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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

https://www.etsy.com/listing/463665183/chartreuse-yellow-fondue-pot-and-stand?ref=related-2

Photo: Etsy

I can pretty much trace the decades of my marriage by the cooking fads I once took seriously: fondue, cooking in a clay pot, sourdough, woks.

Then there are the foods I used to prepare regularly that I haven’t thought about in ages: beer bread, lime pie made with sweetened condensed milk, hot dog casserole with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. Oy.

Fondue was popular in the early 1970s. I remember that we went to a dinner party involving several couples cooking their own chicken one bite at a time around a fondue pot. For some reason, that fad didn’t last long.

Clay pots had to be soaked in water first, and then the meat and vegetables would gradually become a stew as they sort of steamed inside the pot in the oven. If you ever decide to try clay-pot cooking, a word to the wise: store clay in a lighted, airy place. My pot kept growing mold because it retained moisture after being cleaned and I didn’t realize that storing it in a dark, enclosed cupboard was asking for trouble. Figured it out after contacting the company.

To keep my live sourdough culture going for months and years, I made pancakes with a bit of it every week, adding a little to my batter. I made a pictorial version of the blueberry pancake recipe and taped it to the cabinet for John when he was 3 so that he could make pancakes with my husband if I was not there.

As for the wok, a couple whom my husband knew from work came over one Saturday night so the wife and I could put her Chinese cooking classes into practice. I remember that I was nearly nine months pregnant with Suzanne. We made the most fabulous meal of all time — everything from scratch — but didn’t sit down to eat until after 11 pm.

Nowadays if I can’t whip something up in half an hour, I’m probably not going to make it, but all these fads were fun at the time.

Photo: Houzz

Romertopf Classic Dutch Oven
 Photo: Wagshalsblog

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Love this story by Leigh Vincola at EcoRI News.

“The Harvest Kitchen Project is one of the many arms of Farm Fresh Rhode Island that keeps local food circulating in our communities. The program takes area youth, ages 16-19, who are involved with juvenile corrections, and puts them to work making sauces, pickles and other preserves.

“The teenagers participate in a 20-week job-readiness program that prepares them for employment in the food industry. The program touches not only on kitchen skills but the on the many aspects of work in the culinary industry, from sales and customer service to local farm sourcing to teamwork and cooperation. …

“For the past several years, Harvest Kitchen has operated out of a commercial kitchen space in Pawtucket.”

But when Pawtucket Central Falls Development (PCF) “approached Farm Fresh with its rehabilitation plan for 2 Bayley St., a downtown [Pawtucket] multi-use building that would include affordable housing, retail space and job-training opportunities, the match seemed perfect.” More  at EcoRI, here.

I’ve been buying Harvest Kitchen’s applesauce at the Burnside Farmers Market, and I’m being completely honest when I say it’s the best applesauce I’ve had in years. That’s partly because I love chunks in my applesauce, but also because it’s sweet with no sugar added. If you return the empty jar, you get 25 cents back on the next jar.

Harvest Kitchen offers cranberry and strawberry applesauce, too. Other products include dried apple slices, peach slices in season, whole tomatoes, pickles with veggies, dilly beans and onion relish.

In addition to PCF, organizations that have helped to make this happen include Rhode Island Housing, RI Department of Children Youth and Families (Division of Juvenile Correction), Amgen Foundation, Fresh Sound Foundation, The Rhode Island Foundation and TriMix Foundation.

Find sales locations here.

Photo: FarmFreshRI

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A Native American chef trained in French cuisine has a mission to teach the world about an older, unrecognized culinary tradition that has influenced most of us. Hanna Choi reported the story for National Public Radio.

“When Nephi Craig enrolled in the culinary program at Arizona’s Scottsdale Community College, there was nothing like ‘Native American Cuisine 101’ in the curriculum. Craig identifies as White Mountain Apache and Navajo, and the first mention he can recall of anything remotely related to his background was a class discussion on fry bread, a crispy fried concoction that ‘is really a taste of American colonialism,’ he says …

“Since then, he increasingly came to sense a sort of dismissiveness and sloppiness towards Native Americans and indigenous food ways in the mainstream culinary world.

“Craig grew up immersed in his culture through art, music and ceremony, and food always played a large role. He wanted to find a way to bridge the gap. …

“Upon graduating from culinary school in 2000, Craig launched the Native American Culinary Association. Based in Arizona, NACA is a network of Native chefs — professionals and those just starting out — dedicated to the research, refinement, and development of Native American cuisine. Since 2011, the association has organized a yearly Indigenous Food Symposium, bringing people from different fields together to share and learn about Native foods, agriculture and landscapes.

