Introduce yourself to jarrahdale, kabocha, red kuri, and a few other squash.  Find interesting facts, recipes, and quick hints about these winter fruits, via NPR.

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If you’re making Thanksgiving dinner next Thursday and want delicious turkey gravy, make a small batch of easy turkey stock this weekend.  If you have delicious stock on hand, gravy is just a little roux away.  We’ll have ten at the table this year and I’m making a batch of stock this weekend from the above legs and wings. It’s simple: Roast them till they’re good enough to eat, then try to eat as little as possible before you put them in a pot and bring the water to a simmer.  As soon as it’s at a simmer, put the pot in a 200 degree oven for 8 hours or so (the longer the better—because of some timing issues mine went 16, so I added a little more water).  Then, add sliced onion, chopped carrot, Read On »

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Sweet potato chips beat potato chips by a mile.  I hadn’t cooked these in years, which is a real shame—so many missed opportunities for pleasure! Sweet potato chips are dense, flavorful, nutritious, and compulsively eatable. They all but jump into your hand without your being aware of it. I mean look at them.  Are they not a picture of fall’s beauty? They were to Donna, who, spotting them as I cut up the roasted chicken they accompanied and got off this quick hip shot before they cooled. So good, so easy. How to cook sweet potato chips (points of deep-fried root vegetable finesse): 1 pound/500 grams (or more) sweet potatoes, well-scrubbed and sliced a little under 1/8th of an inch, thin as a large coin. 1 quart/liter canola oil fine sea salt Use a big Read On »

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I get green tomato pickles on my mind every time I walk past the tomatoes on the vine in my backyard these chilly days. I’ve been reading about pickles, too.  One of the best books I’ve found is Linda Ziedrich’s The Joy of Pickling.  It’s not only thorough, it’s also very well written (I was hopeful from the beginning when I saw that the book opens with an epigraph from an excellent Salman Rushdie novel).  I liked also that she immediately simplifies the subject by saying there are basically two kinds of pickles, fermented pickles and vinegar pickles.  Fermented or natural pickles use a brine to encourage good bacteria to create the acidity.  Vinegar pickles can work faster and tend to have more of a sweet-sour profile, whereas the fermented pickles don’t rely on sugar Read On »

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I first heard of  Robert Danhi from my friend Michael Pardus, who teaches Asian cuisines at the Culinary Institute of America, who said I should check out his book Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore. Dahni, a long time chef currently in southern California, had self-published it, which used to mean not good enough for traditional publishers to take a gamble on (but not necessarily any more). This book went on to get a Beard nomination, and Pardus, an expert in the subject, said the information was solid. What I like about the book—as much a travel book as cookbook—is that Danhi goes out of his way to talk about technique and the hows and whys of cooking. Here, he talks about peanuts and how they differ Read On »

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