The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Recipes

Kids Make Pasta alla Chitarra

We normally eschew fancy kitchen gadgets in our food appreciation classes in favor of making food by hand. But I make an exception when it comes to pasta simply because cranking the pasta machine and cutting noodles is so much fun. It really focuses the kids’ minds. The classes whiz by. This week I brought […]

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A Different Approach to Collards

For years we’ve been making our collards the old-fashioned way: boiling them to death. But lately my wife expressed concerns that we were leaching all the nutrient goodness out of our greens. Could we prepare them a better way? This week I picked up a bunch of large-leafed collards at the farmers market and tried […]

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A Little Sweetness in Your Dill Pickles?

I’m convinced that the best dill pickles I’ve ever tasted had at least a little sugar in them. The traditional flavor combo–dill seed, mustard seed, peppercorns–just doesn’t do much for me. Yet I’ve had the hardest time finding a dill pickle recipe (I’m talking about vinegar pickles, of course) that gets me closer to the pickle […]

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A Miracle! Kids Eat Spinach!

One of my most vivid memories monitoring the dining habits in a local elementary school here in the District of Columbia was watching my very own daughter carefully dis-assemble a made-from-scratch lasagna so she could pick out and discard the spinach and eat just the pasta and cheese. Well, guess what? Kids will eat spinach. […]

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A Tale of Two Chops

Would-be briner’s take heed: Using salt and herbs to infuse flavor into meats is an art, not a science. Much depends on guaging how long your meats need to sit in the brine to develop the flavor you’re looking for. As part of this month’s Charcutepalooza project I’ve been brining pork chops and I have […]

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A Zestier Smothered Okra

I planted our garden late this year because we were planning to sell our house and I wasn’t sure we’d have any garden at all. But look at our okra. Barely three feet high, the plant are already making pods like crazy. I had to take a moment from tiling bathrooms to harvest some quick, […]

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Accidental Buttermilk Pie

What do you do when the dairy delivers a half-gallon of buttermilk by mistake? Answer: Make buttermilk pie. This was my wife’s inspiration. Although, if you had nailed my feet to the floor and doused me with hot coffee, I probably could have remembered there was something called “buttermilk pie.” I love the flavor and […]

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And Now For The Bones

Wait! This is no time for the cook to rest on his laurels. Sure, you worked all day putting that feast together yesterday. You may feel like the kitchen is the last place you want to be. But if you were thinking, while everyone else zoned out in front of the television, you were scooping […]

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Apple Brown Betty

Is it apple picking time already? In honor of the occasion, I’m reviving this recipe for a ridiculously simple apple dessert. We made apple brown Betty in our food appreciation classes last year and it was an instant hit. In the best tradition of good, simple food, it relies on the humblest of ingredients: apples, […]

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Apple Pancake

After being snowed in for a week, thoughts do turn to food. My wife dug into the crisper drawer (somehow, it’s always stuffed to the gunwales) to make this lovely apple pancake. Well, it’s more like a crepe, but very simple. The recipe comes from our favorite breakfast-oriented cookbook, the aptly titled The Breakfast Book, by […]

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Arctic Char with Creamy Wasabi Pesto

One of the best features of our food co-op in Cambridge is the fish that gets trucked in fresh from Boston each week. This week, Arctic char was on the menu, one of my personal favorites. I ordered a pound and had it for dinner last night, fried simply in olive oil in the cast […]

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Aromatics Worthy of Framing

These are the components of my boiled beef tongue, minus the tongue. I loved the way they looked in the pot. After adding the tongue, just cover with water, bring to a low boil and cook for three hours. The broth alone is worth the effort. I strain it and keep it in the fridge […]

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Baba Ganouj

When you’ve got lemons–so the saying goes–make lemonade. The same applies to eggplant. We’ve got plenty of it in the garden right now. In fact the plants themselves have long given up trying to stand upright, they are so weighted down with fruit. They just spread themselves on the ground. (Note to self: stake the […]

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Beef Tongue And Favas

Imagine the most delicious pot roast you’ve ever tasted. Now open your eyes and look at your plate. That’s no beef chuck, my friend. That’s tongue. This may be the first time ever that friends have declined a dinner invitation. “Too squeamish,” abjured one of our most reliable gastro partners when we announced our beef […]

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Beet Salad

This is one of our favorites: beet salad with red onions. And in the summer, we like to add tomatoes. Toss with olive oil, red wine vinegar, chives. Have you noticed, the chives are almost ready to bloom. The lavender-colored flowers make a great addition to salads as well. The reason this salad looks so […]

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Believe it or Not: Rutabaga Souffle

Think of Thanksgiving dishes you most dread and mashed rutabaga probably springs first to mind. What was that vaguely bitter orange stuff Aunt Tilly was so fond of anyway? Outside Minnesota, rutabaga have all the appeal of a dead skunk on the highway. Or do you have to be Scandinavian to love this under-appreciated root? […]

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Best Onion Rings Ever

Daughter requested a fry night for dinner. By that she means fry everything: potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion rings, broccoli, chicken, pickles. She even lobbied for frying Oreo cookies and peanut butter, then had a sudden urge for Twinkies when she spotted them at the checkout counter at the grocery store. But you’ve got to draw […]

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Best Vegetables to Grow in D.C.–with Recipes

Did you hear the show about urban kitchen gardening on Kojo Nnamdi yesterday? If not, you can listen to the archived version at Kojo’s website. We covered a lot of ground–so to speak–including spring garden prep, how to garden in an apartment, rats, and scavenging the neighborhood for composting materials. There’s never enough time for […]

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Better Burger, No Bun

If you are at all sensitive to carbohydrates, there’s no reason to spoil your Labor Day hamburger by smothering it in a bun. Nothing could be finer than a burger constructed of grass-fed beef from our local dairy, topped with grilled onion and a thick slice of Mortgage Lifter tomato from the garden. All we […]

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Birthday Cubanos

Every year we cook a birthday dinner for our friend Tomeika with her choice of entree. This year she chose Cubanos, the famous Cuban sandwich made with pork loin, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles. We had no idea she was a Cubanos fan. The one missing ingredient in a Cubano made outside Miami typically is […]

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Boeuf Bourguignon Redux

The classic French stew boeuf Bourguignon–meaning Julia Child’s boeuf Bouguignon–has become our daughter’s new favorite food. She begged me to make it this week as so I spent the better part of Sunday afternoon in the kitchen following the numerous steps required to accomplish this iconic dish. There were two specific issues I wanted to […]

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Boiled Beef Tongue

Somewhere under all these vegetables is an entire beef tongue. If you’ve never seen one, you might be surprised. It’s really big. And, of course, it’s just the sort of thing to gross out 9-year-old daughter, who took one look at it sitting on the kitchen counter and ran out of the room screaming. Seems I will […]

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Braised Kale

One of my favorite plants in the vegetable garden is the Tuscan kale, sometimes called “black” kale or Lacinato kale. It makes a stunning presentation with long, narrow, bluish-green leaves.It looks for all the world like a crinkled, miniature palm,  with leaves growing up in a circular pattern, then flopping over. And it is so hardy. […]

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Brined Chicken: Wow

I was prepared to be unimpressed with our brined chicken. After all, how much better could it be simply from soaking in salt, sugar and herbs overnight? Answer: a lot better. After years of trying to induce flavor into chicken–stuffing it with herbs, surrounding it with herbs in the roasting pan, pushing seasonings under the […]

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Brined Pork Tenderloin

The menu my wife devised for a recent catered dinner party included a pork tenderloin brined, then grilled. The pork was so outstanding–as evidenced by guests visiting the kitchen to make comments–I thought the process was worth sharing. There’s nothing really new about brining meats to infuse flavor, but pork seems to benefit especially. This […]

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Brining Beef Tongue

How do you like your tongue? I happen to like offal and odd cuts of meat and have found a great source in our local dairy. The choices vary. Recently among their on-line selections they had a special on tongue. I had to try it. As you can see, a whole tongue is one hunk […]

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Brussells Sprouts Kids Crave

After our food appreciation classes on Wednesday I got wind of a parent spreading the word that she had witnessed our kids fighting for helpings of Brussels sprouts. Imagine, kids actually loving Brussels sprouts! Well, the moral to this story is that sometimes food is all about the preparation, not necessarily the ingredients. Many vegetables, […]

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Canning, Interrupted

Do you set aside a day to can tomatoes? I know I don’t. If I spent a day canning tomatoes, we’d have enough canned tomatoes to feed an army. We’ve found that just two healthy Roma tomato plants provide enough tomatoes to last us the entire year. In fact, we just used the last pint […]

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Chard Braised in Gin

Don’t forget to eat the stems I have a confession to make: I have never cooked green chard before. The Swiss chard we grow is the “rhubarb” or beet red variety. I like it for its slightly sweet, beet flavor. But I was forced to confront my lack of knowledge about the other, more common […]

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Chicken in a Bucket

Can you believe that after all these years of cooking, I’ve never brined a chicken? Not a turkey, either. Well, our next project for Charcutepalooza is brining. They suggested pork chops. But I’ve already brined pork. I wanted to try something different. So I chose the chicken recipe ouf of our guiding text–Michale Ruhlman’s Charcuterie. Calling […]

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Chicken on the Spit

It hardly seems possible chicken could be any more moist and flavorful than the Freedom Rangers we raise on our pastures. One exception might be the same Freedom Ranger brined then roasted on a spit over hot coals. It took us a long time to come around to brining poultry. Could it possibly make that […]

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Chicken Stir Fry With Fresh Greens

We reserve a special place on our plates for collards and mustard greens this time of year. Beyond side dishes, they are an easy, healthful addition to stir fry. To tenderize the greens, cook them separately in your wok with a little oil. For the chicken in this dish, you can use breast meat, but […]

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Chicken Thighs In Red Sauce — Hunter Style

This dish sounds an awful lot like the classic chicken cacciatore, but it’s really a shortcut using some leftover marinara sauce that I had in the fridge. I don’t think anyone will be complaining. I’m partial to the dark meat on poultry. I supposed that makes me incorrect where the diet dictocrats are concerned, since the […]

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Classic Cassoulet

Cassoulet is a stew that captures the rustic flavors of southwestern France like no other. It’s also a perfect example of a peasant dish whose preparation is sometimes taken to ridiculously convoluted extremes. At least it can seem so to the harried modern cook. It took me three days to finish our pot of cassoulet, following […]

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Classic Pound Cake

With 27 laying hens, we’ve got more eggs than we know what to do with. We sell some of them off the farm, but we’re looking for value-added products we can make as a more lucrative sideline. Could pound cake fit the bill? Plain Jane of the baking universe, pound cake supposedly got its name […]

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Coconut Cream Pie

My lovely spouse made this incredible pie the other day. I wasn’t able to link to the recipe on Facebook, so my wife transcribed it in it’s entirety from Cook’s Illustrate. Here it is: MAKES ONE 9-INCH PIE, SERVING 8 TO 10 Light coconut milk lacks rich coconut flavor, so skip it in favor of […]

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Cod for Breakfast?

