Chefs Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp, among the growing legions who are making our food better and helping us to appreciate it more, call their moveable feast Sunday Dinner Club because it evoked a time when their families shared a long meal together.  Sharing meals with the people you love is far more important than I’d ever realized, a fact that deepens the more I cook, read, and listen to other cooks, both home cooks and professionals.  I love that spirit. Sunday Dinner Club is an unusual Chicago-based business created in 2004.  What the chefs do is host dinner parties in their home and invite people on their mailing list to attend. The mailing list has been cultivated over the last six years by referral only which means that everyone that comes to the dinner club Read On »

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The herb garden has gone wild from the heat and rain showers. It’s bursting with more herbs than I can handle or possibly use.  It’s like an herb party with too many rowdy guest showing up.  So now is exactly the time to start cutting them back and letting them dry for winter cooking.  This will both begin the supply of dried herbs and also encourage more growth during the next weeks of summer.  Herbs are roughly divided into two categories, “hard” and “soft.”  The soft herbs are herbs with soft stems, such as parsley and tarragon. The soft herbs are best used fresh; they’re fine dried, but they lose their magic, all the beguiling qualities that make them so powerful a la minute. The hard herbs, those herbs that when allowed to grow develop Read On »

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Bob del Grosso sent me the link to this article in Scientific American on salt by Melinda Wenner Moyer and I read it with a sense of finally.  Increasing evidence that nobody really knows what they’re talking about when they’re talking about salt, except that it has different effects on different people. Given that its fundamental to our existence (without it we literally die) and that it helped to create both stable stationary societies and world travel (food preservation and therefore surplus in a community or on a ship), our main failure would be to undervalue its importance and power.  It is powerfully good and useful; but also, anything so powerful can be used harmfully (as in our processed foods). Since there is so much uncertainty (read Ms. Wenner Moyer’s husbands interview with food authority Read On »

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Taking a breather and have have been eating load upon load of NC clams. So good and so delicious.   The Perfect Way To Cook Clams Use the little guys, little necks or cherrystones. Saute some garlic in a big pot in some butter or oil. Add a cup of white wine and a cup of water (all depends on your pot, you want plenty of steam). Throw in some fresh thyme, dump in your clams, cover and cook on medium high or high. Melt some butter. When the clams open they’re done. If you have a lot, take out the open ones so they don’t over cook. Eat them standing up, dipping clams in butter. If you want, strain the pot liquor through a coffee filter and use to make a clam chowder or Read On »

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Blogger Monica Bhide reflects on this combination of spices & how each household has their own recipe for it, via NPR

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