Friday, December 28, 2012

Festive Kale

I tried a different approach to making my greens this Christmas by baking the garlic in oil separately and adding it to the greens after both were cooked. Here's what I did:

I rinsed three bunches of kale in a tub of water in the sink, and then chopped them on my cutting board. I loaded the greens into my big stock pot and steamed them in some leftover vegetable stock and water. At the same time my oven was up to 350 degrees so I peeled a whole bulbs worth of garlic cloves and halved and cored them and dropped them into my Pyrex measuring cup. Then I added olive oil to cover the cloves and I added red chili flakes and baked it. When the greens were done the oil baked garlic was also golden and crispy. I fished out the greens from the remaining stock and put them into another pot (I saved the stock). Then I poured the baked olive oil garlic red chili flakes mixture over the greens and added more olive oil. I shook a bunch of kosher salt on the whole mess and started adding some sweetness. I added dried sweetened cranberries and raisins, then I decided yellow would be a cheerful addition so I added a bunch of frozen corn. I tasted it and added more salt. Then I heated the greens mixture up to serving temperature.

You can use sugar or wine to sweeten if you don't feel like using raisins and cranberries. The salt-sweet-oil triad supports the greens, and the red pepper is a fun kick. You can also add roasted almonds in place of corn.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Harbor Spice

Every year during the holiday season the fish swim in an excess of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Researchers have found spices, caffeine, cocaine, and pharmaceuticals when testing harbor waters in Seattle, Boston, and other cities.

See here.

Eggnog Cows

Local eggnog from local cows. Wright's Dairy has special eggnog cows!

City Horse

Lily and I walked to Wilfred's Seafood this morning to get another slab of fish. The horse behind Honey Dew Donuts was out grazing so we said hello on the way home.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wilfred's Seafood

Wilfred's Seafood is a perfect destination because they have a great in-view tie up for my horse, Lily-dog. I walked the miles and bought great looking cod. Lily waited. The fish guys came out to see her. Did you know that there's a real live horse that lives behind Honeydew Donuts? The city doesn't allow horses, but he was grandfathered-in by the Pepin Lumber family. He wasn't out today.

Cruciferous Cravings and Pie

Steamed cauliflower dipped in homemade hummus is a terrific hot lunch for working at home. And for desert an isosceles triangle of home baked pumpkin pie with piping-hot coffee. Had I been taught math in relation to pie baking I'd have enjoyed it.

Easy Wholesome Pie Crust

I make this pie dough right in the pie pan for my bottom crust. Remember to cover edges with aluminum foil to avoid burning.

1 heaping cup of whole wheat flour
1/4 cup corn oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 sugar (don't skip) it acts as the glue
hefty pinches of salt to taste

Mix with fingers and press into pie pan. Then add whatever you want for your pie guts.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Poor Man's Hummus

I just made another batch of poor man's hummus. Chick peas cooked all morning then I drained them saving the liquid for other things. Then I added smooth natural peanut butter, salt, red wine vinegar, cumin, red pepper, and garlic to the chick peas and blended them. Fabulous!

Stage Set

I grew up on a stage set and all the actors recited their lines each day and night. The bored, angry, mentally ill queen had the starring role with red lipstick and many tricks up her sleeve. Nobody suspected the drama was invented to satisfy her alone. Even the family deerhound got gallstones.


I feel so virtuous when my wash is swishing around while I putz trying to accomplish things at my desk. I am not a multi-tasker by any means and each time I try to be I forget the other thing I am doing. If I am baking breads, simmering soup or reheating my tea, I forget.

Last week I was on my way to the diner in the neighborhood and I was halfway down the street when I realized there was no need for the red and black leash clutched tightly in my hand because I deliberately didn't bring my dog this time. This is why I don't drive! I forget to do things like close the doors or turn on the car's lights at night. Why are all these people shouting and waving?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Toast is Biscotti!

A few weeks ago it dawned on me, toast is biscotti! I love biscotti. Even my super deluxe Mercedes Benz of toasters needs two rounds to toast my bread thereby making it thrice baked, triscotti!

