1217 Leftovers & Recommendations

There’s no polite way to put it: we both slammed leftovers for dinner. Shane’s excuse was that he was starving – mine was a run in 25F weather. It wasn’t pretty.

Rather than elaborate on our voracious eating, let me share a few more blog recommendations with you.

I’ve just started reading Sasasunakku, but her food photography is fantastic, and I have either bookmarked or drooled over everything she’s posted recently. I also really like that she mentions cooking to fight the onset of Hangrrr, the anger that arises from being too hungry.

Pete Bakes hasn’t posted anything in forEVER, which I consider a real travesty. His site is helpfully organized by type of baked good and features great process photos. I’ve had recent success with his English muffins, and look forward to trying a number of other breads in the near future.

Sprouted Kitchen is consistently lovely, and I often wish that our MI seasons were more in line with theirs in CA. Lots of vegetarian-friendly recipes and beautiful baked goods. I just skimmed through a few posts and I’m drooling already!

A Year of Slow Cooking can be hit or miss. On the one hand, there is absolutely no need to ever look elsewhere for a slow cooker or crock pot recipe. On the other hand, the recipes tend to rely on processed foods – individually frozen chicken breasts, etc – and/or are things I’m just not inclined to make. I consider A Year of Slow Cooking a good reference site, but not necessarily a regularly required read.

I would love it if this little nudge were enough to get the Gastronomical 3 posting again. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the kitchen with two of the three in the last year, and their perspectives on and enjoyment of food are downright wonderful.


1205 David Eyre’s Pancake

I woke up this morning with pancakes on the brain.  Specifically, this pancake, which I read about the other week on Food 52.

Before I tell you about the pancake, however, let me tell you about two things that led to the making of the pancake.

First, there’s Food 52, which I started reading after hearing about The Essential New York Times Cookbook.  The cookbook represents five years of testing and research on the best and most noteworthy recipes published by the NYT since the 1850s.  The site grew out of the experience of testing for the cookbook and realizing that the best – and most meaningful – cooking takes place in the home.  I’ve only started to delve into its depths, but at its heart, Food 52 is a community that operates on these ground rules:

If you cook, your family will eat dinner together.
If you cook, you will naturally have a more sustainable household.
If you cook, you’ll set a lifelong example for your children.
If you cook, you’ll understand what goes into food and will eat more healthily.
If you cook, you’ll make your home an important place in your life.
If you cook, you’ll make others happy.
If you cook, people will remember you.

I don’t know about you, but each and every one of those rules resonates with me. They also bring me to the second thing that made our pancake possible: a giant cast iron skillet that arrived in the mail sometime last year, a gift from our friends Kevin and Jill in DC.  I may have mentioned this before, but Kevin is a cast iron wizard.  In the course of one meal at their house, Kevin prepared both a pork roast AND an apple pie in the same cast iron skillet.  I firmly believe that Kevin can make anything in his cast iron skillet, and that anything that comes out of his cast iron skillet will taste good.  More importantly, though, I feel like all of the rules above are embodied in Kevin and Jill’s approach towards cooking and food.  Their kitchen is a happy and healthy place, and they’re raising their small son to be an adventurous eater.  I have many warm memories from their dinner table, and I often wish that we lived closer so that we could share meals and games again.

This post wasn’t meant to be sentimental, though.  Breakfast is no time for sentimentality.  It is a time for preventing the morning grumbles with something delicious and simple to prepare.  Like this pancake: a few ingredients whisked together and poured in a very hot cast iron skillet, then baked til golden.  Shane spread homemade jam on his half, while I enjoyed mine with just powdered sugar.  As an entire meal, it was on the small side, but it was enough to get our day off to a really nice start.

David Eyre's Pancake

David Eyre’s Pancake: 1966 from Food 52 and The Essential New York Times Cookbook

1130 Food Resources

We had a frozen pizza for dinner tonight. Shane only had 10 minutes to spare between work and an errand in the Detroit ‘burbs, so a pizza was all that we could manage. Since that doesn’t exactly make for interesting blog fodder, I thought I would instead share with you some of my favorite food blogs and other go-to sites for food inspiration.

My process for planning meals and/or figuring out what to eat often goes something like this:

  1. Stare at the fridge (or the list on the fridge) and imagine what I can make with what’s already in there.
  2. Ask Shane what he feels like eating.
  3. Check my voluminous bookmarks to see if anything jumps out that might use what’s already in the fridge.
  4. Refer to a few favorite cookbooks or check back through this blog for notes on what we’ve made in the past.
  5. Come up with an idea – say, pork chops – based on what sounds appetizing and/or is available, then consult a bunch of different sites to see what they recommend, and ultimately just make something up.
  6. Repeat as necessary.  Or order a pizza.

I find that while I regularly read a number of food blogs – both individual and aggregates like The Kitchn – I don’t actually cook from them that often.  In a sense, these blogs serve the same purpose as 97% of the reading I did in school – they provide an introduction to the language and techniques, ingredients and flavor profiles, shortcuts and shopping.  In looking at my list, I’m realizing that I have more than I really can tackle in one post, so stay tuned for more recommendations.  For now, though, you can start with:

Smitten Kitchen
If you read one food blog, this is probably it. A few of my favorite new recipes for this year came from SK, including Thanksgiving’s sweet potatoes with pecans and goat cheese and the pasta with fava beans, tomatoes and sausages that we couldn’t get enough of this summer.  Beautiful food photography, writing that balances instruction with anecdote, an adorable baby, and almost never fail recipes – all emanating out of a tiny Manhattan kitchen.  She also writes a baby food blog and a has a cookbook in the works.

Dinner: A Love Story
The focus of DALS is just getting dinner on the table – specifically dinner for your family when you’re juggling a job, a commute, and a whole lot of picky eaters. The author is realistic about the difficulties of “having it all” while also putting nutritious meals on the table and maybe getting your kids to eat something other than buttered noodles. Her recipes are fast, easy, and appealing, and often include suggestions about what can be added or removed depending on your family’s particular tastes. So many blogs glorify the eating experience and the superiority of ingredients without acknowledging that many nights it’s difficult to even get to the table – which may be why I find DALS so refreshing.

I’m very sad that this project has ended: one blogger’s attempt to answer the question “Does it waffle?”. Answer: frequently, yes.

Tigress in a Pickle – also in a Jam
The titular Tigress takes on all things, well, pickled and jammed. I participated in her can jam earlier in the year – each month features a different ingredient, with Tigress posting a mouth-watering round up of all the participating bloggers and their recipes. Basically if you want to get ideas about canning anything, this is the place to start.

From the Kitchen of Olivia
My friend Olivia makes beautiful things in her beautiful new kitchen – and occasionally lets us come over and make a mess of it with donuts.  Don’t click through to her site if you’re hungry or have a sweet tooth, as I can guarantee your mouth will be watering in moments.