It’s almost officially summer. Which in Michigan means that any given time, it is either thunderstorming or it’s 85 degrees. For me, late spring is an important time. The students leave and campus is nice and quiet. The markets open. The farm shares begin. The hot dog stands come out. The garden gets planted. My electricity bill goes way down…for a while. But it also means one very, very important thing: baby vegetables.
I love baby vegetables. They’re tender and sweet and delicate and tiny…and we all know that making food smaller automatically makes it both cuter and delicious-er. My absolute favorite is the elusive baby turnip, which is starting to reach nearly mythical status in my household because I can never find them. I’ve seen them at the market exactly twice in about six years and never in a regular grocery store. They are so delicious, sautéed with butter and chicken stock and then sprinkled with salt and pepper, almost like very delicate Brussels sprouts. If you find any, buy them immediately! Also, send them my way. Continue reading
I like weekends that are both productive and lazy. Productive as in “I made a lot of delicious food.” Lazy as in “said delicious food require very little effort on my part.” It’s nice. It was a good way to spend the last weekend of January 2011, alternating between lounging on the couch with Josh and the dogs and spending a few minutes in the kitchen here and there, whipping up something tasty and fun. I made another batch of beef tallow, rendering down about 3.5 pounds of suet, and I made my very first brioche which was then used in a delightful but deadly french toast casserole with heavy cream, whole milk, eggs, raw sugar, vanilla and Vietnamese cinnamon. However, one can only indulge so much without slipping into a coma. I love good, hearty comfort food spiked with full-fat dairy as much as the next person, but not all comfort food has to be loaded down with fat. Most, yes, but not all. So Saturday afternoon, I made a delightful dinner of light and flavorful lettuce wraps to combat the growing comfort food coma. Continue reading
One of the questions I get asked on a regular basis is—how do you do it? And no, they’re not asking me how I remain so effervescently awesome–it’s clearly obvious that’s a trade secret. No, they’re asking me, “How do you put a meal together? And not a meal from a recipe you’ve searched for and pored over and planned out and executed with ninja-like precision (speaking of, there are at least 5 ninjas in this article. But you can’t see them). No, a meal from just whatever you have on hand. How do you do that?”
It occurs to me that somewhere along the line, cooking became some sort of mysterious alchemy to a disturbingly large amount of people. Food goes in one way, and deliciousness—or for some, vast amounts of thick black smoke–come out the other. What happens in between is a mystery. But it really doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to go down the long, dark path to Frozen Foodland most nights, or make the same safe spaghetti and meatball dish every single night. Not that I’m hating on meatballs–I love meatballs, some of my best friends are meatballs–or anything like that. But of all the things in the world to fear, making dinner shouldn’t be one of them. You don’t always have to have a plan. It works to just toss in what you have. Continue reading