Red cabbage is quickly sautéed in butter and oil with onion, apple, pear and bay leaf, then braised with red wine, vinegar, cloves and sugar for a delicious, healthy side. Recipe below.
Red cabbage was one of the regular culinary parts of my childhood—I loved it and I still do. I am not saying that red cabbage is my madeleine, but when I am assembling this recipe, and when we dish it up, it never fails to give me a cozy sense of the comforts of home. Especially in winter, when the nights have drawn in, I love to have a pot simmering on the stove, on its way to being served alongside something simple and true like a roasted chicken or as a beautiful part of a vegetarian meal, alongside a savory socca pancake and steamed green beans, or a portobello sandwich. [click to continue…]
Pork chops are quickly seared, then finished in a sauce of blueberries, rosemary, shallots, whole grain mustard and red wine. Recipe below.
Search for blueberry recipes on the Google and you come up with pies, pancakes, muffins, scones, cobblers, crumbles, crisps, buckles… you get the idea. All are absolutely delicious, of course, but this kind of typecasting troubles the folks at the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. They’d like to see home cooks be a little more adventurous in their use of blueberries.
So they invited bloggers to participate in a contest to create recipes that use blueberries in fresh ways. The contest, called Blueberries Meet Their Match, specifically challenged participants to combine blueberries with one of four possible ingredients—bananas, coconut, balsamic vinegar or rosemary. I chose rosemary and immediately headed in a savory direction. [click to continue…]
Whole duck legs are braised with orange, ginger, lemongrass, cilantro and garlic in this dish adapted from The Lemonade Cookbook. Recipe below.
We occasionally get offers to review cookbooks. Often, we say yes. But sometimes, the cookbooks can be a little too, well, niche for our tastes. Did you know there are multiple jello shot cookbooks?
So when we were asked to review The Lemonade Cookbook, you can imagine our first response. Turns out, though, that lemonade isn’t the key ingredient in the book’s recipes. It’s the name of a popular chain of modern cafeterias in Southern California with an emphasis on simple preparations, bold flavors and imaginative dishes with an inventive global taste. This sounded like a cookbook we needed to see. [click to continue…]
Whoopie pies go seasonal, with pumpkin cookies and two different cream cheese fillings—lemon and maple syrup. Recipes below.
When I told my friends that for this week’s post I would be making whoopie pies, no one said, “Making what?”
Pretty much everybody in the United States these days knows what a whoopie pie is. A cookie sandwich with an icing filling, it’s simpler than cake, a happy intermediate between a cupcake and a sweet bread. Whoopie pies emanated from the American Northeast—Maine (where it is the “official state treat”), Pennsylvania and Boston all vow they invented it. Wikipedia reports that the world’s largest whoopie pie was made in South Portland, Maine in 2011. It weighed 1,062 pounds. This is a real thing, that happened. [click to continue…]
In this recipe from Home Cooking with Charlie Trotter, a braised beef stew flavored with cardamom, garlic, onion, celery and carrots is topped with roasted potatoes, parsnips and celery root. Recipe below.
Charlie Trotter died last week. The groundbreaking restaurateur and chef—and Chicago hometown hero—was just 54. In the world of food, proclamations that someone “changed the way we eat” or “changed the way we cook” get bandied about a lot. In Trotter’s case, both are true and then some. His eponymous restaurant, opened in 1987 in a Lincoln Park townhouse, was an immediate success. And his innovative approach to cooking created a seismic shift in Chicago’s restaurant scene. As William Grimes put it in The New York Times, “In the blink of an eye, the city’s lagging restaurant culture… took a giant step into the future.”
Trotter was a self-taught chef. He became interested in cooking through a college roommate, who was an avid cook. After graduating from college, he traveled around the U.S. and Europe, dining at the finest restaurants, seeking to figure out how the “best” gained that title. His first cooking job was for another famous Chicago chef, Gordon Sinclair. He opened Charlie Trotter’s when he was 28. [click to continue…]
A long train ride back from a weekend in Syracuse, New York called for comfort food even an exhausted traveler could throw together from what was on hand. Below, the recipe for the easiest thing I cook.
We took the overnight train from Chicago to Syracuse last weekend. No fancy sleeping compartment for us. We toughed it out in coach, with reclining seats, a stack of magazines and books, DVDs for the laptop, a bottle of wine, sandwiches and assorted snacks. Okay, so we weren’t exactly roughing it. [click to continue…]
Sautéed and quickly braised with whole cumin seeds, garlic, lemon juice and crushed red pepper flakes, normally mild-mannered celery upstages the supposed star of this dish, ground lamb. Recipe below.
First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Celery? Stealing the spotlight from lamb? Yes. As I sit here writing this post about this dish cooked and eaten last night, I am Pavlov’s dog, and he is going to town on that bell. And it is because of the celery.
Celery is woefully underrated, I think, largely because people mostly eat it raw. Cooked, it can become a valuable ensemble player. In soups, it adds a fresh note; in a pot of chili, it amplifies the taste of the cumin and provides nice, slightly crunchy bites. And, as in the case of Lamb with Cumin and Celery, it can burst with big, bright flavor. [click to continue…]
Variations of this soup are made in Tuscany, France and the UK. This version combines white beans, sage, shallots, garlic, wine and sausage in a soup hearty enough to be a meal. Recipe below.
As fall settles in here in the Midwest, our tiny garden is mostly shutting down. The tomatoes are over, the basil looking forlorn. But our sage is still going to town. So when I came across a recipe for Tuscan-style white beans that used sage on Saveur’s website, I mentally filed it away.
Then overnight temperatures in the 40s last weekend had us turning on the furnace and me thinking of soup. Specifically, a white bean soup with sage. Turns out, Italians aren’t the only ones who think white beans and sage play nicely together. French and British cooks like the combination too. White beans, sage, chicken broth and onions or shallots are constants in soup recipes, no matter the country. Garlic, carrots, potatoes, ham and cream are among the many variables. [click to continue…]
Sautéed halibut fillets are served on a bed of lobster mushrooms, corn, shallots and cherry tomatoes—and topped with whole coriander seeds. Recipe below.
As I said on Facebook the other day, if we lived in Seattle, I would be eating all the time. I mean it—all the time. And I would be fine with that. Super-fresh, super-local, super-delicious food is so readily accessible that I would not give one good god damn about my arteries or my cholesterol or my waddling or any of that.
For the last couple of weeks, Terry has been talking about the vast amount of amazing food we had on our recent trip to Seattle. I don’t think we had anything less than amazing. And the most special evening was the one we spent at Sitka & Spruce, which was a surprise to us in many ways. [click to continue…]
The classic Russian dish of beef, mushrooms and sour cream gets a delicious upgrade, with chanterelles. Recipe below.
Food has never been more interesting. Chefs are going global and hyperlocal, often at the same time. Molecular gastronomy is turning restaurant kitchens into science labs. The best restaurant in the world serves lichen, moss and other foraged goods. And home cooks are getting right in there with them, tapping into ingredients both worldly and local and fearlessly exploring new techniques.
In all the excitement over the next new thing, though, some classic recipes are being left behind. Beef stroganoff, for instance. Even when I was a teenager and just starting to explore dining out without my parents, beef stroganoff was outdated. Its appearance on a menu indicated a restaurant of a certain age—and perhaps aspirations to “fine dining” unattained. [click to continue…]