Tag Archives: food

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Friday night (non-alcoholic) cocktails, courtesy of Food52


Food52 has a number of great looking non-alcoholic drink options, here: Drinks & Cocktails on Food52 – Shop Spirits, Shrubs, Mixers & Bitters.

This is for a rose, but there is a gin and some sparking beverages. They have some other good products too, if you want to make something with your favorite alcoholic beverage.

Cheers!

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A nice gift idea for the fish food lover in your life …


…could be this: Sustainably Harvested Canned Seafood, by Scout Canning; set of 3, 3 flavors – Lobster, Mussels, Trout on Food52

Pricer than the canned fish you are used to getting in stores, but it could be a wonderful gift for someone.  Great packaging too. Happy to see it is from Canada, too. There is different versions of this too; you could just get the lobster, for example.

Food52 has lots of wonderful products. Even if you don’t care for this one, I recommend checking them out.

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Are meal kits the future of restaurants?

I don’t know, but I do know this is a good piece to read for anyone interested in establishments having some degree of success with them: Meal kits were dying. Covid-19 brought them back to life. | The Counter.

I am not sure what the future of restaurants will be. Or any places that depend on having many people close together for periods of time.  If COVID-19 sticks around for months and years, we are going to be forced to find out. Whatever that future is, it will be substantially different to the time before the arrival of this disease.

On recipes


After the controversy regarding Alison Roman written about here and elsewhere, I started thinking about recipes, where they come from, how I use them, and how I think about them.

A recipe is usually instructions for how to do something. Typically we associated it with food preparation. Recipes list ingredients and steps to prepare the ingredients. They tell you how many people the recipe typically feeds. Sometimes they tell you other things, like nutritional information.

Some recipes are like open source software. You can take a recipe and modify it to make it your own, just like open source software. Other recipes are not open and kept secret, like the formula for certain soft drinks, or the recipe for a certain fried chicken. Some are even patentable (although good luck with that).

Some recipes are associated with regions or cultures. If you think of bouillabaisse,  you think of France. Risotto: Italy. Sushi: Japan. Some recipes and dishes transcend regions and become universal. Dumplings are like that. Noodles too. The same goes for ingredients: you can find basil and oregano in many recipes all over the world, and garlic is about as universal ingredient as any.

Some are associated with certain people, such as Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce. You can claim making tomato sauce with butter and onion and tomatoes is a recipe of yours, but by now it is associated with Marcella Hazan. Likewise with Martha Stewart’s One-Pot Pasta. It’s not like no one has ever made such a dish before, but now we associate them with one particular person.

Alison Roman is a person who has had success with  recipes that became associated with her, namely her chocolate chunk shortbread cookies (” the cookies”) and her chickpea stew (“the Stew”). The Stew in particular got me thinking about recipes and ingredients and how people go about making recipes. For example, if a recipe is based on another recipe, should the author mention that? It likely depends on the publication and other factors. For example, with someone like Deb Perleman, you get a lot of detail about the recipe before she goes into it. Or with Hugh Acheson where he talks about the origin of his catfish stew recipe before proceeding to list the steps and ingredients.

Some people (like me)  prefer recipes with those details; other people just want the recipe. Anyone creating and publishing recipes needs to decide how much detail to include, depending on their audience. In publications like Bon Appetit, there is often space allocated only for the recipe itself. I don’t know what the text was wrapped around this recipe for a  Zingy Red Sauce when it was published, but I assuming it matched the minimum detail found on the web site. Now is this recipe a derivation of a Romesco Sauce (also in Bon Appetit)? Possibly. Likewise this Seafood Stew for Two Recipe  in Bon Appetit.  This stew shares a lot of ingredients with this classic Cioppino Recipe also in  Bon Appetit, but it is also varied enough to consider it to be it’s own recipe.