‘Craig is also the executive chef of The Summit Restaurant at Sunrise Park Resort in Whiteriver, Arizona. … Craig’s culinary team there is staffed entirely by cooks and other food workers who identify either with the White Mountain Apache tribe or as Navajo/Dineh.”

In the NPR interview, Craig tells Choi, “I had always been cooking since I was a kid, growing up here on the rez with my mom and my family. We didn’t have a lot of money and so we would bake and sell our goods and I would bag up stuff in sandwich bags and sell them as a little guy.

“I’ve been cooking my entire life, all through my adolescence and I had ultimately wanted to do something creative. …

“I had no idea the world that I would be entering in the long classical legacy that is French cuisine. But that’s kind of where I started out, just in childhood, and then realizing just by pure observation that we were left out of this picture of world cuisine even when about 70 percent of foods consumed around the world today were developed and domesticated by Indigenous peoples of the Americas.”

Craig explains more here. Check it out.

Photo: Evan Sung/Nephi Craig
Nephi Craig, executive chef of The Summit Restaurant at Sunrise Park Resort in Whiteriver, Arizona.

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On days when you are thinking a lot about a faraway relative in need of heavy doses of good vibes, it may make sense to do some baking.

Fortunately, I worked at home today, so I was able to spend the time between 5 and 6:15 baking rather than running for trains. The no-peel apple crisp recipe I attempted was one that Lisa posted recently on Facebook. Although it didn’t specify an oven temperature or size of pan, I guessed 350 degrees and 9 x 13, and it came out great. The ingredients include dried apricots, an orange, and walnuts. Oh, boy. Here’s the link.

More constructively, many of us sent loving messages both for the relative and her son in San Francisco, and posted and contributed to a GoFundMe site. I especially liked Suzanne’s recommendation of a visit to Glide Memorial, a comforting San Francisco church she learned about when a former colleague suffered something dark. (I have mentioned the church a few times on the blog.)

What else can you do but let people know you are thinking of them a lot? In spite of everything, I think my relative will be deeply thankful at Thanksgiving for two Good Samaritans who chose not to pass by.

Photo: http://food52.com/blog/11755-no-peel-apple-crisp

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In today’s Boston Globe, Kelly Gifford wrote about a new effort to hop over the generation of adults who don’t cook and teach children how.

“Short single-file lines form beside a table with three hot plates at the Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club in Dorchester. …

“This is the first time the majority of the 10 girls have ever cooked an omelet — a fact that [Bill] Yosses, Sally Sampson, president and founder of ChopChop Magazine, and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation are hoping to change through a series of healthy eating classes at several New England Boys & Girls Clubs.

“The Dorchester program is part of the series, which is aimed at 8- to 12-year-olds. The weeklong program kicked off in Worcester in early July and will continue in six Boys & Girls Clubs in the Boston area and eight in New Hampshire this fall, to reach about 200 kids total. The program is funded through a $100,000 grant from the Harvard Pilgrim foundation.

“ ‘There is a whole generation of parents across the income and age spectrum that can’t cook, so they do takeout,’ says Harvard Pilgrim president Karen Voci. ‘So we decided to skip a generation and see if these kids could bring the skills they learned back home to their families.’ ”

The children seem to be enjoying trying new tastes and showing off what they can prepare. Read the whole article here.

Photo: Pat Greenhouse/Globe staff
Former White House pastry chef Bill Yosses (standing) helps teach children to make yogurt parfaits and other healthful dishes.

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I’ve been on one of my periodic murder-mystery splurges, with a couple mysteries this month that take place in France.

Books about France should never be read on an empty stomach — there is always wonderful food.

The author of The Crowded Grave actually went overboard, I thought, stopping urgent action to prepare elaborate meals. I think The Bookseller mystery will maintain a better balance. So far the hero has only had pastries and lovely coffees on route to something actually related to the story.

Thinking about France makes me want to point out a website where my friend Ronnie Hess blogs, My French Life. Ronnie lived in France for years working for CBS and more recently wrote a guidebook called Eat Smart in France that taps her her deep knowledge of French food.

Ronnie was already a fine cook as a teenager, when I recall making a Scripture cake at her house:

  • 3/4 cup Genesis 18:8
  • 1 1/2 cup Jeremiah 6:20
  • 5 Isaiah 10:14 (separated)
  • 3 cups sifted Leviticus 24:5
  • 3 teaspoons 2 Kings 2:20
  • 3 teaspoons Amos 4:5
  • 1 teaspoon Exodus 30:23
  • 1/4 teaspoon each 2 Chronicles 9:9
  • 1/2 cup Judges 4:19
  • 3/4 chopped Genesis 43:11
  • 3/4 cup finely cut Jeremiah 24:5
  • 3/4 cup 2 Samuel 16:1
  • Whole Genesis 43:11

Her mother helped us think through what was meant by leavening and certain more arcane references.

