Main Course

Good Crud

December 4, 2013
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When I was a kid we were poor. Like welfare, food stamps, free school lunches poor. I am not ashamed of this, it helped form the self reliant and frugal person I am today.

I remember standing in line with my mother for assistance and noting that the other women and children in line did not look much like me but that was more observation than shame (Oakland CA, where we lived in the early 1970′s was predominantly African American). I remember my mom using food stamps when they were still paper coupons and not a plastic card, and shopping at the “Dented Can Store” when you could get 10 cans of corn for a dollar and who cared if they were dented? School lunch tickets were my normal.

Again, it was all ok by me because my mom was a really good cook and most of the time we …

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Baked Eggs with Tomatoes, Garbanzos and Feta

November 9, 2013
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Months ago when I was researching for a series on eggs, I came across this recipe for eggs poached in tomatoes. While I didn’t include it in the series, it stuck with me as something I wanted to try, having seen similar versions on my travels in Turkey and Morocco. In Turkey this dish is called Menemen (where the eggs are usually scrambled) and in most of North Africa and Israel it’s called Shakshuka.  Even Italy has its version called Uova al Purgatorio (but without the garbanzos). 

It’s not hard to have almost every ingredient on hand to make this dish on the fly; canned tomatoes and garbanzos are staples in my pantry, as are the spices. Onions, eggs, and even feta cheese are almost always in my ‘fridge. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly, cutting it in half to serve two, and adding a few spices (the …

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Garlic Sesame Udon Noodles with Fried Tofu

October 28, 2013
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I never thought I’d like tofu. Really. There was a time in my life that I sneered at tofu as something only eaten by the tie-dyed birkenstock wearing wanna-be hippies in my university. We even had a student run food co-op on campus. So admittedly I was a little biased against tofu. I’m not sure what changed my mind. It might have been travel to places like China and Thailand and Japan. It might have been experimenting with eating vegan for 21 days (the tofu tacos are something I still eat, even though I chose not to remain vegan). Whatever it was, one day I realized, hey, this stuff is actually pretty good. When cooked right, properly seasoned, or fried with a crispy exterior and creamy interior, tofu can be a thing of beauty. Or at least an excellent vehicle for flavorful sauces and a good source of protein.…

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Stone Crab Claws with Mustard Sauce

October 19, 2013
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October is the beginning of stone crab season which runs through May. If you’re not familiar with stone crabs, you might recognize their distinctive black tipped orange claws. Stone crabs are best known and most often associated with the 100 year old Miami Beach institution, “Joe’s Stone Crab” restaurant. People may know the succulent claws and their famous mustard sauce, but most don’t know the story behind how the crab claws made it to the plate for the first time.

In 1913 New Yorker Joe Weiss moved to Miami Beach Florida and opened a restaurant named Joe’s. In 1921 he met a marine biologist visiting from Harvard University, who was working on building a local aquarium. The biologist asked Joe if he ever cooked the indigenous stone crabs, which were plentiful, but had a peculiar taste. Joe started experimenting with the crabs and discovered that if they were eaten hot …

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Tips for Buying and Cooking Sustainable Fish and Seafood Plus Recipe for Grilled Mahi Mahi with Tropical Salsa

September 29, 2013
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In the last post, we discussed sustainable fish and seafood and how we can be responsible stewards of the world’s oceans in what we choose to order, buy and eat. But do you know what to look for when buying fresh fish and seafood in terms of freshness of the product? And once you get that fish home, do you know the best way to cook it. If you don’t know your poaching from your pan roasting, read on below for

Tips for buying fresh fish and seafood:

  • Trust your fishmonger. Have a conversation with the person behind the fish counter. Can they answer questions as to where the fish comes from, how it was raised or how it was caught? If not, reconsider where you buy.
  • Trust your nose. Fish should never smell “fishy”. If whole, the eyes should be bright and clear and the flesh should be firm
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Summer Beet Salad with Corn, Cucumber and Basil

July 8, 2013
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Beets seem to strike two types of reactions in people; they either love them, waxing poetic, or dislike them with a passion usually reserved for people who steal your parking space at the mall. I am firmly in the “love” camp, though I came late to the party in my affection for beets. People who say they don’t like beets, when pressed, usually admit to a long rooted childhood aversion to canned, over-cooked, or pickled beets and often haven’t tried them again as adults.

My theory is that like many other foods, beets, if properly prepared, are almost impossible to dislike. If your only experience with fish as a child was eating school cafeteria fish sticks, then I’m not surprised if you say you don’t like fish. But let me give you a spectacular piece of grilled wild salmon and I promise to convert you. The same holds true for …

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