Monthly Archives: February 2009

False advertising

Like a brick

Like a brick

One thing marred my lovely Saturday morning muffin baking yesterday, and that was having to drag my lazy arse to the supermarket before I could start.

Annoyingly, I had every single ingredient the recipe called for (including macadamia nuts!), but my “soft” brown sugar was too rock hard to use.  I’ve since resusciated the sugar by leaving it overnight in a bowl covered by a damp tea towel, but that takes time, so I had to go buy more sugar yesterday morning.  Grrr.

Does anyone have any tips on how to keep brown sugar soft?

A winter classic

This is another dish I stumbled across while looking for a fun way to uses the casserole dish. An unassuming recipe,  it’s barely more than an assembly job, and is far more than the sum of its parts.

Winter grains ready for the oven

Winter grains ready for the oven

Much of the flavor comes from the bit of sausage, so choose a good strong one. The different textures of the grains are key to the dish, so it’s important not to overcook them. Oh, and use whatever fresh greens you have around. The original recipe called for escarole, but I was intrigued by the fresh black kale at the market.

Plus it’s another excuse for barley!

As ever, the measurements do not need to be exact:

  • 3 cups fat-free chicken or veg broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup dried barley
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 4 ounces (100 grams)  fresh spinach, coarsely shredded – use fresh grown up spinach, no baby or frozen for this
  • 4 ounces (100 grams) black kale, coarsely shredded
  • 3-4 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 4 ounces (100 grams) medium-sized shell-shaped pasta, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1/4 cup wild rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (for serving)

Continue reading

Weekend treats

muffins-0161I’ve had some very brown bananas lurking at the bottom of my fruit bowl for a few days now, so I put them to good use in some banana nut muffins this morning.  Warm baked goods + the weekend papers + strong coffee = the perfect Saturday morning.  Recipe from Epicurious.

– Anna

Atkins would approve

Meat after a two-day marinade

Meat after a two-day marinade

I clipped this recipe from the New York Times the other day because it put me in mind of Eve’s tip that marinating meat in booze cuts the carcinogens.  As if I need an excuse.

The marinade calls for red wine, sugar, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest.  You’re probably thinking at this point that it sounds more like a recipe for mulled wine than a marinade for steak.  But who are you to question the Gray Lady? Continue reading

You too can bone a chicken

Supermarket chicken comes pumped up with water, stabilizers, antibiotics and god knows what else. It also comes cheap, and sometimes with the bones magically removed. This bone issue is one I hadn’t really thought through.

Happily, the internet is filled with instructional videos:

And you know what? It’s not that hard. Even with an Ikea paring knife. Cutting the meat away is a breeze, and when you get the bones mostly out, you pull them up in a sort of V shape – I liked to think the chicken was telling me victory was almost at hand. Then all you have to do is cut the joint away from the meat, which is a bit of a pain.

I even saved the bones to make a stock. I’m learning!


This might make me a bad person

I’ve been thinking about food politics for a few weeks now, prompted by a shortcut through the local McDonald’s parking lot (more on that later) and the issue being addressed both here by Eve and extensively in the national press (around Germans and NHS patients being urged to cut their meat consumption for environmental reasons).

Growing up in San Francisco, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know the arguments against meat eating. We talked about the environmental issues at school since kindergarten. Many of my friends have been vegetarians since we were about nine, mainly because of the issues of animal rights and the problems with factory farming. More recently, with awareness of climate change growing, some friends have become vegetarian for environmental reasons.

Working at War on Want also gave me greater insight on the human side of food politics, through the work that we did with peasant farmers around the world and the campaigning against agrobusiness and supermarkets.

So, I’ve never been able to plead ignorance. Continue reading

Chop this

feel the power!

My blogmate thinks she’s so special, whipping up homemade hummus in her shiny new mixer. Well ha! Two can play this game.

Yes, yes, my baby chopper is not quite as exciting as Anna food processor. But I never have to chop an onion again, and that’s enough for me.

Too much of a good thing?

Before meeting the food processor

Before meeting the food processor

I’ve been making my own hummus since I got the food processor, and I never use a recipe.  I just throw in a can of chickpeas, a dollop of tahini, some olive oil, a large squeeze of fresh lemon juice, some salt…and a clove (or three or four) of garlic.

I love garlic, so I’d say it’s hard to overdo it, but the last batch of hummus I made could’ve slayed a vampire or two.  I wouldn’t have eaten any before a hot date, and I probably wouldn’t have served it to guests, but I enjoyed it on my sandwiches this week.

– Anna


From the LA Times:

There was no meat, unless you count bacon, which I consider more of a spice, and dried salumi, which probably is really a kind of pickle.

If I can call chicken a grain, this whole vegetarian thing might hold some promise. Aren’t chicken and cows all corn, anyway?

Happy birthday Anna!

And Kira, too, if you’re out there.

by Flickr user Anushruti RK (Creative Commons license)  by Flickr user dreamagicjp (Creative Commons license)

by Flickr user dreamagicjp (Creative Commons license)