Posts tagged ‘Cooking’

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St. John Restaurant

Food Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally Published on Gourmet Chick}

The best excuse ever to eat eye popping amounts of pork is to gather together 18 of your closest friends and book a whole pig at St. John Restaurant in Farringdon in London, England. You really do need to book the pig in advance. A deposit of £320 at least a week before your meal is required to reserve the pig which we affectionately began to refer to as Percy. Yes, Percy would die for our eating pleasure however where else but St. John’s to best appreciate and pay tribute to the life of the pig. The head chef at St. John Restaurant, Fergus Henderson, is the champion of the concept of ‘nose to tail’ eating. We could be sure that every part of the pig would be appreciated in all it’s glory and used and consumed right down to the last trotter.

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For the privilege of eating a whole pig our group is allocated the private room at the front of the restaurant. Just around the corner from the Smithfield meat markets, the austere white washed walls of the restaurant and the waiters clad in butchers aprons are a nod to the area’s continuing carnivorous traditions. The bone marrow served with parsley salad is St John’s signature dish so I have no intention of passing up an opportunity to sample the bone marrow despite the lashings of pork that was to follow.

You are presented with a very primeval looking assortment of bones (pictured) and the idea is to scoop out the marrow from inside the bones, spread it on the accompanying pieces of toast and finish with a sprinkling of sea salt and parsley. If you are a lover of lard this is the dish for you. The dark unctuous bone marrow is speckled with glistening pieces of fat creating a spread for your toast like no other. The marrow is incredibly rich and after two pieces of toast I am done. I must admit that it does go rather nicely with the bottles of pinot noir that we are making short work of.

For the less adventurous you can choose squid as a starter. Served in large platters mixed with wedges of fennel and green sauce the squid is fresh, light and a welcome alternative for those who are squeamish enough about Percy without wanting to suck their starter from the inside of pieces of bone. However, there is no avoiding the fact that we are eating a whole pig as Percy is brought to the table by our waiter balanced on a large metal tray. The pig’s skin is golden and glistening and the aroma of roasted pork sparks a Pavlovian reaction.

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Our waiter expertly carves the pig at the table putting all who have hesitated before a leg of lamb for a Sunday roast to serious shame. Huge platters are filled with mounds of mouth watering pork meat, crispy skin and stuffing soaking with the juices from the meat. The pig is accompanied by simple bowls of boiled potatoes and cabbage. It has to be the best pork that I have ever tasted. It is so moist and flavoursome. The bone marrow may have been an interesting, perhaps one off experience but the whole pig is something you wish you could repeat on a weekly basis.

The desserts on offer reflect the simplicity and honesty with which all the dishes at St. John Restaurant can be characterised by. A huge slab of dense chocolate terrine is served with creme fraiche and bloated stewed prunes. The terrine is ridiculously rich and even the serious chocoholics at the table struggle to finish it but I don’t hear any complaints from them. A big platter of assorted cheeses served with some crisp bread and raisin bread is the perfect way to end the meal.

St. John Restaurant has just been awarded its first Michelin star and there has been some debate over this award. Sure the white tablecloths at St. John Restaurant are covered with paper and the typical Michelin fare of amuse bouches and palate cleansers are thin on the ground. However, the food at St. John Restaurant has created an impact around the world and brought a particular type of British cooking back into prominence. Judging by our feast of pig it is a Michelin star that is well overdue.

Details: 26 St John Street, Smithfield EC1M 4AY, (Ph 020 7251 0848)
Damage: Pricey
Rating:  9/10

You may also be interested in reading about my meal at Hereford Road in Notting Hill which is run by one of Fergus Henderson’s proteges. If you are in the area and not in the mood for offal try Vinoteca for great wine and simple dishes directly across the road from St. John Restaurant.

Editors Pick from Jennifer at Playgroups are No Place for Children:   Most people, even those who know me well, do not know of my secret desire to travel and eat local, exotic, gourmet foods.  That’s why this post about St. John’s Restaurant from Gourmet Chick truly spoke my private language.   Gourmet Chick is an Australian girl living, eating, and documenting her culinary adventures.  Her blog also features her adventures outside of London, as well as her recipes.  For those whose only choice in their quest to be a foodie traveler is to live vicariously through others, then you’ll adore her blog.  Please subscribe to Gourmet Chick and follow her on Twitter so you’ll never miss another of her adventures.

