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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

An impromptu dinner salad:  two tomatoes sliced, topped with chopped red onion and fresh basil leaves, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Filling for a 3-egg omelet:  chopped smoked salmon, gruyere cheese, tiny bit of red onion, and an assortment of chopped herbs (parsley, chervil and whatever else caught the chef’s eyes).

A quick breakfast:  a few slices of bread, buttered and then toasted, served with a handful of fresh raspberries.  Coffee and cream on the side.  Overall, a yummy week, I must say.

p.s. Thanks to all for the potato recipes. In the end, they were cooked with some butter and garlic and sprinkled with herbs. You never know what the future holds, but if I do grow potatoes next year, I have my eyes on a bigger pot. 😉

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An impulse buy at the grocery store for sure.  A package of eighteen little eggs with so many different patterns on their shells.

A half dozen can fit into my hand at once.  As for preparation …

… something simple.  Perhaps boil them, shell them and place on a bed of mixed lettuce greens.  Add a few sliced cherry tomatoes.  Maybe drizzle the ensemble with a salad dressing made from the aioli Steve made last night.  And yes, that aioli is infused with those mustard greens.  Some toasted bread rubbed with garlic, and I think that’ll do it. 😉

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I mostly remember leafy greens on Sunday.  My mother, with a few helping hands on occasion, would pick the leaves, rinse them to remove any grit, and then place them in a big pot with some ham.  Much water would be added, along with salt and pepper.  The pot would simmer for what seemed like hours.  Once steaming green leaves were piled on dinner plates, sometimes chopped white onions would be tossed on top for a bit of crunch (that’s what my dad liked) and sometimes apple cider vinegar, depending on the type of green.  Of all the greens, kale was my favorite, especially curly kale. After finishing the pot of any type of greens, nothing was better than to drink the remaining flavor-filled pot liquor. Mustard had a peppery bite, the intensity of which I was reintroduced to this past weekend in several interesting dishes that both stirred up these childhood memories and made me reach for my camera.

Mustard Greens

Mustard Greens

Steve bought one small bunch of mustard greens and began to experiment immediately.  The first dish involved adding a small portion of chopped fresh mustard greens to a vegetable stir fry of broccoli, kale and red peppers. The second mustard-infused dish was a homemade hamburger made of finely chopped steak, hen of the woods mushrooms, parmesan cheese, mustard greens and one egg.  The tiny hamburgers were formed, fried and served up on toasted bread with sliced tomatoes and red onions on the side.

Hamburger with Cheese, Mushroom and Mustard Greens

Hamburger with Cheese, Mushroom and Mustard Greens

The third dish was inspired by a particular Japanese method of layering thin slices of seared tuna, white rice, wasabi and shiso.  A spicy mouthful to say the least.  This particular variation on a theme involved cooking white rice and mixing it with fresh chopped green onion and mustard greens.  The rice was served with thin slices of tuna on top and wasabi and soy sauce on the side.  While the tuna is now gone, there is still rice remaining.  I’ve encouraged the chef to turn these leftovers into golden fried cakes.  We’ll see what the new week holds.;)

White Rice with Mustard Green and Green Onions

White Rice with Mustard Green and Green Onions

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Foliate Oak is one of a growing number of quality online literary magazines.  Great content and visuals.  It is an honor to have a series of images, Making Pasta, selected to appear in the current issue.  When you have a chance, please take a look.  Just click on the image below.  Given that the chef who made the pasta told me he intends to make no more, well, that makes me especially glad I captured the moment.  And it was tasty too.

Making Pasta Series

Making Pasta Series

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I’ve written about this bread before (please see here).  This time I managed to photograph the end result before consuming all the crumbs.

I’ve been asked for his recipe.  He says that he simply plays with the basic Cheese Bread recipe found on page 749 of The Joy of Cooking (1997 ed.).  He never uses the same selection of cheese or herbs twice.  Mostly it all depends on what’s in the refrigerator or around the kitchen on a given day.  This particular holiday loaf had a lot of Parmesan, black pepper and rosemary.  Maybe some Cheddar and Gruyere?   Well, at least, he keeps track of his culinary revisions on an increasingly smudgy index card.

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That thought crossed my mind this morning as I did everything except the one thing I needed to be doing — write, write, write.  But, eventually, I remembered that part of my creative process, especially when I am feeling stuck on a writing project, is to get up from the computer and to walk toward … something.  In this case it was toward a small table in Steve’s kitchen.

On the table is an eclectic mix of items:  an antique silver pitcher against which leans a postcard of Hiroshige’s Plum Garden, a small pot of basil, two pots of red peppers separated by a pot of Cuban oregano, lavender that needs to be replanted and some lemon verbena.

Nestled amidst all of these herbs are bits of pottery filled with fruits of the season, glass votives, an empty wooden basket, and another postcard, Romare Bearden’s Autumn Lamp (Guitar Player).

Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy sits open upon the table, too.  I think I have it for two more weeks from the library before I have to return it. It’s a good book that I think I am going to add to my Christmas list. I flipped through the book for a bit, letting my eyes dance over her words and images.  And then guess what?

I closed the book (after marking what I intend to try for dinner tonight).  I sat back down at the computer and began to put fingers to the keyboard, feeling just a little bit less stuck.  😉

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lime and apple mint

lime and apple mint

… but I did not dream of growing up to become a chef, like Jackie Hill did.  Of course, I had a toy camera and I never dreamed of growing up to become a photographer.  You never know what a day — or a life — will hold, do you?  Those random  thoughts were inspired by this beautiful article about a woman following her dreams.

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“You could starve to death in the midst of plenty if you didn’t have garlic!” 

— quote by SFH

I’ve always loved the idea that no matter how tart the lemons of life, you can always find some sugar to sprinkle on top.  You know, sweeten things up.  I forgot you can also mix garlic with lemon and create some tastiness too.

I was reminded of that fact this morning by that fellow in my life.  He is quoted above.  He is absolutely notorious for his use of garlic.  And while one might think that he is joking about starving without garlic, let me assure you that he is not.  In our time together, I have gained a whole new appreciation for garlic spears in steak, garlic-based marinades for beef, chicken and pork, and garlic-rubbed toasted bread served with sliced tomatoes and smoked salmon.

He is perhaps most famous for his pesto.  Traditionally, he makes it with fresh basil, lemon juice, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, some black pepper … and a ton of garlic.  Now at the drop of a hat, he can make all sorts of variations to accommodate allergies, e.g. replacing pine nuts with carrots for my young cousin.  At some point he started adding sundried tomatoes.  When pine nuts became a bit scarce, there was a hazelnut experiment.  Black walnuts didn’t work so well.

One day I hope to convince him to sit still long enough to write about his philosophies of food, especially around garlic.  But I suppose most people would prefer he just keep cooking.  😉

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There are few things more fun to photograph …

… than unexpected treats from friends. 😉

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At first I wanted to title this image, “Cuddling,” but I thought that might be too sassy a title for my simple breakfast. Wherever you are in the world, have a good day, folks. 😉

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