I think Roman does variations of recipes not infrequently, which aligns with her belief that she won’t ask you to do any more than you have to, while still making it a good dish. So this recipe for Summer Greens with Mustardy Potatoes and Six-Minute Egg Recipe in Bon Appetit is not unlike a stripped down Nicoise salad, but it is not a Nicoise salad despite some commonality. That I think explains the success of her recipes: she takes ingredients and recipes and strips them down somewhat while still making them look good, taste good, and accessible for home cooks to make.

She has not been called out for making recipes with strong European origins. But where she ran into trouble with The Stew is that she seemed to take some ingredients that resembled a curry and had it identified with her. If The Stew associated with her was the seafood stew above or this Fish Stew with Fennel and Baby Potatoes, then she still would have had a problem for the insulting things she said, but it is less likely she would have been criticized with terms like “Columbus Cuisine” and accused of ripping off other cultures and enriching herself at their expense. I don’t believe she does that, but that has been a lively topic of debate with smarter food writers than me.

I don’t think her approach to writing recipes is wrong. I can’t say that recipes  going viral is bad. What I will say is ultimately  it is better if we read from  a diverse range of food writers who can bring not just interesting recipes to publication, but the interesting stories that go with them. I also think it is good when people from different backgrounds can explore the recipes and ingredients of other cultures and make something new with them while acknowledging what the inspiration is. This is much better than remixing an older recipe without attribution. I’d add that acknowledging the origins of an ingredient can’t hurt either. After awhile some of those ingredients may seem universal. Perhaps kimchi will become as common as dill pickles in North American kitchens, and turmeric becomes as frequently used as cumin.

I think publications can do a better job of not just publishing recipes but educating their readers. Likewise, I think sharing, innovating and educating others on food is a great thing, and I hope recipe writers from all background can borrow and improvise and create new dishes. They won’t be quite as eclectic as these recipes that resulted from a collaboration with IBM’s Watson computer and Bon Appetit, but they will inspire us and help us prepare better meals and make our lives better.

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On David McMillan’s Love Letter to Toronto

David McMillan, who is responsible for some of the great restaurants in Montreal, wrote this love letter to Toronto and it’s restaurants a few years ago. It’s wonderful. Reading it over again, it has a bittersweetness as I read the names of some of the wonderful Toronto food establishments he mentions. I wonder if many of them will still exist after this pandemic. I want to hope that most will and I want to hope that the Toronto food scene will still be great. Just like I want the Montreal food scene to recover and thrive. I will say a prayer that both those things come true.

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On the Silver Palate Cookbook

I started thinking about the Silver Palate cookbook again after reading this piece in Bon Appetit:How the Silver Palate Cookbook Changed Our Cooking

It’s funny to read the staff of Bon Appetit talk about this as their parent’s cookbook. To me the tone is nostalgic. Perhaps they believe it is dated. Like any decades old cookbook, it is dated in a way. There’s lots of things in there that was novel and daring at the time but now are passe, and ingredients which are now commonplace were once hard to find.

But there is much about the book that is still great. The layout and design, for one thing. And some recipes stand the test of time and became classics. It’s so much more than a collection of recipes.

In some ways, publications like Bon Appetit are the same. Many of the things I’ve said about that cookbook will apply to Bon Appetit over time.  And like the Silver Palate cookbook, I believe people will look back on Bon Appetit in this era the way the folks at BA look back at this kitchen classic.

If you haven’t read the Silver Palate cookbook in some time (or ever), you can read (at least some of) it online.

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Friday night cocktails: the Bronx

What is a Bronx cocktail? David Lebovitz explains:

Not as famous as its “other borough” cousin, the Manhattan, the Bronx is a fruitier, lighter alternative to the rough-and-tumbler whiskey-based cocktail. However one sip and you may find yourself visiting the Bronx a little more often!

I’ve had one recently and it’s delicious. Get your ingredient list, here: Bronx Cocktail – David Lebovitz Bronx Cocktail recipe.

 

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On Prune, and restaurants in general

Many many people were blown away by this piece written by Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune fame: My Restaurant Was My Life for 20 Years. Does the World Need It Anymore? in The New York Times. 

