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strawberry mezcal joy

By on Jun 22, 2015 in experimenting, fail... or not, libations, love | 0 comments

Once upon a time, a tall, cold-loving woman went to Austin, Texas. She left Chicago one abnormally chilly summer morning (and it secretly made her happy it was that chilly,) boarding a plane wearing a light sweatshirt, and two hours later when she strode forth through the sliding doors of the Austin airport, the heat and humidity hit her like a fist. And it technically was not even that bad. But this woman, this woman hated heat and humidity. But she embraced it, because inside this heat was a lovely, vibrant little city, surrounded by beautiful hill country. And of course… there was food. And that woman was me. And OH did I eat that food. There was the beet hummus that looked like a painting, found at Launderette. There was straight up family style BBQ at the Salt Lick, where I spent the entire meal dancing in my seat with joy. My Wisconsin heart leapt with joy at the prevalence...

(un)sexy soba

By on Jul 14, 2013 in dinner, experimenting, fail... or not, process, vegetarian | 0 comments

Soba is not inherently sexy, at least not at the home cook level. In the past, I have been accused of describing food in an overly salacious, borderline obscene manner. Who am I to deny the seductive quality of a plump, juicy peach as it explodes under the fervent explorations of eager teeth? But these are noodles. Made of buckwheat flour. Even the sound of it… the hard consonants dropping out of the mouth, clattering about the ear. Buckwheat. (crash) Not sexy. But you see, there is a hidden seductive joy in the noodle. Perhaps it was implanted in my brain by a certain old Disney movie, leaving my brain to still believe that somewhere out there I will meet a scruffy fellow who will give me the last meatball and share a long, slow slurp of a last noodle, ending in a kiss. Perhaps it is simply that fact that one uses the word “slurp” a lot with noodles, and that has a...

lamb rite of spring

By on May 21, 2013 in dinner, experimenting, fail... or not, roasting | 0 comments

One day it appeared. Spring. A warm breeze gently breathed through the windows, comfy tendrils of air wrapping themselves around bare arms. Carpets of green appearing where brown was two days earlier. Pollen flying willy nilly through the air, digging deep into the sinuses of many an allergy sufferer, causing a spike in the stock of facial tissue suppliers. So one fine day in the fresh light of spring, I decided it was time for lamb. Deciding to cook up a young, fresh animal may seem a macabre reaction, but there are some rituals of ancient times that require a lamb sacrifice. A sacrificial lamb, offered up so the seductively balmy breezes wafting through the window would be assured for a few months more. Granted, far from being a sacrificer, I was getting this from a small supplier, neatly ground and packaged, but surely that is a modern device for the old tradition of a sacrificial...

crepes for yoda

By on Feb 15, 2013 in experimenting, fail... or not | 0 comments

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far, away, there was a wise, squat, and vaguely green fellow named Yoda. I have loved this wrinkly denizen of a mysterious swamp world since before I could remember. His cadence is unmistakable, his wisdom timeless (and yes, I am fully aware he is a fictional brain child of George Lucas with some heavy influence from Joseph Campbell, but in my childish mind we will say he is still real.) And one day in pondering my own life path, one of his more famous musings ran through my head: “Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” (and if you are anything like me, you now want to rush and watch Star Wars for the 800th time right now.) There are many ways to take this, and I’m sure people have written entire tomes tearing it apart, and I’m not going to do that. Mostly because… well… this is about food. And a little about...

lemony bitchet cookies

By on Jan 8, 2013 in baking, dessert, experimenting, fail... or not | 0 comments

I know, I know… “lemony bitchet cookies? What the heck do you mean?” Well, obviously there is some reference to the delightful children’s books by the fictional Lemony Snicket wherein an unfortunate batch of orphaned siblings battle and endless string of disappointments, but still I know you are thinking, “yes, yes, but isn’t that a rather lame name for a cookie? Isn’t that a little bit much of a stretch?” And I would agree. Except it was catchy sounding and more, shall we say, ‘family-friendly’ than the alternative title I gave them. Which was “When life gives you lemons… well fuck you” cookies. Uncensored. Because who are those three asterisks after the ‘f’ really going to fool? And why, you ask? Well therein lies the story. We all know the phrase “When life gives you lemons, make...

another cranberry

By on Nov 23, 2011 in breakfast, experimenting, fail... or not, fruit | 0 comments

Thanksgiving. Christmas. The food part of the holiday season kicks off in earnest tomorrow. Turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, with and without marshmallows, green beans doused in condensed soup and onions that emerge from a can and yet are suspiciously supposed to be “fried,” scads of warm dense pies filled with all manner of fruit and nut. And inevitably… the cranberry. A great deal of us were introduced to cranberry sauce via the can. If you were very lucky, you could make the “sauce” slide out in one solid quivering log. More often than not it had to be scooped out into an eery dark mass that was sparingly scooped onto the plate in an obligatory holiday act, then poked and pushed around to make more room for stuffing. In more recent times the home cook has been inundated with a hundred different ways to make cranberry sauce from scratch, a task only a...