One of the great features of our local food co-op is the fresh seafood trucked in each week from Boston. On Tuesday’s we get an e-mail from the co-op with a list of choices. We place our order and usually by sometime Thursday afternoon it’s ready to be picked up. Last week I tried something […]

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Corned Beef & Cabbage My Way

I don’t normally make a St. Patrick’s day meal in April, but our local food co-op was giving away to working members several packages of Wellshire Farms corned beef that went unsold and I couldn’t resist. I took this as an opportunity to try my revised method for making traditional corned beef and cabbage. As […]

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Creamy Chicken Mexican Casserole

Here’s how different spouses approach dinner. I would have just thrown the chicken breast into a frying pan. My wife, the catering chef, turned the same chicken breast and some corn tortillas into this beautiful casserole. She adapted a recipe from something she found on a food blog. It starts with chicken we pulled from […]

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Curried Okra Stew With Sweet Potato Leaves And Coconut Milk

Did you know that sweet potato leaves are edible? Until last year, I didn’t know either. When I got the news, I was inspired to create this Indian-like stew of okra and sweet potato leaves smothered in coconut milk and seasoned with curry spices. As you might imagine, this is one of those dishes from […]

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Curried Okra-Eggplant Stew with Basil and Coconut Milk

The first okra is here! If you couldn’t tell from the heat, the first okra from the garden is a sure sign that summer is in full swing. Okra loves the heat and humidity here in the District of Columbia, so we have to love okra right back. It is happy to make pods for […]

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Daughter Makes Peanut Butter Pancakes

With refined flour, sugar and grape jelly, these pancakes wouldn’t appear at the top of my list of healthful foods I would wish for my daughter. But she made them herself, so I count this as a win. Anything that disabuses kids of processed factory foods is a good thing, in my book. Plus, this […]

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Daughter Makes Scampi

One of the best features of our local food co-op is the seafood that’s trucked in fresh from Boston each week. We get an email of the options and choose what and how much we want. Unfortunately, our 13-year-old daughter has a pretty universal reaction to things that swim. “I don’t like fish.” About the […]

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Daughter’s Favorite Cajun Pickles

We just picked another load of cucumbers and I knew exactly what I was going to do with them. There are so many ways to pickle cucumbers, but we have our favorites. Besides the classic deli-style dills, we like this spicy “Cajun” version that’s packed with hot red peppers, red onion, oregano, chili powder and a bevy […]

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Decoding Gram’s Butter Chews

This just shows you how dumb I am when it comes to baking. Pondering the next move in my baking appreciation classes, I thought it would be so cool to have the kids make one of the  cookies my grandmother made for Christmas every year. Everyone in our family has vivid memories of “gram” arriving […]

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Eggs & Shad, Take 2

My first treatment of the shad gifted to me at the local food co-op was simple but good: I sauteed it in butter and gave it a squirt of lemon. For the second pound of shad, I wanted to try something a little more elegant. I had a leek in the refrigerator and a cup […]

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Fast And Furious Okra

I actually met a longtime District of Columbia gardener recently who said she had never planted okra and did not sound anxious to do so anytime soon. What? How can this be? Doesn’t everyone know that nothing grows like okra in our hot, humid D.C. summers? Okra positively loves it here. It just can’t get […]

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First Salad, with Rainbow Trout

  At last, we are making our own salad from the garden again. I take a lazy approach to growing salad greens. As soon as the soil can be worked in the spring I add a little compost and scatter seeds for a variety of greens and lettuces. One narrow bed was devoted to arugula, mizuna, spinach, […]

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Fish Chowder My Way

I spent a few days in Maine recently and ate as much of the local seafood as I possibly could, cooked at a friend’s “cottage” (Not!) on Casco Bay near Freeport. Can I just say, the seafood market on the dock in Portland has some of most beautiful goods you’ll ever see? Fresh and glistening, […]

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Five-hour Baked Shad–Really?

We spent a weekend at a friend’s place in the Virginia countryside recently where the menu for a birthday dinner featured shad baked for five hours. Doesn’t everyone cook shad for their birthday? Well, it wasn’t our idea. But I was intrigued, first because I’ve never eaten shad before, and second because I’d never heard […]

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Foraged Garden Mash-Up

Sometimes bits of one thing or another from the garden end up creating their own dish. As I considered a handful of okra left over from a round of pickling yesterday I wondered what else we had in the garden that might work with it for dinner. A few minutes with a pair of kitchen […]

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Freedom Ranger Chicken Salad

What’s the secret to great chicken salad? Start with a great chicken, of course. We recently roasted one of our Freedom Rangers from the freezer. You know what? I can’t tell it was frozen. The great flavor of chicken raised slowly on grass still comes through loud and clear. Turning the leftovers into chicken salad […]

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Fried Catfish

Catfish was on the seafood menu at the food co-op in Cambridge last week. I couldn’t resist, because we love Southern-style catfish in our house, deep-fried in our home-style fryer. Perfect, crispy fish couldn’t be easier to prepare. Cut the catfish filets into manageable pieces, place in a bowl and cover with buttermilk. For a […]

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Fried Chicken Caesar Salad

Our 14-year-old daughter will only eat salad one way: Caesar. Consequently, we are constantly looking for new ways to present this venerable dish. Here’s a new one: Caesar with home-made chicken nuggets. We took a big, fat chicken breast half, cut it into (large) bite-size pieces and breaded it. Then into our deep-fat fryer the […]

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Fried Green Tomatoes

Here’s another reason to love fall: green tomatoes. Back in D.C., we’d get a huge hall of green tomatoes all the way into November. Not so much this year, as we only had a couple of tomato plants in our new garden here in Upstate New York. We’ve got voles or field mice noshing on […]

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Fried Okra, Eggplant And Green Tomato

I normally don’t require a recipe to fry my okra. But I took a cruise through my cookbook library to consider my options and ran across this intriguing entry from Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking. The so-called lowcountry refers to the area around Charleston, South Carolina, and its coastal plain. It boasts it’s own culture and […]

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Garden Cleanup = Spicy Pickled Green Tomatoes

Here we are turning the page on October and still we’re cleaning up the garden from summer. Down comes the cucumber trellis. Out go the okra plants. But what have we here? A Roma tomato plant covered in green tomatoes? And over here–green cherry tomatoes, dozens of them. Should I regret the tomatoes never ripened, […]

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German Kale Salad

We’re having great fun feeding our opera singing guest, Andrew. But recently he turned the tables on us, producing this incredible kale salad with a German tilt. It helps if you can find a German-style mustard for the dressing. Also, one of the components is almonds (or hazel nuts) seasoned with smoked paprika and toasted. […]

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Goodbye to the School Year: Kids Make Fettucine Alfredo

How do you tempt kids off the playground on the last day of school? Tell ‘em you’ve got fettucine Alfredo waiting for them in the multi-purpose room. Legend has it that this dish was named after a Roman restaurateur–Alfredo Di Lelio–who used it to keep American tourists coming back. It may be the most decadent […]

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Gotta Love These Beans

My green breans braised three hours have become world renown. But to my mind, there’s a new contender for best green beans. That would be these Italian-style flat beans harvested in our garden yesterday and sauteed with garlic and anchovies. They are so meaty and delicious. Heck, they could almost stand in for this rib […]

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Grassfed Pot Roast

I hadn’t really known until recently, but the best reason to purchase grassfed beef over conventional may be pot roast. This big piece of chuck was delivered from our dairy, South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland, which keeps a herd of beef cattle in addition to its dairy cows. The first thing you notice is […]

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Green Beans Braised Three Hours

Not only does braising green beans for three hours really work, but this particular recipe of mine, first published in The Washington Post, was selected as one of the best ever in Houghton Mifflin’s The Best American Recipes series of cookbooks. Cooking green beans to death is a classic Southern treatment, but it’s also very […]

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Green Beans Go Viral

Update: My recipe for braising green beans was tweeted by Chicago Sun Times tech columnist Andy Ihnatko, who has more than 25,000 Twitter followers. His tweet was republished by Sun Times movie critic Roger Ebert, who has nearly 15,000 Twitter fans. Lesson: Make tasty green beans and people will find you. Back to the original […]

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Green Beans with Anchovies

We recently put it to readers how best to prepare the Italian flat beans that we like so much and are now harvesting in the garden. Our friend Kevin at the Seriously Good blog suggested a simple treatment with garlic and anchovies that we’d never tried of before. I’m a huge fan of anchovies. Daughter […]

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Green Beans with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes & Basil

With so many green beans in the garden, we’re still looking for new ways of preparing them. We like to toss them with sauteed cherry tomatoes. First, cut fresh green beans into one-inch pieces and cook in salted water until just tender. Drain and cover with cold water. Meanwhile, in a moderately hot skillet coated with […]

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Green Tomato And Apple Chutney

I confess that before I kicked carbohydrates I used to slather this incredible chutney onto crackers loaded with goat cheese. It’s quite irresistible and makes a great hors d’oeuvre for a dinner party. But it also works as a traditional chutney with your favorite spicy Indian food, bringing intoxicating flavors of ginger, red pepper, cinnamon. […]

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Grilled Beef Heart

I recently noticed beef heart for sale on our dairy’s website and was anxious to try it. Does the thought make you squeamish? You needn’t be. This is one fine piece of meat. As Fergus Henderson explains in his Nose to Tale Eating, the heart is “not, as you might imagine,tough as old boots due […]

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Grilled Lamb And Pomegranate Swiss Chard

Forgive me garden mother for I have neglected my Swiss chard. We consider chard one of our most reliable vegetables. It marches through almost any kind of weather and doesn’t seem to mind how many times you harvest: It just grows back. We usually plant the ruby variety of chard but this year planted some […]

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Guacamole My Way

Avocado shortage? Not in our house. Avocado in the form of guacamole is one snack food I have no problem offering my 14-year-old daughter on a regular basis. Avocados are full of healthy fat (monounsaturated) as well as an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Avocados will keep you regular. Plus, guacamole gives us a […]

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Holy Cassoulet! Kids Make a Short Version

You can’t get more authentic southwest France than cassoulet, but the classic version–with duck confit, sausage, and various iterations of pork–takes so long to make I had no hope of introducing it to my food appreciation classes. Plus, duck confit is not a standard item at our local grocery. But our friend Kate Hill, who […]

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Holy Kohlrabi, Batman!

