Miscellany & Poetry - On food, wine, film, lit & then some.

And The Farmer’s Kitchen Goes To…Sass Squash (But You All Get 2 Recipes!)

I asked Chef Shanks to choose the winner of her new cookbook, The Farmer’s Kitchen, & so she has—congrats, Sass Squash. But all her sage advice regarding your produce problems remains right here; better still, she’s allowing me to post 2 of the recipes to which she alluded in her comments.

And best of all, your can score your own copy here.

GINGER-SESAME BOK CHOY
This recipe works well with Swiss chard and/or Napa cabbage, though the greens should be cut into 1-inch pieces instead of being left whole.

3 large or 6 small heads bok choy
2 tablespoons dark roasted sesame oil (such as Kadoya brand)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
¼ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
¼ cup sake or white wine
2 tablespoons mild soy sauce or 1 tablespoon double dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons butter
salt and lemon juice, to taste

1. Cut whole heads longitudinally in half and rinse thoroughly.
2. In a large skillet, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, sauté for 2 minutes, or until garlic just begins to soften. Add bok choy halves, cut side down, and pepper.
3. Cover the greens and steam for 1 minute. Add sake or white wine and soy sauce. Flip bok choy.
4. When inner core is just soft (about 3 minutes, depending on size), add butter. Shake pan to incorporate.
5. Adjust seasoning with salt and lemon juice if necessary.

BEET VINAIGRETTE
This vinaigrette can be used for a salad or as a sauce for roast lamb or salmon. Sautéed portobellos served alongside would complement the vinaigrette, bringing out the sweet earthy flavors.

1 small beet, cooked until exceedingly tender
½ cup pomegranate juice
1 small shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
leaves from 1 sprig of thyme
½ lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel and chop cooked beet. Put in a blender with the pomegranate juice and shallot.
2. Being careful about splatters, pour in olive oil. Add thyme and purée for 10 seconds more.
3. Season with lime juice, salt and pepper.

Hey Kids, Wanna Win a Copy of The Farmer’s Kitchen Cookbook?

A decade ago, when I was but a budding food writer, I took a class on knife skills at the Boston Center for Adult Education with one Julia Shanks. Aside from having the best name for a chef ever, she was just so darned likeable—smart, funny, easygoing. So it comes as no surprise to me that her new cookbook with Brett Grohsgal, The Farmer’s Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Enjoying Your CSA & Farmer’s Market Foods, is equally sharp & charming as well as accessible.

It starts with a thorough produce glossary describing the characteristics and uses of everything from winesap apples to Beauregard sweet potatoes & neck pumpkins to Coletto viola turnips, as well as an engaging glossary of techniques & a section on storing produce. What follows are more than 200 recipes celebrating the bounty of gardens & farms. Heavily but not strictly vegetarian, they include apple-hazelnut hash, arugula souffle, okra fritters, meatloaf with lamb & spaghetti squash, coconut-sorrel soup with shrimp, raspberry pancakes, & more—a variety of pizzas, pickles, sauces & dressings, beverages, etc.

Chef Shanks has graciously agreed to give away a copy to one lucky reader on this here blog. To win it, just submit your most pressing question about produce to the comments section; she’ll answer the winner’s conundrum.

 

A Few Foodie Gems from Earth (The Book)

Honestly, where do Jon Stewart & The Daily Show staff find the time? Subtitled A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race, their latest tome furnishes the alien invaders who will surely arrive on our planet after we’ve wiped ourselves out with an introduction to the former human race: who we were, who we thought we were, what we did, what we didn’t do. And, of course, what we ate. Here’s hoping the below excerpts constitute fair use insofar as they’ll surely inspire you to pick up a copy of your own. You’re gonna need it, just in case you’re the last living being left & have some explaining to do.

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BY THE NUMBERS: LIFETIME FOOD CONSUMPTION

Purposeful
Ranch dressing: 285 gallons
Edible underwear: 3.2 pairs
Uncut heroin: 1/12 condom
Jesuses: 95.4 wafers

Inadvertent
Pubic hairs: 876
Pieces of own tongue: 8 lbs.
Waitstaff saliva: 4.3 gallons
Fresh vegetables: 40 lbs.