Crackers and Glasses

Last night I made crackers or was it hard tack, now I think it was the bread of affliction, to go with my home made chicken soup. My husband, after the first bite, was worried about cracking his teeth. What recipe did you use? How to make kitchen tiles from home ingredients, I said.

I suggested he drop the crackers which looked exactly like unmarked wooden scrabble pieces, into the soup. Surprisingly they were even more delicious this way. After supper we ran off to get coffee and cauliflower at our temple to food: Price Rite and I ran into my friends standing at the red pyramid of Folger's. On the way out I decided to buy two religious candles, the kind in tall glass jars with illustrations of saints. As a child of no religion I am crazy over all religious art schlocky or not.

I was lucky when my lens fell out, it landed on the carpet like last time and I found the bacteria sized screw. AMAZING You'd think THAT would be the hard part. I put on my magnifying glasses that made my fingers the size of Cuban cigars. Maybe this is the problem I thought and got my old glasses from 20 years ago which were only vaguely magnifying. No this isn't good. I went back to the Cuban cigars. After the first hour and a half of struggling I took a shower to think. Then I consulted the genie box and the advice suggested using needle nose pliers to repair glasses so I got that far, holding the screw with the needle nose and thought, great, I've attached it, I was done--but I couldn't attach it to the bottom piece of the frame!

After another fifty rounds of struggling to do my repair-- and a foggy finger-printy lens which was really bothering me, I stopped. I wanted to polish the glass but imagined dropping it on the tile bathroom floor and having it shatter. Then to wait six weeks until delivery of a new one. C'mon now can't we fix this? We've done this before! With multiple stress induced hot flashes and magnifying glass induced headache I decided to get help.

I called Duquette Family Eye Care and explained my plight. They were lovely and said "C'mon in, we'll be happy to fix it" I brought Lily since she needed her walk anyway and I remembered they have a railing in view where I could tie her up momentarily. Perfect. Duquette is right downtown on Pond Street next to the Dept of Motor Vehicles House of Brides and the Roaster House and is virtually around the corner.

They fixed my eyeglasses for free and Lily waited outside charming the patients waiting for their eye exams. The lovely Ms. Duquette appeared and said Merry Christmas and fixed them in her laboratory upstairs. She smiled returning them to me all repaired and clean! Thank god for kindness in this world. Now I see I was trying to put the screw in from the top of the glasses facing down - but it was supposed to be attached from the bottom facing up. It's okay to ask for help.

I did always want glasses as a kid and faked the eye exam in grade school to try to get them. I also faked all standard achievement tests. . . filling in random holes. I even recited the alphabet out of order for my third grade teacher. By that time I already had shrinks and doctors galore -- my attitude was bring 'em on. Take me to school on a stretcher!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Leonard Cohen

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
-Leonard Cohen


I am making oat-wheat crackers and they are delicious. Stay tuned. I have a feeling there will be many more experiments.

Chicken Fat

I skimmed the congealed chicken fat off the stock and saved it in a jar. It smells fabulous. Perhaps I could make a shrine to my ancestors and burn a wick in it! Anyway I am saving it until I get a good idea. Golden schmaltz, heartburn in a jar! I chopped carrots and celery and added wheat berries and barley to the gelatinous soup. I will add the cooked chicken and some corn too when it's heating up at dinner time.

I just mixed oats, and wheat flour, with water, oil, salt, and sugar to roll out for home made crackers. I think my love of clay transferred to dough. I am fearless about dough! As my grandmother would say about a set of ingredients "What could be bad?"

Early Part

My goal is to make a goal.
to do my daily work, daily.
and be really redundant. really.
and not eat and drink every time I walk through the kitchen. 5,000 times a day-- probably more but I can't count above five thousand.
My other goal if I need to procrastinate is to clip the cats nails, and scoop his poop
and skim the fat off the chicken soup.
I have to try for achievable goals.
Oh, and take a shower and practice my sax,
And walk Lily.
I am stale and exhausted by the afternoon. I was asleep at 7PM.
Today radio is OFF. All five of them!
Too many nightmares.
I am only vital at the early part of the day.

