"real kitchens" news and stories
Last summer, I socked away a gallon-sized zip top bag full of handpicked blackberries in my freezer's ice bin (that side of the kitchen isn't plumbed, so we can't hook up the ice maker). Those berries have been there since August, a visual reminder that it was once summer and that warm weather really does exist.
Just about every summer, I manage to squirrel away at least one bag of fruit for winter use, be it peaches, blueberries or blackberries. However, every year, I waste an awful lot of mental energy trying to find the exact right time to actually use my frozen bounty. I finally broke down this weekend, using my berries to make a big, bubbly cobbler with a biscuit-y topping.
I'm curious, does anyone else struggle with using the foodstuffs they've frozen or preserved?
Filed under: Real Kitchens
Last Friday, I used my lunch hour to get my haircut. I've been going to the same woman for cuts for the last year and a half, a personal best for me, as I tend to get antsy with stylists and move around. Sylvie is French and despite many years in the US, still speaks with a charmingly thick accent and often stops cutting to further articulate her stories with hand gestures.
We found ourselves on the topic of Thanksgiving and she started to tell me about the dishes she was planning on making. Bragging a little, she said that her sister-in-law always asks for her recipes. When she's ready to transcribe, pen in hand, Sylvie will start rattling off her dishes in French, never revealing her cooking secrets in a way that anyone, the sister-in-law included, can understand.
I've never understood the people who hold their recipes close to their chest, refusing to reveal their secrets with friends and family alike. I'm of the belief that food is something to be shared and that includes the tools used to prepare tasty creations. Are your recipes open source or state secrets?
Filed under: Real Kitchens
Making do in tiny kitchens is all the rage these days (I'm glad to hear that what I've been doing for years has suddenly become the trendy thing. I knew if I waited long enough, I'd become hip!). Deb of Smitten Kitchen recently posted about how she makes due in her petite cooking space and just today, New York Times recipe tester Jill Santopietro launched a video blog that features the ways in which she makes do with just two square feet of counter space.
In the first episode of Tiny Kitchen with Jill Santopietro, Jill makes a calvados cocktail. The episode, which clocks in at a very web-friendly four and a half minutes, features a great tip on how to make simple syrup without dirtying a saucepan as well as a good substitute for a citrus reamer (when you're working with 11 square feet, you've got to eliminate utensils where you can).
So far, I'm totally charmed by this unassuming little video podcast. I'm looking to seeing more from the Tiny Kitchen.
It's Meyer lemon season and I am delighting in their tangy flavor (the appearance of these lemons makes the onset of winter a little more palatable). My grandmother had a Meyer lemon tree in the backyard of her house in Woodland Hills, CA and the first whiff of their signature scent (a little more floral and sweet than a conventional lemon) always takes me back to her kitchen.
Friday night, I was home alone and in need of some dinner. I considered heading down the street for some takeout Thai but having eaten out a whole lot last week, I determined to do something at home with ingredients already in the fridge. Surveying my options, I came upon a bag of Meyer lemons, a third of a package of linguine, some ancient creme fraiche, some already-grated Parmesan cheese (I realize it's a foodie sin to buy it pre-grated, but sometimes it's just so much easier) and a bag of must-be-used arugula.
Those ingredients started a bell in the back of my mind jingling and I dredged up a memory of a recipe that used those components in Amanda Hesser's Cooking for Mr. Latte. Finding the book in a stack in the bedroom, I cooked up what became a delicious and easy solo dinner. The recipe is after the jump.
Whether you call it filling, dressing, or stuffing (and whether you know that, to some, there is a distinction between each); whether you make it from sourdough, cornbread, or white bread (or spelt if you're sensitive to wheat or are Ancient Roman); whether you embellish it with chestnuts, oysters, cranberries or chorizo; no Thanksgiving table is complete without stuffing.
It plumps up in the roasting turkey's cavity and then cozies up to the finished product on your plate -- and both benefit, as your taste buds do (though your waistline doesn't), from a generous dousing of gravy. Like meatloaf, there are as many recipes for it as there are cooks to prepare it, and, also like meatloaf, nearly every cook thinks theirs is definitive. To its fans, the reason we call it stuffing is not the technical definition -- a working understanding of which could be "any food that fills, at least theoretically, a cavity in another food" -- but the obvious fact that you "stuff" it into "your face."