Wednesday, September 24, 2014


This baby is five. What?
ZOMG. These are for you, with love. I am so, so happy that you asked. Anything else? xo
Oh, and p.s.: These are recipes I'd published earlier, in a different incarnation as a food writer, and since they've disappeared from the internet, I am republishing them here. In case you're like WTF?

Mexican Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Lime Dressing
Perfect Sauteed Chicken with (or without) Mushrooms
Baked (but gooey) Macaroni and Cheese
Whole-Wheat Pasta with Chickpeas and Lemon
Cozy Noodels with Ham and Peas
Brown-Butter Whole-Wheat Shortbread
Fish with Brown-Butter Sauce
Chile Tortilla Eggbake
Smoky Saucy Chickpeas with Spinach
Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
Roasted Cauliflower Salad
Classic Pot Roast
Corn Chowder
Dinner Beans
Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce
Fantastic Fearless Five-Minute Bread (no-knead)
Soft and Sticky Gingerbread
Pork Chops with Maple-Cider Cabbage
Pork Roast with Apples and Cider-Cream Gravy
Pink Pink Beet-Walnut Dip
Asian-Style Chicken Salad with Ginger-Miso Dressing
Winter Sunshine Bars
Potato-Leek Soup
Rosemary Caramel Popcorn
Miso Kale Chips
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Tart-Cherry Brownies
Whole-Wheat Pasta with Broccoli Pesto and Garlicky Breadcrumbs
Banana Muffins

Edited to add:
Yummy Buttermilk Biscuits
Yeasted (Croissant-Scented) Waffles
Salted Caramel Popcorn
Camping and Eating
Instant Instant Oatmeal
Crunchy Oven Fries
Hummus Among Us
Lemony Broccoli Pasta with Chicken (OMG! I forgot!)
Apple Pie Tutorial

Monday, September 22, 2014

Some old favorites

The stuffed date Birdy made me for a snack. Heart heart heart heart.
My dearest darlings, I am moving recipes here because the old ones don't seem to exist online anymore. Here today are five requests from the last few weeks. It's funny to interact with the old recipes. I mean, these are all dishes I still make regularly, but things are a different now. I tend to use half spelt flour, for example, in most baked and breakfast dishes. My pictures look better to me these days. (Tamale Pie, flash-lit? I mean, with the corn? My God.) And also, I make things veggie that I didn't used to. The Tamale Pie, for instance, I make with tofu, which I crumble and fry and season heavily before proceeding. I'll try to post that variation too, because it's entirely worthwhile. We just eat way more like vegetarians now, even those of us who aren't Birdy. Over the weekend, Ben grilled her about whether or not she'd eat road kill, which produced some interesting and philosophical conversation. She is not sure she wants to validate the sloppiness of drivers, and of human technology, when it comes to animals, even as she would not want their poor dead bodies to go to waste. If I ever make and sell a question jar, that one's going into it.

THIS WEEK ONLY: your recipe requests (for the old recipes) posted within 24 hours. Please, bring them on. It's the only thing that motivates my sorry, lazy ass to deal with this issue. Scan through the recipe index here. (And you do know that you can always click on it up there, in the upper right corner, under "Pages," right?)

And, in the meantime, these. xoxo

Buttermilk pancakes


Walnut-Orange Cake

Tamale Pie

The Soup of 1000 Vegetables

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Red-Cabbage Kimchi (aka Beauty-Prize Kimchi)

“I dreamed that Birdy was sick,” I said to Michael last month, waking, and waking him, in a sweaty fright in the night in our little Wellfleet rental. He murmured something soothingly, sleepingly, and I went back to sleep only to wake again with a start an hour later. Birdy was standing by our bed with the pinky cheeks and the glassy eyes. “I don’t feel so good,” she said. And she had a 101.1 fever, and then a 103.3 fever. There was a visit to the Cape Cod clinic and a strep diagnosis and a not even wanting to eat warm buttered orzo, which is her number-one favorite food on the planet. It was all very sad and strange and, thankfully, brief. She was a lot better by the next day, and a lot more better by the day after that, and then fine. Plus, we had cable TV, and I’d be lying if I said I minded cozying on the couch with her to watch back-to-back-to-back episodes of House Hunters. Beach shmeach.