THINGS WE LIKED: TREATS

Spices
What They Were: The ground extracts of seeds, leaves, buds, twigs & stumps
Why We Liked Them: Satisfied human need to add pinches, dashes & half-teaspoons of things
What We Used Them For: Making bland food taste good; making rotten food edible; making cartoon characters sneeze
What We’d Do for Them: Cross the Gobi; circumnavigate Arica; enslave millions

Caviar
What It Was: Roe killed legally in the womb, as per Roe v. Wade
Why We Liked It: Because “they” told us we should
What We Used It For: Spreading on crackers; mocking the homeless

Honey
What It Was: Delicious, delicious bee vomit
What We Used It For: Condiment; wound disinfectant; term of endearment; Pooh-baiting
What We’d Do for It: Get stung by swarms of insects; tolerate the existence of beekeepers
Where We Found It: Honeycomb; also available in “Bit o'” form
Where You’ll (Still) Find It: Plastic squeezy-bears; any surface it once touched

THINGS SOME OF US LIKED: DELICACIES

Haggis
What It Was: A sheep’s heart, liver & lungs stuffed & boiled inside its own stomach
Why Others Found It Gross: Preferred ground pig snouts & anuses served in intestine casing on bun with ketchup

Hasma
What It Was: Frog fallopian tubes boiled in sugar water
Who Ate It: The Chinese. For dessert.
How They Came Up With It: What other female frog part were they supposed to eat? The clitoris? It’s all gristle
Suggested Beverage Pairing: Anything alcoholic, but lots of it, & beforehand

Peeps
What They Were: Hypersweetened marshmallow candies shaped like baby animals
Who Ate Them: Americans & marshmallow snakes
How They Came Up With It: Railway disaster involving Necco Wafers, plumbers’ caulk & spent fuel rods
Why Others Found It Gross: Even on the molecular level, did not contain the building blocks of food
Suggested Beverage Pairing: Key lime–flavored Mad Dog 20/20

Stuff I Learned from Myself While Updating My Own Entries for The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America

By a strange stroke of luck (not to downplay my dazzling talent), back in 2003, I was offered the remarkable opportunity to write some entries—14, to be exact—for the 1st edition of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America, chief-edited by none other than the illustrious Andrew F. Smith.

Oeaf&dSMALL

Seven years later, in the process of revising them for the 2nd edition, I’m thoroughly engrossed by my own findings on Beans, Brandy, Cafeterias, Corned Beef, Crullers, Dressings & Stuffings, Eating Disorders, Ginger Ale, Hot Toddies, Old-Fashioneds, Roadhouses, Sarsaparilla, Sweet Pickles & Toast, many of which I’d only half-remembered.

Thought I’d share a few choice tidbits with you.

***

Brandy. Did you know that “one much disputed but no less beloved bit of folklore finds Manhattan being baptized in brandy, as the beverage with which the English explorer Henry Hudson plied the Delaware Indians he met there in 1609; in honor of the hilarity that ensued, Hudson’s new associates named the spot Manahachtanienk, which translates roughly as ‘the place where we got drunk.’ Thus did the Big Apple spring from grapes”? Now you do.

Ginger Ale. “Though the precise circumstances of its invention remain unknown…there may have been a few American antecedents…[including] a Native American concoction containing ginger boiled with cinnamon…& switchell, a curious-sounding colonial American beverage made by combining ginger with molasses & vinegar.” Which I would totally drink. With bourbon.

Sweet Pickles. “American Indians themselves produced a maple-sap vinegar to preserve game in preparation for the winter.” Another brilliant experiment of the sort that contemporary American chefs are only replicating now that charcuterie & other forms of preservation are hot, in part to the lasting trend toward sustainable living.

Hot Toddies. “To many Americans, who know the toddy only as a steaming après-ski pick-me-up, the term ‘hot toddy’ may seem redundant. Yet it makes a legitimate distinction, for the cool toddy does exist. Both of these drinks reflect the climate of their birthplace; indeed, toddies may even be defined by their usefulness in countering the effects of extreme temperature.
The cool version has its origins in the tapped &fermented sap of certain tropical palms, for which British colonialists in India developed a taste & a name, toddy, derived from the Hindi word tari. The word traveled from the outposts of the British Empire to sultry plantation-era America, where Dixie gentlemen adopted it for their own combination of rum, sugar or molasses, & nutmeg, which was mixed with hot water & then cooled. It was also known as bombo, or, on occasion, bimbo. The hot toddy hails from eighteenth-century Scotland…The hot toddy’s popularity must have spread fast, if the lore that would-be American revolutionaries took courage from rounds of toddies (which were often heated by pokers straight from the tavern hearth) holds any truth…In colonial New England, however, rum or brandy often replaced the whiskey—and the punch bowl itself often precluded glassware, since drinking from a common vessel was considered properly sociable among tavern patrons.” Those guys knew how to party, & not just with tea.