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this right now

Food Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally Published on Food Loves Writing}

Morning, and the kitchen is quiet, with sunlight streaming across the sink and onto the wood floors, and I pour coffee, grab my lunch, take my keys from the little basket by the door. There will be 20 minutes at least, between me and the office, along expressways of commuters, and I will look at them, talking on their phones, singing with their radios, glancing at their watches, before I park and walk inside, up stairs to my desk, to begin the work day, to talk with my coworkers and double-check spellings at Merriam-Webster and watch the geese fly past my window and onto the roof.

soup

5:30, and I’m getting in my car, like I’ve done so many times, and I’m stopping by the train station, like I do every day, and I’m walking in my front door, and I’m eating dinner, again. It’s spring here—when did spring come? Weren’t we just talking about fall and winter and how I hated the snow? The light lasts longer now, and the days are warmer, rainy. I take it all, eagerly, greedily, like it will never end.

You know, I’m only 26—I find myself throwing the only in there more and more, the way it’s inserted into excuses from guilty children like, I only skipped one homework assignment or I only said that because the other kids did. But as much as I know we are guaranteed nothing, in terms of time, in terms of living, I also know 26 is, usually, not a lot of life to have lived and, usually, it’s not enough time to warrant strong opinions or heavy reminiscing. But I do: I look at the moments around me—the way the grass looks when it’s wet, shiny with dew and fragrant with summer; how my mom makes me laugh when she does, when her mouth closes and her nose widens and her eyes slant, just slightly, as her body shakes, like her mother’s did; the kindness someone shows you when he carries in your bags, so you don’t have to—and I think, I am living this.

This, right here—the morning coffee and the conversation and the drive home in daylight to a cozy evening with a book and blankets—this is life, and it’s a gift, and I am living this.

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Sunday night, for my brother, I made this soup. He helped me remove shells from pistachios, unpopping their hard, tan skins and piling their green and purple bodies into a measuring cup, which reminded me of the biscotti I made, almost three years ago for a wedding, when my dad and I shelled bags of pistachios like clockwork on the sofa, for hours. And I chopped an onion and some celery and a clove of garlic, softening them all with a half a stick of butter in a big pot on the stove, and the smell was intoxicating, like music, buttery and fresh and sweet, the scent of Thanksgiving stuffing or a warm night at my grandma’s house. And we ate it, this creamy nutty soup, he and I, while we laughed about something I don’t remember now, in a way that’s everyday and not at all, and it was good.

Cream of Pistachio Soup

Adapted from CDKitchen.com

I have decided, now that it’s ending, that the redeeming part of winter is, without a doubt, soup. This version is pure creamy, savory comfort, with the taste of pistachios and just a tiny bit of crunch from the crushed nuts you sprinkle on top. It’s hot and soothing. It’s milky and nutty. It’s a nice way to spend an evening, especially with people you care about.

As far as the recipe proper, my biggest suggestion regards the broth. I was out, so I used bouillon cubes to make my own, and, although this worked, it made the results a little saltier than I’d prefer. Next time, I’d use a low-sodium broth from a can and just add salt to taste. Play with it, though. Let me know what works for you.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons dry sherry
6 cups regular-strength chicken broth (or 1 49.5-ounce can of chicken broth)
1/4 cup cooked white rice
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 cup heavy cream
Whole chives

Directions:
Rub off as much of the pistachio skins as possible, set nuts aside. In a large pan over medium heat, cook the onion, celery and garlic in the butter until onion is very limp but not brown, about 10 minutes, stirring often.

Add sherry, 3/4 cup of the pistachios, broth, rice and parsley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender to bite, about 25 minutes. In a blender or food processor (or using a stick blender), whirl soup, a portion at a time, until very smooth, pour through a wire strainer and discard residue. Return soup to pan.

Add cream to soup and stir over medium-low heat until hot, 5 to 7 minutes. Garnish servings with whole chives and sprinkle with the remaining pistachios.

Editor’s Pick from Samantha at Samanthics: She had me at dry sherry, but writer and self-taught chef Shannalee T’Koy, the blogger behind Food Loves Writing, plays upon both food and writing like sweet and savory. In Shanna’s self-described “literary food blog”, she “talks about food to talk about everything else, so that things make sense.” Food is her medium. I find that a beautiful way to communicate. Her blog is delicate but piercing. A love of eating, cooking and writing converge in her blog, expressed with awareness of all things around her. Her blend of everyday ingredients with astute observations results in a very filling meal. If you’re hungry for more, slice into the original post, or subscribe so you needn’t skip a meal.

