Sugar Pumpkins – pepitas and puree by Weezie

Posted on 11-01-10 · Tags: , , , , ,

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I am sitting in the living room of one of my closest friends in Philadelphia, Anj’s godmother Kristin. I grew up in Philadelphia and have been very close with Kristin since I was 16. That is over 40 years. She is dying of lung cancer and I don’t know if this is the last time I will be with her.

For the last year I have been making the purest and simplest food for her – organic chicken broth or very simple organic lentils with greens. Even though I can’t be there to cook for her every night, she can combine these simple foods to make soups and stews – giving her comfort, inspiration and the nutrition she needs to keep her strength. I freeze them and bring them to her about once a month. Now most of what she is eats comes out of an intravenous tube. (What she takes by mouth she usually throws up.)

So here I am, sitting next to her, and writing this post while she dozes on my shoulder – a surreal experience. But work is an anchor that grounds the soul – so here we go.

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Adventures in butter making by Weezie

Posted on 07-07-10 · Tags: , , ,

Homemade whipped butter in a jar
top left – cream yogurt; top right – thicker after shaking 4 minutes; bottom left – curds about separated; bottom right – ball of butter floating in whey

In the early 70s I was a weaver and a member of the Philadelphia Guild of Hand Weavers. I didn’t just want to weave. I wanted to card my own wool, spin it into my own yarn and make my own dyes. I even had fantasies of raising my own sheep. Well, I’m the same way with cooking. Anjuli and I always want to get back to the basics. We make our own ghee. We love it. Recently Anjuli said, “wouldn’t it be great if we made our own butter so that we know what kind we’re using for our ghee?”

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Kefir by Anjuli

Posted on 10-29-09 · Tags: , , , , ,

Kefir

I have been drinking this creamy, fizzy fermented milk tonic called kefir for four months every morning along with a fried egg on toast. I love it. My mother introduced me to kefir back in the summer as a way to boost immunity and enjoy milk (a food I’ve avoided for most of my adult life). While the sour-smelling, milky substance she put in front of me was a little off-putting at first, it took a single sip before I wanted to make some. I have come to adore our kefir grains, almost like a pet. A day without a glass of the tonic is a sad day, so we even tend to travel with our kefir. If you haven’t tried it, I strongly suggest you do. And if you live in New York, I may even be able to supply you with your culture!

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The What, Why, and How of Miso by Anjuli

Posted on 06-26-09 · Tags: ,

Really bad photo of really good miso

We all know it’s been raining like WHAT??!!, and apparently won’t end anytime soon. While I can’t suggest cures for rain blues and b*tchiness (other than a shot of Whiskey), I can offer up my tricks for the rain: miso, a rain shell with a billed hat (mine is a simple EMS), and giant green rain boots with tiny tennis rackets (yes, that’s right). The shell will keep you dry outdoors, the miso cozy and healthy indoors, and the boots… they let you to stomp around in puddles. These tricks (all three) may make you stick your tongue out. I’m not going to argue style and function with you, but I will speak to the food. Miso, how the Japanese it, and how any who make it at home eat it, is not how you find it at a Westernized sushi restaurant in a US city.

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Boiling chicken and making stock by Anjuli

Posted on 10-18-08 · Tags: ,

Boiling chicken and making broth

Buying a chicken and processing it yourself is an excellent way to save money and introduce flavor into stocks and recipes. It’s easy to boil a chicken, and once done, the meat falls right off. Of course, it was only easy after my mother came for the weekend and showed me this technique and others.

There is never, ever, a good reason to buy a conventional chicken. Buy Organic, and find the best one you can. Don’t even get me started on the industry of chickens, or I will spam you with statistics and horrifying photos. Animal rights aside, you are what you eat. Who wants to be part broken-legged fat bird stuffed with antibiotics? OK, I’ll stop. This 3 pound youngin was $14.

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Homemade Indian ghee if you dare by Anjuli

Posted on 10-10-08 · Tags: ,

Making ghee

Ghee, or Indian clarified and caramelized butter, is hard to relay in a recipe. There are many visual and aromatic cues to watch out for, and all are subject to interpretation. Learning how to make ghee in my family, like most other things, has always been show, not tell. When my parents were newlyweds, they went to India. My mother spent much of the time observing in the kitchen with my relatives. When I learned, I brought my camera along. Now, four years later, I’m attempting a written version for public consumption. So we’re breaking new ground here. Why? Because ghee kicks butter’s ass.

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