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I grew up in a family that still made good of our leftovers. We pan-fried leftover grilled corn, made meatloaf, stuffed all sorts of vegetables, made soup with bits and bobs of meats and leftover rinds and things. At times I thought it was amazing and at times a cruel joke. Do they really think I’m not going to notice that the corn in my fritter is from the half cob I refused to finish yesterday?! My attitude towards leftovers depended on age, and whether at that age I saw my parents as gods or messengers of evil, plotting against me. Reinventing foods to make something new and possibly more satiating is no laughing matter. It requires gusto which my mother has in spades. Many of the soups, stews, loafs, and stuffings we revere come from these humble roots.
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You can’t go wrong with hearty soups and stews in winter. They make any snowfall feel like the best of snow days, they restore your body and relax your mind, and they simply and deliciously warm you up from the inside out. My family doesn’t eat pork all the time. But when we come across a really good spicy pork sausage, we immediately find a big soup pot to put it in. Allowing the thick coins to soften and infuse a light broth with their rich, spicy, fatty goodness can change your whole outlook on cooking in winter. There must be a group of people out there who have devised recipes that showcase turkey and chicken sausage, but this soup is not one of those recipes. Furthermore, I am not one of those people. The fat and spice is what gives peasant-like soups their umph. It’s why you find yourself leaning in over the bowl and breathing in deep. And fat certainly puts the soul in good ol’ chicken soup.2 Comments » Keep reading »
Last seven days: Colloquium = 6 days away; Japan = 8 days away; number of times I’ve been up past 2am = 5; number of morning I’ve woken up refreshed only because the prior day’s caffeine is still in my system = 2; number of books studying = 23; pots of tea drunk: 20? Times cooked = 1; chocolate bars eaten = 4; movies watched = 3. Even with all the caffeine, I’m relatively stress-free and happy. ONE MORE WEEK TO GO. Woot.Leave a comment » Keep reading »
The chicken, bean salad, and watercress in this recipe compliment each other well. The chicken gives some spice and smokiness, the beans their starch, citrus, and a little bite, and the watercress gives some needed crunch and pepperiness. For anyone gawking at the length: the chicken is also great on a sandwich, and the bean salad is excellent eaten alone, with a little sprinkle of cheese, with tortilla chips, or put in a taco.Leave a comment » Keep reading »
This sandwich has saltiness from the olives, sweetness from the Spanish onion, acidity from the tomatoes, and the creaminess from the white bean puree. As is general for sandwich recipes, these individual ingredients can be saved to mix again in new presentations (both below are great just as crostini). It will also keep really well if refrigeration is not an option.1 Comment » Keep reading »
Sweet pepper soothes
Hummus, Indian-spiced cukes
Hot hot hot pickle
It has probably been said before that a sandwich is like a haiku. Both are structurally supported by their respective art forms, giving the artist leeway to freely associate with the past and also reinvent the form every time. Executed well, you have a tiny tidbit that nourishes the brain and pleases the mouth, and done horribly wrong you have a bit of inedible garbage that is spat out under the table.
Putting together a successful sandwich or haiku requires skill and understanding. With a sandwich, you need to consider the guidelines, the layers that will comprise the meal, flavors, textures, and references to past sandwiches. The sandwich must fit comfortably between the mandibles, be able to be elevated by the hands alone, and travel distance (or withstand time) before it’s eaten. A sandwich’s layers are balanced one atop the other, and must be distinct but also compliment one another. And most importantly the creator must consider flavor (spicy, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty) and texture (crunchy, soft, slippery, chewy, dry, and chunky).Leave a comment » Keep reading »