She’s a great writer, and a great restaurateur, writing about a time of peril for all restaurants.

During the pandemic I’ve thought about it often, as well as the future of restaurants. I don’t know a fraction about the business Hamilton excels in, other than to recognize that even for someone good at it, it’s a hard business. It was a hard business before when places were jammed with hungry eaters. It may well be impossible now.

My hope is that knowing that  restaurateurs are smart, hard working and passionate people.  They have managed in difficult situations before. They will find a way to make the foods that they love and feed them to us. And we will find a way to get out and support them.

I have had a number of meals at Prune, and they have been some of the finest of times for me. Here’s to it and many more places coming back soon and giving us meals and memories that make life worthwhile.

(Image is a link to the Village Voice.)

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Darebee has great meal plans too (if you feel the need to get off the all you can eat pandemic merry go round)

 

The pandemic working from home has been hard, and for some of us, eating has been a source of joy. However, I am feeling the need to eat better and maybe even shed a few pounds. For help, I am turning to one of my favorite sites for this: Darebee.

I love DareBee.com for it’s fitness routines and the great posters they provide.  They have made getting in some exercise a breeze. But they have other things to help you get fit and live better too. One section of the site is dedicated to Meal Planning. You can find lots of great items there, including ones to help you transition to a vegetarian meal routine

If you feel like eating better, consider checking this out.

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Friday Night Cocktails: the French Manhattan


David Lebowitz has a new book out now called “Drinking French”, and it possible that we need it more than ever. Here’s a recipe from it, a nice spin on the classic Manhattan. Enjoy: French Manhattan recipe

You can buy it everywhere, including here.

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The limits of wine bars in North America cities as compared to Paris and why this is interesting


We have tons of upscale coffee shops, and wine is more popular than ever in North America, so Eater asks what seems to be a simple question: Natural Wine Is Everywhere in America. Where Are the Wine Bars?

I say “seems” because the answer is long and fascinating for a number of reasons: economic, cultural, and gastronomical. It’s a smart piece. I highly recommend it.

Here’s a snippet of what I mean:

It’s sad to see something so ostensibly simple become another exclusive pleasure, so I keep looking for the neighborhood wine bar of my dreams — which is honestly just a cramped room with bottles of interesting, affordable wine on the wall and, like, a cheese plate? Yet this seemingly simple thing is stupidly hard to find. It’d be sort of funny that cosseted American wine bars struggle to attain the loose charm of Paris, given that France is stereotyped as the place that’s snooty, rules-bound, and tradition-obsessed, if the result wasn’t such a bummer. While yes, there are a lot of rules, France also has a more open culture of public life; you don’t need to make plans to go out to drink wine. And though wine signifies many things in French culture, an air of sophistication because you drink it is not one of them. The appeal of enjoying wine in France, at least as the kind of person who’s moved by wine but still needs bolds on the list, is that French wine culture feels so much less precious than in America.

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Is warning people about how much exercise it takes to work off a meal a good idea?

According to this, it is: ‘Four hours to walk off pizza calories’ warning works, experts say – BBC News. For example, if you were to buy a pizza or a chocolate bar, they argue that…

Appreciating it would take four hours to walk off the calories in a pizza or 22 minutes to run off a chocolate bar creates an awareness of the energy cost of food, they say.

That’s true. But it’s also not a great comparison. It’s pretty much a given that exercise is not a great way of losing weight, so most foods will come across as requiring a lot of exercise to work off the food. And it may be a lot more exercise than most people do. This will just end up shaming more people than it benefits.

I think a better approach would be to highlight what percentage of your recommended caloric allowance a selection of food is. I believe this would be much better. Foods have something similar already: they tell you what percentage of vitamins, fibre, etc. a selection of food provides for your diet. They could do the same thing with calories. Hey, on some days when you hadn’t had much to eat, something that provides you 50% of your daily calories may be fine.

No matter what, providing health guidance is never simple. But if I had to decide, I’d go with percentages.

