With holiday parties and family gatherings, snack foods pretty much become their own seasonal food group this time of year. As an avid snacker, this naturally delights me. Somewhere between a flatbread and a cracker, Lavash is a snacking dream. Originating in the Caucasus, this quick, unleavened dough has both chew and crunch, a fantastic cracker to eat plain, or to use as a vehicle for all other manner of dips and spreads. We particularly love Lavash Crackers with beet horseradish hummus.Read More
I am partial to old and eccentric recipes. When my grandparents moved a few years ago, I jumped at the chance to dig through my grandma's old cookbooks. My favorite recipe from the collection is titled 'Potato Soup for a Barn-Raising,' and it begins (I kid you not) with "1/2 ton potatoes, peeled and diced." Now that's a recipe! Buried in the pages of these Mennonite and Amish community cookbooks from the 1940s, I found multiple recipes for popcorn cookies with a meringue base. Intrigued, I started experimenting. I knew I had a winner when Rebecca kept polishing off the still warm cookies before they were cool enough to photograph. These Old-Fashioned Popcorn Coconut Meringue Cookies are a snap to whip up, they are chewy, nutty, not too sweet, and amazingly addictive. And as a bonus, these flourless meringues are gluten free.Read More
“What kind of weird orange tomato is that...” the check-out clerk wondered aloud, as persimmons made their way up the conveyor belt at the grocery store last week. Ten minutes later, there were two mangers involved, a low buzz of grumpy conversation in the line, and toes tapping impatiently. Finally, with the arrival of a third manager, and no persimmon on the produce list, I was told to name my price and take my strange fruit home. Victory! Persimmon Citrus Salad is worth the trouble to track down persimmons in your area, it is a festive and zippy salad, featuring winter's most vibrant colors and textures, bathed in a lime mint vinaigrette.
Persimmons are a fall fruit in season between September and December and there are a number of varieties of this fruit. We prefer the pumpkin orange, tomato shaped Fuyu persimmons, as they can be eaten at all stages of the ripening process, unlike other varieties which are astringent and incredibly bitter until they fully ripen.Read More
Mexican Chocolate Custard Cake is our favorite chocolate cake. This fabulous cake is flourless, supremely decadent, dead simple to make, and perfectly balances the subtle spiciness of ancho and cinnamon with a dark fudgy texture. But perhaps the most eloquent endorsement: an enormous bite mark and accompanying slobber stains across the recipe from our sleepy greyhound Leo, who, apparently knows a good recipe when he sees one! While you may be wondering about the wisdom of making a spectacularly sumptuous, rich, pudding-like chocolate cake smack dab in the middle of the holidays, don’t. Dig deep people, this one is worth it! Or, as one of our dessert tasters muttered under his chocolate-laced breath; “You’ve got to be dead not to like this.” Eat on.Read More
Check out our Homemade Pastrami recipe featured by our friends at The Food Tasters! Its a great site for great food and all things Pittsburgh.
We have a soft spot for home-cured meats, and often find ourselves making variations on these traditional brined and smoked delicacies. While corned beef was our gateway meat, Homemade Pastrami is our latest passion. The name Pastrami comes to us from Yiddish, and appears to have originated as traditional wind-dried beef in what is now Romania. Our Homemade Pastrami develops layers of flavor through a two step process of brining and smoking. The brisket first cures for 6 days in a brine infused with cloves, black pepper, thyme, and garlic before finishing for 11 hours in the smoker. The resulting meat is unbelievably good, especially on a homemade Reuben!
For the recipe, follow the link: Homemade Pastrami at The Food Tasters.Read More
We love maple syrup! Possibly my own craving for this iconic sap is the result of my Canadian heritage. But then there’s my American husband, who obsessively drizzles maple syrup over everything in sight, from a sweetener in his tea and coffee, to pork roasts, chili, ice cream, to salmon. Regardless of the origins of our maple passion, the maple-fication of Baklava was really quite inevitable. Maple syrup accompanies us camping and hiking, vacationing and traveling. Little bottles of maple syrup were stowed away in my suitcase headed to Ethiopia by my mother, and were in our packs as we traveled by moto in Vietnam and hitchhiked in Thailand. Maple Walnut baklava is a fantastic dessert, managing to be both light and flaky and also rich and gooey. This dessert features sheets of delicate filo, layered with the toasted flavors of browned butter, roasted walnuts, cinnamon, oranges and clove. Once cooked, the flaky pastry is bathed in a concentrated maple syrup, with a deep caramel flavor and subtle sweet notes.Read More
We've received many emails from readers asking for cookbook recommendations. Just in time for the holiday season, we put together some of our current favorites: cookbooks we come back to again and again, books we give away as gifts, books we'd buy over again if our copy got ruined, and if you looked at our bookshelves, the books with well-worn dog-earned, food splattered pages. Our opinions are our own and we have received nothing from the publishers. Click on the book covers to read more.Read More
In my early twenties, I worked at a homeless shelter in New Mexico. During evening shift, the most critical task was dinner for the shelter's 70 guests. The evening meal prep would start mid-afternoon when, most often, a passel of grey-haired church ladies would descend on the shelter kitchen. For the next few hours, the kitchen would be a chaotic mess of aproned volunteer cooks, hustling to prepare and serve the meal. On the occasional night when volunteers and groceries failed to show up, I would be left improvising with a pantry of mismatched items and hungry people to feed.
One night, just as I was starting to worry about the absence of both volunteers and food, there was a hesitant knock at the back door. A young man, about my age, was standing there with a huge pot in his hands. I helped him unloaded pot after pot of red and green chile from an old car parked out back. With the chiles bubbling on the stove, he set to work rolling out and frying the traditional sopapilla accompaniment.
Complementing him on the meal as I was helping him pack up his now empty pots, I asked him how he heard about the shelter. He told me that he had been homeless this time last year, and had stayed the night many times in our shelter. He said, “I figured since cooking is something I can do, I should give back.”
Gratitude has been linked to everything from longer life expectancy to better relationships and happiness. Tomorrow, we will be sharing a Thanksgiving feast with loved ones, and we hope that many of our American readers will as well. On a holiday named for gratitude, we also recognize that great disparities exist. This evening, 610,000 Americans will spend the night on the streets, one-quarter of whom are children. Tonight, 49 million Americans will not have secure access to food, and millions more will not be safe in their own homes. This Thanksgiving, there are countless ways to show gratitude.Read More
I love sauerkraut, and this is one of my seasonal favorites. The red cabbage, apples, cloves, and black pepper lend it color and warm fall flavors. Homemade sauerkraut is easier than you think, and it is incomparable to the stuff you can buy in the grocery. For a longer discussion of fermentation technique and background, check out our Homemade Sauerkraut With Juniper And Caraway. For this batch I used a beautiful stoneware crock made by our good friend Colin Dyck at Mudslide Stoneware. These traditional European-style crocks are both gorgeous and practical, including a water-lock for fuss-free fermentation. For my all-time favorite use of sauerkraut, check out our Reuben Sandwich.Read More
The season of feasting will soon be upon us! As we get ready for holiday entertaining, we wanted to share some of our favorite seasonal desserts and sides with you.Read More