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Chile-braised pork country ribs

Nov. 28th, 2010 | 01:09 am

  Here's my improvised recipe for chile-braised pork ribs.  It's wonderfully rich and not really very spicy at all.  You could easily do this with cubes of shoulder, as well; I may, next time. 
Recipe behind the cutCollapse )

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Map update

Sep. 2nd, 2009 | 03:30 pm

Last posted one of these in 2005, thought it was time for an update.


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Spicy Sunday brunch

Aug. 2nd, 2009 | 02:10 pm
i feel: healthful

Hoo, boy, been a while since I posted anything. I'm trying to get back into posting again -- I've been on a kick to eat healthier food the last month or so, after realizing that a few years of the road warrior lifestyle have taken their toll on my fitness level. Thankfully I've been finding that healthy eating more or less means following my instincts in the kitchen, with just a bit of restraint. I've been fairly careful about measuring things and getting a sense of exactly how much I'm eating and when it is I make better decisions.

To make a long story short, though, I've been eating a lot of great food along the way. I was particularly happy with this morning's brunch, which is...kind of like huevos rancheros, but just thrown together. Quick, spicy, and satisfying, and lots of good real food:

spicy! eggy! spicy! eggy!
(there are eggs under there, I promise!)
Recipe, of course, after the cut.Collapse )
The libation to the left is cold brewed iced coffee -- thanks to sparkymonster for prodding me to try it again. I'm still kind of deciding whether I like it -- I may need to try someone else's to see if I'm doing it right.

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adventurous eater

Aug. 14th, 2008 | 12:49 am

Meme from sparkymonster

The Very Good Taste Omnivore’s Hundred:

Read more...Collapse )

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How fresh are your herbs?

May. 11th, 2008 | 05:58 pm

One of my great frustrations in cooking is buying a huge, beautiful bunch of fresh herbiage for a recipe that only takes a couple of tablespoons. I've long thought I could never keep them fresh long enough to use up even a vaguely reasonable portion.

I think, though, that I've found a way. I just pitched a bunch of herbs, not because they were dry or wilted or rotten (as is usually the case), but because they seemed to have lost their smell. It was borderline, really; I probably could have gotten more use out of them, but I figured they had done their duty. They looked as fresh as the day I'd bought them, really.

They were three weeks old!

Find out how...Collapse )

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Pomegranates and Rose Blossoms

May. 11th, 2008 | 01:22 am

Here's a menu I made for some friends a few weeks back. The dinner actually started with the pomegranate-rose sauce, which I made to take along to an Easter dinner this year. I was trying to figure out something to take, noticed an article on Fayruz, or Persian New Year, and the thought of somehow combining pomegranate and rose together popped into my head. A bit of experimentation later, and I had this sauce. It's not authentically Persian — it's not authentically anything — but it tastes damned good.
I served it over lamb, but it would be good over all sorts of things; it's not clear from the description, but it actually has an herbaceous and slightly tannic quality that makes it work really well. The pure pomegranate juice is very tart, so the sugar only really cancels out the acidity. (I didn't actually realize that myself until I stirred leftover sauce into seltzer, which wasn't entirely successful.)
06. Pomegranate-Rose SauceCollapse )
07. Roast Leg of Lamb with Herbed YogurtCollapse )
08. Citrus, Endive, and Avocado SaladCollapse )
09. Persian Rice with Pistachios, Peas, and HerbsCollapse )
10. Pomegranate-Port Poached Pears with Creme AnglaiseCollapse )

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Cheap Trick: Tomato Confit

Apr. 22nd, 2008 | 11:04 pm

This is the first post in what I'm going to try to make a regular series of quick kitchen tips for the busy cook. No matter how grandiose my ambitions, a lot of nights I end up just throwing something easy together; if it's not cheaper and faster than takeout, it's not going to happen. Sometimes it's just sustenance, but other times something pretty amazing comes together. So, "Cheap Trick" will feature things you can make in about half an hour, and for less than $5.