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Quick and Easy School Night Meals

Not just for people with kids: Giadzy 5 Quick and Easy School Night Meals

Your week is going to be busy enough. You need a meal plan. That list can help.

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Mechanical Kiwis, or how the Kiwi’s food delivery bots are only semi-autonomous


Looks like autonomous robots have a way to go. So while Kiwi’s food delivery bots are rolling out to 12 more colleges (TechCrunch), they aren’t exactly autonomous robots. Instead…

The robots are what Kiwi calls “semi-autonomous.” This means that although they can navigate most sidewalks and avoid pedestrians, each has a human monitoring it and setting waypoints for it to follow, on average every five seconds. Iatsenia told me that they’d tried going full autonomous and that it worked… most of the time. But most of the time isn’t good enough for a commercial service, so they’ve got humans in the loop. They’re working on improving autonomy, but for now this is how it is.

The future is weird. Also, good luck with those in places with hostile weather, architecture, or people.

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The case against the Keto Diet

There are a million or so cookbooks for the Keto Diet. If you’ve been tempted to buy one and try it, read this first: What is the Keto Diet—And Does It Work? (Spoiler: Nope) | Chatelaine. 

Sounds like a poor idea. Judge for yourself.

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Friday night cocktails from Alison Roman


You might argue that spritzers and shandies are not cocktails, but that is just classist nonsense! 🙂 Besides, not everything needs to be prepared by a fancy mixologist. These cheap and cheerful mixes may be some of the best things to drink during these late great summer days.

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What is happening with bread and how certain men mess it up and why it doesn’t have to be that way

I started thinking this when I read this: How Tech Bros Fell in Love With Baking Bread – Eater.

First thought, I think this is something tech bros do to any subject area they stumble into: they are the equivalent of European explorers “discovering” places that have been inhabited for ages. Second thought, there is something patriarchal about men discovering and improving something as basic as bread.

I love bread. I think everyone would get joy out of learning to make it. And while you can really do amazing things in breadmaking, it should not be seen as something only the rarest of bakers can do.

To get you started, here is a bunch of recipes that are simple and varied. Good luck!

 

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Friday night cocktail: Spaghett

For fans of Aperol Spritz looking to branch out, I give you this:  It’s Called Spaghett and It’s Now My Favorite Summer Cocktail | Bon Appétit

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If you are serious about taking food pictures…


You might need this: This desktop lightbox makes your lighting setup as advanced as your camera | Yanko Design.

Ok, you like do not need this. But it is a pretty cool lightbox. Worth checking out, if only to fantasize about.

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In praise of long recipes


Two pieces recently make the case for long recipes. This one, directly: The Case for Very Long Recipes | TASTE. 

And this one, indirectly:  Jerk Chicken So Good I’ve Been Making It Every Summer for 25 Years – The New York Times

The first one makes the direct case that long detail makes for a better recipe, and I agree with that. If you just need a list of ingredients and short steps, go to allrecipes.com and you can find it. If you want to know why things are done a certain way and why certain ingredients are used and how they should be cooked, then a long recipe is preferable.

The second one, by Gabrielle Hamilton, makes the case indirectly. The recipe comes at the end of a long essay that explains the origin of it. You could just read the recipe, but you’d be missing out on so much if you just did that.

I get why people hate long recipes. Not everyone who writes a long preamble before a recipe can writes as well as Hamilton. But it would be a shame if cooks stopped trying.

One site that does this really well is BudgetBytes.com. She has a button at the top that let’s you jump to the recipe, which is in the middle of the piece. At the top of the piece is her thoughts on the recipe. Then the recipe. Then detailed instructions on how to prepare the dish. Smittenkitchen.com also does long recipes, and they are also really worth reading through.

Image from here.

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Friday night cocktails: The French 75

Perfect for summer.

Actually, perfect for any time of the year.

Want one? Go here:  Voilà l’Été: The French 75 Recipe on Food52

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Is it the beginning of the end of the beef industry?


