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We’ve been moving around quite a bit lately, so it’s been hard to find the time to soak beans. Ah, bean soaking. That cooking activity we all say we don’t have time for but of course we do. Well I’ve also grown tired of using canned chickpeas when I’m in the need for some hummus. And the colder it gets, the more I like the idea of a spread and some toasted pita fresh from the oven. While the unsalted kind can work, the texture of the beans many times turns out mealy, and sometimes doesn’t accept any moisture at all. You wind up with an incredibly green, greasy, ball of chickpea dough spinning around and around in your food processor. Not cool. Amusingly enough, this is the first dish Matt and I attempted together, and basically how he was introduced to my cooking. Note to self: salting too early makes for not awesome mouth feel and impermeable starches and proteins.
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I scrapped the TV event rituals of chips and dip, buffalo wings, and other toilet-hugging night wreckers in favor of these little nibblets. They’re friendly, bite-sized, and come in all sorts of flavors to suit the mood of the hour. Here are some options to start with. And here’s to hoping…2 Comments » Keep reading »
The "nightshades" are out in abundance. Members of the Solanaceae family, among them peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and mushrooms are being harvested and brought to markets all over the east. Many nightshades are rich in alkaloids, chemical compounds that act as the plant’s defenses and can be toxic to us. The effects of their toxins can range from irritant (chilies) to stimulant (cocaine) to death (mushrooms such as the death cap). So lets just say the nightshade family has given us some of the best and worst of edibles.
On my recent trip to the market I couldn’t resist the brightly colored bell peppers (Capsicum Annuum), the only capsicum with a recessive gene for capsaicin, the heat-producing alkaloid that irritates the pain and heat receptors in the mouth and nose, and basically causes us to sweat and reach for the milk when we eat good salsa.1 Comment » Keep reading »
Those who can find the perfect bite each time they bring a forkful to their mouth have a rare talent. Most of us shovel in our food, eat without looking, or prefer to eat the best part first or save it for last. Then there are those that eat clockwise, or only one thing at a time. What is that about? Any cook wants you to have the perfect balance of flavors in a good-sized mouthful every time.
I love to look at my food when I eat, and sometimes I focus so hard I miss conversations around me, forget to read subtitles during my dinner movie, or neglect to hear the waitress trying to get my attention for the second time. But the perfect bite usually only happens once a meal.3 Comments » Keep reading »