Sherwood Anderson

On the trees are only a few gnarled apples that the pickers have rejected. They look like the knuckles of Doctor Reefy's hands. One nibbles at them and they are delicious. Into a little round place at the side of the apple has been gathered all its sweetness. One runs from tree to tree over the frosted ground picking the gnarled, twisted apples and filling his pockets with them. Only the few know the sweetness of the twisted apples.
― Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio

A few stray white bread crumbs lay on the cleanly washed floor by the table; putting the lamp upon a low stool he began to pick up the crumbs, carrying them to his mouth one by one with unbelievable rapidity. In the dense blotch of light beneath the table, the kneeling figure looked like a priest engaged in some service of his church. The nervous expressive fingers, flashing in and out of the light, might well have been mistaken for the fingers of the devotee going swiftly through decade after decade of his rosary.
― Sherwood Anderson

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I'm simmering a chicken carcass in leftover broccoli stock along with carrots.

Tassajara Pancakes

I made these and they are AMAZING and well worth the egg white whipping stage!
Whole Wheat Pancakes
from The Tassajara Bread Book

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (you can use unbleached all-purpose or whatever flour you have, I promise)
3 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar or honey
2 cups milk
1/2 cup oil or melted butter
3 egg yolks, beaten
3 egg whites, stiffly beaten

[Serves 6 perhaps]

Sift the flour with the baking powder, salt, and sugar. If using honey, add it to the milk and oil. Beat the milk and oil into the beaten egg yolks.
Combine the milk mixture with the dry ingredients until just blended, and then fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites.
Cook on a greased griddle or frying pan. May be made any size–the larger ones will take longer to cook through.

Variations: May be made with fruit puree (apple, apricot, peach, pear) in place of the milk.
Fruit chunks may be folded into the batter. Blueberries, bananas, and apples are particularly good.
Nut butters may be added to the wet ingredients.
Roasted nuts or sesame or sunflower seeds may be folded into the batter.
Cornmeal, rolled oats, barley flour, or buckwheat flour (1/2 cup) may be substituted in place of an equivalent amount of whole wheat flour.
For waffles, use only 1 1/4 cups of milk.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wheat Berry + Barley

I've been hooked on making crock pots full of wheat berry and unhulled barley and then topping bowls of it with whatever I have been making during the week. Today it was avocado and red onion and olives and leftover aldente broccoli and chic peas. I am addicted to red onions and red chili flakes.

Great Sandwich

Sourdough toast mayo avocado, red onion, green olives, mashed chic peas.


I dreamed there were newborn golden puppies coming through a vertical tube they were supposed to use their muscles to hang on vertically. I reached up to pet them and they began resting on my hand. I notice what looked like a newborn pink rats hand and see that it is a human man newborn-rat-pink and fully formed as a man squirming like an inchworm. I pick him up and show him to someone and he suddenly morphs into a fourteen inch high rigid stick sculpture of a man. I thought I must've broken the spell. This had been a secret just for me.

Years Later

She might die, my step-father said. I immediately ducked into the dark pantry closet hiding my smile between the cereal boxes. She caught pneumonia after the gallbladder surgery and was still in the hospital recuperating. We visited. I pictured the gallbladder to be an organ that is normally the size of a catchers mitt tucked under her ribs. Don't let me fall asleep she said to my step-brother. She was sitting upright in a wheelchair, closing her eyes. Years later he told me he felt she was testing him. Years later I learn the gallbladder is the size of a green-bean.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Britt's Pickles

Britt has always been fascinated by the health benefits and old world wisdom contained in the process of creating and consuming fermented foods — sauerkraut, known as the poor man’s penicillin; kimchi, and naturally-fermented pickled…anything.

My father was raised in New Orleans, and the influence of his culture on the foods in our Connecticut home were unmistakable – there was always a bevy of condiments on the table, including spice mixes, sauces, and pickled you-name-it – beans, okra, peppers.

Over the past decade in the late summer I have put up a variety of pickled vegetables using produce that I grew or bought at the local farmers market. When I moved back to Seattle in 2010, I began to experiment with fermenting cucumbers with garlic and spices into half sour and full sour pickles, cabbage into sauerkraut, and napa cabbage and a medley of other vegetables with chili and ginger paste into kimchi. I sent samples out to family and friends, and it soon became clear that there was a need for great tasting, naturally fermented, fresh-packed, live, nutritious foods. And I decided to build a business that serves the local market and community of customers and whenever possible local growers.