Quick, what would you say is the most underrated vegetable in the garden? There is only one correct answer: kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is in the brassica family along with broccoli, cabbage, turnips, Brussels sprouts and all the other cruciferous vegetables that we love. You hardly ever see anything written about it, and rarely does it make […]

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Home-Ground Chili

Somewhere under the queso fresco, the cilantro and the eggs is chili we made from scratch using beef we ground in our electric meat grinder. If you have a chest freezer, this is a great way to use chuck roast or other cuts you already have on hand. I made this chili free-hand with chili […]

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Home-grown Blueberries with Homemade Yogurt

The deer fence is working. We got a great haul from the blueberry bushes outside our kitchen. Just thing for breakfast with our homemade yogurt. What? You’ve never made your own yogurt? Nothing could be simpler. Start by filling a quart-size Mason jar three-quarters full with the best milk you can find. We like cream […]

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Home-grown Blueberry Pie and Lemon Ice Cream

The blueberries just keep coming. We harvested a big bowl full the other day and my wife turned them into an incredible blueberry pie. She’s pretty expert at pies. In this case she followed a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that calls for cooking half the berries ahead on the stove and mashing them. There’s also […]

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Home-made Ice Cream with Local Dairy

Among the items in the “free” bin at our food co-op recently were quarts of cream and half-and-half from the local dairy. What a bonanza! Apparently the sell-by date had come and gone, so I wanted to quick turn them into something that would last a bit longer. That’s how I came to make my […]

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Homegrown Leek & Bacon Quiche

Can you believe it? We are still harvesting leeks we planted on March 8, 2010. This is what they look like. A bit worse for wear, yes. But once you peel away all the gnarly stuff, the leeks are still tender and delicious. But with spring moving in fast, and temperatures rising, we are trying […]

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Homemade Breakfast Sausage

For the latest Charcutepalooza project–grinding meat–daughter helped me make a batch of pork breakfast sausages flavored with with lots of fresh ginger and sage. The original recipe in Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie called for stuffing the meat into sheep casings, but I didn’t have any on hand so I just made loose sausage that we formed into patties […]

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Homemade St. Patty’s Day Corned Beef

Irish-born local chef Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve was on Kojo Nnamdi’s show yesterday explaining that our American version of St. Patrick’s Day is a bit off the mark. Apparently plates groaning with corned beef and cabbage, and long nights of Guinness and Bushmills, are not how the Irish mark this occasion. In Ireland, St. […]

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How Do You Bake Your Beans?

Boston baked beans and steamed brown bread spread with Philadelphia cream cheese. Isn’t this a dinner we all grew up with? The memory leaped to mind when I went searching for bean recipes yesterday. It’s high time The Slow Cook gives more attention to legumes, meaning dried beans of one sort or another. Beans are […]

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How Do You Cook Your Butt?

I’ve had pork shoulder (or butt) on my mind lately and sure enough, there it was in the meat case at Whole Foods the other day. Big, beautiful roasts. And at $3.69 a pound, it seemed like a bargain as well. I couldn’t resist, and took home a roast a bit under four pounds. Now to cook […]

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How Do You Like Your Pork Belly?

Pork belly–uncured bacon–was all the rage for a while. Has it become a cliche already? I hope not, because my wife and I really like the fatty unctuousness of pork belly and we’ve had it served perfectly cooked at a couple of restaurants here in the District of Columbia. Recently I tracked down some pork […]

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How Do You Take Your Pork Snouts?

I’m a bachelor for the next couple of months on our new farm in Upstate New York. Wife and daughter are still back in D.C. until August. That means I get to eat whatever my conscience will allow, including all the odd bits of animals that I love so well. Imagine my delight when I […]

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How Many Ways to Skin a Pork Belly?

Okay, I give up. Why do you leave the skin on the pork belly while curing it to make bacon? That’s the proceedure outlined by Michael Ruhlman in his book Charcuterie, that being the reference for the blog circus Charcutepalooza, which focuses this month on bacon. The first thing I noticed about the skin on the […]

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Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourgignon

My 14-year-old daughter’s new favorite movie is Julie and Julia, the story of a food blogger who channels Julia Child and takes a year to make every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Inspired, we spent the better part of the afternoon yesterday turning a shoulder roast from the local supermarket into Boeuf […]

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Kale and Cheese Frittata

With 27 laying hens, we’re always looking for ways to work as man eggs as possible into the menu. Lots of great looking kale in the stores inspired this frittata, which also incorporates sauteed onions, mozzarella cheese and–get ready–pesto sauce. In fact, frittatas are a great way to clean out the fridge. Leftovers, I mean. […]

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Kids Bake Banana Bread with Cocoa Nibs

Is there anything more fun than smashing bananas with a potato masher? My wife, who hates bananas but loves banana bread, urged me to try this recipe with the kids in my food appreciation classes because “it’s so easy.” I suppose you could say that about banana bread in general. This is how we dispose […]

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Kids Bake Blueberry Oat Bran Muffins

When I told the kids in my fifth-grade food appreciation class we’d be making muffins sweetened with apple sauce and orange juice and blueberries instead of granulated sugar, they literally turned on their heels and ran out to the playground. No kidding. I was left standing there alone with a dumb look on my face. […]

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Kids Bake Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This week marked our last session in this year’s baking segment and I wanted the kids to end on a super-delicious note. So here’s a carrot cake sure to satisfy the most demanding sweet tooth. Kids like sugar too much. So remember: food like this is intended as a special treat, not something to be […]

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Kids Bake Dried Fruit and Cream Scones

If you have a few minutes to chop dried fruit, these scones are surprising easily and some of the best we’ve ever tasted. They come strait from Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book, but if you aren’t making them for breakfast, organize your own tea. They’d also go swell with a cup of hot chocolate. They’re […]

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Kids Bake Orange-Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

Ever tried to cream butter and sugar with the back of a wooden spoon? Most people would use an electric mixer. But we don’t cotton to electric gadgets in our food appreciation classes. We do everything by hand on the theory that if kids know how to make things manually, they will better appreciate making […]

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Kids Bake Souffled Corn Bread

The baking lessons in our food appreciation classes turn to making quick breads and teaching kids the difference between yeasted breads and those made with a chemical rise. Not everyone has time to wait for yeast to work its magic on bread. Hence bakers turn to a chemical reaction between a dry ingredient such as […]

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Kids Bake Sour Cream Coffee Cake

The first thing my wife said when she heard that my food appreciation classes would be making this classic coffee cake by hand was this: “Be sure to tell the kids that it will be a lot better if they make it with an electric mixer.” We don’t use electric gadgets in our cooking classes. […]

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Kids Braise Red Cabbage

It’s hard to believe anything as simple as cooking red cabbage in a pot could taste so good. But red cabbage may be one of the most underrated of vegetables. With so much nutritional value–to say nothing of the stunning visuals it brings to the dinner plate–we should find more occasions to use it. “This […]

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Kids Go Wild for Cinnamon Buns

We had a near-riot on our hands this week when we made cinnamon buns in our food appreciation classes. Apparently word traveled fast around the campus how good they were. Kids crowded into our kitchen area. I had to send some of them back onto the playground so that we could actually conduct classes. Even […]

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Kids Make “Healthy” Bluebery Muffins

If you’re trying to reduce the saturated fat and processed sugar in your diet, these muffins definitely fall into the category of “healthy.” Orange juice, apple sauce and the blueberries lend a bit of sweetness. And for fat, we have canola oil, which contains even more mono-unsaturated fatty acids than olive oil. But we can’t […]

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Kids Make “Naked” Eggplant Parmesan

I call my version of eggplant Parmesan “naked” because unlike most, it is not battered with egg and bread crumbs. No, our focus is seasonal vegetables, not starch. So we present the kids in our food appreciation classes with an unadulterated slice of roasted eggplant, topped with a homemade marinara sauce, a slice of fresh […]

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Kids Make Afghani Lamb & Rice Pilaf

Kabuli Pulau, a pilaf of rice, meat, carrots and redolent spices,  is said to be the national dish of Afghanistan. We made ours with lamb and quickly became intimate with the dish’s rustic origins. This is one of those treatments that requires several cooking vessels to prepare various elements, all of which come together in […]

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Kids Make Arepas

In Latin America, food starts with corn and the arepa is another version of a corn cake that can be filled with just about anything–chicken, beef, pork, cheese, beans–to make a meal or a quick snack. In Venezuela, where our food appreciation classes are visiting this week on our virtual world food tour, arepas are […]

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Kids Make Asparagus with Hollandaise

France is the birthplace of sauces, so we couldn’t very well spend time in France with our food appreciation classes without aquainting ouselves with some of the finer sauces in the French lexicon. But how to incorporate that with the notion of spring? Why, asparagus, of course. What could be better than a plate of […]

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Kids Make Baba Ghanouj

After eggplant Parmesan, Middle Eastern baba ghanouj may be the second-most famous eggplant dish in the world. And I now think there must be a million different ways to prepare it. As if to prove my point, the Lebanese mother of one of the girls in my food appreciation classes agreed to sample some of […]

