On Forgetting How to Cook, Part II

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MB

Another thing I seem to have forgotten: how to make bread. Specifically, how to make Jim Lahey’s bread, about which I somewhat famously wrote four years ago.

Then, at a benefit for the Truro Center for the Arts a few weeks ago, I met a woman named Judith Motzkin, who makes (among other things) ceramic pots specifically designed for baking Lahey-style bread. This roughly coincided with the arrival of an actual oven at the place I stay in on the Cape (until recently we had a weird kind of oven/microwave hybrid, which was inadequate to every task, from heating coffee to baking bread), and a pledge on my part to resume breadmaking. (The Outer Cape, notorious for bad bread, now boasts a “boulangerie” in Wellfleet which, from my pre-summer experience, seems pretty good, but right now it’s more than your life is worth to try to get anywhere near it. You might as well try to get into Mac’s Shack at 7pm on a Saturday.)  

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Posted in Baking

A Single Person’s Guide to Produce

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By Laura Virginia Anderson

[In which Ms. Anderson attempts to down the full allotment of her CSA share and then some. – mb]

Let’s say you’re a single person living in Brooklyn, and let’s say that a few months ago, you signed up for a full weekly CSA share containing vegetables, fruit, and eggs. Let’s also say—just for the hell of it—that you sometimes work as an assistant stylist on the set of your boss’s cooking videos, and that you often take home leftover vegetables from the set so that they don’t get thrown away.

My hypothetical question is this: Is it possible for you, single Brooklynite, to consume your CSA share, plus vegetables rescued from the set, over the course of the week without either throwing anything away or having a nervous breakdown?

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Posted in Produce

On Forgetting How to Cook, Part I

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MB

Anything you learn, you can forget, right? That’s how I figure it.  

I used to grill probably 100, 150 nights a year (I never counted, but that seems about right). I lived in Connecticut, which is not the ideal grilling location, but because I came from New York, where grilling is as illegal as right turns on red, to me it was so exotic that once the opportunity became an unlimited one, I took full advantage of it. One of the first food stories I wrote, back in the early 80s, was about grilling during winter. I had a tiny second floor porch, and I was out there every chance I got, almost regardless of the weather.  

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Posted in American

Politics of the Plate

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By Barry Estabrook

Fresh Express Bags Food Safety Trifecta

In the past three months, Fresh Express, a unit of Chiquita Brands International, managed to claim food contamination’s Triple Crown.

Sustainable Food News reports that earlier this month, the company, known for its bagged “ready-to-eat” salad greens, recalled nearly 3,000 cases of its Veggie Lover’s Salad mix because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

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Posted in Food Politics, Produce

Leftover Dueling Pork

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By Edward Schneider

When we had our dueling pork meal, even with eight people around the table there were leftovers, of course. The first round I mentioned in the post, but there were plenty more. So one evening Jackie and I had patties, or kotlety, or rissoles – or, as my mother used to call them, coquettes (how racy, had she but known). To make them, I chopped up the rest of the Ibérico pork and some of the Flying Pigs roast, mixed it with cooked (and cooled) onion, eggs, breadcrumbs and chopped dill, formed patties, breaded them and got them crisp and hot in clarified butter. Mushroom sauce (sautéed mushrooms, milk and cream, pureed then finished with lemon juice) on the side. They were deliciously porky. 

But wait, there were still more leftovers. And these became a stuffing for not-entirely-classic tortellini. The traditional Emilia-Romagna filling is made of some variation on cooked pork and capon or turkey, prosciutto, mortadella and parmesan, seasoned with nutmeg. It is quite a dry mixture, which makes it easy to form and keep the tortellini. For my variation, I used the remaining Flying Pigs roast pork loin (including all its fat), a chunk of prosciutto and some parmesan, all run through the food processor along with a little rosemary, and seasoned with ground fennel seed and black pepper. These flavors echoed the original seasoning of the roast; there was no point in fighting flavors that were already there in the name of some notion of authenticity that was already out the window.  

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Posted in Italian

Curry Fried Rice

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by Andrea Nguyen 

I typically walk to the market every day for groceries, but ever since I pulled my Achilles I’ve had to do a lot more cooking on the fly.  

The other day I limped to the fridge to figure something out for lunch. I found some leftover rice, a couple of eggs, blanched green beans, and sautéed mushrooms. I could have made an omelet and reheated the rice in the microwave, but fried rice came to mind. 

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Posted in Indian

Sunday Supper: Squid with Chiles and Greens

A lot of people only eat squid if it’s deep-fried. Here it’s stir-fried, which means that it’s quick, it’s easy, and it won’t make your kitchen too hot for too long. Adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Squid with Chiles and Greens

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 20 minutes

Squid cooks so fast and freezes so well that this dish can easily become a pantry staple for weeknights. As with most stir-fries, just about all the ingredients can be varied. Serve with sticky rice.

About 1 1/2 pounds cleaned squid

8 to 12 ounces bitter greens, like collards, kale, arugula, or dandelion

3 tablespoons peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

1 chopped jalapeño or other fresh chile, or to taste, or several dried hot chiles

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Salt

1. Separate the squids’ tentacles from their bodies if that has not been done; slice the bodies into rings; cut the tentacles in half if they’re large. Rinse well and drain while you prepare the other ingredients. Strip the greens’ leaves from the stems and discard any stems thicker than 1/8 inch. Chop, rinse, and dry; you want 2 to 3 cups.

2. Put the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, add the chile and the garlic and stir for about 15 seconds. Add the greens and cook, stirring almost constantly, until they wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the squid and a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squid becomes opaque and its liquid moistens the greens, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.

 

Posted in Chinese

The Last Blackberry

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By Kerri Conan 

The garden has been behaving so strangely this year that we actually ate the last blackberry before the first tomato. Let me tell you: plucking that final berry was a big bummer. 

I usually roll with the ebb and flow of the seasons and never get too attached to any one crop. But without tomatoes to pick up the slack a juiciness vacuum suddenly loomed large. I looked down at the handful of motley berries in my colander and made one last pass through the patch, lifting branches, looking for one more that might have eluded my glance. Funny how wacky weather makes you pay more attention to every bite. 

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Posted in Farming, Produce

This #$!% Has Got to Stop: Part Seven

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Pop-Tart sushi (crushed Pop-Tarts wrapped in fruit roll) from the just-opened Pop-Tarts World in Times Square (the place was packed). In a moment of sugar-induced delerium I may have uttered the words, “well balanced” (because of the slight tartness of the pulverized strawberry(?) Pop-Tarts). Then my senses returned and told me “this #$!% has got to stop.”

Posted in Behind The Scenes