-Britten Eustis

The Table

What is missing in our current society is the ritual of shared home cooked family meals without the litany of complaints and dietary restrictions. Didn't our mothers teach us anything about being gracious? When you go to someone's house you do not fax them a menu of instructions in advance or in any way try to control the outcome of the meal. You must take the risk of submitting and allow yourself to receive what the hosts have to give. Have we all been so brainwashed to be consumers and to shop that we cannot accept the role of gracious guest or host? Has our consumer corporate culture and the climate of social media replaced what little we remember of face-to-face etiquette? Let's bring back the ritual of the tea party and the sacred altar of the table.

Aroma Therapy

I get nervous and excited when people plan to come visit. The cure is to do a quick vacuum, set the table, and then turn on the oven and bake like a madwoman. The aromas take over like a magic spell.

Yesterday I roasted a six pound chicken and made a pumpkin pie and a batch of hermits. I defrosted the wheat berry barley mixture and steamed up some broccoli for a perfect supper. Why does a perfect meal stay with you like a great concert or poem?

This morning I baked six boules. I am already dreaming about a chicken sandwich.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ice Cold Sunshine

When I move into receive mode, my energy suddenly shrinks and my body feels too big for me, like Alice in Wonderland. It happens every other season. Perhaps it is a rest from all of the jumping around and noshing. The contemplative oversleeping season has begun. It's all good, especially in the sunny ice cold.

There was a two-inch peach-colored plastic sea horse on the asphalt in the alley, behind the barbershop. A misspelled sign on the barbershop door read "Closed, deth in family," scrawled in black magic marker on a white index card. Down the road behind Rite Aid a garbage truck was getting two new tires.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Human Error

Human error in the age of the robot.

To Know a Person. . .

Italian: (Dialect) Pe canosce nu cresc-teine te c'eda magnie 'ziembra nu tumbere de seale.
(Literally) To know a person you have to eat together 50 kilos of salt. (Meaning) It takes a lifetime to consume 50 kilos of salt, so too it takes a lifetime to get to know someone really well.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Roald Dahl

Whipped cream isn't whipped cream at all if it hasn't been whipped with whips, just like poached eggs isn't poached eggs unless it's been stolen in the dead of the night.
-Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roasted Cauliflower

I love cauliflower and it's delicious when roasted.

Preheat oven to 450, F. Slice cauliflower any way you want and then drizzle with olive oil. Add fresh garlic too. Roast for ten minutes and stir. Bake 6-10 minutes more and enjoy with salt and pepper. I roast mine in cast iron frying pan or a Pyrex baking dish.

We ate our cauliflower with barley and wheat berries and a batch of boiled chic peas.


I am proud to be an American. Because an American can eat anything on the face of this earth as long as he has two pieces of bread.
-Bill Cosby

Rice is great if you're really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something.
-Mitch Hedberg

Thomas Lux

Refrigerator, 1957

by Thomas Lux

More like a vault -- you pull the handle out
and on the shelves: not a lot,
and what there is (a boiled potato
in a bag, a chicken carcass
under foil) looking dispirited,
drained, mugged. This is not
a place to go in hope or hunger.
But, just to the right of the middle
of the middle door shelf, on fire, a lit-from-within red,
heart red, sexual red, wet neon red,
shining red in their liquid, exotic,
aloof, slumming
in such company: a jar
of maraschino cherries. Three-quarters
full, fiery globes, like strippers
at a church social. Maraschino cherries, maraschino,
the only foreign word I knew. Not once
did I see these cherries employed: not
in a drink, nor on top
of a glob of ice cream,
or just pop one in your mouth. Not once.
The same jar there through an entire
childhood of dull dinners -- bald meat,
pocked peas and, see above,
boiled potatoes. Maybe
they came over from the old country,
family heirlooms, or were status symbols
bought with a piece of the first paycheck
from a sweatshop,
which beat the pig farm in Bohemia,
handed down from my grandparents
to my parents
to be someday mine,
then my child's?
They were beautiful
and, if I never ate one,
it was because I knew it might be missed
or because I knew it would not be replaced
and because you do not eat
that which rips your heart with joy.