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Muffin Tin Monday

Educationb

{Originally posted on Sycamore Stirrings}

I have been absolutely blown away by the bento box craze.

I can look for hours through the bento flickr groups – little food presented so artfully, all stored in an adorable little box. They are unbelievable. Muffin Tin Monday (I’ll explain) is my ode to the bento box. Only simple and not really as cute *but* easy enough for some of us (me!) to play along.

Muffin Tin Monday = Lunch served in a Muffin Tin


The concept is not new, I’m sure many of you have seen this out in the mommy world of play dates and preschool. It’s a great way to break the monotony of daily lunch preparation. I also hope it will encourage me
to keep offering new foods to my kids – maybe they’ll even like one of them!

So, I officially declare Monday as Muffin Tin Monday. Join me!

Each Monday I’ll post a picture of the previous week’s muffin tin. Send me a link to yours and I’ll add it to my post. Fun! Here is last week’s:

Contents:
Goldfish, blueberry bagel chunks, cucumber sticks, strawberry yogurt, Gorilla Munch cereal, blueberries, pretzels, string cheese, dried apricots, red pepper, cheddar cheese cubes, peaches.

This was too much food for 2 kids so I saved it and put it out again for afternoon snack.

(Editor’s note:  For more information about Muffin Tin Monday, check out it’s new home at Her Cup Overfloweth!)


Editors pick from Amy of doobleh-vay : Sycamore Stirrings is a great blog by Katy a rocking artsy and crafty Seattle mama of two! She has great ideas and this lunch in a muffin tin is so much more than just a new idea to get kids to try new foods, but a great nutrition lesson for yr preschoolers. I think each day could be a color or a food group lesson and it could be an excellent way to teach the food pyramid! I hope you will visit Katy and discover more cool ideas from this smart mama! Join her Flickr pool here and please subscribe to her awesome blog!

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Punk-in Muffins

Health and Fitness Blog Nosh Magazine {Originally posted on Fit Bottomed Girls}

The Fit Bottomed Girls are all about enjoying all that life has to offer, and sometimes life offers dessert. And the FBGs love us some dessert—and not just the fat-free type. Unfortunately, over consumption of mouth-watering desserts can get in the way of maintaining a fit bottom, and most of them aren’t exactly easy to make anyway. Have you ever actually tried making a Martha Stewart dessert? I did it once in college, and after a whole day in the kitchen, while staring at a smug photo of Martha with her perfectly frosted lemon cake, I began to feel inadequate in all areas of my life. (If I can’t get this dang cake’s icing smooth, how will I ever find a job, let alone start a solid career?!)

The FBGs are here to help (and hopefully save you from any of the above-mentioned self esteem snafus). We have a recipe that is so easy even the baking-impaired can succeed. And I personally guarantee its deliciousness. The muffins may not win in a taste test with Martha’s desserts, but you can make them in less than 30 minutes and maintain your sanity.

For the Punk-in Muffins (“punk-in” has a double meaning here, acting both as slang for “pumpkin” and as a verb: punk-ing desserts Ashton-Kutcher style), you take a regular box of spice cake mix and mix it with only a 15-oz. can of pumpkin. If you can find a reduced-sugar spice cake mix you get bonus points.

Two important points to remember:

  1. Only mix the cake mix and the can of pumpkin together. Do not—and I repeat do not—add eggs, water, oil, etc. The batter will be thick, but it’s right. Girl Scout’s honor.
  2. Do not use a can of pumpkin-pie filling. Get the plain, pureed, boring regular can of pumpkin.

Mix the two ingredients together well, and spoon batter equally into 12 regular muffin tins lined with paper or sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Eat and enjoy guilt-free. Each big muffin has about 180 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat, and is filled multiple grams of pumpkiny spicy goodness.

And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, try the same base recipe with different flavors of cake mix. Lemon cake mix creates a fun, summery orange sherbet flavor, and any type of chocolate cake mix is delicious. You really can’t taste the pumpkin with the chocolate, and it’s super fudgy and moist. I made these last weekend during an intense chocolate craving. You can see the deliciousness!

