A Cheeseburger in a Nearly Cheese-Free Environment

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By Edward Schneider

I just had a hamburger, and I like sautéed onions and cheese on mine. Sometimes bacon too, and tomato. And ketchup. So, hamburger purists, sue me.  

There wasn’t any cheeseburger cheese, i.e., something other than grating cheeses, something like gruyère or cheddar. So when I’d cooked my sliced onion in butter, until tender and blond, I added some grated parmesan, which, bingo, made a cheese/onion sauce. It tasted good on or off the hamburger, and it could be the basis for something more elaborate now that I know it works.

Posted in American

Buttered Peas on Toast

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by John Thorne 

When I first read about this dish in Nigel Slater’s rather hypnotic Kitchen Diaries, I thought, “Where have you been all my life?” I love fresh peas as fresh from the garden as I can get them and often eat a whole bowlful at night just before going to bed. Who thought I could have them for breakfast, too? You might point out that Nigel hadn’t meant this as a breakfast dish, which is true but irrelevant. I love fresh asparagus on toast for breakfast — heat minced garlic in butter in a small skillet until softened, add half a cup of water and bring it to a boil, put in asparagus cut into short lengths, cover, and cook for 7 or 8 minutes. Make toast, butter it if you’re in a luxuriant mood, and pour over the contents of the skillet. What are you waiting for? Eat. Continue reading

Posted in Recipes

An Appreciation of Washoku

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There is a tradition of English-speaking writers effectively translating the cuisines of other countries for us, and it’s a worthy one. Those authors may be native to the country of their subject: Marcella Hazan, for example, or Julie Sahni. Or they may have been foreigners, like Richard Olney, Elizabeth David, or Julia Child. To some extent, they offered us the food of other countries in a way we could only otherwise experience by going there, because for the most part the restaurants representing those cuisines were not yet offering us the real deal.  

This is the position Elizabeth Andoh is in, and her job is as challenging as any. Ms. Andoh, an American who moved to Japan more than 40 years ago and has spent that time learning Japanese cooking (and culture, and the language, and more) and refining it for English-speaking audiences. One might argue that Ms. Andoh has written the same book several times, a book that says, in essence, “Please. It’s not as hard as you think. Let me explain it to you so you can give it a shot.” Her most recent effort, Washoku, is now nearly five years old and, I think, is underappreciated despite an IACP award.   Continue reading

Posted in Japanese

Ducking Around with Carnitas

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By Daniel Meyer 

Carnitas is (are?) one of my all-time favorite foods. Pork shoulder braised, pulled, and crisped in its own fat; a pile of tortillas, a higher pile of beers. It doesn’t get much better than that.  

Last week it almost did. I used duck instead of pork; it stood to reason in my head that braising and frying a duck couldn’t possibly be a bad idea. It wasn’t.  Continue reading

Posted in Mexican

This Week’s Minimalist: 101 Things to Grill

Need grilling ideas? See today’s Mini, just in time for the Fourth; there are 101. Let us know how they go, and happy grilling.

Posted in American

A Black Market No More

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by Paula Crossfield (Civil Eats

When the New York Times reported on the growing phenomenon of underground food markets in New York City back in June, the Greenpoint Food Market was forced to shut its doors.  

The New York Times article “put us on radar with the officials,” wrote Joann Kim, the market’s organizer and founder, in an email to market devotees. “Since then we have gone back and forth with the city trying to find a solution to how the market can keep its mission while adhering to rules and regulations.” Continue reading

Posted in Farming, Food Politics

Convenience Food that Makes Sense

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I like Bob’s Red Mill, and I’m glad they’ve made inroads into mainstream supermarkets. I sometimes think they go a bit too far (what won’t they grind?) but so what?

I mean, I found myself with this so-called soup mix – which contains, as you see, beans, lentils, and whole grains. I have most of the things listed here – maybe not kamut, certainly not triticale or whole oat groats, but a fair approximation. (Of course finding them is another story, but we’re not going to discuss the state of my cabinets.) The stuff sat on the counter for a few days, with me scorning it: “What do I need a soup mix for?” Continue reading

Posted in American

Politics of the Plate

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By Barry Estabrook  

One More Reason to Avoid Farmed Salmon

Prince Edward Island bills itself as a bucolic haven of pristine beaches, white clapboard farmhouses, and quaint fishing villages. But the province is also home to one of the scariest places I’ve ever visited. There, in 2002, I toured a small warehouse-like building housing a dozen aquariums containing salmon that were genetically modified to grow twice as fast as normal salmon.

In one tank, a biologist showed me fish that were about the size of hot dogs. In an adjacent tank, salmon easily the size of my forearm paddled in listless circles. The fish in the two tanks were exactly the same age and had been fed identical diets. The giants, however, carried a gene that from a cold-water dwelling ocean pout that continuously enabled them to produce a growth hormone. Normal salmon stop excreting growth hormones when water temperatures cool. Continue reading

Posted in Food Politics

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

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It’s easy enough to despise Chocolate Cheerios, but they point the way to an understanding that organic food can hardly be considered blameless when it comes to the relentless drive of Big Food to addict or at least hibituate children to eating what amounts to dessert for breakfast.

A few days after we posted a picture of the looming display of Chocolate Cheerios, I happened to be staying in a house where someone bought a package of Cascadian Farm Organic Chocolate Granola. After one glance at the Granola label, I decided to go on both companies’ websites and do a little nutritional comparison. Continue reading

Posted in Food Politics

Solstice Greetings

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By Clotilde Hryshko   

In the 1991 movie Raise the Red Lantern, the character played by Gong Li was wife #4 to a lord of a powerful family in 1920’s China.  The wives all ate together and they knew each other’s status partially based on the food served.  Gong Li’s character always desired spinach and tofu.  The movie stuck and replayed in my head for many reasons but her continual requests for this dish became my fixation.   

Many years later at the end of a rainy June market we had lots of spinach left.  I wasn’t in the mood to freeze it and took the opportunity to finally come up with my version of “spinach and tofu”.  I crumbled tofu with scallions in a skillet and cooked them until the water had evaporated.  The spinach I steamed in batches and when cool squeezed out any excess water.  I added the chopped spinach to the tofu, salting to taste.  From there I used this as my filling for egg rolls.  It became one of my favorite dinners to make for Father’s Day.  I take no credit for how well the tofu and spinach work together.  Nor is there any claim to authenticity.  I serve the egg rolls with a sesame-chili paste, sometimes adding peanuts.  Continue reading

Posted in Farming, Produce