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Kids Make Bacon Cheese Bread

One of the adults at our school asked if we were using turkey bacon to make bacon cheese bread in our food appreciation classes. “Heck, no!” I replied. “We do not use fake bacon in our classes!” We teach kids to make traditional foods using traditional tools and techniques. Modern “healthy” alternatives, such as substituting […]

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Kids Make Berry Trifle

Welcome to season four of our ’round-the-world culinary tour. My food appreciation classes have now landed in Great Britain after a gustatory sojourn in France. England, bless her heart, isn’t exactly known for her great cuisine and I wanted to start the new school year with something fresh. I turned to the trifle–and I don’t […]

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Kids Make Black-Eyed Pea Fritters

Every food culture has its signature fritter, a deep-fried package with a crispy exterior that yields to something suprisingly delicious on the inside. In West Africa, where our food appreciation classes are visiting on their virtual world food tour, fritters are made from one of the area’s favorite ingredients: black-eyed peas. This particular fritter is ridiculously […]

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Kids Make Borscht

Could borscht be the best soup ever? My earliest memories are of a restaurant version somewhere: treacly sweet and garishly red. No thank you. The soup we made in our food appreciation classes last week, in contrast, groaned with all sorts of vegetables and a depth of flavor that only hinted at beets. I’m convinced […]

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Kids Make Braised Cabbage

In honor of St. Patrick’s day, our food appreciation classes made a quick detour to Ireland where we hoped to pick up a bit o’ luck with a pot of braised cabbage. Understand, this is a dish some kids will turn up their noses at. Others love it. Personally, I think braised cabbage is pure […]

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Kids Make Brazilian Fish Stew With Coconut Milk

Coconut groves, cacoa plantation, palm trees and seemingly endless white beaches: this is Bahia, the tropical state in northeastern Brazil where our food appreciation classes have landed this week on their virtual world food tour. Bahia is the fourth-largest of Brazil’s 26 states and in addition to being a major exporter of cacoa is now […]

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Kids Make Broccoli Pizza

Is there anything kids love more than pizza? Probably not. Pizza is the most popular food in the school lunch program. Say “pizza” in the kitchen and kids are bound to come running. So we could hardly continue on our world food tour without making at least one version of Italy’s most famous pie. In […]

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Kids Make Butternut Squash Lasagna

“It’s a cantaloupe!” insisted one student. “It’s a sweet potato!” speculated another. “No, it’s a gourde!” Your’re getting close. In fact, the strange object being attacked with a cleaver is a butternut squash–one of the so-called hard squashes–which helps explain the need for a hammer and cleaver to cut it in half. The purpose of […]

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Kids Make Ceviche

I was pretty sure I’d get a big, fat “Yuck!” when I asked the kids in my food appreciation classes to try raw fish. That’s precisely the reaction you get from many adults, who supposedly have more sophisticated palates. So imagine my surprise when the kids not only embraced the idea of ceviche–fish morsels soaked […]

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Kids Make Cheese Fondue

Years ago, in another lifetime as a budding newspaper reporter, I wrote a rather snooty piece for the Washington Post about the proper way to make Swiss fondue. I suppose having lived a couple of years in Switzerland I felt entitled to pontificate on how frequently the American version of fondue strayed from the authentic […]

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Kids Make Chicken Tikka

After an arduous journey over the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the kids in our food appreciation classes this week arrived in the Indian state of Punjab, where we immediately set ourselves to the task of perfecting that area’s culinary specialty known worldwide as chicken tikka. Chicken tikka is the Punjabi version of kabob wherein […]

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Kids Make Chicken-Vegetable Stew With Peanuts

Who knew turnips and peanut butter could taste so good together? One of the things we like about the African food we are making in our food appreciation classes is the use of fresh, whole ingredients and lots of vegetables. This stew is a perfect example, and something we could easily grow very fond of […]

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Kids Make Chickpea and Spinach Dal

“Dal” is the generic name for about a million different Indian recipes in which legumes star in rich vegetable stews. In India as well as neighboring countries, beans, lentils and pulses of all sorts combine with rich blends of spices and other vegetables to form the basis of protein in the diet. They can be […]

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Kids Make Chocolate Mousse

The kids in my food appreciation classes are always begging for something sweet. They’d be delighted if we just made cookies and cupcakes every week. Well, I finally obliged. It being near the end of the school year, I figured they were due for a treat. And since we had stopped in Switzerland on our […]

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Kids Make Classic Spanish Toritilla

I always wondered why Spaniards called something that was obviously an omelet a tortilla. Turns out tortilla simply means a “flat cake” in Spanish. The extremely flat corn or wheat tortilla we know from Mexican cuisine would be just one example. In Spain, a tortilla is made from eggs. It looks like an omelet, but […]

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Kids Make Coconut Cake

Coconut cake is a tradition in southern parts of the United States, but it also reminds us that somewhere in the world it’s warmer, even when the snow flies here. Traditional coconut cake calls for at least two layers. That presented a bit of a problem for our baking classes, since a whole cake made […]

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Kids Make Cranberry Nut Bread

The original recipe for this delicious quick bread originally called for fresh cranberries. But with cranberries out of season, we had a choice to make and opted to use sweetened dried cranberries instead. The result is perhaps more like a fruit cake than a bread. So much the better. The kids couldn’t get enough. The […]

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Kids Make Croque Monsieur

The French sure no how to gussy up a ham and cheese sandwich. It’s called “Croque Monsieur,” and if you were looking for the perfect late-night cafe food in Paris, this would be it. Between these two slices of bread is a slice of ham and a heap of Gruyere cheese. But that’s hardly what […]

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Kids Make Cucumber Raita

The kids in my food appreciation classes continue to explore the cuisine of South Africa, which has been heavily influenced by Indian immigrants. This week we made a favorite condiment, cucumber raita, that has a wonderful cooling effect served with spicy curries. It couldn’t be simpler, and even the kids noticed how healthy it is, consisting […]

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Kids Make Curried Chicken

The food appreciation classes I teach at a private elementary school here in the District of Columbia this week landed in Southern Africa on our virtual world food tour. Because of the many Indian immigrants in this part of the continent, there is a definite tilt toward curry dishes in the cuisine. This one, called […]

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Kids Make Danish Pebber Nodder (Christmas Cookies)

These may be the easiest cookies you’ll ever make. In fact, you might say they’re downright rudimentary. But one of my favorite spices–cardamom–gives these little shortbread nuggets–called pebber nodder in Denmark–a huge lift. I was looking for something quick and easy for our last baking class before the holiday break. These cookies certainly filled the […]

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Kids Make Doro Wat

We’ve been looking forward to the day when we could taste our own spicy Ethiopian food with injera bread and the day has finally arrived. This dish, Doro Wat, features chicken and hard-boiled egg in a traditional berbere sauce. Here in the District of Columbia, we have a large Ethiopian population and I knew some […]

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Kids Make Ethiopian Chickpea Fish

  You’re probably wondering, What the heck are chickpea fish? Well, our food appreciation classes have resumed after the spring break and we’ve landed in Ethiopia on our virtual world culinary tour. Chickpea fish are something the Christian community makes to celebrate Lent, the fish being a traditional symbol for the Christ figure. They are most unusual–unlike […]

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Kids Make Falafel

Picture meatballs made of chickpeas and that’s falafel. In Israel, where our food appreciation classes have lately landed on their virtual world culinary tour, falafel is sold everywhere on the streets–like hot dogs in Manhattan. Typically you find these balls of fried dough stuffed inside a pita pocket and smothered with anything from yogurt and […]

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Kids Make Fall Frittata

An Italian frittata is like a big, open-faced omelette. Deriving from the verb “to fry,” a frittata is cooked more like a pie with eggs poured over all kinds of savory fillings. When finished, it’s cut into wedges that can be served for breakfast, as an hors d’oeuvres or next to a green salad. In […]

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Kids Make Fried Calamari

This may have been our most fun food appreciation class ever–frying squid for tapas. The kids were a bit squeamish about the raw squid at first. But I urged them to touch it. Picking up the squid in their hands, they soon discovered how thrilling slimy, squishy seafood can be. Pretty soon they were holding […]

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Kids Make Gingerbread Cookies

Kids turned out in droves for the first of my new “baking appreciation” classes. They’ve longed for something sweet instead of those nasty old vegetables we usually cook all the time. Since I’m not a professional baker, I was looking for something fairly simple but also seasonal and appropriate as a dessert for tonight’s parents […]

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Kids Make Greek salad

Wanna see kids eat vegetables? Make Greek salad! I wouldn’t have thought it, but kids will even eat raw green pepper when it’s prepared in the traditional Greek fashion. Well, maybe not our pre-K and Kindergartners. The little ones typically shy away from anything green or too healthy looking. But older kids seem to really […]

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Kids Make Green Papaya Salad

When somebody says “papaya” you probably think of something orange in the last tropical fruit salad you ate. But in Thailand, they like to pick the papaya when it’s still green and either cook it or turn it into a spicy salad that for all the world could be the Southeast Asian version of coleslaw. […]

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Kids Make Ground Lamb Kebabs

We love to torment the rest of the school with the aromas from our food appreciation classes. This week was more wickedly fun than ever. “What are you cooking in here!” bleated numerous visitors to the multi-purpose room kitchen. The moral of this story: people talk a lot about the benefits of vegetables, but what […]

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Kids Make Guatemalan Chicken Pepian

Just when I thought our “food appreciation” classes would be leaving Guatemala to continue our virtual world food tour our friend Grace, who works at the local library, e-mailed that she had located a Guatemalan cookbook. After paging through many intriguing recipes, I decided we must extend our stay another week so we could make […]

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Kids Make Ham & Cheese Crepes

You could probably get kids to eat almost anything if it were wrapped in a crepe. Kids love making these, and they love eating them even more. In fact, the kids in my food appreciation classes for years have been begging to make crepes. I think they had the sweet variety in mind. This week, […]

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Kids Make Irish Stew

Even after five years working with the kids in my “food appreciation” classes, I am still occasionally bowled over by their reactions to certain foods. This week they dove into the process of making a classic Irish stew. They were not at all grossed out by the site of lamb being sliced and diced. On […]