Trust in FBG. Punk out that dessert. —Jenn

Editor’s Pick by Women’s Diet and Fitness: Not only do The Fit Bottomed Girls test drive the latest workout videos for you, but they have that funky attitude that just keep you coming back for more great fitness tips! This is one blog you want to make sure you subscribe to and don’t forget to check out their original post!

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Chorizo and eggs

Health and Fitness Blog Nosh Magazine {Originally published on What’s Cooking?}

This is Darrin’s (my bestest friend in the whole fat world) favorite breakfast. He fell in love with this simple, yet delicious breakfast since the very first time I made it for him. This breakfast consists of scrambled eggs with chorizo, avocado, queso fresco and corn tortillas (fresh hand made tortillas are the best).

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Mexican chorizo is different than Spanish or Portuguese chorizo. There is a similar kind to those sausages called longaniza, but I haven’t seen it anywhere here in Ohio. Mexican chorizo is fatty pork that is ground instead of chopped. It’s peculiar red/orange color comes from the chiles and spices used to make it, but if you ever go to Mexico City you must try the green chorizo sold in the neighboring city of Toluca, famous for its many kinds of chorizos.

To make this breakfast you will need to fry Mexican chorizo. The secret is to fry it for a long time to bring all the flavorful spices and chiles out. Once the chorizo is becoming brownish drain and set apart. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, salt, pepper oregano and just a little bit of buttermilk or evaporated milk. Cook eggs and chorizo together and serve with avocado, refried beans, a slice of queso fresco and fresh handmade corn tortillas.

It sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Give it a try and you’ll know why it is Darrin’s (and mine) favorite breakfast.

An editor’s pick by Tempered Woman: Simple and sweet, Ben is my “go-to-guy” for all things Mexican and Mexican-ish. He’s incredibly creative and clever and even better, a total sweetheart. You can read the original post here and be sure to click through for a how-to on making your own tortillas and another great breakfast idea. You can find him on a bazillion foodie sites and events because that’s the kind of friendly, involved community guy he is: on Foodbuzz, stalk him on Twitter, and subscribe to his feed. Buen Provecho!

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Sustainable Kitchen Project

House and Home Blog Nosh Magazine

{Originally posted on Kelby Carr}

When I decided to work at home most days, a major MAJOR factor was having more time to make good for my family. I wanted to use more fresh ingredients, and make more things from scratch. Oh, in my mind, I would be the uber foodie mom, baking and creating and freezing and canning and doing various fun things. I should totally have a sustainable kitchen.

In my kitchen, I have gadgets for making yogurt, juice, pasta, even sausage. I have a bread maker missing just one piece. Besides that, I have the knowledge (or the ability to Google and find out) to make any number of things from scratch. I have plenty of land to grow my own stuff, and I live in Asheville, NC where it is super easy to find cool locally grown produce.

Yet, my gadgets and cookbooks are gathering dust. I still hit the Super-Walmart so I can super consume. I spend $200-plus at least once a week on groceries. And I do still, sometimes (although definitely less and less often as I am at home more), give my children processed, packaged crap. OK, I said it. I may be a foodie mom, but I am a real mom. I am buying things in extra packaging for extra money and being totally non-green when I could just make and store things at home. Criticize away, if you must.

I blame life and having lots of work and having three kids and all of that. But when my twins were babies, I was working full-time and making homemade baby and pumping milk for them to have at daycare. It wasn’t easy, and I was pretty much psychotically exhausted. But it should be even easier now, much easier. So I clearly CAN do it.

So I’ve decided I will create this public as a way to motivate myself, to keep myself honest, to connect with other moms who want a more self-sustaining kitchen, and to track my progress. I’ve already started in a few ways, and I’ll post about these very soon. For example, we are starting an organic vegetable garden. Here is a lettuce seedling I’ve started:

Seedling for lettuce started as part of my personal Sustainable Kitchen Project

And I made orange juice this week:

Do-it-yourself orange juice

Here are just some of the things I want to do as part of my . Hey, are there some I am not thinking to list? Let me know…

I know I’m forgetting some. I’ll also keep track of the grocery bill, and any other side effects and impacts of the project.

Wish me luck with my self-sustaining kitchen!

