May 2010

Quinoa Salad with Shrimp, Asparagus, Fresh Corn and Herb Lime Vinaigrette

May 27, 2010
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We were ahead of our time.
Flashback 1993: big hair, dark red lipstick and restaurant baseball cap on backwards. Clogs and Chef’s Wear baggy pants with wild prints on them (come on, if you worked in a restaurant in the 90′s you know you wore them too).

I was part of the opening team of a new restaurant with an ambitious concept; “healthy food”, whole grains, no red meat, lots of seafood, organic produce whenever possible, and no hard alcohol. There was a “harvest table” with a daily selection of incredible salads and vegetables, most made with the aforementioned whole grains and organic produce. The matchbooks were filled with wildflower seeds not matches. We had the best of intentions and everyone was excited to be a part of it.
Unfortunately, the healthy concept and the harvest table did not last long, victims of the times, the location, poor …

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55 Knives (e)Cookbook

May 25, 2010
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I get a lot of offers to “participate in something exciting” which usually isn’t either exciting or really an offer.
Most of the time, these “offers” are a thinly veiled way of saying, “Hey, I like your stuff, gimme some free recipes and photos and in return I’ll ‘promote’ you while I make all the money and you do all the work.”

Ummm…no thanks.

Sometimes though, these requests turn out to be the real deal. Last year I was approached by fellow blogger Nick from who asked if I would like to contribute to a cookbook he was putting together with recipes from a total of 55 bloggers (hence the name “55 Knives”). The difference here is that he wasn’t just asking for free stuff and for other people to do all the work.

First and foremost this was a labor of love and his focus was …

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Moroccan Garbanzo Bean Stew

May 24, 2010
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Most chefs, like fashion designers, are easily influenced and inspired by those who have gone before them and by the greater world around them. We learn, we adapt, we modify and improve upon the food we eat and even read about. We’re inspired by our environment, our location and even the weather. Basically, like fashion, there is very little “new” in the cooking world unless you are someone like Ferran Adria whipping up a liquid olive in a fit of molecular gastronomy. Cooking is reinterpreting the basics, over and over, in new combinations, to keep it interesting.

When I was looking for ideas for vegan dishes to make during the 21 day cleanse I did a few months ago, I came across dozens of recipes for soups/stews made with garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas). This recipe is not any one of those in particular, but certainly influenced by many of them. …

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How to Make Fresh Pork Sausage

May 18, 2010
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Sausage is like the chicken soup of the meat world. From juicy Italian pork sausages, to spicy Mexican chorizo, to the firm and dry sausages in Asia, almost every culture has their version. Most likely this widespread culinary theme comes from frugality. How better to use all the odds and ends of the animal?

Making bacon from scratch last summer was a revelation. Not only was it great tasting, but it was easy and soon we were on the hunt for what to make next. My mom wanted to make prosciutto, but I thought trying to cure an entire pig’s leg was a bit ambitious for our next porktastic project. I bought her Michael Ruhlman’s book Charcuterie for her birthday and since then we’ve been talking about making sausage from scratch at home, including stuffing it into casings. Fortunately, I already had the grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid Mixer …

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Garden Update-The War Rages On

May 17, 2010
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They are trying to dig to China, my garden monsters.
Every night they dig, dig, dig, tunneling under the garden beds in search of literal pay-dirt. My garden pathways, once lined with pristine pea gravel, are now a mix of dirt and gravel, messy and ripe for growing weeds. Our efforts to keep them out by shoring up the bottoms of the beds with more wood have been met with a redoubled digging effort.
But one morning last week may have been the last straw.

The day before, frustrated and angry that I had to keep pushing the dirt back into place, I put large pieces of concrete and scrap wood topped with brick, on the ground around their favorite digging spots. An inelegant solution to be sure, but I wanted to see if it would stop them.
Yes and no.
When I stepped out onto my back patio the …

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Friday Favorites-05/14/2010

May 14, 2010
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Friday Favorites posts feature news articles from the food world, recipes which look amazing, or anything I find interesting, want to share, or think readers might like too.
Leave a comment and tell me what you think!

1. Respect for every ingredient:
Even though I have not always been a fan of his, this Rick Steves article expresses one of the best parts of traveling in Italy; the respect and appreciation for every ingredient which is part of the cultural fabric.

2. Are companies “Green Washing” their products by deceptively using the words “organic” and “natural?”
The short answer is unfortunately yes. This article goes into detail about how they do it, citing examples like Sara Lee’s new EarthGrains breads which purport to be more “environmentally friendly” but really use grains which are not grown sustainably or organically.
While the term “organic” is somewhat regulated, the term “natural” is not …

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