Do check out Ronnie at My French Life, here.

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I liked a story in the January 25 Boston Globe. It’s about a gourmet chef taking a job at a homeless shelter and helping to train residents with the marketable skills he knows best.

“Frank Van Overbeeke used to prepare foie gras and filet mignon for the French brasserie crowd as executive chef at Bouchee on Newbury Street,” writes Katie Johnston. “Now he makes cheeseburger meatloaf for the residents at the Pine Street Inn.

“In the shelter’s kitchen, he also oversees the preparation of jerk chicken with pineapple rice pilaf for the Boston Foundation, chicken tikka masala for Simmons College, and baked ziti for doctors at Boston Medical Center.

“Van Overbeeke’s move two years ago from haute cuisine to homeless shelter was a key step in Pine Street Inn’s efforts to develop a corporate catering business to increase revenues to support its food service job-training program.” Read more.

Another job-training program in the culinary arts has been going since 1983 at a prisoner pre-release facility in Concord.

Betsy Levinson writes in a March 29 Globe article, “Four days a week, diners pay $3.21 to enter one of the drab gray buildings at the Concord rotary, drop off their licenses at security, and line up for a seat at one of nine tables in the cafe known as the Fife and Drum.

“Inmates serve as waiters, cooks, and busboys, all trained by chef Kim Luketich. Those who complete the 10-month culinary arts program get a Serve Safe food-handler certificate, making them eligible for work in restaurants.

“ ‘I love it,’ said Jacqueline Friedman, an Acton resident arriving for lunch. ‘It’s an experience. The guys are so nice and are trying so hard.’ …

“ ‘This is a premier program,’ said the superintendent. ‘No other facility has this kind of program that allows the community to come in and eat. We have some elderly who have come daily for years. It’s a great setting, a great atmosphere.’

“ ‘They learn quality skills,’ said Luketich. … “‘They learn social skills. The whole idea is that they will go back into society. That is what we focus on.’ ’’

Read more. As the article says, food service is one of the areas where there actually are jobs today, and it can be a way to get acclimated to dealing with the public.

Photograph: Bill Greene/Globe Staff

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I went to Manchester, New Hampshire, today for an event designed to bring bankers together with community and economic development people.

The panelists were pretty interesting. A woman from the NH Small Business Development Center talked about what it takes to put together a financing package and what sorts of entrepreneurs are a good investment. For example, people like Richard Tango-Lowy, who do their homework.

Tango-Lowy kept his IT job while he researched everything about fine chocolate, traveling extensively in France and Italy. Almost as soon as he opened Dancing Lion Chocolate, he was successful. He got a great review in the Boston Globe. He has no cash-flow problems. His only problem is keeping up with demand.

“The entrepreneur’s Mayan-style drinking chocolate, made with milk or water, is served in large painted bowls,” writes Kathleen Pierce in the Globe. “This driven chocolatier and Manchester resident is more than a little obsessed with cacao. He works with chocolate maker Alan McClure of Patric Chocolate in Columbia, Mo., to create a house-blend derived from Madagascar beans.

“Like a vintner, Tango-Lowy selects the chocolates that go into his tasting squares, bars, and candies, paying close attention to flavor profiles and how a particular bean enhances the moment. ‘I think about how long will it linger in your mouth. There are ones that hit the fragrant front and each piece evolves as you eat it,’ he says.

“When you discover that Tango-Lowy is a physicist, his approach to chocolate begins to make sense.” Read more.

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Here is the Christmas cookie recipe I have used ever since John put together his little recipe book in nursery school.

(have ingredients at room temperature)

Rolled Sugar Cookies

2 cups sifted flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. milk

Sift together first three ingredients.
In another bowl, cream margarine, add sugar gradually. Cream until light and fluffy.
Add egg, vanilla, milk and sifted dry ingredients.
Mix dough well, chill at least one hour.

Roll approximately 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured board and use good-sized cookie cutters so children can be successful in handling shapes.
Place cut out cookies on ungreased cookie sheets and let children sprinkle sugar on them.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. (My oven prefers 350 for 6-10 minutes.) 2 doz.

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We’re hopping an early Acela train Wednesday to join Suzanne, Erik, and other family members for Thanksgiving.

I’m assigned to make cranberry sauce, stuffing, and a squash dish. Although I have already placed my ingredients order and can’t use the recipe I just saw at another WordPress blog, you might like to. It’s a maple-citrus-ginger-cranberry sauce.