Cafeteria. “It provided a solution to various logistical problems arising in the transition between a primarily agrarian and an essentially urban-industrial society: as fewer and fewer people worked on either their own land or their own time, & scheduled lunch breaks made midday commutes home impractical, the need for eateries that were conveniently located within commercial districts & streamlined for speed—as well as thrift—increased. This need was first met in the 1880s with the opening of the Exchange Buffet in New York City (met, that is, for men, to whom the place catered exclusively). It gained credence across the country in the next decade, boosted by an exhibition at the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair—where the term ‘conscience joint’ was coined in a nod to the honor system by which patrons settled the check—and by the efforts of such entrepreneurs as the brothers Samuel and William Childs, who are credited with introducing the system of lines and trays that defines the modern cafeteria.” Does this glimpse into our prandial past fascinate any other culinary history buffs besides me?

Dressing & Stuffing. “Important as it is to America’s festive culinary traditions, ‘dressing’ is a term that wants some pinning down. Above all, whether it is interchangeable with ‘stuffing’ is a matter of continual debate. On the one hand, insofar as ‘dressing’ came into use in the nineteenth century as a prim euphemism for the latter term, we can assume it is equivalent. On the other hand, the verbs ‘to dress’ & ‘to stuff’ have historically connoted distinct culinary procedures—the one having to do with the cleaning &preparing of the carcasses of fish or fowl & the other with the making of fillings of all sorts. In this light, dressing might be viewed as a subtype in the more general category of stuffing, namely, one related directly to meat cookery—whereby filling the animal cavity with various ingredients would simply constitute a later step in the dressing process. This verb-based distinction accords to some extent with the popular notion that, technically, stuffing is the mixture actually inserted into the animal to be consumed, while dressing is the same mixture cooked separately, ‘on the outside.’ At any rate, ‘stuffing’ is the dominant term, while ‘dressing’ inheres in regional vocabularies, particularly in the South & Southeast.”

That solves that.

For more, you’ll have to buy the 2-volume set.

Hey, cool kids, it’s time to play…Cheese or Font!! & other proof that civilization is built on silliness

Cheese or Font?

SOS American Cheese?? or  Fdtdfont09??  —

(the latter being just another brilliant alphabet from Font Diner, itself a joy to browse)

is the most ridiculous, addictive—I dare say addiculous!—game ever.

Time wasting, I submit to you, is the acme of postpostmodern human achievement.

Never are we so gloriously creative, so downright ingenious, as when we’re futzing.

If CoF? isn’t enough to convince you, then Steve, Don’t Eat It! might be. Or Cake Wrecks, or Awkward Family Photos, or any of those other post-sliced-bread cyberinventions, food-related & not, that no longer need a linked introduction.

Or this, which might in fact need an intro. I read it 5 or 6 years ago & I’m still laughing. Learn all about it here & earn some time-wasting bonus points in the process!

Damccaabd

***

UPDATE:  Less than an hour after posting this, I get word that Cheese or Font? has inspired a copycat: Steakhouse or Gay Bar? Think Tenderloin Room, Velvet Hammer, Pink Pony, etc. Better yet, don’t think. It’s more fun that way.

Cool stuff in my house (Part 8, in praise of La Tienda)

these chicken-legged candleholders (though they might be even cooler if 1 of them was a drumstick)

Candlestix

this Cyberoptix tie I got the Director, depicting a telephone pole whose uprooting seems to have resulted in the electrocution of some bunny rabbits

Tie

my ever-changing food-themed collection of scents

Scents

from L to R: Fig Leaf by Demeter; Marrons Glacés (candied chestnut) by Laura Mercier Eau Gourmande; grapefruit-based Oyedo by Diptyque ; Fresh’s Orange Chocolate

& these quail eggs in olive oil with roasted peppers I ordered through La Tienda,

Quaileggs1

Quaileggs3

which of course just taste like any other hard-cooked birds’ eggs, only cuter. If cute has a flavor it’s quail egg.