It sounds hyperbolic, but this piece makes a very strong case for that fact that it is: This Is the Beginning of the End of the Beef Industry | Outside Online

For pro-beef fans, consider this (emphasis is mine)

Sure, steak is great, but ground beef makes up 60 percent of beef sales, and most of it is more Salisbury than salutary, a greasy vehicle for the yummy stuff: ketchup, mushrooms, pickles, bacon, sriracha mayo. I knew I wouldn’t object if my central puck came from a plant, as long as it chewed right and tasted right. I suspected others might feel the same.

Even if people don’t go entirely vegan or vegetarian, there is going to be a lot less beef sold in the future, in my opinion.

Read the article: it’s great.

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On appreciating established restaurants


A thought provoking piece on how we spend too much time on new restaurants and not enough on established ones: Why we should ignore the buzz surrounding new restaurants and give proper due to the ones that have lasted | National Post.

I think this is true. I pay attention to new places and hot places and places closing, but places that are great day in and day out I pay less attention to. I suspect many people are like that.

It would be great if publications that write on restaurants periodically round up places that are consistently great would write about them.

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Eating less meat will have a positive effect on climate change. The collapse of the Soviet Union showed this.

Eating meat is a significant contributor to global warming.  I knew this, but the chart above and the article below really drove this home. As the Soviet Union was collapsing, people in that region started eating less meat. The result was a drop in carbon emissions. Now imagine if that was replicated worldwide for many years.

There’s actions we  can take to attack global warming. Eating less or no meat is one of them. For more on this, see: Soviet Union’s collapse led to massive drop in carbon emissions

The rise and fall of French cuisine?

So says this article: The rise and fall of French cuisine | Food | The Guardian.

I tend to disagree with the pessimistic assessment, but regardless, I recommend the piece because it really does cover what has happened to food and cooking in the last 50 or so years. For people who love food, it’s a worthwhile read.

I think the decline of French food is relative. So many more cuisines have been discovered and appreciated, from Italian to Vietnamese, that French cuisine has competition for people’s attention. That comes across in this piece: Bon appétit! How I rediscovered the joys of French cuisine | Food | The Guardian.  

It’s a good thing we have so many people writing and thinking and preparing food in new ways. French cuisine may no longer be dominant, but it is still great. And if you are going to Paris,  then check out this list of David Lebovitz for what he recommends in his city.  Or this list, somewhat dated, may still have value:
Top 10 budget restaurants and bistros in Paris | Travel | The Guardian

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A marathon for food lovers: Marathon du Médoc

Not your average marathon, this. For example:

Marathons and footraces are a world of granola bars, blister care, and sugary packages of energy-giving goo. This classic French race through wine country has all that, as well as a party atmosphere and 23 stations that offer wine, cheese, oysters, and foie gras, often set out like a tasting at a picturesque winery. The tone is set the night before, when participants tend to complement the traditional carb-loading pasta dinner with healthy helpings of local wines. Each year’s race has a theme (think “Amusement Park” or “Tales and Legends”), so don’t be surprised to see a runner dressed as Robin Hood vomiting at mile five.

If this sounds like you kind of marathon, get more information here:  Marathon du Médoc – Gastro Obscura

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Two thoughts on Jamie Oliver’s U.K. Restaurants Declare Bankruptcy

One, It’s always terrible when this type of thing happens: Jamie Oliver’s U.K. Restaurants Declare Bankruptcy – The New York Times.  

But two, I am curious about what has been happening with his businesses based on this:

… his British restaurants ran into financial trouble in 2016 and got into such dire straits that Mr. Oliver had to inject millions from his own savings to salvage the business. Even then, he had to close about 20 restaurants and pizzerias in the months that followed.

What has been happening in the past three years? I remember reading that at the time and it seemed like they had turned the corner at were going to be ok. They turned a corner but they were the opposite of ok.

I’d really like an in depth article of what happened.

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Five links to help you with intermittent fasting

It’s not for everyone, and you can make a case that it is not a good way to be healthy or lose weight. But if you are interested in knowing more about it, here’s some good links I’ve found on this form of fasting.

