Chef Pardus blew through Cleveland a couple weeks ago, and with summer in full swing we had loads of little cukes on hand (we also did veal heart again, got it on video, stay tuned).  While there was much to do in getting dinner out (tongue salad with new potatoes, calves liver and onions, corn relish, cucumber sunomono, grilled foie gras (grilling foie takes some serious attention!), and the grilled heart with an herb shallot vinaigrette—Pardus found time to get my pickles on the cure.  Because of time constraints and other issues, he didn’t add aromatics.  What he did was make a 3% brine. I have for years been using a 5% brine for everything, pickles, chicken, pork, etc.  But this 3% worked great and I’m thinking that if you’re not going to be removing Read On »

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Butter-Braised Radishes with Snow Peas, photo by Donna This was a last minute dish on Saturday to follow the fritters.  We had radishes, we had snow peas.  I had some mint in the garden.  Why not?  Crunchy, refreshing, satisfying, a fine vegetable dish.  You see, I don’t ALWAYS have to throw cured pork products in (though, come to thing of it, this would be delicious with some bacon or pancetta thrown in!).  When you get your CSA goods, remember that it would be hard to combine them in ways that do not go together.  I wouldn’t serve blueberries and chard but for the most part all this stuff goes well side by side. Butter Braised Radishes with Snow Peas a few tablespoons of butter Radishes, as needed, trimmed and quartered Snow peas, as needed, picked Read On »

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We joined a CSA this year to see how it compares with simply shopping at the North Union Farmer’s Market.  A friend suggested I write about how I use what find in our bag.  When Donna dropped our daughter off at a friend’s, the friend’s dad appeared and asked, “How are you going to cook your kale?”  He too was part of the CSA.  Donna recounted that he intend to saute it, which reinforced the notion that this could use some writing about.  Kale is not tender, needs lots of cooking. The morning we returned with our organic booty, there was delicious toast, raspberry jam, strawberries and poached eggs.  The garlic scapes I intend to saute tonight and serve with stir-fried broccoli.  The hot house tomato is gone but there’s still some red leaf lettuce Read On »

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I tried not to read Kim Severson’s New York Times article on the one-touch buttons on appliances at the International Home and Housewares show in Chicago.  You know the buttons that say “Cookies” on your toaster oven or the “Popcorn” button on your microwave that even ConAgra, maker of microwave popcorn, says you should not use.  My microwave, my toaster oven, they have these stupid, maddening, insulting, ridiculous, harmful buttons.  I hate them, but they’re unavoidable. I didn’t want to read Kim’s story—Electrolux oven has a “perfect turkey button,” put a turkey in, press a button, perfect turkey!—because I knew it would make … my … blood … BOIL! Hey!  Idiot manufacturers!  Cut it out!  The buttons don’t work—even your partners in food crime say so!  Worse, when they don’t work, you are telling your Read On »

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How many of you thought that Brussels sprouts grew in the ground like little cabbages?  Or like me, never really thought about how they grew until you were forced to consider it?  Last Friday, Thomas Keller flew to Cleveland to promote Ad Hoc At Home, a paean to family-style cooking, and among the many things we talked about were ways people can improve as cooks, such as being more organized (mise en place!) and shopping better.  As Thomas has always said, “If you’ve got better ingredients than I, then you can be a better chef.” One of the ingredients he happened to mention was Brussels sprouts—eat them in season.  The very next day at my farmers market, there they were. So I had to buy.  Had to. Brussels sprouts are delicious—if you cook them right.  Read On »

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