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Kids Make Kielbasa

Our food appreciation classes continue on their world culinary tour, landing this week in Northern Europe and specifically Poland. And what would dinner in Poland be without kielbasa–Polish for sausage. Making sausage is one sure way to get kids’ attention. In short, it’s a blast, from cutting and grinding the meat, to adding herbs and […]

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Kids Make Latkes

Latkes, the Jewish version of potato pancakes, are traditional during Hanukkah season, so naturally they are also part of the cuisine in Israel, where our food appreciation classes are currently camped on their virtual world culinary tour. But there’s an even better reason to make latkes: kids love not only the process of turning potatoes […]

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Kids Make Liberian Sweet Potato Puffs

These little treats are full of sweet potato flavor and nutrition, sweet potatoes being one of the most healthful foods around, a great source of fiber, vitamins and beta carotene. They can be served as a savory, or just dust them with a little confectioner’s sugar to turn them into a quick dessert–or something to […]

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Kids Make Mapo Tofu

We have two favorite Chinese foods around our house: Cantonese dim sum, with its infinite variety of dumplings and small bites, and Szechuan style, with its mouth-numbing peppercorns and chilies. As our food appreciation classes landed in China this week, I chose a simple but delicious dish from the latter category: mapo tofu, slithery bites […]

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Kids Make Moroccan Carrot Salad

My food appreciation classes resumed their virtual culinary world tour this week with a final stop in Africa: Morocco. We’ve spent months touring around this giant of a continent and sampled so much variety. But one thing struck us throughout, and that was the simplicity of recipes using fresh, whole ingredients and vibrant seasonings. North […]

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Kids Make Moroccan Orange Salad

This week was a bit of a sad occasion: our food appreciation classes spent their last day in Africa on their virtual culinary world tour. Currently in Morroco, we made this classic salad of orange sections and Romaine leaves, flavored with citrus, cinnamon and orange blossom water. This salad would not be the same without the orange blossom water, so it […]

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Kids Make Moroccon Lamb Stew

We are winding up our fourth year of food appreciation classes yet I think this was our first time ever cooking with lamb. After spending the entire year on the continent of Africa (who knew?), we recently landed in Morocco on our virtual culinary world tour, and in North Africa lamb is a favorite meat, often […]

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Kids Make Mushroom Omelets

This was our last week of food appreciation classes for the current school year. How tragic is that? It’s also our final week in France on our virtual world culinary tour, so I picked something simple but classic to make with the kids: omelets. I brought my cassette feu–or portable butane burner–to class so we […]

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Kids Make Mussels Venetian Style

Welcome to Italy! Our food appreciation classes landed in Venice this week and there are so many culinary adventures to be had in Italy I think we may be here for a while. Venice is famous for its art, its canals and its gondolas. But it also happens to be situated on the Adriatic. Consequently, […]

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Kids Make Ndole

Fresh ginger? Dried fish flakes? Peanut butter? These are not ingredients we normally think of together, but they all play an important role in a traditional stew from the West African nation of Cameroon called ndole. Ndole is the local name for bitterleaf, a popular green. Lots of fresh greens, tomatoes, protein and healthful fats […]

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Kids Make Norwegian Christmas Cookies

What’s special about Norwegian Christmas cookies? They look like ordinary sugar cookies at first blush. But one bite is all you need to tell the difference: These cookies are chewy and full of almond, coconut and oats. What? You say you’ve never heard of oats in Christmas cookies? Our food appreciation classes have started their […]

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Kids Make Norwegian Lefse

There could be no greater compliment for our Norwegian lefse than the one we got from our school nurse, Elizabeth, who said the lefse–or potato crepes–we made in our food appreciation classes tasted just like the ones her Norwegian grandmother used to serve. Who knew? The Norwegians have their own version of a French crepe, […]

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Kids Make Orange Poppyseed Cake

What kind of fruit is seasonal in January? That’s the question I put to the kids in my food appreciation classes this week. The answer, of course, is citrus fruit. And where can you possibly grow fruit in the middle of winter? That’s how cooking becomes a lesson about geography and  climate. Toss in baking […]

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Kids Make Pad Thai

Thai cuisine is a favorite in our house. We love all the exotic flavors, especially with a little chili pepper heat. But the uniqueness of the Thai kitchen presents problems for the average American cook–namely, where to get the correct ingredients. Many elements of Thai cooking simply have no substitutes on the typical grocery store […]

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Kids Make Pesto

There’s no surer way to get kids to eat real food than to have them help in the preparations. And there’s no better guarantee of getting kids’ help than to give them a fun kitchen tool to work with. Pesto is the only food I know that’s actually named after a kitchen tool. The original […]

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Kids Make Pesto

We don’t use fancy electric cooking gadgets in our food appreciation classes because I want kids to know what it feels like to make food by hand. You might say our stone age approach to food preparation is a bit behind the times. But I think kids learn more about food when they see, feel […]

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Kids Make Pierogies

Call them dumplings. Call them Polish pot stickers. Call them whatever you like. Pierogies are just plain delicious, and kids have a blast making them. This is the first time we’ve attempted a stuffed dumpling in our food appreciation classes and pierogies–a huge favorite in Eastern Europe–do take a bit of practice. The trick is […]

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Kids Make Poached Salmon with Dill Sauce and Cucumber Salad

It’s not always easy getting kids to eat fish. Some automatically gag at the very aroma of seafood–even when it doesn’t smell at all. But the kids in my food appreciation classes adored the poached salmon we made this week, especially when it was smothered in a creamy dill sauce. (Some requested it without the […]

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Kids Make Pomegranate Stew

Pomegranate may well be the national fruit of Iran and along with other classic Persian ingredients such as walnuts, saffron and cinnamon figures prominently in this savory stew or khoresh. Traditionally, pomegranate is paired with duck in this dish and you can imagine how the gameyness of the duck would pair well with the sweet […]

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Kids Make Portuguese Salt Cod Casserole

Before refrigeration, fisherman plying the rich Atlantic waters off Canada dried and salted their harvest of cod. The cod are mostly gone, but the tradition lives on, nowhere more so than in Portugal, where there are said to exist at least 1,000 recipes for preparing salt cod. Salt cod isn’t exactly a convenience food. You […]

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Kids Make Rice Flour Banana Bread

Our local African market sells all kinds of unusual flours in bulk: yam flour, manioc flour, rice flour. The rice flour is used in this West African version of banana bread, giving the finished bread an interesting little crunch on the tooth, vaguely similar to corn bread, and a worthy alternative to anyone who is intolerant […]

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Kids Make Roasted Vegetable Canapes

Every Mediterranean culture seems to have some sort of treatment combining onion, eggplant and bell pepper. In France it’s called ratatouille. Others call it tapenade. In Spain, they serve a tapas dish made of roasted vegetables tossed with olive oil, thyme and parsley. I found a recipe calling for this aromatic mix to be spooned […]

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Kids Make Rutabaga Souffle

This was the last week in Scandinavia for my food appreciation classes on our virtual world culinary tour. We couldn’t very well leave without sampling one of the Nordic region’s favorite vegetables: rutabaga. I know what you’re thinking: Rutabaga! Yuck! This underground cousin of cabbage and kale is so closely associated with Swedish tastes that […]

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Kids Make Salvadoran Curtido

When we recently made Salvadoran pupusas with the kids in my food appreciation classes my wife’s immediate reaction was, Where’s the slaw. What she was referring to was the cabbage and vegetable melange called curtido that inevitably accompanies Salvadorn fare. Well, we didn’t have time in a one-hour class to make the pupusas and the […]

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Kids Make Sauerrueben

Touring Northern Europe, my food appreciation classes recently got their hands deep into the food. They were making sauerrueben, a version of fermented turnips very much like sauerkraut, but t0 my mind much better. Sauerrueben has a nuttiness and depth of flavor most sauerkrauts lack. Tossed with sauteed onions, it works great next to a […]

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Kids Make Seven-Vegetable Couscous

Here’s a vegetable dish to hold dear in recipe file. Turnips and squash have never tasted better than in this stew from Morocco, fragrant with cinnamon and saffron. The older kids devoured it. The little ones not so much. But they all got a huge kick out of cutting up all the vegetables and I […]

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Kids Make Spaetzle

Marco Polo notwithstanding, most food cultures seem to have some version of a noodle in their culinary arsenals. Germany may have the messiest. Called “spaetzle”–or “little sparrows”–this noodle starts with a sticky dough that falls somewhere between pancake batter and library paste and must be pressed through holes into a pot of boiling water. What? […]

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Kids Make Spaghetti Carbonara

The “carbonara” in this spaghetti dish is said to derive from the Italian word for “charcoal makers.” So I imagine those rough-hewn folk grabbing the simplest ingredients at hand–bacon, eggs, pasta and cheese–to make this classic hearty meal that cooks up in a hurry It sounds a little like an Italian version of breakfast for […]

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Kids Make Spanakopita

Doesn’t anybody make food at home anymore? Costco opened a new store here in the nation’s capital last week and the manager, according to one newspaper account, suggested that one of the discount retailer’s big draws is all the food available there that customers can’t make themselves. “I say, if Americans are eating spanakopita, it’s […]

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Kids Make Spinach & Mushroom Quiche

How do you get kids to eat spinach? Make quiche! Even I was surprised by how eagerly kids took to quiche when it was filled with spinach and mushrooms. Well, not every kid was overjoyed about the mushrooms. Or the spinach. Still, this quiche was a huge hit in our baking classes this week, leaving […]

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Kids Make Strawberry Crepes

Last week in our food appreciation classes we made savory buckwheat crepes stuffed with ham and cheese. I knew the kids would be thrilled if we continued our exploration of French food by sampling the sweeter side of crepes cuisine. Dessert crepes are just as easy to make, and strawberries are in high season. The […]

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Kids Make Strawberry Shortcake

If there’s a better dessert any simpler than strawberry shortcake, I don’t know what it is. Our food appreciation classes are tooling around central Europe on their virtual world culinary tour, but I couldn’t resist all the strawberries showing up lately in the grocery store. So we took a break from our foreign travels to […]

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Kids Make Stuffed Grape Leaves