The daily miracle of wellness.
Oh, but the dream. Michael imagines that there was some tiny butterfly-wing shift in the air that I registered unconsciously: a few stray strep molecules, a nano-degree of raised heat, a way Birdy's skin felt when I touched my good-night kiss to it. Something. It puts me in awe of my own parental psychic process. And of antibiotics, to which I bow humbly down.
For you, amoxicillin, for I know it was never your intention that Birdy barf you out into a bucket.
Speaking of which: I wanted to make something for Birdy that might offer a little pro- to counter the anti-, biotics-wise, and I so I thought of kimchi. But I didn’t have napa cabbage, which is what I’ve always used when I've followed my usual recipe from the Momofuku Cookbook; I had a red cabbage. So I Googled “Red Cabbage Kimchi,” and found a whole new recipe and method that I loved. I used fresh jalapenos instead of the Korean chile powder that I usually use, that I insist on using even though it smells kind of dusty in the package and I’m never sure I like how it tastes. I didn’t use sugar, which I usually add, or fish sauce, which I am fanatical about, even though sometimes the funk is a little funkier than my mood requires. And, most differently, I followed the instructions on Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried (a new-to-me blog providentially named after my number-one favorite Maurice Sendak line of all time), where Naomi Devlin recommends using two probiotic capsules to get the fermentation started.
Imagine a scallion into this photograph.
I’m telling you. This is the best kimchi I’ve ever tasted, even though what it really is is a cross between kimchi and sauerkraut. It’s gorgeously pink and perfectly tinglingly tart, crisp and aromatic and just so utterly fresh-tasting. It is the brightest thing I’ve ever made, in all ways. Plus, I can’t even begin to imagine how healthsome it is. Red cabbage! Fermented! 
Ah, the lovely, lovely fermented foods. Also, artificially-flavored strawberry milk.
I mean, please. I eat it pretty much every day, either with a groovy frankfurter or on a rice cake that’s been slathered with almond butter. Oh, and Birdy loved it never ended up mustering the courage to try it. It does, I should mention "have a smell." [Catherine makes prissy, judgmental suit-yourself face.]

This is absurdly, tangily, addictively delicious, even though it smells and the hot-dog slices might give you a strange preschooly feeling.
Red-Cabbage Kimchi 
Adapted from this recipe at Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried. I added the scallions and upped the ginger, garlic, and chile, but feel free to omit/scale back as you prefer. I would describe this as fool-proof, but then next week I’d end up screwing it all up somehow. Still, it’s very easy and intuitive, and if you’re interested, it’s a great starter fermentation project because the probiotic capsules control it all.

1 red cabbage (I used half of a quite large one), cored and finely sliced or shredded (I used this)
2 carrots scrubbed or peeled and grated, shredded, or julienned (I used this)
1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped or grated ginger
1 large scallion, white and some of the green, finely slivered
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
½-1 hot pepper, seeded and slivered (make it however spicy you like)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
The powder from 2 probiotic capsules dissolved in 1 cup of spring/filtered/mineral water (I used water that I’d boiled for tea and left to cool. The issue is that you don’t want the chlorine, which is designed to stop bacterial growth, because you want to grow some bacteria! It boils off after a minute, though.)

(I use these probiotic capsules. I think as long as you get capsules (not tablets) it should be fine. Actually, you could probably dissolve tablets no problem, so that should be fine too! There.)

Put everything into a (strong) ceramic or stainless steel bowl and pound with a meat mallet or pestle or wooden spoon until the juices start to flow. (This is an inexact science. Just make sure to give it a decent bashing or even a good squeezing with your strong fingers and all will be well.)

Now pile the mixture into a very clean 1- or 2-quart jar (or multiple smaller jars—just try to distribute the liquid evenly) and push it down with your clean fingers until the juices rise to the top of the cabbage. Close with a lid. 

