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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Strawberry drinking vinegar

July 26, 2011 § 23 Comments

Ok, I’m back.  And I’m going to put this out there:  I have a bit of a drinking problem.  It’s kombucha.  I LOVE the stuff!  It’s tangy, and fizzy, and refreshing imbibeable perfection in a bottle.  I could drink it all day.  Except it’s a leeetle expensive.  And, I have not had great success with brewing my own.  I’m not half bad at tending plants, and pets for that matter (er, except for one unfortunate incident with my pet frog in early grade school), but my kombucha-mother (the fungus that you leave in the sweetened tea to ferment it and fill it with nurturing probiotics) care is apparently sub-par.

Also, I get seriously overwhelmed by all the babies they produce. I have on several separate occasions gone all irrational, thrown up my hands in overwhelmedness and thrown everything – mother, babies, tea – away as if I were fighting against alien invasion.  It’s not good.

Anywho, it’s been so funny to see how kombucha has come back into popularity over the past couple of years.  When we were quite little (around the same time as the unfortunate frog incident, in fact) my dad used to brew kombucha.  The kombucha fungus lurked in a bucket of tea, hidden in the bottom cupboard of a coral-colored dish cabinet in the kitchen.  Building up an air of mystery, my brothers and I would show it to our friends like a circus side-show to elicit whispers of “look,” “ewww!” and “what is that??”

One unfortunate (in our opinion) little boy actually drank some of it once, thinking it was apple juice.  His face, as the vinegary fermented flavor hit his tastebuds, was priceless.  Had youtube and flip videos existed back then, we would have had a viral moment on our hands. « Read the rest of this entry »

Melted onions

September 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

We had to get up to catch a flight at 4:15 am this morning, also known as waaaaaaaaaaaaay too early o’clock.  And let me tell you, I am not a very highly functioning person when I’ve only gotten a few hours of sleep.  Most of my thoughts are about as coherent as, “ooooh, that’s a red thing!” or “hey! Birds fly. And planes fly too!  But planes do not have feathers.  Hmmm.”  Or, as I survey my pretty barren pantry, “butter is good.  Onions are good.  Butter and onions are good.”

And that’s about all you need to know for this recipe.  Butter and onions are good.  And, when they’re slow cooked together with a pinch of herbs and just a little port to enhance the sweetness of the onions, then they are meltingly tender, fragrant, sweet, and luxurious.  Oh, and good.  You can make these onions and serve them over pretty much any roasted or grilled meat.  You can serve them on bruschetta or crackers with soft cheese, cured meats (like prosciutto or salami), or add them to sandwiches (especially roast beef!) or use them as a bottom layer for a pizza or savory tart.  For example, try these onions on a pizza with blue cheese, chicken, and sauteed summer squash or greens.  Or with goat cheese, prosciutto, figs (or grilled peaches), and arugula.  Oooh, I know what I’m having for dinner…once I take a nap.

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