I seek in anonymity’s cloister, not him who ate the first raw oyster, but one who, braving spikes and prickles, with infinite patience and fortitude, unveiled the artichoke as food. With all due deference to Ogden Nash’s famous poem, I would have to include grape leaves among those comestibles that don’t immediately advertise themselves as […]

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Kids Make Stuffed Peppers

Classic Italian stuffed peppers typically call for meat and bread crumbs. But we took a different route in our food appreciation classes. I liked the idea of using brown rice instead of bread, and since we continue to focus on seasonal vegetables, we ditched the meat in favor mushrooms. A pepper stuffed this way and […]

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Kids Make Swedish Split Pea Soup and Pancakes

If it’s Thursday, it must be split pea soup and pancakes with lingonberry jam. At least that’s the custom in Sweden where our food appreciation classes happen to be visiting on their virtual world culinary tour. Concidentally, this was happening at the same time D.C. Public Schools were celebrating Nordic day, with traditional foods being […]

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Kids Make Sweet Potato Salad with Orange-Maple Dressing

This salad, with toasted pecans and a vinaigrette of maple syrup and orange juice, is one of our favorite ways to bring nutritious sweet potatoes to the table. And if you were looking for a perfect side dish to serve for Thanksgiving, you can call off the search. The kids in our food appreciation classes […]

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Kids Make Tabbouleh

Unless I completely miss my guess, most Americans have come to think of tabbouleh as primarily grains flecked with parsley. But in Lebanon, where our food appreciation classes currently find themselves on our virtual world culinary tour, there is a long tradition of herb salads. The most famous throughout the Middle East–tabbouleh–in fact comes to […]

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Kids Make Tomato & Tuna Salad

My food appreciation classes are still in Spain making tapas. Maybe we’ll never leave, as there’s so much great food to explore in this particular corner of the world. This week were were making an extremely easy salad of tuna, tomatoes and roasted red peppers that relies entirely on the quality of the individual ingredients. […]

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Kids Make Tropical Fish Casserole

This week our food appreciation classes traveled to Costa Rica on our virtual world food tour. One of the most peaceful and stable democracies south of the border (Costa Rica has no standing army), it is situated between the Caribbean on the east and Pacific Ocean on the west, an ideal locale for fish lovers. […]

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Kids Make Vietnamese Garden Rolls

Even if we order nothing else off the menu, we always ask for garden rolls when we visit our local Vietnamese restaurant. There’s something especially comforting about being able to pick up one of these rice paper bundles, dip it in a bowl of sweet/salty sauce and bite into a mouthful of crisp vegetables, sweet […]

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Kids Make West African Eggplant Dip

Here’s further proof that great food doesn’t have to be complicated. This delicious dip relies on just three ingredients. It’s a great way to introduce kids to eggplant, a vegetable that even some adults find difficult to get used to. The preparation is reminiscent of Middle Eastern baba ganoush, except that here the eggplant is […]

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Kids Make Wiener Schnitzel

Our food appreciation classes have landed in Austria on their virtual world culinary tour and we went straight for a classic dish: Wiener schnitzel. That means veal cutlet in the Viennese style, traditionally pounded thin with a mallet, then dredged in bread crumbs and fried. Many people object to veal–the meat of a male beef […]

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Kids Make Zucchini Bread

The secret to a great zucchini bread, apparently, is getting the water out of the zucchini. You don’t want a wet, leaden bread. And as the kids in my food appreciation classes learned, squash–like most vegetables–is mostly water. Salt or sugar added to grated zucchini penetrates the cell walls on a molecular level, drawing out […]

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Kids Make Zucchini Involtini

Classic Italian involtini usually involve thinly sliced veal rolled around a stuffing of breadcrumbs, cheese and perhaps prosciutto or pine nuts. But our food appreciation classes are still focused on the best of the vegetable harvest, so we switched out the veal for thin slices of zucchini. This lesson does involve a bit of patience […]

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Kids Makes Ethiopian Spicy Vegetables (Yataklete Kilkil)

Teaching kids about food and cooking I’ve come to learn that an appreciation for vegetables is largely a function of age. The younger ones–Kindergartners–walked away from this dish of freshly cooked vegetables tossed with aromatic butter. All they wanted was the bread. The older children–nine- and 10-year-olds–weren’t so crazy for the spongy Ethiopian injera bread, […]

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Kids Preserve Eggplant in Olive Oil

Not to worry. This isn’t a story about canning, but how to make a delicious hors d’oeuvre out of eggplant by packing it away for a few weeks under olive oil with garlic, basil and red pepper. This particular recipe is one of the all-time most popular on my personal blog, The Slow Cook. I […]

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Land Of Plenty

I wonder if more Americans wouldn’t cook at home if they didn’t get the idea from our popular media that every meal had to rise to the level of restaurant food. The same ethic has been embraced by hundreds of food bloggers, each enticing us with recipes entirely different from what we saw yesterday–photos to drool over, […]

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Lobster Rolls by Hand

We noticed a new food stand in Freeport (that would be Maine) this year, advertising “wicked lobster rolls” for the bargain price of $19. What! At the most recent price here in lobster country, you could buy three whole live lobsters and cook them yourself. Which is precisely what we do. We boil them in […]

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Local Hanger Steak = Great Tacos

Hanger steak is not something you see every day in the supermarket. Like skirt or flank steak, it’s a fairly flat cut of meat that can be tough if not cooked properly. But it’s full of flavor. Anatomically, the hanger steak “hangs” from the diaphragm and helps hold vital organs to the spinal column. We […]

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Local Pork Carnitas

My sister and her husband were visiting over the weekend so we dove into the chest freezer for a piece of the pork shoulder we bought from our friend Mike to prepare their version of carnitas for dinner. Carnitas, for the uninitiated, are (is?) basically the Mexican version of pulled pork. In this case, the […]

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Makin’ Bacon

I swear, when Michael Ruhlman’s book Charcuterie came out five years ago, I fully intended to make a project out of preparing all the recipes and training myself in the art of sausage, bacon, pate and the like. But you can’t hardly blink in the food blogosphere without someone taking ideas like that and making […]

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Making a Meal Around Italian Flat Beans

Our friend Larry responded to a recent post about cooking fresh green beans with an ingenious suggestion to place sprigs of fresh oregano in the cooking water. We’ve got plenty of fresh oregano in our herb bed, and last night we had a chance to try Larry’s method when we gathered with Larry and out-of-town […]

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Making Fresh Breakfast Sausage

What do you do when you’re running low on sausage for breakfast? Why, make your own, of course. Well, sometimes you just get tired of homemade pancetta or even Merguez sausage with your morning omelet. Sounds impossible, I know. But in fact, just to shake things up a bit, I thought some fresh pork sausage was […]

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Making Merguez Sausage

This month’s Charcutepalooza challenge suits me just fine. I like nothing better than grinding meat and stuffing sausages. I chose to make merguez–the classic Middle Eastern sausage with roasted red peppers, smokey Spanish paprika and a bit of heat from red pepper flakes–because I’d never tackled it before.  Mergues usually comes out looking more like breakfast […]

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Making Pancetta

Cured pork belly soon to be pancetta   I was so impressed with the results of our home-smoked bacon I thought I’d try my hand at the Italian version of cured pork belly–pancetta. The process starts out much the same, with a five-pound slab of cross-cut belly acquired at the Dupont Circle farmers market from […]

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Making Ricotta

My wife recently had an itch to make ricotta cheese. She says that cheese making and writing limericks are her new passions. Who knew? Anyway, her ricotta, made with the grassfed milk we get from our local dairy, was the best I’ve ever tasted: thick and creamy. I ate it right out of the bowl, […]

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Making Venison Pastrami

I seem to recall author Michael Ruhlman tweeting his hopes that someone for this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge would make pastrami. Well, here it is: my version of venison pastrami, brined and smoked. I had this gorgeous plate for breakfast–a hot pastrami on rye, without the rye. I’ve always wondered what the difference is between pastrami […]

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Making Venison Prosciutto

Here’s a leg of venison looking like a mummy, all wrapped in cheescloth. In fact, this venison ham has been embalmed–so to speak–having cured for two weeks in a brine of salt, sugar and spices. This is one of two legs we received as a gift from neighbors who own a farm in Virginia. I […]

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Making Venison Sausage–Or is it Pork Sausage with Venison?

Take a look at these gorgeous sausages made at home from venison that was gifted to us by a neighbor whose family owns a farm in southern Virginia. With these sausages, I’ve finally used the last of what was probably 30 pounds of venison. We’ve almost eaten our way through one venison thigh turned into […]

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More Tapas: Kids Make Mushroom Canapes

If you can saute mushroom, you can easily make these mushroom canapes served as a Spanish “small plate,” or tapas. What sets these apart from the standard sauteed mushrooms are the seasonings of paprika and white wine vinegar. They’re a perfect appetizer. Start by slicing 30 cremini mushrooms and heating 3 tablespoons or more extra-virgin […]

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More Tapas: Kids Make Spinach & Chickpeas

I might not have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself: kids digging into spinach, as in the classic Spanish tapas dish of spinach and chickpeas. I’m just guessing, but perhaps what stimulated their appetites was the aroma of bread and garlic browning together in olive oil. Or maybe it was all those herbs […]

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My Croc at Rooting D.C.

My, how the Rooting D.C. confab has grown. Even in it’s very first year, local gardeners overran the facilities and the conclave was moved to the refurbished Carnegie Library, site of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Now in its third year, however, even these new digs look to be cramped. From what I saw, […]

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My Favorite Kale, and Portuguese Soup

Black kale, Tuscan kale, Lacinato, Nero di Tuscn, Cavolo Palmizio–whatever you call it, this kale is one of my favorites. It ranks with my favorite of all plants for the vegetable garden for so many reasons. With it’s dark, deeply-etched leaves, it could be an ornamental. It’s a pleasure to look at, like a little palm tree with its […]

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My Favorite Piece of Kitchen Equipment Isn’t in the Kitchen

We use cast iron skillets and Le Creuset pots for cooking every day. But ask me what turns me on most in my batterie de cuisine and I would have to say my electric Weber spit-roaster. It’s really just a metal ring that fits onto a standard Weber grill with a bracket to hold the […]

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Nordic Love: Kids Make Swedish Meatballs

Just in time for the “Nordic Day” festivities in D.C. Public Schools next week, my food appreciation classes arrived in Scandinavia on our virtual world food tour and made the best meatballs you’ve ever tasted from scratch–including fresh bread crumbs and white sauce–in less than an hour. It helps to have a portable burner to […]

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Now That’s Some Bass

One of the great things about the Cambridge Food Co-op is the fresh fish that comes in each week from Boston. We get a menu to order from and there always seems to be something new and a little different. This week I ordered striped bass–or what we called “rockfish” on the Chesapeake Bay–and it […]

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Oh, Boy! More Spicy Cajun Pickles!

