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Showing posts from February, 2017

Cucumber Sandwiches with Yuzu (or Lemon) and Chive Butter in Fun Home // Cook Your Books

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In this Cook Your Books series, I have chosen 15 books to read in 2017 based on somewhat arbitrarily chosen categories. My theory (bogus it might turn out to be) is that all 15 of these books will somehow connect to food. And I plan to write about that food (in very long posts, apparently). This third installment is a graphic novel. 

Three books in and my theory was almost debunked. 

As I read Fun Homeby Alison Bechdel, I kept thinking, oh no. There's no real, or at least meaningful, connection to food. Sure there are mentionings of meatballs (67.2) and a hot dog (139.2). The family makes popcorn (141.3) and eats paella (160.2) and moussaka with sourdough bread (163.3). And there are hamburgers (169.3), a martini (179.3) and pizza (180.5), but none of it really was central to the story. 

People eat. Even people in graphic memoirs. Sometimes food is just utilitarian. Clearly, my theory was bogus.

But then, there it was. Glaring. Obvious--Sunbeam bread. 



Fun Home tells the story of a you…

Baechu (Napa Cabbage) Kimchi

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Friends, there are so many kinds of kimchi, it's almost overwhelming.  

Here are just a few: 10 different kinds of kimchiand7 more kinds.  And, people, that's just the tip of the cabbage--there are about 200 more kinds (at least according toLucky Peach).

This strong, briny, and somewhat fizzy amalgamation of veggies is steeped in ginger and gochugaru (red pepper flakes) for a few days or a few months. And it is so tasty. In all its forms.




It should come as so surprise that I have never turned from any banchan (those delectable little side dishes served at Korean restaurants)--fermented, salted, fresh, fried, or otherwise.  Given my proclivities for morsels and sauces, you can imagine that banchan is my favorite part of a Korean meal. And kimchi is always well represented--in its many forms--among banchan.


And in my attempts to be a better educated kimchi eater, I can pass on this much about kimchi (with some internet searching):
This is an old food in Korea, and probably came about…

Polenta with Winter Salad, Poached Egg, and Blue Cheese

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Could there be anything more comforting than a bowl of hot polenta topped with a runny egg? Yep. If it's also accompanied by bursting cherry tomatoes and warmed radicchio and frisée. And, people, it has been one rainy winter, so we're looking for savory comfort food. Food to be eaten while it rains, again. Food to be eaten while the sky is grey. Food for a Sunday afternoon.



Enter Sarah Copeland, the food director for Real Simple. In her second cookbook, Feast, she gives an array of polenta options--one for each season.  
Winter: Polenta with Winter Salad, Poached Egg, and Blue CheeseSpring: Polenta with Sugar SnapsSummer: Polenta with Grilled Tomatoes and ZucchiniFall: Polenta with Mushroom PomodoroDon't those all sound delicious? I see a future for me and polenta.



But what we really want to focus on here, friends, is this Winter Salad topping: radicchio, frisée, and a handful of sautéed cherry tomatoes. 
And it doesn't matter that these are somewhat tasteless and out-of-s…

Long-Cooked Kale, Please (with Broth)

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Oh sure, kale seems to have had its moment. And many in the past two years have declared that kale has passed its prime and has been replaced by watercress, insects, amaranth, or dulse. People have gotten kale overload, ever since kale got its own year (2012) at Bon Appetit and procured its own National Day (2013) with cringe-inducing Kaleabrations.



But I still like kale. Especially if it is cooked for a really long time. I admit, I can leave raw or massaged kale aside. I find it too bitter and chewy. (Plus, I experience envy, for I wish to be massaged before a meal, too.)  

No, my friends, no tough kale that requires masticating like a cud animal for me.  

I want my kale mellow and melting.



Enter David Tanis. 

There is not much to this dish, and that's the point. In Spain's response to the American South's long-braised collard greens comes this long-cooked kale with spicy chorizo and melted onions. 

May I recommend a rather liberal smattering of chile peppers on top, and then y…

Salt-Preserved Meyer Lemons

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Okay, friends.  Round two. As you know, Marisa McClellan from Food in Jars has set forth a Mastery Challenge, and we're in month two.  January was marmalade, and February offers up one of my favorite ways to preserve food: salt preserving. Come on, there is nothing simpler than salt preserving. Seriously, nothing.



Preserved lemons can be rather pricey.  This morning, the husband and I walked up to our favorite coffee place (Hi, Highwire!) and walked through Market Hall. A small pint of preserved lemons was $15. Yikes. 



But you can make your own, quite cheaply. All that's required to transform your lemons is salt and patience. I have an abundance of one, and it's not patience.



So here you go, simple and easy.  And if you want to get fancy, you can add some spices (as I do for one of my jars, per Marisa McClellan's suggestion). But that's not required. You keep your lemons unadorned. 


Now, here's the rub...we need to wait three weeks. Three weeks before we're pur…