The blog in question is the public face of a collaboration in Upstate New York, the “From Scratch Club”: “We are a small group of women, living within the Capital Region of NYS (Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs) striving for a sustained connection to the whole food we, our loved ones, and our communities consume.

“We meet twice a month for food swaps, and maybe even a food-related adventure, field trip, cheesemaking party or potluck. Once a month we participate in community outreach at various local farmers markets in our area.”

These ladies understand that the key to enjoying great cooking is to have others to share the results with.

Consider Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is mostly about preparing lots of food and bringing groups of people together to eat the food and talk and not rush off to anything.

This year at Suzanne’s, my sister and her husband will join the fun. Also Erik’s cousin and her family, who have just relocated from Sweden to the U.S. It’s great that little kids will be part of the festivities.

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John leads the way for the end-of-summer clambake, rallying Suzanne and Erik to go with him first to collect driftwood, then to swim out to where there is good seaweed on the rocks.

It’s an all-day project ultimately involving six adults and one toddler.

Rocks get placed in a pit, wood gets burned on top, wood coals get shoveled out, lobsters, seaweed, potatoes, corn, clams, mussels in cheesecloth, seawater, and more seaweed get dumped on the very hot rocks, a tarpaulin covers everything and is sealed with more rocks so the steam stays in.

After a couple hours, newspaper gets spread for  a tablecloth, the neighbors arrive, and the tarp is whipped off.

In the kitchen, Meran has made a salad with her garden’s tomatoes, plus spaghetti with fresh clam sauce. Sandra has brought an assortment of her famed homemade cookies. Patrick has brought extra utensils for cracking open lobster claws.

If you want to learn more, do what John does. He searches the Internet on “how to do a clambake” and reads several websites.

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I blogged about my annual carrot cake here. I was wondering what to do with the leftover buttermilk. Margareta commented from Sweden that we should just make more cakes. She had a houseful of teenagers at the time and sweets were all they were eating.

Meran, however, was able to use up the buttermilk by making two pans of remarkably yummy cornbread.  After we ate our fill, we cut pieces, wrapped them in foil, and froze them.

Having provided the ingredients for the carrot cake in the July 17 post, I now proceed to explain how to bake it.

2 cp flour, 1 tsp baking soda, ½  tsp salt, 1-1/2 cp sugar, 2 tsps cinnamon, 3 eggs, ¾ cp buttermilk, ½ cp oil, 2 tsps vanilla, 1 8-1/2 oz can crushed pineapple, 2 cps grated raw carrots (no liquid), 1 cp chopped nuts, 1 cp flaked coconut

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Sift flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar together in a big bowl.

Beat the eggs with the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients all at once and mix until smooth. Fold in the rest of the ingredients and pour the whole batter into a greased, floured 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until the center springs back when lightly touched.

You’re going to love it.

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I make an annual carrot cake. I have an old, tattered newsprint recipe living in a Ziploc bag, but this year the recipe was on a shelf several hours away from where I needed to buy the ingredients (long story), so I’m putting them here for future Internet access.

2 cp flour, 1 tsp baking soda, ½  tsp salt, 1-1/2 cp sugar, 2 tsps cinnamon, 3 eggs, ¾ cp buttermilk, ½ cp oil, 2 tsps vanilla, 1 8-1/2 oz can crushed pineapple, 2 cps grated raw carrots (no liquid), 1 cp chopped nuts, 1 cp flaked coconut

I will print the recipe, too, if you ask.

The question is always what to do with the extra buttermilk. I have used it for cornbread in the past. You can also put it in your blueberry pancakes the next morning. I don’t know anyone who likes to drink it.

Except Amelia Earhart.

I’ve been reading a 2010 self-published book called by Allene G. “Squeaky” Hatch, Real Pearls and Darned Stockings: Tales of the Hudson Valley, which includes a memorable visit that Amelia Earhart paid to Squeaky’s family when Squeaky was little.

Squeaky’s Uncle Clint was stowing away his biplane at the Hudson Airport one night when he saw storm clouds threatening. A woman approached him from her own plane, and he recognized the famous aviatrix. Writes Squeaky:

“ ‘Could you recommend a good hotel nearby for my co-pilot and me?’ Earhart asked.

“Clint’s answer was that the best place to stay was his farm.” He phoned the house, and Squeaky’s mother rushed madly around to get ready. Having heard that Earhart liked buttermilk, and having none in the house, Squeaky’s mom improvised, mixing viengar with fresh milk! At dinner Amelia Earhart took a polite sip of the “buttermilk.” She didn’t take a second, says Squeaky.

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