-Thomas Lux

Italian Eating and Drinking Proverbs

Italian: A tavola non si invecchia.
English: At the table with good friends and family you do not become old.

Italian: Pan di sudore, miglior sapore.
English: (Literally) Bread that comes out of sweat, tastes better. (Meaning) If you have to work hard for your bread, it tastes better than if you don't.

Italian: A chi trascura il poco manchera pane e fuoco.
English: (Literally) He who disregards the little will miss the bread and fire. (Equivalent) Stop and smell the roses. Or, Be grateful for what you have.

Italian: Il pane apre tutte le bocche.
English: Bread opens all mouths.

Italian: A mangiar questa minestra o saltar questa fincestra.
English: (Literally) Either eat this soup or jump out this window. (Equivalent) Take it or leave it. And/or Stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Italian: Belle parole non pascono i gatti.
English: (Literally) Fine words don't feed cats. (Meaning) The poor don't need speeches, they need food.

Italian: Perdersi in un bicchier d'acqua.
English: (Literally) To lose oneself in a glass of water. (Equivalent) To make a mountain out of a molehill.

Italian: Amici e vini sono meglio vecchie.
English: Friends and wine are best aged.

Italian: Il vino e buono se l'ostessa e bella.
English: Wine is good if the landlady is beautiful.

Italian: Esse nufesso qui dice male di macaroni.
English: One has to be an idiot to speak badly of macaroni.

Italian: (Dialect) Pani i casa muzzica [mordi] e basa [bacia].
English: Bread made at home you bite and you kiss.

Italian: U bonu pani e finu a pezza, u bonu vinu e finu a fezza.
English: (Literally) The last bread is good to the last crumb, and the last bottle of wine is good to the last drop. (Meaning) When you don't have much, and what little you have is almost finished, then you really appreciate that last piece of bread and that lost drop of wine.

Italian: (Dialect) Mangia pocch, mangia pian, va de lontan se semper allegher se te voeuret staa san.
English: Eat little, eat slowly, go far and always be happy if you want to stay healthy.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Caroline Knapp

In one of the largest surveys of its kind to date, nearly 30,000 women told researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine that they'd rather lose weight than attain any other goal, a figure that alone suggests just how complicated the issue of appetite can be for women.

This is the primary female striving? The appetite to lose appetite?

In fact, I suspect the opposite is true: that the primary, underlying striving among many women at the start of the millennium is the appetite for appetite: a longing to feel safe and secure enough to name one's true appetites and worthy and powerful enough to get them satisfied.
― Caroline Knapp, Appetites: Why Women Want

Double Dough

Last night I realized my dough didn't rise because I forgot to add yeast. So I added the leftover 'live' pizza dough I had in my fridge. Overnight the two doughs co-mingled and this morning the dough rose. I am baking it now.

Women are like Sardines

in Italian: E femene xe come e sardee, buta via ea testa tuto el resto ex bon.
Women are like sardines -- throw out the heads, all the rest is good.

in Italian: Xe pi le done che varda i omani che le stele che varda la tera.
There are more women who look at men than there are stars that look at the earth.


Lucky Latke

I was so excited to make latkes I made them at lunch yesterday. I grated potato and drained it and then grated onion and added salt pepper and egg. I used my garlic infused oil in the pan. I rolled the potato egg and onion mixture in cornmeal because I was too lazy to go to the cellar chest freezer to refill the flour. They came out great. Then my husband got some flour. The batch made with flour wasn't as good. Improvisation can lead to great discoveries! I will do this again!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Comfort Me

I read cookbooks for comfort: Laurie Colwin, John Thorne, and Marion Cunningham are my favorites.


Mangia bene e caca forte, e non aver paura della morte.
-Tuscan Proverb

Garlic, I Love You!

My new phase is garlic confit. I bake garlic in olive oil. When garlic browns to a golden toasty roast I pour it over boiled wheat berries and barley and eat it with black pepper. I also dip veggies in it and brush it on pizza dough. Next, I am ready to cover my pillowcase with it.

