Roasted orange chutney

January 24, 2012 § 12 Comments

English is a language with a lot of great idiomatic phrases, so I take slight umbrage at the fact that there is no good taste equivalent for the saying “I could see it in my mind’s eye.”  At least, I don’t think there is.  If anyone out there knows one, will you please share it with me?  I would use it all the time.  I would probably drive everyone around me to drink, I would use it so often.  (So maybe it’s actually good I don’t know such a phrase.  It prevents the need for an intervention – for my overuse of it, or for the induced drinking problem in those who are sick of hearing it, I couldn’t say…)

It’s how I think about recipes, ingredients, and cooking.  I think many people who cook a lot do.  I imagine ingredients and preparations and I taste what they would be like in my mind’s mouth (ergh, see, that sounds ridiculous) before even cracking open the cupboards in the pantry.  And, when I see a dish of some sort, I do the same thing.

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Cranberry-fig chutney + cranberry pear sauce

November 26, 2009 § 2 Comments

I Love holidays!  Love with a capital L (as you can see).  I’m like a little kid, I get completely overexcited about holidays, especially the winter holidays that bring friends and family together around festive tables to combat the potential dreary winter blues.  And, I’m an absolute sucker for traditions.  I’m one of those people who likes to do the exact same thing every year for each holiday and heaven help you if you try to get me to change because it’ll be an uphill battle (though I’m always ready to adopt new traditions to have in addition to those I was raised with)!  I firmly believe that having the rhythm and dependability of strong traditions in our families and on our holidays roots us in a way that allows us to then be more creative and accepting of differences in the rest of life.

Given this, you can probably guess about how much variation there is from year to year in what I think should be cooked and served for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.  That’s right.  Zippo!  Same thing, every year, and it’s good every time!  On the other hand, I feel completely free to experiment with the principle ingredients of holiday dishes the rest of time.  Right now I’ve been playing with cranberries, for example.  I got, shall we say, a little enthusiastic when I was buying cranberries in preparation for Thanksgiving.  So, I’ve been using cranberries in other ways, besides as a side dish for the bird.  One of the first places they showed up was in several loaves of pumpkin bread.  I also tried drying some – that was a total fiasco.  Now I’ve moved on to pairing them with savory dishes.  Turkey isn’t the only meat that goes well with a bit of something sweet-tart on the side.  Pork and chicken, basically the other white meats, are good with cranberries as well (and though I’ve never tried it, I would imagine that salmon, baked with mustard on it (don’t ask why but I imagine cranberry sauce being good with mustard, maybe I had it on a sandwich once) would be good with cranberries too – I may try it and get back to you). « Read the rest of this entry »

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