Archives for the month of: April, 2011

Photo Credit: The American

So I had a lovely Birthday/ Easter dinner with family yesterday, and did a bit of showing off of this here blog. In looking through recipes Dr. Auntie asked a completely valid question: why kosher salt vs. table or sea salt, and what’s the difference. It was a good question, one I didn’t know the answer to.
I don’t like not knowing. It makes my head hurt and my fingers twitch and I kind of flub and fluster my way through until I can make a mad dash to reference material. Luckily, there are people who know such things and are here to teach us.

Here, Let Me Google That For You.  I highly suggest this article from GourmetSleuths which explains the magical world of salts better than I ever could. It also explains why salt substitutes are nasty: they’re potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride. Completely different and super gross chemical compound. Go read it, then come back so we can chat.

There are the most common salts; Iodized (aka, Table Salt), Kosher, Rock, and Sea. But then things start to get fancy. Ya’ll know I like Fancy. The first hint that I was missing something special came from this completely charming interview with Christina Hendricks of Mad Men. She makes goat cheese pizza! She watches Top Chef (and just last week got to judge on Top Chef Masters)! She throws dinner parties!  #girlcrush

Christina Hendricks: “Well, he’s kind of the bread guy. He’ll make cheese loafs or Nutella loafs, and, you know, he uses Sel Magique at the end of it, which is this wonderful fleur de sel with herbes de Provence that he puts over the top of it, and it’s mouthwatering. ”

Me: “I don’t understand what’s happening in that sentence but I WANT it! ”

I stand by what I said about salt not being a flavor in and of itself, but I will amend that statement by saying that it can carry and impart additional flavors in addition to enhancing what is already there. New project: gourmet salts (See what’s you’ve started? ). I have exactly 8 months to perfect before next Christmas.

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Good Morning!

Spring means strawberries!

So on the way in to work this morning, I ran into a former coworker/ current friend / one and only Diva, who gifted me a full pound of fresh strawberries. I’m touched, as it was generous and unexpected, but flummoxed. I don’t work with strawberries often and don’t enjoy them enough to eat fresh.
So i’ll pose the question to you, friends.

What should I do with fresh strawberries? Suggestions in the comments, please!

If weekends are for potattas, weeknights call for pasotto. Cooking pasta risotto-style is almost a one-pot dish; the broth infuses the pasta and the starch stays in the pot, not poured out with the water, making a natural creamy sauce.  This is not a new technique; but after reading about it on Lifehacker and the New York Times it’s my go-to for a carbfest. I actually haven’t had pasta in close to 3 months but tonight called for a quick dinner to use a marinating turkey breast and i’m about salad and brown rice-d out. Pasotto to the rescue!

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Note: I started this post like 3 months ago but I didn’t want to post another Fun Failure so soon after the Pumpkin Ice Cream Incident. In the meantime I’ve had a chance to redeem myself, so hold on to your hats, this is a long one. Skip to the end of you just want a recipe for a good appetizer / snack.

The first time we discussed Style vs Substance I talked about the importance of food looking good when plated and especially when photographed. Today we’ll talk about the flip side, developing flavors.

A few weeks ago there was canned crab on sale. Being a rather impulsive shopper I snagged a can and picked up a few extra items over the next few weeks until i had the makings of one of my favorite foods, Crab Rangoon. A properly made crab rangoon is magic; you get the crunch of the wonton wrapper yielding to the soft velvet of warm cheese, the tang of scallion and soy cutting through the slight sweetness of crab meat and cream cheese.

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My favorite meal of the day, nay, of the week, is brunch. It’s the only meal that combines sweet, savory, caffeine, and if you do it right, booze. You can eat brunch any day, of course, but Sunday and brunch go together like peas and carrots. Or coffee cake and… coffee. That metaphor got away from me, moving on.
I have very nice memories of waiting till Mom got home from church to eat quiche and crispy bacon on the front porch of my parents’ home on warm summer mornings. Now i’m (kind of) a grownup, and eat on my own terrace as often as possible when the weather cooperates. A while ago I was on a serious quiche kick but had no pie shells and a few potatoes begging for attention. Rather than cubing the tubers for home fries, I decided to slice and use as a crust. Frittata + Potato Crust = Pottata. I can’t have been the first person to think of this, but I felt rather clever at the time.

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