The Holy Trinity of Frightening Cookbooks: special holiday guest post by MO

You may have noticed my friend MO & I are kinda cranky (e.g. here, here). We’re also loquacious. It’s a classic combination. For instance, I might wax apoplectic about Spicy Pickle’s audacious ignorance of &/or disrespect toward Italian culture as illustrated by its signage—

SPKL-S1

pizza being a feminine, not masculine, noun; therefore, in the diminutive, it’s pizzetta; therefore, in the diminutive plural, it’s pizzette; & as if that weren’t annoying enough to a logophile (never mind Italophile) who believes that no less than the nightmare of doublespeak begins in linguistic irresponsibilitysaid pizzetti are collectively described as being “Neapolitan-style” in gross contradiction to the description of each pizzetto (to deduce the singular from the Italian masculine plural): there’s the Sicilian with sopressata—a salame that originates in the Veneto, a northernmost region, hence as far as it could be from Sicilia, an island off the southern coast of Italy, where Campagna, home to Napoli (as in Neapolitan), is actually located; the Sonoma with mozzarella, the most famous type of which actually does hail from Campagna, which is not California; the Aztec, which at least boasts chipotles, though they’re blended into a pesto—the claim to fame of a region well north of Campagna called Liguria; & so on through the shadows of a corporate world wherein the only recognized birthplace of anything is the boardroom—while I might natter on about that, MO might be recounting the nightmares she apparently actually has about her beloved Frasca jumping the shark upon its upcoming move, from which she wakes up to go to work in “Saudi Aurora,” a routine she compares to getting a barium enema.

Aurora_CO_04_Rw14H9991105

Or, for instance, she might be thumbing through cookbooks in preparation for the holidays only to conclude she’d best prepare for the apocalypse instead. The sort of rant that results follows:

The Holy Trinity of Frightening Cookbooks

1. Tastes for All Seasons is prepared by a small-town church in Oklahoma. The main reason I know it’s completely devoid of any artistic merit is that the church is my parents’ church, & it includes a “recipe” from my DAD—who claims to hate any kind of pasta dish even though he has mainly eaten boxed spaghetti with Ragù & pseudo-parm from a green shaker can, believes his ashen-gray chewy slabs of steak are delicious & describes sushi as “bait.”

His recipe is called “Tater Stuff” & calls for bacon, potatoes, onions & eggs fried together with a whole stick of butter (since the bacon fat apparently doesn’t grease the skillet sufficiently). This tricky combination was screaming out for print, no? I further find it amusing that this concoction is listed under the “Vegetables” section (which includes other healthy fare that will impress your vegetarian dream date all the way from Tater Tot Casserole chock full o’ ground beef to Cabbage Rolls laden with ground beef to Old Settlers Baked Beans filled with ground beef and canned pork & beans). One of the non-beef vegetable recipes is Fresh Frozen Country Creamed Style Corn, which calls for a box of frozen corn & a cup of coffee creamer. ACK.

Denveditor’s note: Um, actually, I’d eat some tater stuff. Just saying.

Other delights include Mexican Salad (which includes the authentic, ancient Mayan twin favorites of Doritos & Catalina dressing), Oriental Slaw (which consists of throwing some almonds & sunflower seeds into a package of ramen), Sausage Balls (Bisquick, Jimmy Dean sausage & grated cheese), a chicken enchilada preparation where every ingredient is canned or processed & topped off with a river of melted Cheez Whiz), a Butterfinger Banana Cake with purchased frosting and crumbled Butterfingers “sprinkled” on top, & Quick & Easy Rubber Cake (which is disappointingly not decorated with prophylactics).

MO’s grocery list so far:

IdoritosCatalina_salad_dressingBisquick, JD_sma_pdt_SauReg, 41QjyEAYSFL._SL500_AA280_PIbundle-12,TopRight,0,0_AA280_SH20_,Butterfinger_cta2Enhance-creamer17082

There is also a bevy of dreadful salad recipes, including one called Pink Party Salad which is straight from my culinary nightmares. Perhaps it is an Okie thing, but my hubby and I both marvel at how every family gathering we attended with our respective families (weddings, funerals, reunions, holidays, tractor pulls) included a bowl of pink shit & another of green, reportedly salads that included marshmallows, Jello, cottage cheese, Cool Whip, mandarin oranges, pecans, mayonnaise, celery & other items that should never, ever be mixed together lest they set off a fatal nuclear chain reaction.

