot.) It's merely a whisper away from Austria and Germany, and in fact was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1915. And most of the inhabitants speak German, Italian, and their own Alto-Adigian dialect. And these dumplings, known as Kn√∂del or more specifica…

Emily Dickinson's Black Cake

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There are certainly so many poems by Emily Dickinson to celebrate, but there's one that just won't get out my head:


So there you go. It's winter. It's excruciating. Sometimes the light slants just the right way in winter and, well, you start to contemplate just what it is that will make us stand with the landscape and the shadows and, simply, listen. Even if what we hear or see is just for a moment. Like a held breath. Like a slant of light. And then it goes. 
2016 has been that kind of year, huh?
Well, this post took a turn I was not expecting. That's pretty much what we get with Emily. An opening line that draws us in and an ending line that punches us in the gut.

But I do think she was a little more lighthearted than this. Or at least she was from time to time. And her black cake suggests that girlfriend knew her way around the kitchen. And there may have even been some real joy there.
Let's take a turn away from the existential (although one may argue that the f…

Nopi's Sweet Potato Pancakes with Yogurt and Date Syrup

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It's no secret that I love Christmas (warning, if you go to that link you will receive a shocking display of how my photography has improved in four years). 

I love the music, the tree, the candles, the cards. I even love the hustle and bustle. 

While I do miss my family during the holidays, I don't miss the snow or the cramped flight or the hours in the car (often with snow) as we drive from Chicago or St. Louis to my small hometown in central Illinois. I admit, I have forgotten how to drive in snow.



But I really do miss Christmas morning at my mom's.

My mom would often make cinnamon rolls while we lounged in the living room among wrapping paper detritus and too many presents. It was a matter of time before I would be curled beneath the Christmas tree, usually with my cat (who was the most glorious cat that every existed® --Jujube), looking up at the lights and then falling asleep.

Her cinnamon rolls were classic--Pillsbury, of course. From time to time, she mixed things up an…

All-in-One Lamb Salad with Horseradish, Watercress (or Arugula), and Celery

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And now for the final entry in my week-long experiment with Food52. Their new(ish) cookbook A New Way to Dinnerhas been my inspiration for a week of lamb-based meals (although the creamed broccoli rabe (that tried to sell itself as creamed kale) was the hit of the week), and what a week it was.

This is a big, peppery, leftovers salad, and I highly encourage playing around with ingredients.  Have fresh peas? Blanch them quickly and then throw them in. Need to get rid of some waxy red potatoes? Boil them briskly and then slice them into this salad. Truly, I think this tasty salad could just be a gateway to whatever is fresh and in your fridge. Seriously, we're using leftover lamb here. I see no reason to not clean out other parts of your pantry.

As it is, the crisp celery next to the bitter arugula, the piquant horseradish mixed into the creamy buttermilk: friends, this is as perfect for the dead of winter as it is the heyday of summer. This invites playing around, and then digging in…

Hanky Panky (A Cocktail from Amaro)

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Ah, bitterness. The anger that forgot where it came from, or so says Alain de Botton. However, you will embrace this bitterness, know only marginally where it comes from, and dismiss anger. For you, my friends, are about to embark on a journey into the bitter and bittersweet world of amari with me.
Amari (the plural of amaro, the Italian word for bitter) are all the rage right now. And there are rules that go along with amari, most notably to be called such, these lovely little liqueurs must originate in Italy (or so some sticklers say).  You can be all snobby about them if you would like (and there are plenty who are decidedly snobby about their amari), but I prefer a more adventurist view. 

Brad Thomas Parsons, who wrote my most recent libation guidebook Amaro and may just be the US's leading expert on amari, is of the same inclusive mindset. He invites Gammel Dansk from Denmark and Unicum from Hungary and Salers from France--all decidedly not Italian--to join the conversation of …

Creamed Kale (and Broccoli Rabe)

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Um. I was not expecting this. Not at all. Creamed greens (in the U.S. generally creamed spinach) are those old standbys that no one really admits to making all that much anymore. And it's a shame, for creamed greens are not only good but the can be good for you (if you watch just how much cream you put in them). 
From Food and Wine's Creamed Kale to The Food Network's Creamed Broccoli, lots of people are jumping on the creamed vegetable bandwagon again these days, and I am no exception. However, most of these are very heavy on the cream. Not with this recipe from Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, the founders of Food52.  Instead, this is a bitter mouthful rounded out with only a susuration of cream. As it should be.

As you probably already know given my last couple of posts, I have taken up Hesser and Stubbs challenge to spend my Sunday cooking and then sitting back for the rest of the week. Dinners (and lunches) practically make themselves. 
I started with these glorious lam…