Easy Tomato Confit

Today's trick is Tomato Confit, a quick and easy way of cooking down a can -- yes, a can -- of good tomatoes into something rich, delicious and versatile. It's more of a condiment than an entree, but it has heft that can make it the center of a meal. Better yet, the specific seasonings can be almost anything you want. I threw in Indian spices tonight, and served it with a simple dal and some brown basmati rice, but you could just as easily make it to go with just about any food where tomatoes could fit in. It'd be great with grilled meat or vegetables, with black beans, atop polenta, or even on a hamburger.

The flavor of the finished confit is intense. It's the essence of good fresh ripe tomatoes concentrated so that every bite tastes like five. Cooking the fruit down like this caramelizes a lot of the sugars for an intense sweetness; this particular method also keeps a lot of bright acid in the flesh of the tomatoes to offset that. It's similar in technique to a Catalan preparation called Sofregit, but the shorter cooking makes a slightly different beast.

05. Tomato ConfitCollapse )

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Fruits and Veg

Apr. 20th, 2008 | 08:08 pm

I am always seized with deep, deep jealousy during shows like Iron Chef America when the contestants, newly burdened with their secret ingredients, are shown scurrying to a gigantic table festooned with nearly every kind of produce known to man. "If I had a spread like that," I say to myself sometimes, "I could cook anything."

The thing I never realize at that moment is the kind of bounty that is available to us on a daily basis. Here's the result of my shopping trip today, just a bit more artfully arranged than usual:

five a day!

The total cost of all this? Less than $50, for what will be the backbone of my diet for the next ten days. $5 a day! And that includes a couple of indulgences: meyer lemons, king oyster mushrooms, and that pineapple. These are all from the amazing Russo's in Watertown; if any of y'all in the Boston area haven't been, go now. The tradeoff is that most of it isn't organic; more on that after the cut.

Why not organic? And what are you going to <i>do</i> with it all?Collapse )

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on food: first in a series.

Apr. 6th, 2008 | 02:01 am

i've been doing a lot of thinking about food the last few weeks. i can credit sparkymonster  for indirectly sending me down this path; someone who commented on her livejournal linked to someone who linked to someone who posted an article by michael pollan, most famously author of the omnivore's dilemma.

the article was a meditation on what one might call the ethical carnivore, which may seem a contradiction. indeed, vegetarians were for so long the only significant voice calling attention to the treatment of livestock that it may sometimes seem that giving up meat is the only realistic option if one seeks to improve animal welfare. i'm not interested in getting into the debate about whether eating meat is inherently evil, here; others have made both arguments quite articulately. however, it's quickly becoming clear to me that if one does choose to eat meat, that choice comes with a certain responsibility. i'm fine with the idea of animals dying for food; i have no problem looking my dinner in the eye. what i do take issue with is animals who suffer before providing sustenance -- a suffering which has become epidemic in america's factory food system.

in the past hundred years, the industrializaton of food has transformed the way westerners eat. sadly, many of those changes are of dubious benefit; one look at a nutrition label in the grocery will reveal that what might look like food often is something else entirely. pollan's latest book, in defense of food, rightfully points out that we've really turned traditional eating on its head. beginning with refined flours and sugars, we've replaced many of the traditional foods eaten by our ancestors for millennia with lookalikes with very different nutritional profiles. while no one's really proven a link, one need only look at the news to see that food-related diseases -- heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, "metabolic syndrome," and more -- have skyrocketed. pollan notes that most of these afflictions are absent from cultures that eat traditional diets. which traditional diets? pretty much any of them.

i've decided, then, to start changing the way i eat. this is no fad diet; i'm not going to be subsisting on cabbage soup or anything of the sort. but i'm aiming to eat real food, most of the time: the least processed, most ethically raised, most traditional diet i can. it's going to be tough for me; it's hard to make good decisions when you're on the road as much as i am, and i fully admit not all of my meals are going to be out of some slow food utopia. my commitment, though, is to do two things: think about all the food i eat, and to make the best choices available to me.

i thought i might start with a list of things i'd like to try as part of this change in my diet. what would you d
  • investigate locally raised meat, including from 100% pastured animals
  • purchase only humanely raised meat for my own cooking
  • buy a chest freezer, and start preserving local produce in season
  • eat out less -- much less -- when i'm at home
  • eat a lot more vegetables
  • eat more whole grains

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And another.

Mar. 21st, 2008 | 12:17 am

04. Boston Baked BeansCollapse )

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