Saturday, July 28, 2012
Once upon a time, I thought I’d take up faux painting as a hobby. You know, be someone who paints faux finishes on walls or chairs and gets friends and neighbors to call her for fun projects. So I took a course. And I invited my friend, Barbara, to take the course with me.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The Kitchen Goddess says, “Make this salad.”
What's cooking? Burrata with Shredded Sugar Snap Pea and Crispy Shiitake Salad
It’s not a new cheese, but it’s definitely been in hiding. The first time I saw it on a menu, I didn’t know what it was, though it sounded like an Italian cheese. The second time I saw it, I decided to order it, and I’m pretty sure I heard the angels singing as I took my first bite.
Friday, July 20, 2012
In the United States, a dessert wine is legally defined as any wine over 14% alcohol by volume, which includes all fortified wines, such as port and madeira; but most people think of dessert wines in a range from German wines like a late-harvest Gewürztraminer or Riesling, to sweet sparkling wines, to Sauternes or ice wine, my personal favorite, which is made from grapes that have been left on the vine to freeze. A Sauterne is mellower, like a sunny day in springtime; while a good ice wine – served very cold – has a bracing sweetness that reminds me of the air at the top of a mountain.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Visions of Sugar Plums... in July?
What’s cooking? Cold Sugar Plum Soup and Sugar Plum-Cantaloupe Sorbet
I swore to myself that I would ONLY get some zucchini and peaches. I’d have time to make my friend Laurie’s wonderful zucchini soup and freeze it, and if I didn’t have time to do something with the peaches, well then, I’d just take them on the trip with me. Sometimes I get on the plane with the most random assortment of food items – stuff I think I’ll eat for lunch in the air, or things I know won’t hold in the fridge till I get back, or even food I want to share with friends at my destination. My grandmother always used to pack a PB&J and a banana when she was taking a flight, thereby embarrassing my mother and aunt practically to tears. “Mother,” they’d say, “you’re not from the back woods. They’ll feed you on the plane.” Of course, these days, what you can get on the airplane is pretty pathetic, so I generally feel justified, even if I look like Minnie Pearl in the process.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
|Color plate from Köhler's Medicinal Plants|
Today’s bloguette is not only a day late, the topic is nothing new. Literally. Writing about ginger has been a foodie practice almost as old as the use of ginger itself. According to the web site for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (a.k.a. Kew Gardens), the Hindu epic Mahabharata, written around the 4th century BC, describes a meal where meat is stewed with ginger and other spices. Who knew that ancient Hindu Vyasa was a foodie?
I like ginger in almost any form – powdered in ginger snaps, pickled with sushi, grated in Roasted Sesame Green Beans, candied in Sweet Potato Ginger Soufflé,... I have an enduring memory of my mother bringing me ginger ale on ice any time I had the flu as a child. She knew ginger is a tasty way to settle a queasy stomach.
|Raw ginger rhizomes, which is a staple in my freezer.|
But among these various forms, my favorite is candied ginger. It has the best combination of taste and portability, which is why it’s also the form most often recommended to fight nausea – with chemotherapy patients, with morning sickness in pregnancy, with seasickness, or with post-op nausea. It’s even good as a fat-free snack, though it’s definitely not low-cal.
|Candied ginger from Penzeys Spices|
In addition to snacking on the stuff, I use it as often as I can with other foods:
■ I sprinkle it on the whipped cream I serve atop my Aunt Marcy’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.
■ I mix it with sections of Texas Red Grapefruit (the official state fruit of Texas) for a dessert.
■ I add it with a teaspoon of honey to plain yogurt for breakfast.
■ I substitute it for the raisins in my mother-in-law’s recipe for Scones.
And I welcome any other suggestions!
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
When I was in my teens, and central air was something you only got if you had a brand-new house, my parents splurged and installed window air conditioners in the upstairs of our house. And I would actually close off my room and open the windows because I didn’t like the smell of the cool air. Deep in the heart of Texas. Thinking about it now, I can only imagine it was a combination of teenage hormones and just outright lunacy. In general, I’ve recovered from that phase of my life, although there are days in Austin when my husband will return from the golf course and find me in the house with all the doors and windows open and all the fans going... at 84-85°. He would tell you I’m still a bit nuts, and maybe he’s right.
Friday, July 6, 2012
I’m such a geek. I love kitchen/food trivia, especially if it’s helpful. So it was a big day for me when I read about a woman named Shirley Corriher, in the Vanderbilt Alumni Magazine. Yes, we attended the same school, so I feel a special closeness to this woman, even though I’m pretty sure she went to more classes than I did.
In any case, today, Shirley Corriher is an internationally known food scientist, teacher, and cookbook writer; her book, Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed, is a bestseller and won a James Beard Award for excellence.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
She’s not yet on solid foods, aside from her morning oatmeal, so I can’t cook anything for her. And she goes to bed waaaay before I do, so she’s not much for evening companionship. But she doesn’t seem to mind if I just sit and stare at her, which I confess that I do a lot. So it’ll be a quiet celebration of July 4th, but somehow, I don’t mind at all.