Do you like a spicy pickle? Our 9-year-old daughter especially likes a pickle with a little kick. Go figure. So this particular pickle has become one of our favorites. It gets the “Cajun” moniker because you can use just about every spice under the sun, but especially Italian seasonings and parika and hot pepper. This […]

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Okra And Pepper Medley

Regular readers will be heartbroken to learn that this is the end of our okra for the year. I know, I know. It hardly seems possible. It seems like we were just getting started on the endless possibilities of okra. But the sad truth is impossible to deny: the season is over. There will be […]

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Okra Gone Wild

It’s that time of year when we are racing to harvest our okra. It grows so fast in the heat and humidity here in the District of Columbia that we have to check our okra plants twice a day. You can practically hear the okra pods getting bigger. But my purpose here is not to […]

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Our Favorite Beet Salad

Our chiogga beets are ready for harvest in the garden and we know of no better way of serving them than this simple salad. Cook the beets your favorite way–boiled, roasted–then peel and cut into wedges. Mix with tomatoe and red onion, then toss with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Finish the salad with […]

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Oxtails And Friends

Some braised meat dishes are so rich they take your breath away. I place oxtails in that category. Richness dictates smaller portion sizes, which fits oxtail perfectly since this is one piece of meat that is mostly bone. Oxtail belongs to that group of odd bits that butchers in a bygone era would practically give away. […]

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Pantry Ragu

Every once in a while you have to go through the pantry to see what’s in there. Things tend to pile up and sit for years unused. So last night, rather than trudge through heat and humidity to make a market trip for dinner, I dove into the canned goods. The result: a terrific ragu […]

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Pickles!

Yes, we were so organized this year we already have our first pickling cucumbers of the season. As we know only too well, we will soon be inundated. These cucumber plants are stealthy fellows. No sooner have you picked a bucket of them, they are making new ones overnight. How fast can you mix salt […]

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Pork & Scapes

Garlic scapes, steamed earlier in the week, kept very nicely in the fridge waiting for just the right moment to appear on our dinner plate again. Here they are with stir-fried pork loin, a dish that falls together quickly once you have the hang of using your wok. First, fry sliced onion, celery and red […]

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Pork Chop With Homemade Sauerkraut

Thick, Niman Ranch pork chops were on sale at Whole Foods this week for less than $5 a pound. I grabbed a couple in anticipation of this dinner: chops braised in our homemade sauerkraut. The kraut was fermented months ago and has been waiting in the fridge for the appropriate moment. I sliced an onion […]

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Preserving Eggplant In Olive Oil

 Thank the genius who discovered that eggplant (other things, too) can be stored almost indefinitely when covered with olive oil. My wife normally does not care for eggplant–she especially dislikes the texture–but we served this preserved eggplant at our wedding and have held a special fondness for it ever since. I like to pull out […]

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Quick Turnip Greens

It’s about this time of year I start wondering if we can actually manage to eat everything that’s growing in our garden. The turnip greens, for instance, planted from seed March 21, are about knee-high already and still tender. So last night as I contemplated frying some liver and onions, I thought some of those […]

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Quince and Clove Sour: A Cocktail Weeks in the Making

We needed a delivery of “Pink Cloves” cordial from a friend living in London, but finally last night we were able to sample a cocktail my wife has been working on quite literally for weeks. It’s called a Hendrick’s Quince and Clove Sour, and she found it on the amusingly Monty Python-esque Hendrick’s Gin website. […]

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Remembrance of Green Beans Past

Last night we reached into the freezer to turn a simple chicken dinner into something memorable. Under the ice cubes was a bag of heirloom Italian green beans–our favorite variety–that I harvested and froze from our garden over the summer. They’d been blanched before going into the freezer. To bring them to the dinner table, […]

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Reuben Our Way

Every year around this time we hunt down the best corned beef we can find to go with our homemade dill pickles. We found a winner. It’s the corned beef made on the premises at Wagshal’s Delicatessen right here in the District of Columbia. I should have known. I first frequented the place back in my […]

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Ridiculously Good Homemade Steak Sauce

To cater a small wedding reception, my wife made beef tenderloin and this steak sauce she found at Saveur magazine online. It sounds like a cookie recipe, with allspice, cinnamon and cloves, but the ingredient that really gives this steak sauce its kick is tamarind, jacked up with a little vodka. The tamarind is a bushy […]

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Rub Your Butt Before You Braise It

I’m revisiting my current favorite braised pork shoulder from Bruce Aidells’s Complete Book of Pork. I originally wrote about it here, but after taking delivery of a gorgeous butt from our local dairy and opening to the recipe again I realized I had neglected a couple of things. First, there should be a heaping tablespoon or more of […]

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Rutabaga Souffle

Could there be a more maligned vegetable than the rutabga? Most people don’t even know what it is. Cousin to the turnip, it’s bigger and yellower. Some people call it “Swede.” We call rutabaga sublime, especially after it’s been souffled. We hold a great deal of affection for this recipe from the February 1991 issue of […]

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Sausage Rope In Roasted Veg Marinara

Here’s a mongrel dish if ever there was one. I’ll explain. In the process of making a roasted vegetable lasagna for a client I over calculated on the veggies. I had marinara sauce left over as well. There just had to be a good use for them. In stepped a length of pork sausage from […]

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Sausage Rope with Braised Cabbage

Sometimes dinner is just a happy convergence of ingredients lying around. With our weekly dairy delivery, we always include a rope of pork sausage. Besides meats from its beef herd, South Mountain Creamery offers a selection gathered from other local farmers. The sausage is one of the consistently good products we like. Finding a different […]

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Sauteed Collards with Pomegranate

Collard greens are an amazing thing. Despite blasts of arctic air, snow and freezing rain, the keep on ticking. Here you see what our look like this morning with the temperature around 34 degrees. Kale and certain types of mustard greens will do the same thing. If it gets really cold, they wilt and fall […]

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Say Hello to Mr. Pimms

Our friend Desson is visiting from his job in London, inspring us to break out the Pimm’s. What! You’ve never heard of Pimm’s? Depending on who you want to believe, Pimm’s was invented by the proprietor of an oyster house in London’s financial district in either 1832 or 1840. Named James Pimms, he fashioned a tonic […]

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Sayonara! Kids Make Sushi Rolls

After four years of travels, our round-the-world culinary tour finally came to a close this week in Japan. The kids in my food appreciation classes have since the very beginning it seems been begging to make sushi. So here we are. And guess what? It’s not that hard and the payoff in happy faces is […]

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Shrimp Stir Fry

We found some shrimp frozen in the freezer. Defrosted and tossed in our cast-iron wok, this is the result: shrimp stir fry with vegetables and piquant garlic sauce. Notice, no rice. We are skipping the starchy carbs in favor of healthful protein and fresh produce. The wok makes quick and simple work of it. Recipe: […]

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Smelt, Anyone?

One of the great features of the Cambridge Food Co-Op is the weekly deliveries of fresh seafood from Boston. Members receive an e-mail listing numerous choices, we place our order and by Thursday afternoon–usually–the fish has been wrapped in individualized packages and is waiting for pickup in the co-op’s walk-in fridge. Haddock, cod and shrimp […]

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Smokin’ Bacon

After a week in its “cure,” our 6.6 pounds of pork belly has taken on a mahogany hue, is firm to the touch and is starting to look a whole lot more like bacon than raw pork. In other words, it’s time to smoke our bacon. As part of the Charcutelapalooza project, we are following the recipe […]

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Smoking Blue Fish at Home

Does anybody else remember when smoked bluefish was all the rage? That’s going back a few years. But I recall there was a place in the Maryland suburbs outside Washington that was doing a brisk business in smoked bluefish. Bluefish proliferates here on the East Coast, and supports a charter fishing trade in the Chesapeake […]

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Smothered Okra

It’s been a strange, El Nino year for gardeners. If it isn’t raining to the point of destroying crops (Northeast), gardeners in many areas are reporting stunted eggplants and tomatoes taking forever to ripen. Here in the District of Columbia, I’m having the unusal experience of bending over to harvest my okra. Okra, one of […]

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Sockeye with Black Bean Salsa

The weekly seafood selections at our local food co-op have been dynamite lately, all sustainably sourced and delivered fresh from Boston. This week we chose sockeye salmon from Alaska and I tossed together this easy but incredibly delicious black bean salsa, perfect for summer. Rinse one 14-ounce can black beans and place in a mixing […]

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Spanish Tortilla with Potato Chips?

