Porchetta-Style Awesomeness

September 28, 2010 § 1 Comment

Holy moly, we cooked some wonderful pork yesterday!  We were able to use fabulous pork shoulder from Thundering Hooves, a farm in eastern Washington.  The difference between this pork and what I can buy at QFC is astounding.  Super flavorful and juicy (it’s the F-A-T).  The roasts cooked for 3-4 hours, and the kitchen smelled GREAT. And it was HOT.

We also roasted rainbow carrots from Full Circle Farm.  They were pieces of art  – very colorful, very sculptural.  Then they were dinner. If I’d had my wits aboout me I would have snapped some pics of the funniest carrots before we chopped them up.  Next time.

The potato gratin was a labor of love for JM.  She followed a combination of three recipes.  The best one was in her head, memories of the way her mom made it back in the day.  We used herb-infused milk & cream, which I am a big fan of.  Look – chives & peppercorns float!

Cooking this dinner reminded me of how easy it is to make something delicious when you start with spectacular ingredients.  If you can swing it, pay the extra dough for pasture finished pork!  Yowza, it’s fantastic.

Risotto Heralds the Coming Of Autumn

September 21, 2010 § 3 Comments

Cue the trumpets – Fall is Here! It’s a funny thing – as I download the photos I took yesterday, I realize that I forgot to take any of the finished dinner.  Huh.  The ingredients mesmerized me.  I was too busy swooning over the wild mushrooms and nutty parm to stop and photograph the end result.  But we did cook risotto yesterday, and I thought it was delicious.  If it was your dinner last night, I hope that you enjoyed it. Yesterday’s meal was a tribute to the new season – those earthy chanterelles, red wine, and parm in the risotto.  Creamy goodness. « Read the rest of this entry »

Confronting Figs

September 17, 2010 § 1 Comment

Fresh figs have so much going for them.  They are beautiful –  little gems when they’re sliced open.  I love the taste – definitely sweet, but not very fruit-like.  They are available locally  – fig trees bear fruit even in Seattle’s challenging climate.  So, why can’t I figure out (ha!) what to do with these marvelous little morsels? Perhaps it is their enigmatic nature, their air of mystery.

This  year I was determined to make something fantastic with figs.  I bought figs, I ate a few, I googled recipes… nothing.  The figs withered.  They were compost. But then I tried again.  I brought home more figs, and I did not hesitate.  I did not look to others for answers.  I made up a fig salad, and it was fantastic.  It was also exquisitely simple.  Let me share my good news…

Toss together: figs (cut into 1/8s), torn lettuce, slices of parmesan, toasted croutons, shreds of prosciutto

Dress the salad with a mix of: champagne vinegar, a touch of maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil.

I ate this salad with great joy!  Now I’m ready to try another fig recipe.  My enthusiasm knows no bounds.  If you have a great way of preparing fresh figs, tell me about !  Here, or on our Facebook page.

What a Pickle

September 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

My girls and I are trying to start a “pickling thing”.  We are huge fans of dill pickles, and I especially miss the ones I could always find when we lived in Providence, RI.  Were they half-sours?  Crunchy, green, and still tasted like a cucumber.  Last year we harvested a load of cucumbers from their school’s amazing garden, this year we bought what we needed at the Columbia City Farmer’s Market.  I’m still intimidated by canning, so we go the refrigerator pickle route.  It doesn’t bother me that they don’t last as long, because they get eaten up thatfast anyway.  We had another set of 7 yr-old hands to help us make these pickles the other day.   « Read the rest of this entry »

My Microwave

September 4, 2010 § 6 Comments

…just broke.  This is a good omen.

My mother bought us this microwave, despite our protests, a few weeks after our first daughter was born.  She came to meet her new granddaughter and found me pie-eyed and exhausted.  She suggested that the small modern convenience of a microwave might help me feed myself.  I think my husband and I had lived on yogurt those first weeks of parenthood.  We relented, even though it seemed impossible to cram one more appliance onto our teensy kitchen counter.  I didn’t really see what use it would be. Of course, reader, you know what happened.  Life.  A very full life, and a close acquaintance with the frozen food case at PCC.  Thank you, Amy’s Kitchen.  Thank you, Morning Star.  And to those pretty decent Indian food entrees, thank you.

Seven years, one more daughter, and two kitchens later that microwave has beeped it’s last beep.  I decided not to include a photo with this post because, well, it’s kind of gross.  It served us well, especially in those early years.  We gradually weaned ourselves from microwaved main courses to popcorn, until finally we were just using it to heat up milk for coffee and tea.  Our children have grown (although they might be slightly radioactive), our lives have loosened up a bit, and we’re cooking again.  A lot!  In four days our youngest will enter Kindergarten and I will cross – no, sprint – into a new phase of life.  One without preschoolers.  So I bid adieu to our microwave, with gratitude and humility.  Never to nuke again.

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