The miracle of the oil is being celebrated ahead of schedule. I made eggplant Parmesan last weekend. I just peeled another clove of garlic to bake in olive oil while I am at my desk. It smells so good, I am salivating.

Charles Simic

I would have liked to own a small restaurant and do my own cooking. The dishes I like are mostly Mediterranean, so you'd have been served squid, octopus, lamb sausages, eggplant, olives, anchovies.... I'd hire my poet friends to be waiters. Mark Strand would look great in a white jacket wiping with a napkin the dust on some wine bottle of noble vintage.
-Charles Simic

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Spinach Provolone Pizza

When I stepped out with Lily for our afternoon walk I suddenly thought of what to make for supper. A pizza! I made a whole wheat dough with a little bit of olive oil thrown in and a sprinkle of cornmeal and semolina for good measure, and yeast and a pinch of sugar and salt and I kneaded it. Then the dough rested so 30 minutes later I was able to stretch it out very thin and I baked it hot. I brushed it with olive oil and some tomato sauce and freshly rinsed spinach and slices of provolone and baked it some more. It was fabulous!

Alden Nowlan

Great Things Have Happened

by Alden Nowlan

We were talking about the great things
that have happened in our lifetimes;
and I said, "Oh, I suppose the moon landing
was the greatest thing that has happened
in my time." But, of course, we were all lying.
The truth is the moon landing didn't mean
one-tenth as much to me as one night in 1963
when we lived in a three-room flat in what once had been
the mansion of some Victorian merchant prince
(our kitchen had been a clothes closet, I'm sure),
on a street where by now nobody lived
who could afford to live anywhere else.
That night, the three of us, Claudine, Johnnie and me,
woke up at half-past four in the morning
and ate cinnamon toast together.

"Is that all?" I hear somebody ask.

Oh, but we were silly with sleepiness
and, under our windows, the street-cleaners
were working their machines and conversing in Italian, and
everything was strange without being threatening,
even the tea-kettle whistled differently
than in the daytime: it was like the feeling
you get sometimes in a country you've never visited
before, when the bread doesn't taste quite the same,
the butter is a small adventure, and they put
paprika on the table instead of pepper,
except that there was nobody in this country
except the three of us, half-tipsy with the wonder
of being alive, and wholly enveloped in love.

- Alden Nowlan, What Happened When He Went to the Store for Bread.

Baking and Boiling

I made another tray of hermits today and they came out even better. It proves my theory that making something a bunch of times is the way to perfect it. Why does the ice cold air go so well with gingerbread?

I made a batch of oatmeal and vat of un-hulled barley and wheat berries in my crock pot for freezing in small containers, perfect for last minute suppers. I love to make my own fast food.

Alfred Hitchcock

Revenge is sweet and not fattening.
-Alfred Hitchcock

Jon Frankel

I'm reposting this from Jon Frankel's blog the Last Bender.
Wild Boar Ham Roast

Our Thanksgiving celebration is a pagan feast that lasts 3 days. It is not a patriotic holiday in our family nor do we pray. But the family assembles for 3 days of eating, drinking and talking. Talking in all of its forms. Ranting. Discussion. Argument. Dispute. Sarcasm. Storytelling, jokes, puns and reminiscence. Verbal sport is played instead of football. The only time we’re quiet is when we’re chewing. We go through a pound of coffee a day. We drink gallons of wine. It is a Gargantuan event that leaves me wan and pale, with sore vocal cords and a distended stomach and a resentful liver.

Like any good bacchanal it is ritualized frenzy, and the rituals have to do with food. I sometimes tinker with the dishes and always hear about it later. So Wednesday is a buffet of Italian dishes, focaccia, sausages and salamis, caponata, roasted red peppers, bread, cheese, lentils and the like. Thursday is the usual. Friday is what I think of as the elegant meal, always built around wild game shot by my brother-in-law Karl. This year he brought wild boar, sow actually. Wild pig is not difficult to cook. It tastes much like domestic pork only more so and is of course much leaner. As with any kind of pork I am more and more convinced that low’n’slow is the road to tenderness. That and not overcooking it. The sweet spot is 150-155. Do not go to 180! If you want pulled pork buy domestic.