Earlier this year my food appreciation classes spent several weeks in Spain making a variety of tapas, beginning with the grandaddy of all tapas–the Spanish tortilla. What they call “tortilla” in Spain would be an omelet in France–lots of eggs cooked in a pan with potatoes. First the potatoes are thinly sliced and cooked in […]

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Spicy Cajun Pickles

We look forward to these pickles every summer because they’re our daughter’s favorite and they really are spectacular. The way they’re made is a bit unusual, too. They’re lacto-fermented in a salt brine with a wee bit of vinegar and a heap of herbs and spices while in the jar. Then they’re moved into the […]

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Spicy Pickled Okra

I planted my usual long row of Clemson Spineless okra this year fully expecting they’d be giants by now. They’re still midgets because of this weird El Nino weather we’ve been having–cool, lots of rain, less sun–but that hasn’t stopped them from making seed pods like crazy. You might be shocked how quickly the pods […]

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Squash Carpaccio

My wife is not a big zucchini fan, but on occasion I am able to entice her with our favorite Italian summer squashed sliced thinly and served raw with a seasonal dressing of goat cheese, olive oil and fresh herbs, such as oregano or mint or basil. Or maybe all three. Don’t feel constrained. This […]

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Stir Fry With Garlic Scapes

Plants want to reproduce. And gardeners are just as determined sometimes to prevent nature from taking its course. Such is the case with certain varieties of garlic. They send up slender stems with an erstwhile flower at the end. But well before the flower ever opens, the dedicated gardener will nip that urge to procreate in […]

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Succulent Oxtail Stew

Oxtail–or tail of beef–is one of the most deeply flavorful of all meats, so I was thrilled to see it offered for delivery by our local dairy. Famous in oxtail soup, this is a cut you want to braise for a long time. Unctuous and soothing, oxtail matches perfectly with the root vegetables being harvested […]

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Summer Squash Carpaccio

My wife has a problem with summer squash. She doesn’t like it cooked. It’s a textural thing. So in our house when we harvest one of our big, Italian summer squash (Costata Romanesco), we make this refreshing raw salad. Slice the squash very thinly and shingle the slices on a plate or platter. Dress with […]

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Sweet Pickled Green Tomatoes

So our 12 tomato plants came down this week to make room for cabbage and fall greens, leaving me with about 20 pounds of perfectly usable green tomatoes. What to do? In fact, there are any number of things you can do with green tomatoes, probably more than you think. Everyone’s heard of fried green tomatoes by […]

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Sweet Potato Biscuits

We like to use sweet potato biscuit during the holiday season to make little cocktail sandwiches for a buffet. Simply cut the biscuits open and lay them out assembly line style. We stuff some sandwiches with roasted turkey breast and cranberry chutney. Others we make with a roast ham and grainy mustard. The biscuits you […]

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Texas-style Brisket in an Electric Smoker

Here’s a piece I wrote three years ago about smoking a whole brisket, Texas-style, on an electric smoker. I do believe this contains just about everything I know on the subject. I get my whole brisket from a butcher at the Eastern Market here in the District of Colubia. You should also be able to […]

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Thanksgiving Rescue Mission

Don’t let this happen to you We were supposed to drive halfway across the country and spend Thanksgiving with friends this year. Those plans fell through, so I found myself assembling some side dishes this morning and thinking there must be readers across the country who woke up today in a panic, still not knowing exactly […]

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Thanksgiving Tomato Harvest

Strange weather we’re having. Our tomatoes were too stressed by the hottest summer on record to make many tomatoes. But as soon as things started to cool down, they bounced right back. Shortly before Thanksgiving I finally decided it was time for the annual fall garden cleanup and began dragging the tomato plants to the […]

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The Freshest Green Beans

On May 21, we planted one of our vegetable beds with three different varieties of bush beans. Some of the Contender beans were ready to pick last night so daughter and I plied through the plants looking for dinner. These beans were so tender and succulent, I could not possibly subject them to my favorite […]

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The Last Fish: Black Cod

Friends recently treated us to dinner at Hank’s Oyster Bar here in the District of Columbia, a twofer for me since I had yet to sit down to a meal at this popular little seafood tavern and there on the menu I discovered black cod, otherwise know as sablefish, a fish I had only heard of (never […]

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The Last Fish: Black Cod With Fresh Tomato-Green Chili Pepper Relish

What’s the difference between a salsa and a relish? I’m not sure there is any other than the name. The occasion for for this one arose when our friend Ben returned from a trip to New Mexico with an armful of green chilies. I don’t know the variety. He’d just seen them in an open […]

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The Spreadsheet Diet

A reader recently sent me an e-mail asking if I had internet links to portions of an article I wrote more than four years ago for The Washington Post food sectioni called “The Spreadsheet Diet.” The article was a lesson in how to free yourself from recipes and use a multitude of whole grains, nuts, dried […]

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The Unbearable Lightness of Fried Okra

It’s official. This was the hottest summer on record in the District of Columbia. With meteorological summer having ended Aug. 31, our local weathermen tell us that we experienced a mean high temperature of 90.2 degrees and overall temperature of 81.3 degrees. The previous records were 89.3 and 80 degrees. So far, we’ve had 58 days […]

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To Truss, Or Not to Truss

After sitting in a bucket of brine for 24 hours, our roasting chicken found a place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and sat thus for another 48 hours uncovered in the refrigerator. The instructions we are following for this Charcutepalooza project actually call for the chicken to rest uncovered for eight […]

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Tom’s Thin-Crust Miracle Pizza

Brother-in-law Tom has a genius method for making pizza. He rolls out his dough ahead and par-bakes it on a pizza pan. When you arrive at his house, he has a stack of pizza crusts on the kitchen counter ready to go as well  as myriad sauces and toppings on the stove. He tops a […]

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Tongue Broth

I know, I am constantly singing the praises of the beef tongue we get from our dairy, South Mountain Creamery. Their beef herd is grassfed, and after brining the tongue for a week it is ridiculously delicious. But have I mentioned that we also love to drink the liquid we’ve cooked the tongue in? Imagine a […]

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Toward a More Perfect Corned Beef and Cabbage

Did you make a traditional boiled dinner for St. Patrick’s Day? I wish I had thought ahead and corned my own brisket. That’s the best. We picked up a very reasonably priced piece of corned beef at the local supermarket. But when it came to prepare the dinner I had to pause over my memories […]

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Turn Whey into Cream of Broccoli Soup

Yesterday I described the simple process my wife used to make delicious ricotta cheese. Since she made it from fresh, whole milk, it produced lots of whey. That’s the liquid that separates from the protein solids in the cheese making process. We had a pot of whey sitting in the refrigerator for several days trying […]

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Two-Day Oxtails with Turnip Mash

Richly unctuous, oxtails are a great satisfaction on a cold winter’s night. They must be cooked slowly, preferably in some sort of braise. We had some last night over mashed turnips drenched in a sauce from the pot juices infused with red wine. Such a simple dish, the meat delivered quite economically by our local dairy, yet […]

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Ugly but Good: Easy Beef Short Ribs

A new item showed up recently in the meat selections at our local dairy: beef short ribs. Since our dairy delivers milk, cheese and meat to our home, we considered this a great development. We love beef short ribs, especially this time of year when braising meat for a long time in the oven is […]

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Venison Prosciutto: Not Ready

The big day finally arrived this weeked. I removed the leg of venison that’s been hanging to dry for the last three weeks in the back stairway and extracted it from its wrapping of cheesecloth. By now it should have transformed into prosciutto, according to the recipe. As you can see, the venison was covered […]

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Venison Stew With Garden Vegetables

It had been a long time since I’d opened our long-term storage freezer. When I thought to check it the other day I found a bag of venison stew meat as well as a length of venison sausage from our departed friend Happy. We’d been trading some of our produce for some of the venison […]

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We Are Sardinistas

There’s a certain seafood store in suburban Maryland that used to source its product by driving to Newark, New Jersey, in the dead of night on Wednesdays and meeting a plane from Portugal. On Thursdays the store was swarmed with clientele looking for fresh sardines, salt cod, octopus and all sorts of other delicacies. Thinking […]

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We’re Calling Our Valentine’s Bacon Done

Just as the sun was setting yesterday–eight and one half hours after I had first placed our cured pork belly in the smoker–the meat registered an internal temperature of 150 degrees. I declared our bacon done. The bacon might have cooked a little quicker if the outside temperature had been warmer than 56 degrees–pretty warm for […]

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What I had for Lunch

Cheese omelet with balsamic-glazed beef heart preparation time: 15 minutes shopping: none I got distracted and missed breakfast so I made breakfast for lunch. I love beef heart, not only because it tastes very much like beef tenderloin–just a little chewier–but because it is such a bargain. It comes from the grassfed herd at our […]

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What to Do with Green Tomatoes

I saved more than 10 pounds of green tomatoes from the marauding pack of field mice that have been devouring our kitchen garden lately. In the picture above you see what I salvaged from our Roma vines, the tomatoes we would normally use for canning. No ripe tomatoes to can here. Fortunately, some of our […]

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What’s for Breakfast: Arctic Char

The manager at our local food co-op is doing a great job aligning seafood choices with the sustainability recommendations of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. As he tells is, this involved repeated conversations with the sales reps at our purveyor in Boston, Black River Produce. This week the selections included six rated “best choice” […]

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What’s for Breakfast: Homemade Pancetta

I finally removed the roll of pancetta that was drying in a back stairway, hanging from a light fixture, and cooked some for breakfast. My guinnea pig was friend John, who is homebound. Most days during the week, I make breakfast for the two of us after dropping daughter off at school. As you can […]

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When is Your Pork Roast “Done”?

A friend invited us to dinner over the holidays in a jubilant mood: She’d scored a huge pork rib roast at Safeway at a ridiculously cheap price. Okay, so it wasn’t a local, pastured pig. It probably came from a horrible factory farm. But we were invited to eat it, not give a critique. Plus […]

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Who Knew? Kids Love Chicken Liver!

Sometimes I like to test the kids in my food appreciation classes with a food I’m sure they’ll find repulsive. Not long ago it was squid. This week, I brought them chicken liver. And just to challenge them even more, I urged them to pick up with liver in their hands and feel it. Pretty […]

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Winter Comfort

Here’s a quick link to our favorite pot roast recipe, just the thing to chase a winter chill away. It’s cholent, a classic Jewish one-pot dish that traditionally was made during passover when observant Jews weren’t allowed to cook. Instead, they assembled the ingredients and took their pot to the village baker where it cooked […]

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Yogurt, Perfected

I’m always looking for ways to simpifly our yogurt making process. We make a quart each week with milk and cream we get delivered from our grassfed dairy, South Mountain Creamery. Until recently, I used a fairly rigorous process of bringing a mix of “creamtop” (unhomegenized) milk and heavy cream to 200 degrees on the […]

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Zucchini Bread & Butter Pickles

One of the most dangerous things a gardener can do is go away on vacation. You never know what you’ll find when you come back. The garden does not stop growing while you’re gone. We found this truism to be particularly obvious in the case of our favorite Italian summer squash, which had a habit […]

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