  1. Intermittent Fasting for Beginners – The Complete Guide – Diet Doctor
  2. The Easier Way to Do Intermittent Fasting – Elemental
  3. Fast Diet facts and science – Business Insider
  4. Intermittent Fasting: What Is It, and Should I Try It? – GQ
  5. Intermittent Fasting: The Definitive Guide – The Mission – Medium

Bonus link, here

 

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11 Easy Pesto And Salad Dressing Recipes | Chatelaine


If you find yourself in a cooking rut, steaming or sauteing the same basic meals, then here’s a suggestion. Make some of the pestos and dressing here (11 Easy Pesto And Salad Dressing Recipes | Chatelaine) and add them to whatever it is you are about to eat. A bowl of steamed vegetables or a plain pork chop transforms into a better meal. Later, you can mix some with mayo or yogurt and add it to a sandwich of your preference. Even a plain green salad is elevated.

(Image: Eric Putz, from a link to their web site)

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Bon Appétit pays homage to red sauce restaurants

Bon Appétit has a rich list of articles and photos paying homage to red sauce restaurants in America. You likely know this type of joint. It has:

The oversize portions. The red-and-white-checked tablecloths. A carafe of the house red. Old-school Italian-American restaurants, a.k.a. red sauce joints, are the kind of institutions you’ll find, with very few deviations, in just about any city in America. But as we discovered upon reaching out to dozens of writers, chefs, and celebrities, these restaurants are about a lot more than a plate of penne alla vodka. Whether or not you’re Italian, red sauce likely means something to you—about family, or home, or history, or politics, or class, or citizenship, or selfhood, or otherness, or all the above, or a million other things. And that’s what this package is all about. Welcome to Red Sauce America.

For a feast of this type of dining, see here: Welcome to Red Sauce America – Bon Appétit. 

 

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A great list of interchangeable ingredients to turn to when you are cooking, from Mark Bittman

Is this list.

Print it off, leave it in the kitchen, add your own items.

I often use sriracha for dried chilies, or even any hot sauce, for when you just need some heat. Likewise, if you don’t have jalapenos, you could also replace them with some of other heat source. (If it is a lot of jalapenos, you might use regular peppers with some chilies or other hot things to add the appropriate level of hotness.)

Finally, I’ve seen people suggest replacing creme fraiche with full fat greek yogurt.

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My new favorite dish: Andrea’s Pasta with Pork Ribs from Mark Bittman

I made this last week and I’m thinking of making it again this weekend, it’s that good: Andrea’s Pasta with Pork Ribs, via Mark Bittman.

It has all the benefits of a good marinara dish, but the ribs really take it to a whole different and higher level. It is especially good with cheap pork ribs that might not make sense grilled due to being an odd shape. Those ribs are perfect here.

If you want, add more garlic…I added twice this amount. I also threw in sprigs of fresh herbs too. I went with basil, but I am sure rosemary or thyme or marjoram would be great.

I also doubled the ribs and I took  half, deboned them, then chopped them into bite sized pieces and added them to the sauce. The other ribs I garnished the pasta with.

Finally, since you have so few ingredients, try to use really good tomatoes and cheese. You can skimp on the ribs and get gnarly ones because they will still taste great, but the tomatoes especially make a huge difference here. Same with the cheese.

Superb.

The joy of midnight pasta

If you are busy, or don’t feel like cooking much, or don’t have much in your fridge, then this pasta recipe is for you. It’s hard to believe something this simple could be so good, but it is. Lots of flavour with very few ingredients, ingredients you can have in your pantry.

Give it a try, especially when you are short of time, money, or food.

The photo is of the dish I whipped up one night.

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10 Spectacular Roast Recipes That Aren’t Turkey

Many people

  1. want to make a roast turkey for Christmas
  2. do not want roast turkey

If that’s you, Chatelaine has your back with this:  10 Spectacular Roast Recipes That Aren’t Turkey | Chatelaine.

