Brown Butter Pecans, with Beet Salad

January 27, 2014 § 6 Comments

Let’s see,where was I….  It has been a year and a half since I wrote here.  But I’ve missed documenting recipes and writing about my successes and screw-ups in the kitchen.  And right now I have the luxury of time, so I thought: Heck. Revive the cooking blog. So here we are!  Thanks for reading.

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Today I will share with you a very simple recipe that produces an extraordinary little nut.  A nut that is elevated, better than all of the other nuts.  It is the brown butter pecan.  Mother nature does not create these beauties without the help of human hands, because Brown Butter Pecan Trees would be irresistible. Men would wage wars over them and empires would fall, tragedy would ensue.  But you can create these objects of desire in your own kitchen.  And you can eat them all and not share a single one, because let those other folks make their own damn brown butter pecans.  I would not know about these tasty morsels if my friend John hadn’t told me; he’s a great chef and I take his cooking advice whenever he gives it to me.  So when John told me to coat toasted pecans in a copious amount of brown butter and a bit of salt, I did it.  And dang, they were GOOD. In retrospect, they were obviously destined to be delicious: a toasted nut, slicked with nutty butter, and a sprinkling of sea salt. Yeah, it makes sense.

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Stop Staring, You Little Squid

July 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

Yesterday I headed to my neighborhood QFC for groceries.  As a approached the store swarms of police cars descended!  Cops pulled a man out of a nearby car at gunpoint!  So, I kept driving to the next store, which was Uwajimaya in the International District.  That’s when the real trouble began.   « Read the rest of this entry »

Waiter, There’s a Flower in My Salad.

July 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am a miserable farmer, it’s true.  But I am able to grow decent flowers and herbs, and Nasturtiums are both, so how could I go wrong? Nasturtiums are the A#1 recommendation for children’s  gardens – they’re that easy to grow. This year I planted seeds and got a lot (a lot) of foliage.  When the first leaves poked through the soil we were so excited! Days passed and the leaves grew wider and taller. “Oh my, this will be a bumper crop Nasturtium flowers,” we thought.  It has been, instead, a bumper crop of Nasturtium leaves. A few flowers, yes, but mostly leaves. Which left me dejected, until I learned that nasturtium leaves are absolutely delicious.

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Slurp Your Vegetables

November 5, 2010 § 1 Comment

Earlier in the week I made a very robust vegetable stock.  Roasting the vegetables before they simmered in water was key, and the results were great – like the difference between a roasted carrot and a boiled carrot.  I simmered the stock for 45 minutes or so, removed the vegetables, and then simmered the stock some more.  It reduced down to a dark, strongly flavored broth which I froze in 1/2 cup containers.  This will be an amazing base for sauces and complex soups.  It also turned out to be a fantastic centerpiece for a quickie lunch.  I defrosted the stock and added 1.5C of water.  I raided the fridge for a little bit of this (sliced carrots, shredded kale) and a little bit of that (those noodles my kids didn’t finish).  Everything simmered together for 5 minutes,  I added some shredded parmesan, and sluuuuurp. It was souper.

A Favorite Knife, From A Favorite Store

October 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

JM & I snuck away with our families last week for our annual pilgrimage to Orcas Island.  We had a blast, of course.  Continued the important rituals – eating crab, digging in the sand, sitting on our arses.  Another tradition on Orcas that I hold dear is shopping.  One of my favorite stores of all is in Eastsound: Smith & Speed Mercantile.  They carry the most beautiful things – Japanese gardening tools, lovely carved pocket knives, hand knit washcloths… The store perfectly suits my daydreams about island life (“If I moved to Orcas Island, I could buy this wood burning water heater for my galvanized outdoor soaking tub.”).  This year my husband and I bought two things: an Amish-made hay rake for me (what?) and a gorgeous Japanese knife for him.  Admittedly, his was the more practical purchase.

Owen bought our first Japanese knife a few months ago at Hardwick’s in the U District, and it became highly valued very quickly.  Adding a second blade to our stable was a smart move.  These knives are so sharp, and they stay sharp.  The carbon blade is nice and heavy, and the wood handle feels great. It’s unfinished, so I anticipate the handle will achieve a lovely patina in no-time flat.  Best of all, these knives are inexpensive – under $50.  Get thee to the international district and see one for yourself!

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 »

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