Thursday, September 30, 2010

Egg salad

I never ate egg salad when I was growing up. Not even once. No one ever offered me any, and I’m sure if they had, I would have declined with disgust.

Even after I emerged from my egg-hating phase, I had no interest, although by then plenty of opportunity. Aside from its starring role in grade-school lunches, egg salad is a perennially popular sandwich filling at the ubiquitous English sandwich shop (under the name egg mayonnaise) where, adoring mayonnaise as they do, a sandwich filling has never yet been found that they didn’t believe couldn’t be enhanced by the addition of copious amounts of butter or mayonnaise. Possibly both. (How about on hummus with roasted vegetables? I kid you not.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

PB fail

Since I already had one spectacular failure in my one and only attempt to make jam in a slow cooker, it seems only fitting that its companion in this illustrious category should be peanut butter.

I’m not sure what I did wrong, or if I even did anything wrong. As one of my everyday cooking challenges, I decided to try making my own peanut butter in my fancy new food processor (aka Archie). I looked up some recipes, all of which seemed perfectly straightforward: grind some cooked peanuts until they turn into peanut butter. Add seasonings as desired. Eat. I bought some dry-roasted peanuts (I figured that, if my first experiment was a success, then next time I could maybe try roasting the peanuts myself.) I put two cups in the food processor and turned it on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Autumnal equinox

Before I started writing this post, I checked on when the autumnal equinox (or vernal equinox for those of you in the southern hemisphere) of 2010 is happening. It’s not officially until September 23, but I’m already ready and waiting.

I’m really looking forward to autumn this year (or fall, the term to which I must return now that I’m back in the US). I haven’t had a proper North American fall for more than a decade, and as much as I enjoyed autumn in Canberra, the fact that it was happening in April and May (and that the major holiday of the season was Easter) gave the whole experience a surreal edge.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Developing recipes

I’ve already mentioned Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio a few times, but I haven’t gone into any detail about its rather significant impact in my kitchen. But if you, like me, are not professionally trained, but rather an inquisitive home cook maybe looking to push the boundaries a bit, then I bet you might feel the same way about it. Because Ratio is like the Rosetta Stone for home cooks and especially bakers: it enables you to understand the basic structure of some two dozen preparations and, once you have absorbed this knowledge, it enables you to develop your own recipes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Inventing dinner

I cannot think of a way to write this post without trotting out the following food writing clich├ęs:

1. The weather is getting cooler, which makes us think about heartier, more filling cold-weather food.
2. Soup is a great way to use up leftovers.

Just so we all know where we stand.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ooooh baby

I feel certain that there have already been numerous jokes made about Dutch baby pancakes and cannibalism, and you do have to be careful about how you offer them to people who might not be familiar with the dish. I’ve gotten some very strange looks when I’ve unthinkingly blurted out something about making a Dutch baby, and had to rapidly explain the absence of any actual babies in the recipe.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wordless Wedesday

(Can anyone tell me what kind of flower this is?)
Garden, September 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Musical fruit

I’ve already written about a couple of my food prejudices, deeply entrenched from childhood. The red pepper one disappeared of its own accord, and I’m still working on the whitefish one.

Here’s another one I’m still working on: beans. As in, legumes/pulses. (Not green beans. I love those.)

I’m always kind of fascinated that other people go out of their way to eat beans: that they actually like them. In England, baked beans on toast was everyone’s favorite storecupboard meal, from tiny children on up; and since I’ve moved here, every cookout I’ve attended has included a huge, enthusiastically consumed dish of baked beans on the buffet table. I know people who eat beans and rice as part of their regular dinner repertoire, and they’re not even vegetarians. And don’t even get me started on chili.

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