Wild pork does not need a long marinade, though it will take it if you must. There are many brined and wined recipes out there. This is what I did with the 8 pound, bone-ham.

First, I removed silverside and some connective tissue, but I left the fat on. If it had been an older boar hog I would have removed the fat. But with a young sow it is fine to leave the dense fat on. Rub it over with salt. I made a liquid rub: 2T of juniper berries crushed, ¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary, 1t cracked black pepper, 1/3 cup chopped garlic, 2 T red wine vinegar, a splash of red wine, and ½ cup olive oil. Mix this thoroughly and rub and slather it on the pork. Put the ham aside. Chop a cup each of onion, celery and carrot and spread it in a roasting pan. Put the ham in fat side up and drape the ham with slices of bacon. Put it into a 275 degree oven for 5-6 hours, checking the temperature frequently towards the end. Once the roast has cooked for a few hours start rotating it once an hour so it cooks evenly. If you want it browned (and I did) finish with a 450 degree oven, just until it crisps up. The roast can and should rest for an hour or more. Its internal temperature should be about 155. This is enough to kill anything normal. For a sauce I soaked dried porcini mushrooms, about a half cup, in hot water. Strain the liquid and reserve. Rinse the mushrooms and chop. Pour off the oil in the roasting pan and heat it on the stove. Deglaze with red wine, add stock and the mushroom soaking liquid and mushrooms and boil until reduced, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon. We ate this with rosemary roasted potatoes, a tossed green salad, cabbage braised over low heat for an hour with garlic, vinegar and bacon, and a wild rice and wheat berry salad with red onion, clementines, parsley, garlic, pecans, dried cranberries, apples, oregano, walnut oil and red vinegar. The wine was robust: Primitivo, Valpolicello, Amarone, etc. Of course, polenta would have been godly, but you can’t have everything, even at a bacchanal.

Jon Frankel

This is reposted from Jon Frankel's blog The Last Bender
Tales of Turkey

Fresh local turkeys are only available at this time of year so I usually stock up. There are all kinds of options, from organic to toxic. At the coop there are frozen natural turkeys from Vermont, at $2.99 a pound, as well as fresh natural turkeys and fresh organic ones. Organic turkeys go for anywhere from 4.50-5.50 a pound. In the past I’ve bought these expensive birds. McDonald farm raises a delicious bird, plump, yes, but not a fat, unhealthy, greasy bird with yellow skin and breasts like Dolly Parton. The birds are leaner, with strong thighs and long breast meat. When I lived in NY I would sometimes by a ‘wild’ turkey from the farmer’s market. These were domestically raised wild birds, I think. Certainly they were not actual wild turkeys from the woods. But they were much leaner than even pasture raised, free range turkeys. Wild turkey is lean and its body is totally different from a domestic one. They have strong backs and long legs and the breast meat lies practically flat against the bone. The flavor is not exactly gamey. They are not like ducks or geese. The meat is white and tender, if cooked just to temperature and kept moist with olive oil, butter or, my favorite, bacon. The best wild bird I ever cooked was one shot by my brother-in-law. I draped the breast with bacon and stuffed bacon in-between the skin and the flesh, and liberally rubbed the meat with olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Then we roasted it in the old, beat up electric wall oven in my sister’s ancient, unrenovated farmhouse kitchen. The turkey came out with an intensity of flavor that I remember to this day. It was aromatic of the woods and fields that this tall, absolutely magnificent bird struts through. (There is a joke that the turkey thinks it’s beautiful because it can only see itself from the neck down).

The domesticated version lacks the majesty of a wild turkey but a free-ranging bird has deep flavor and a chewy texture, not the mush of factory meat. This year I’ll buy 4 turkeys, two from a local farmer, Autumn Harvest, and two from Outboard Dave, a guy my sister and brother-in-law know on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, who raises chickens and turkeys. I’m paying the farmer $3.50 a pound and Outboard Dave about 2-3, $45 bucks for each turkey. I’ll roast the biggest turkey and cut the meat off of one, using the carcass to make a rich stock for the sauce. The other two I’ll freeze, cut into pieces or whole, for later use.

