What Are Your Five-Minute Fixes for Rice?



It’s not a recipe, exactly, but it’s a revelation, or it was when my roommate Judy showed it to me 40 years ago (scary, but true; it was 1970). There was something daring, creative, wonderful about it.

What was it? Lemon rice. Lemon, black pepper, cooked rice. Fried rice with lemon and pepper. Whatever you want to call it, it’s hardly exciting now. Continue reading

Posted in Behind The Scenes

Beverage Notes: Moxie


By John Thorne 

If you’re not doing anything else today, you might consider driving to Waldoboro, Maine, to help celebrate Moxie Day. The Moxiemobile will be there and other Moxie-intensive excitements, plus free samples of that beverage for everyone. Despite the fact that, before the Great Depression (I mean the earlier one), Moxie was America’s bestselling soft drink (okay, I don’t believe it either, but it does seem to be a fact), most people south of the Maine border have never heard of the drink, and the few who have, more than not, have refused to sample it again. Among them I count my doctor, who favors diet Dr Pepper, a drink which in any form should never have been allowed to cross the Mason-Dixon Line. (We already have it in New England; we call it cough syrup). When I suggested he might try diet Moxie, he reacted as though I had suggested he sip iced sewage.  

Moxie’s popularity in Maine is genuine. Checking online to confirm the Waldoboro event, I discovered that there are other Moxie Day celebrations in Maine this summer — in Lisbon Falls, Kennebunkport, and Union. I mention this only in passing, since my interest is in the beverage, not the “famous” Moxiemobile, Moxie memorabilia, or even Moxie ice cream. Even so, that these things actually exist gives me that comforting feeling you have when you discover you’re not alone.   Continue reading

Posted in American, Uncategorized

Politics of the Plate


By Barry Estabrook 

Lubricated Crab Larvae

It had to happen sooner or later. Oil has officially contaminated the Gulf of Mexico’s seafood chain.

Last week Geoff Pender of the Sun Herald, a newspaper serving the Mississippi coast, reported that scientists at the University of Southern Mississippi and Tulane University had found droplets of oil in the larvae of blue crabs. While the oil’s presence is no immediate cause of concern for those craving a summer evening Cajun crab boil ,it is a harbinger of bad news. Small fish such as menhaden feed on crab larvae, and as they say, big fish eat little fish. “I think we’ll see this enter the food chain in a lot of ways,” Harriet Perry, director of the Center for Fisheries Research and Development at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, told Pender. Continue reading

Posted in Food Politics, Seafood

Bocadillos [Help Please]


These, according to the sign in the bake shop in Buenos Aires, are bocadillos. Vegetable-egg-rice-cheese-potato fritters, or rounded pancakes, made in many different ways, as you can see. And quite good.  

Now before you tell me that they’re not, that bocadillos are sandwiches, I know. I’m just reporting: This is what the sign said. And if I’d known that identifying them would be such a challenge I would have a) paid more attention and b) grilled the saleswoman about the weird name.  

But as I’m not going back to BsAs (as they say) any time soon, and as I’d like to make these, I’m wondering if any of you know what they are, exactly?

Posted in Mexican

From Inventory to Dinner II: Scallops, Peas, Beans and Pasta


By Edward Schneider 

As I said the other day when a menu board outside a raucous saloon provided the magic word (“chowder”) that defined that evening’s dinner, we turned out to have bought more than one meal’s worth of scallops. There were also plenty more peas and herbs, and we didn’t use the fava beans at all. 

So we needed a dish that was the same but different: some of the same core ingredients, but new flavors and textures, and a new staple to replace the potatoes. The same options as the day before remained open: risotto or other rice variations, for instance. But on my contemplative walk home I remembered that in the freezer was a pint container of egg-pasta disks: a while before, we’d made some kind of ravioli/tortelli/dumplings, and the filling had run out before the pasta, so we’d laid the extra disks out on a paper-lined tray, froze them and stored them in the container. Never again would they work for ravioli (once defrosted they would probably get gummy), but thrown, frozen, into boiling water they’d be kind of like Ligurian corzetti, except eggier than most and without the stamped decoration. Continue reading

Posted in Produce, Seafood

Decent Food at 30,000 Feet, Seriously


By Andrea Nguyen

[Andrea discovers decent airplane food, and converts it to an appealing recipe. – mb)

Airline food is rarely something that you want to replicate at home. On a recent press trip to Asia, though I was treated to business class flights. We kicked off our long-haul back to the States with a 2-hour leg from Hanoi to Hong Kong; it was late morning and I’d breakfasted on pho noodle soup and croissant, thinking that I wouldn’t eat until the afternoon when we reached Hong Kong.

But we were served a full lunch, and I suddenly felt hungry when I got a whiff of the meal that the flight staff was reheating. It smelled comforting — garlic, soy sauce, maybe fish sauce too. Continue reading

Posted in Chinese, Travel

Sunday Supper: 4th of July Menu

In honor of the long holiday weekend it seems only appropriate to offer up more than the usual Sunday dish–so here you go: a few ideas for a classic 4th of July celebration. All adapted from How to Cook Everything.

No-Work Smoked Pork Shoulder or Spareribs

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Time: About 4 hours, largely unattended

A gas grill works best here (though an oven will do for the first variation). You’ll be amazed by the ease of this low-and-slow technique and downright shocked at the result: The meat can be served straight off the grill, with no more than a squeeze of lime and a few drops of Tabasco, or with any salsa or chutney. Or your can refrigerate the whole thing, slice the shoulder or cut between the ribs, and put it back on the grill—this time over direct heat—to add a crisp steaklike char over the super-tender insides. Continue reading

Posted in American, Recipes

A Cheeseburger in a Nearly Cheese-Free Environment


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


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