Alarm bells went off in my head when my wife, the Lovely & Talented Cheryl DeGroot asked, "What is all that smoke floating under the ceiling?" How could that be? The kitchen exhaust fan was going full blast. I noticed that the door on the overhead cabinet housing the fan was slightly ajar. I turned off the fan and closed it. When I re-started the fan the door popped open again. Uh-oh.
The good news? We harvested 60+ lbs. of Roma tomatoes this year. Bad news? I'd have to puree them in my little food mill as I did last year. It's a nice enough tool but just not up to processing that kind of volume. The plates clog up and have to be removed and cleaned, then re-installed. It just takes forever. But this time around I found something robust enough for heavy tomato lifting.
Last week I received a text from Nancy Leson containing the lobster shot above and "Live @ $4.50/lb. Eat yer heart out." The surge of envy that coursed through me was powerful enough to make me drop my can of Beanie-Weenies.
What kind of madcap optimist attempts homemade pastrami? Well, uh — me. When I told Nancy Leson about the breakthrough recipe I found at Mandy Lee's utterly swell Lady And Pups blog, she had to try it too.
Run wild! Sure, if you've never made something before, it's a good idea to follow the instructions. But remember that recipes come from all-too-fallible humans, not infallible food deities. I speak from bitter experience.
I got so excited last week listening to Nancy describe her homemade tortillas that I ran right out and bought a tortilla press and some masa harina. My intention was a taco feast with homemade Mexican chorizo and salsa verde and homemade tortillas. What could go wrong?
"Why would you make your own tortillas when they're available in every store?" I asked Nancy Leson . "Because I can. Because it's fun. And it's easy!" And, she claims, better than store-bought. Read on for Nancy's tortillas, the book they rode in and actual live footage of La Leson wielding her tortilla press.
Nancy Leson was just over the moon about the Persian cooking class she'd recently taken from cookbook author and teacher Najimieh Batmanglif. I took one look at Batmanglif's site and immediately found recipes I had to try.
Nancy Leson is the first to talk up the virtues of the produce on sale at l ocal farmers markets, but she was wowed by the tomatoes she saw at Eugene's Lane County Farmers Market. Her only regret? "I just wasn't in a position to take home a box of San Marzanos that were just unbe-LEEEV-able." I had thought San Marzanos were the same thing as the Romas I'm growing. I was half-right.
As a guy who excludes fruit from his diet, I have no business pointing a finger at anyone else's food phobias. But I will, anyway. How can my wife, the Lovely & Talented Cheryl DeGroot, a generally omnivorous woman, hate grits? And she'll have nothing to do with Pisum sativum , either no matter how I beg her to give peas a chance. Nancy Leson's husband Mac won't eat the cheeses she finds so pleasing. This week Nance and I commiserate on our spouses' food phobias and offer recipes for stuff...
This showdown's been brewing ever since Nancy Leson claimed she could make perfectly good bagels, start to finish in one hour. Naturally I scoffed, but Nancy swears they're good. We and about ten other guests finally got a chance to do a comparison tasting last weekend. The results surprised me.
Mayonnaise is Chile's favorite sandwich spread. It's a must for the famous Chacarero (farm style) beef, tomato and green bean sandwich. I made one recently and, in the process, discovered a whole new use for both mayo and my gas grill.
“Seattle restaurants are so uncomfortable that it’s driving me crazy,” Nancy Leson beefed. Nancy’s main complaint is fundamental. “Isn’t the definition of 'restaurant' to restore? How restored can you get when your tush is numb after a half hour?”
Last week, Seattle celebrated the grand opening of the new Pike Place MarketFront . It was a long time coming. Not only for folks who tried to navigate Western Avenue amid the mass construction, but for all of us who love Pike Place Market and use it regularly, whether we’re showing off the city’s historic centerpiece to out-of-towners or eating, drinking and shopping there — as I regularly do.
I asked Nancy Leson what she likes to chop on. Once we got past her lumberjack (Jill?) joke I learned she likes plastic for cutting and wood for serving. I'd always preferred wood for cutting and hubcaps for serving. Now I'm a convert to the convenience of plastic for cutting. Especially the new one sent to us by a listener. What’s so great about it? It’s full of holes.
"My kid finally got a real, paying job," Nancy Leson announced. Young Nate's now a B.C. barista. Which led us to reminisce about our first food service jobs. Nancy's was at the Chalfonte , a venerable Cape May, N.J. hotel. My first food service job nearly earned me a deep-fried head.
It was buckwheat all the way down. While Nancy Leson was whipping out a batch of buckwheat crepes in Edmonds this past weekend, 39 miles to the south I was mixing the sponge for the next morning's sourdough buckwheat flapjacks. Background and recipes below the fold.
With warm summer weather just about here what better time to crank up the oven to 550 degrees? A little thermal discomfort is a small price to pay for the pleasures of the pizza and calzone Nancy Leson and I talked about.