Meatballs in tomato sauce by Anjuli

Posted on 02-08-11 · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Meatballs

Meatballs in my family make their own meal. They’re palm-sized and ever so tender nestled in tomato sauce with rarely a carb in sight. You could bake them in the oven – yea you could – but we like them simmered until they are just barely held together. Mom recently bought half a whole hog which she split with her good friend Priscilla who lives up the road. They’ll be cooking everything save a few offal, including the head, which are illegal to ship outside state lines. She’s still waiting on the cured bits, but ground pork, raw sausage and chops have graced our table in the last few weeks. It’s damn good pork, out of a small farm in Maine. Today we broke out the ground pork and some grass fed beef.

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July harvest part 2: Tomatoes by Weezie

Posted on 08-01-10 · Tags: , , , , , ,

IMG_1035-2

Tomatoes are awesome this year. They’re plump, juicy and bursting with flavor; no rot, no blights. YEAH! Tomatoes are such a satisfying thing to grow. Once you get the hang of it, your tomatoes will taste and feel infinitely better (and be infinitely cheaper) than what you can buy. As long as you stake them, you can grow tomatoes in the most minuscule of places – even on a fire escape in the heart of a city. Tomatoes, generally a vine crop, like to grow up, so you just need to give them a little support. You can grow cherry tomatoes in a pot, too.

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Roasted poblano salsa with tomatoes, onions, and black olives by Anjuli

Posted on 07-02-10 · Tags: , , , , ,

Roasted poblano salsa with tomatoes, onions, and black olives

A couple months ago Matt and I stopped ingesting large sums of caffeine. For people who spend a lot of time at their computers – writing and programming respectively – this is sort of professional suicide. We cut out basically everything except chocolate. And I’m not saying we swapped it out for some English Breakfast or Mate, which. BTW, is NOT coffee, but a bitter tonic that makes you feel like your chest is in a vice grip. For people who know us, this was a huge red flag – not the first indication that we’d gone off the deep end. They assumed we were half way to converting to Jainism and wearing bug nets in front of faces so we didn’t, perchance, swallow an unsuspecting fly, and that our cussing had been reduced to references to sweet snacks. Naaah, we’re still us, just not artificially pepped up like jackhammers. Really, my body needed a break. The caffeine wasn’t working anymore. Part of me also assumed I’d be like all the other 20-somethings out there who look back fondly and sheepishly at that one glorious year after college when they attempted to get off the juice. Or that it would be like the time we went on THE MASTER CLEANSE. We subjected ourselves to a few days of eating lemons, grade A maple syrup and cayenne pepper before we broke down, partially because we could barely concentrate enough to remember to drink the stuff, and raced around Manhattan looking for maple sugar candy leaves or a maple tree to tap. This is before we realized Manhattan is not in New England.

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Matar Paneer by Weezie

Posted on 06-16-10 · Tags: , , , , ,

Mom's Matar Paneer

Last year was a bad year for peas in Simsbury. There was too much rain and the peas did nothing. Maybe I got one meal out of them. As the snow fell in January, Priscilla and I sat by the fire with a cup of tea and a basket full of seed catalogs. We browsed through the seed write-ups, dreaming about next year’s garden. We tried to imagine which peas, peppers, brussels sprouts, lettuces, or onions would do well in our Connecticut soil. We strategized on how to rotate our crops this year to defy the squash borers or the cabbage moths without using poison. We tried to guess how much of each vegetable our family would want to eat in 2010. Priscilla lives five minutes away and like me she has an organic garden. She spends every available moment during the school year and all summer amidst her tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries and her 1000 heads of garlic. She and I often plant different vegetables or different varieties and then share our harvests.

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Black bean soup + Utah’s red dirt by Anjuli

Posted on 02-09-10 · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

"Black" bean soup

Lately I have been reading about the Japanese cooking philosophy, washoku, in a wonderful book of the same name by Elizabeth Andoh. Included in the principles of the washoku philosophy are considerations of: the five colors (go shiki), five tastes (go mi), five senses (go kan), and five ways… of preparing food (go hō). These principles are used to prepare meals daily, from elaborate multi-course kaiseki to the simplest of breakfasts. While they can easily be identified in Japanese cooking, and the Japanese certainly do a beautiful job of interpreting their philosophy, guidelines like these are an excellent way of exploring any meal or cuisine. While the list may seem daunting, it’s quite simple, and quiet effective in guiding us to create healthful, satisfying meals.

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Carne con chile by Anjuli

Posted on 02-02-10 · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pojoaque - new house and neighbors

Some foods are so hearty and so beloved that selecting one among the many variations is like waging war upon all the others. This is probably the case with beef chili, which some claim to have evolved from a Northern Mexican dish, and some a purely American one. My childhood memory of beef chili would more accurately be: “ground beef with kidney beans,” or the faintest memory of that other, “vegetarian” kind, which never held my attention for more than a few bites. In fact, I never really understood what the “chili” part of the dish was referring to, except for some faint red spice bombarded by too much oregano and cumin.

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Noms Caesar-like Greek Salad by Anjuli

Posted on 07-21-09 · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Noms Greek-like Salad

The origin story of the white brined curd cheese from the Balkans has long been a point of contention. As of 2002 the Greeks have the official PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) on “feta,” which was again upheld in 2005 when Denmark, Germany, and France fought to use “feta” as a generic name for any salty, white cheese. As far as the Balkans are concerned, Bulgarians claim the cheese to be a descendant of their “sirene” from the Trakia region in the Balkan Peninsula.

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My bread speaks in cheese and tomatoes by Anjuli

Posted on 04-26-09 · Tags: , , , , ,

Grilled cheese w/ caramelized onions, whole grain mustard, and tomatoes on homemade anadama bread

Being a perceptive cook really means doing the bidding of your food. It’s a good day when you just happen to have a molasses sweet and cornmeal gritty anadama bread (from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice) that is crying out for some grilled cheese and tomatoes. If on that day it happens to be 80 degrees (seriously?) and both your cheese and brow are sweating, you just pair it with a little acidic salad to refresh your palate.

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The Tagine: Spicy, independent, and oh so tender by Anjuli

Posted on 03-06-09 · Tags: , , , , ,

Monkfish tagine with potatoes, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, and roasted peppers

Ceramic vessels have been used for cooking for centuries the world over. The sand pot in China, cazuela in Spain, and the tagine (tajine, or طاجين in Arabic) in Morocco all take advantage of ceramic’s porous nature and the moist environment created by these covered casserole vessels that release steam gradually. Vessels like these are used to cook food slowly, creating juicy and tender proteins simmered in rich, flavorful sauces with little need for additional liquid or fat. I recently bought a contemporary version of the tagine from the French company Le Creuset. Our first tagine dish was savory, a little buttery, with a kick of spice, and included incredibly moist, succulent fish and enough broth to dip bread in to our heart’s content. Oh joy.

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Lebanese Lamb Stew by Anjuli

Posted on 02-23-09 · Tags: , , , , , ,

Lebanese Lamb Stew

Nothing can bring you out of the depths of jet lag, writer’s block, and the melancholy from hating the recession, NY produce in winter, and NY restaurants in general like a rich, savory Lebanese lamb stew. I am a lamb and stew newbie so this was a small revelation. We actually had to look up lamb to verify its animal origin: sheep. This post is not without some myth busting and prejudice, specifically my relegation of lamb to the gamey, smelly variety of meat that I would never touch. Thanks to this recipe and Harold McGee, I have overcome my judgments. Mutton, though, is a different story.

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