Editors Pick by Catnip at Catnip and Coffee. You may know her as Type-A Mom, or as Foodie Mama, or by Kelby Carr, but no matter which name she’s using she completely rocks! I was inspired to set my own goals for a sustainable kitchen after I read this post. Thanks Kelby, for that little push! Don’t forget you can subscribe to her feed and chat with her on twitter!

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August 27, 2008 | BN Channel Family, Humor

Iron Chef Fury

Family

Originally posted on The Busy Dad Blog.

Editor’s Note: BusyDad is a master of parody. If you’ve never heard of or seen the show Iron Chef, this brief explanation will give you some background on what follows.

Kaga_3If memory serves me correctly… my newest Iron Chef began his tutelage under legendary Iron Chef BusyDad in the summer of 2005. His journey into the culinary world began in BusyDad’s kitchen, honing his creativity by finding ways to turn every kitchen utensil into a gun or a spaceship.

As his apprenticeship progressed, this would-be chef cut his teeth by helping his master cut green beans. With a butter knife. Perhaps his actual teeth may have been a more effective tool for this, but an important lesson was learned. Dull tools sharpen the mind. And sharpen his mind he did, along with his craft. Known throughout culinary circles as the catalyst for the “kid gourmet” movement, Fury has dazzled critics and playgroups alike with his “rad” interpretation of traditional fare.

Today, I welcome him to Kitchen Stadium as my newest Iron Chef. As this is his debut battle, and seeing as he can’t reach the faucet, I have decided to bring his master, Iron Chef BusyDad out of retirement today for a
very special tag team edition of
IRON CHEF.

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AND NOW, TODAY’S THEME INGREDIENT… FLOUR!
Allez Cuisine!

* * * *

Fukui: Oh! the Chairman has thrown us a curveball today by picking flour as the theme ingredient! So basic, yet complex! Yes, yes. Let’s go to our commentator on the floor, Ohta for some play-by-play.

Read more »

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August 21, 2008 | BN Channel Health & Fitness

We Went to the Beach and Shit

Health Fitness Blog Nosh Magazine

Originally published on Gild the Voodoolily.

Last weekend Scott and I went to the coast for the night. I had been having an uncharacteristic jones for the hubbub of Seaside and its bumper cars, corn dogs, caramel corn and salt water taffy, but we couldn’t find a room there and so settled for Astoria. A couple of hours of walking around Seaside and taking in the delicious smells of childhood was enough to sate me, and the crowds made me glad for our reservation in the sleepy history of Astoria.

Our hotel was adjacent to the marina, and if you wanted to spend ~$200/person and 12 hours on a cloudy sea you could partake of a charter fishing trip for tuna, salmon, halibut and/or dungeness crab. Even better, you could just walk down the pier and buy fresh albacore from a dude on his boat for only $1.50/lb. Having had some foresight, we had packed an empty cooler and bought an 18-lb schoolie from the guy.

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“You want me to fillet it for you?”

“Nah, I think I can handle it,” I say smugly, having seen that one episode of Top Chef where the Quick Fire Challenge was to fillet fish.

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How to Cook Spagetti Squash as a Summer Squash

Health Fitness Food Blog Nosh Magazine

Originally published on Kalyn’s Kitchen

This time I’m writing about one of my very favorite summer vegetables, spagetti squash (also spelled spaghetti squash), so it’s luckily for me that WHB can be about any type of herb, vegetable, plant, or flower. I learned from Wikipedia that spagetti squash is also called vegetable spaghetti, vegetable marrow, noodle squash or squaghetti. Squash is something I’ll be eating a lot of over the next few months as my garden starts to produce it in copious amounts.

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Squashes are divided into winter squash (which ripen late in the season, can be stored through the winter, have hard outer rinds, and must be eaten cooked) and summer squash (which can be eaten rind, seeds, and all, and which can be eaten raw.) I like every type of squash, but in my garden I mainly grow summer squash since the winter squashes produce huge vines and take a lot of space. Winter squash is something I’ll be buying from the Salt Lake Farmer’s Market later in the season.

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July 17, 2008 | BN Channel Homemaking

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Homemaking

Originally published on craftykeg.

I love twice baked potatoes. If they weren’t food, I would marry twice baked potatoes. So, when my sister and I were talking about a side dish to make for a party at her house (during the weekend of our brother’s college graduation!), we were sad that twice baked potatoes would be too much work for 27 people. So, we decided to turn it into a casserole! It was a hit, and was all gone by the end of the night! The recipe is below.

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