Pinksalad-large + 103-204872_t150
Chainreaction

2. Taste of Home: Mom’s Best Meals. I swear you would string up even the most beloved mother and leave her for dead if she ever fed you anything from this book.


Taste of Home
craps out recipes submitted by country cooks (accompanied by color pictures of the kitchen mavens showing off their 70s-era glasses frames & stylish Midwestern ‘dos). In this collection, one lady curiously presents an “Italian-style” dinner with a centerpiece of sweet & sour BBQ ribs with ketchup. Just like mama made in Old Sicily, I’m sure.

Orange_Barbecued_Ribs1357_IMG_PIG, she’s sure

The book is full of fun and engaging facts. For instance, did you know that you can buy a loaf of bread, top it with melted butter & minced garlic, & present it to your guests as Garlic Bread? Did you know that after frying potatoes, you can drain them on paper towels? & when buying lettuce, it would behoove you to try to find some that is still crisp? Did you know that A Thanksgiving to Remember always includes a gelatin ring & that processed food is more appetizing when layered?*** Or that “timeless” & “special” recipes always include breaded meat? Who knew?

***Cf. The Onion, 2/6/08

Statshot_2_6_08

Several recipes attempt to be exotic, enabling the Kansan housewife to feel like she’s taking a walk on the wild side by using words such as “Bavarian” and “kabob” and “Brunswick” (although the latter could just be trying to capture the hearts of bowling league aficionados).

An Olive Lover’s Salad is creative in that it calls for not only canned olives, but jarred olives as well.

OT236187SDa olive alla napoletana450 = practically

Elbulliblobs !
El Bulli’s something or other

The most heartbreaking recipe is from a woman who is not from Poop Chute, Arkansas, but Boulder, reportedly the most educated city in America. She shares her recipes for an “Authentic Austrian Dinner” consisting of a “Colorful Veggie Bake” replete with cubed Velveeta and butter-flavored crackers. I guess if you served a Gruner-Veltliner with it & ate it while watching Terminator 2, that would make the meal sort of Austrian.

VelveetaTerminator_two_judgement_daysort of Austria-Mountains !

It is fitting that the final recipe in the tome is for a Prune Bundt Cake, as it will allow you to easily expel all the other masterpieces from the book.

No images available

3. I wrote about this last one on the “internets” once upon a time. The 4 Ingredients cookbook is written by a couple of home-ec hicks in Kerrville, Texas. Incidentally, I once unfortunately found myself at a dance club called Neighbors in Kerrville where the bouncers wore shirts emblazoned with confederate flags & a cowboy drawled at me, “Well, your husband ain’t here, is he darlin’?” after I declined a dance with his Skoal-encrusted ass.

Ditto

This book does have its fans on Amazon, including one lady who declares that she normally ruins even the easiest things in the kitchen such as instant pudding (WTF?!) but this book apparently makes her look like Brillat-Savarin.

20071227ho_sandypink_500 cf. Brillat-savarin

Perversely, I’m inspired. I say we throw a bad-recipe cooking party. We’ll wear housecoats & swig lots of cream sherry as we go. I’ll bring this:

GWTW2

There’s a fruit salad of prunes, cream cheese watercress & French dressing with my name on it. In congealed blood, perhaps, but on it nonetheless. Who’s with me?

Feasting on paste, or what Thanksgiving means to me

I enjoy sea urchin any of 3 ways: 1) tossed with spaghetti & topped with bottarga, the way the awesome José Duarte used to serve it at my dear old Southern Italian–Peruvian haunt in Boston’s North End, Taranta; 2) tossed with ditalini & topped with bread crumbs, the way the awesome (since departed) David Nevins used to serve it at my dear old seafood haunt in Boston’s North End, Neptune Oyster; 3) toasted. Me, I mean—my stomach for stinking, shuddering blobs of hellfire-orange echinoderm expanding according to my liquor intake so that, say, the more sake I drink, the more uni maki seems to rock.

2145921299_5c0aa19bdbGrant

images stolen from this guy’s Flickr photostream & this blogger paying due homage to Hüsker Dü’s Grant Hart

Likewise, with every glass of wine poured during our 3-hour round of Thanksgiving*** hors d’oeuvres did every bite of pâté de erizo de mar purchased from the fine online Spanish market La Tienda taste less like the rotting maw of a terrible vivisected sea monster & more like the rich creamy jelly (de)composed of oceanic-cum-bodily fluids the promo copy claims it is, containing as well hake (a codlike whitefish), margarine, milk, eggs & salt. Still, automatically easier for me to swallow was the mellow pâté de bonito del norte studded with bits of red bell pepper.