Set the jar aside at room temperature for 3-4 days until the pickle tastes good and sour. (Unscrew the lid every day, if you think to, just to make sure no gasses are building up pressure in there.) You’ll see it, though: once the cabbage starts to ferment, it will go from looking purple and white to looking a uniform bright pink, the way it would if you added vinegar to it. Bingo! Once it’s as sour as you like, keep it in the fridge, where it seems to keep well. I mean, it’s already spoiled, so what more could really happen to it? 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Your Famous Tomatillo Salsa

I am preserving my troubles away. What? That’s not the catchiest saying. But, you know: kimchi, wild grape jam, puffball paté, the insanely good oven-roasted tomato sauce. And this tomatillo salsa, which I make every year. I used to make it in a less fussy way: I’d just puree the roasted veggies with everything else, using lime juice but no vinegar, and then pop it in the freezer in pint-sized containers or Ziplocs. But now I’ve taken to properly canning it, and so I follow stricter guidelines re. acid and boiling, so as to not get The Botulism.

I’m sorry to post something so particular for the four of you who have access to tomatillos, because I know what you’re wanting at this time of year is a way to turn one inch of tortilla-chip crumbs and six dirty beets into enough school lunches to last the semester. Alas.  

And by the way, the great Ben Making His Own Lunch experiment is proving strangely tedious. He is wearing me down by so much fretful consulting that it’s all I can do not to shove him away from his despairing slouch in front of the open fridge and just make the fucking lunch myself. But I am holding steady. Or trying to. “There’s ham,” I say, over and over, like a postmodern audio critique of the pork industry. Meanwhile, Birdy has taken to making her own lunch just for fun—and uncomplainingly. Thus becoming my Current Favorite Child.

Exhibit A(ngel)
Exhibit B(en)
Back to the salsa: it is fruity and aromatic, a gorgeous pale green and just enough spicy and sweet to be a total crowd-pleaser. Sometimes I’ll dump a jar in a bowl and then add some corn kernels and diced avocado to fancy everything up for taco night. Or I’ll tip some into a pot of posole or Mexican rice. Or I’ll just put it out with chips. If you start making it and bringing it places, it will become Your Famous Tomatillo Salsa. Mark my words.

P.S. I should mention that what I'm really famous for is tomatillo-corn pizza: pizza dough brushed with oil, then a layer of this salsa, scattered with corn kernels and slivered red onion, topped with shredded Jack cheese. It is just BEYOND. You will be everybody's girlfriend, like it or not.

Your Famous Tomatillo Salsa
Makes 6 pints

This recipe is adapted from the delightful Put ‘em Up by Sherrie Brooks Vinton, although I see that my darling Marisa at Food in Jars has a perfect-looking one as well. You can scale this way, way down and, if you’re not canning it, you really don’t need to be very particular about measurements.

5 pounds tomatillos, rinsed and husks removed
Olive oil (I use olive oil spray for this)
1 pound onions, peeled and sliced into thick rings
5-10 jalapenos, stemmed, halved and, if you like, seeded (it’s spicier with more seeds)
2-3 peeled garlic cloves
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Finely grated zest of 2 limes
½ cup lime juice (from 3-4 limes)
¾ cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
0-2 tablespoons sugar

Heat the broiler. Arrange the tomatillos smooth side up on a large rimmed baking sheet and broil them until they are blackened in spots and steaming and hissing, 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly oil another baking sheet and arrange the onion slices and skin-side-up jalapenos on it. Brush or spritz the tops of the onions with oil and broil the onions and jalapenos until they are charring, 5 minutes or so.

In a blender or food processor, in batches, puree the tomatillos with the onions and jalapenos and the garlic until smooth(ish). As you finish each batch, dump it into a large nonreactive Dutch oven or pot.

Bring the salsa to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened slightly, around 5 minutes. Meanwhile, puree the cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, lime zest, and salt in your dirty old food processor blender jar. Add this mixture to the simmered salsa, and taste it. If the tomatillos are perfectly ripe, it might be perfect as is. If not, consider adding sugar, up to two tablespoons, to balance the tartness. Taste for salt.

Can, freeze, or eat it up! If you can it, consult a proper instructional book or website, and process the cans for at least 15 minutes.