To make the stock I brown the carcass and giblets with onions, carrots, celery and garlic, as well as some leek tops, in the oven. To facilitate this I’ll rub olive oil, a tiny bit of salt and pepper and tomato paste over the pieces. When it is bronzed I deglaze the pan with white wine and put it all in a stock pot with water and bring it slowly to a simmer. Throughout the day, into the stock pot will go the trimmings of parsley, sage, rosemary (no thyme), parsnips, carrots, celery, onion ends and what have you. After six hours I’ll strain it, add a whole bottle of wine and then reduce it until it is dark and thick. The smell fills the house. Hours before dinner you can taste gravy.

I sauté the livers with shallots, white wine and sage and we eat them on toast.

The turkey I prepare simply: lemon, salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, garlic and olive oil. This I massage into the skin and into the meat. I stuff the cavity with 3 whole lemons pierced with a chopstick in several places and a little chopped celery, carrot, garlic and onion. I make a bed of aromatics in the roasting pan and roast the bird breast side down, with cheese cloth or foil to protect the skin, in a 450 degree oven until it is well browned. Then I flip it (with a lot cursing!) breast side up, lower the temperature to 325 and roast for about 3-4 hours. Often it is done hours before dinner. (we eat at 7!) That’s no problem. A turkey should rest, and it can rest for hours and still be warm. I make a pan gravy, a reduction of wine and the rich stock. Then it’s the usual: mashed potatoes, with ungodly amounts of butter and heavy cream, onion, sage and apple stuffing with sour dough bread and lots of parsley, kale cooked with bacon and a tossed salad. I do make a vegan bowl of the mashed potatoes for myself, and a little stuffing without pan drippings for the vegetarian. The carcass becomes a minestrone soup. The leftover stock I freeze for future gravies, and the turkeys in the freezer feed us many times throughout the winter: stewed turkey thighs, turkey piccata, what have you. I love turkey!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sweet Potato Soup Gloup

I just made another soup that is really a gloup. I took a bunch of baked sweet potatoes with their skins on and chopped them up and blended them with buttermilk and regular milk. I added Adobo, cumin, freshly ground black pepper and salt. I heated it up. It's delicious!

Lavender Fog

This morning lavender fog, warm air and bare trees. I just baked seven small sourdough molasses oat boules.

I just realized all toast is biscotti - twice baked.

I am thinking of using my pizzelle maker to make crackers.

A Simple Delight

A baked sweet potato with a dash of Adobo is a perfect portable lunch! In many countries they are sold from vendor carts as street food.

Monday, December 3, 2012


I just made a tray of hermits as brownies. They are delicious with tea. I am wondering if I could convert this recipe into biscotti!

Recipe for Hermit Brownies
preheat to 350 F

Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl. You can test the batter by tasting raw batter before baking, or warming a spoonful of batter in the Microwave. Spread the batter in a greased oblong Pyrex baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 or until a test skewer comes out clean.

1/2 cup shortening or corn oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup warm coffee
1 egg
3 cups whole wheat or white flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt (less salt if using white flour)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1 teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon of cocoa (optional)
1 cup raisins

Winter Bread

Now that the nights are longer I am baking my winter breads. I blend medium grind whole wheat flour, sourdough starter, kosher salt, dark molasses, Fleishmann's yeast, rolled oats, cornmeal, and water. I bake these loaves a little bit cooler (at 400) instead of the usual 450 due to the molasses.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan

Last night after hours of parading in the raw cold, we came home and fried up eggplant slices and made eggplant Parmesan. It was delicious. It's my favorite food but it is the second time I have made it. Crazy! I must refine my method of squeezing the eggplant (a bookpress?) and make it more often. Glad to have a slow Sunday.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nixon-Nosed Eggplant

I am alone all but a few minutes a day but I enjoy when people come for tea now and again. So far tea is not something that people shy away from. Secretly I want to serve my friends a twelve course meal and stay up all night telling stories but these things take time - or maybe we are too frightening. Our house is not subtle and neither are we.
I just squeezed the bitter juices out of 55 eggplant slices. I will make eggplant Parmesan to eat after the parade. One eggplant had a NIXON nose and curly Q hair.

Carolyn Given, Hilarious

My Brain Was Abducted by Christmas Custard by Carolyn Given
Read here.