Pates

Stiller still, funny how a table set with a gourmet spread & the kitchen floor where the cat’s bowls are can begin to blur—not least when the products lining the 1 are called Cata Gourmet & the other

50000-57498-1
50000-57498 .

***At the table in Albuquerque with the Director & me: the 20-year divorcees that are my folks; their old friend the UNM Spanish lit professor and rumored former gulag prisoner from Kiev; my mother’s Mexican penpal since her teens, a recovering alcoholic up from the Yucatan Peninsula for no apparent reason with her constant (to insinuate) traveling companion, a raging alcoholic, both of whose grasp on spoken English is shakier than, say, that of a recovering alcoholic whose constant traveling companion through foreign lands is a raging alcoholic on sobriety; & my mother’s ever-intimidatingly quiet & wise-looking, polio-hobbled Tibetan Buddhist nun of a cousin in her orange robes. Couldn’t be truer.

But seriously, enough about poop: My all-time favorite cookbooks

I’ve been to culinary school, profiled my share of cookbooks (including Party Nuts! & Loretta Lynn’s You’re Cookin’ It Country), even written encyclopedia entries on the historical uses of everything from beans to sarsaparilla. I’ve been undressed by kings, & I’ve seen some things that a woman ain’t supposed to see…oh, no, wait, that was Charlene. Damn. At any rate, obviously, nothing in my vast experience could have prepared me for the lessons of Basic Microwaving. Behold the porn dog.

Bmsausages

Bmsausages2

I guess Charlene could have told me that wieners & frankfurters vary in size, but the fact that fat affects shrinkage…I’m thinking that’s got to be an eye-opener for all but a very narrow (er, as opposed to thin) segment of the population, no?

Anyway. Because BM brought out the scatological worst in me (as any BM worth the monogram tends to do), I feel compelled to lessen any possible offense I’ve caused by introducing those cookbooks that, idiosyncratic though they may be, have over the years brought out the best in me. Not the scatological best, either, just the regular best.

No. 3: Madhur Jaffrey’s Step-by-Step Cooking, Madhur Jaffrey

Jaffrey

While it implies the book’s for novices, the compound adjective “step-by-step” more accurately indicates the geographical range of the recipes, crossing Asia from Jaffrey’s native India to Indonesia. They’re vibrant & pungent, easygoing & humble. Like me, heh.

Try: Vietnamese ca tim nuong (smoky eggplant & pork in lime sauce); Indian badami roghan josh (lamb in dark almond sauce)

No. 2: Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain, Penelope Casas

Tapascookbook

Practically organized to reflect the concerns of a real-world host/hostess (sections include “cold tapas” and “tapas with some last-minute preparation”), Casas’s neoclassic covers the recipe spectrum from quick-&-easy to time-&-labor-intensive; either way, the results manage to impress.

Try: pastel de salmon ahumado (smoked salmon pâté—easier than its gorgeousness would suggest); addictive albóndigas Sant Climent (lamb meatballs in brandy sauce)

No. 1: Lettuce in Your Kitchen, Chris Schlesinger & John Willoughby

Lettuceinyourkitchen

That’s right, my favorite cookbook in this whole wide world features salads. If you think there’s nothing to them but chopping, dressing & tossing, you’ve got a whole huge other think coming. Versatility, complexity, substance: these recipes boast them all.

Try: chicory with garlic pork, pickles & black-eyed peas in charred tomato dressing; Bibb lettuce with grilled scallops, sausage & pineapple in mango–black pepper dressing

Basic Microwaving Lesson 4: You can’t spell “pork chop” without “poop”

…& apparently you can’t make one without it either. Per the instructions, “microwaved pork chops need to be encased in a crust to hold in juices or masked with a dense sauce to provide moisture.” Per the photos, it seems you can find all the ingredients you need for your coating of choice right in your own orifices. Talk about one-stop shopping!

Pork2
This crumb-crust gives new meaning to “shake & bake”!

Pork1
Smothered pork chops: so easy even your dog can pitch in! (Provided he’s been eating grass.)