They truly are spectacular recipes, perfect not just for Christmas but any time of the year (ahem, winter) when a good roast is just what you need.

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Cook90: a goal for the new year

Can you cook 90 meals in a month? For many it sounds daunting. I like to cook and even I am not sure that I could do it.

If you like a challenge and the idea of it, there is a book you should consider: Cook90: The 30-Day Plan for Faster, Healthier, Happier by David Tamarkin from Epicurious, at Amazon. (Also available in Canada at Indigo).

I heard of it from Mark Bittman and his newsletter (which I recommend also).  One good quote from the newsletter was this:

“Entire industries want us to believe that cooking is so much harder and more time consuming than it really is.”

It’s true that you can make complex meals, but a simple green salad, a fried egg with toast, or those two things combined can make up a home prepared meal.

 

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Thinking about sriracha


This is a great piece: Not So Hot: How I Fell Out of Love With Sriracha | TASTE  by David Farley. Sriracha is starting to reach the level of ubiquity that we associate with ketchup and it’s been so readily adopted that I doubt people think too much about it. If you have feelings about it — love or hate — then you want to read Farley’s piece.

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How to Make Epic Charcuterie Boards

This piece shows you how: How to Make Epic Charcuterie Boards – from an Expert! – Kelly Elko

I’d argue some of these are platters more than charcuterie boards, but that aside, these really are impressive spreads of food.

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How to make french fries at home with this amazingly simple recipe

This recipe is amazing:  easiest french fries – smitten kitchen.

I have always been intimidated by the idea of making fries/frites at home. It turns out it could not be easier if you follow that recipe. It’s really a case of set it and more or less forget it.

Some notes:

  • I used corn oil because of it’s high smoking point. You could use other oils too.
  • I used a Dutch oven to make the fries.  It keeps the oil from splashing over onto the oven or burner.
  • I found a potato the size of a baseball feeds one person. A potato the size of a softball feeds two people.
  • I used Yukon gold potatoes.
  • I put big flaky salt on the fries right after I fish them out of the oil.
  • Regardless of how long the recipe says, remove the fries when they are a brown gold colour. It could be 20 minutes but it could be less.
  • Serve hot!

 

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Cooking at home sucks. It’s also great.

I like this piece: Opinion | Never Cook at Home – The New York Times

The title is deceptive: it is not entirely anti-cooking, and it does talk about the benefits of home cooking, but it does throw a bucket of very cold water on all those excited ideas about how great it is to cook at home.

There are many benefits to cooking at home, just like there are benefits to working out. But there are significant efforts associated with achieving those benefits. Those efforts are likely the thing that can cause you to stop getting out your pans and turning on the oven and head to the local diner.

The other drawback about cooking at home is social media. Now so many people (including me) post photos of the food they make. You might look at your own cooking outcome and get discouraged. When you combine the effort and the outcome, plus the indifference you get from those you cook for, you may never want to cook again.

Like exercise, the trick is to find the right level of cooking that works for you, and not get down on yourself when you aren’t cooking at some level you think you should be cooking, whatever that is. Some days you just need to eat, and a piece of fruit and a frozen meal is all you need to no longer be hungry. Other days you may be enjoying making pasta from scratch. If you find you are in a rut, start a simple log of what you are eating over a week and then look for ways to improve slightly: replace boxed cereal with a cooked egg, make a simple pasta rather than get take out pizza. (Bonus: if you make pasta, you could have lunch made too.)

Good luck. There are rewards to cooking at home, if you find the right level of cooking that works for you. Enjoy the fruits of your labour, however great or humble.

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The Best Walmart and Trader Joe’s Wines to Buy. Really!


No, it’s not two buck Chuck, and they aren’t necessarily the cheapest wines you can find, but if you are looking for good value and your local Walmart of Trader Joe’s sell wine, then you will want to read this:
via Taste-Testing Walmart and Trader Joe’s Wines: Whose Are Better? – Bloomberg