In the middle of making an effort to write about some of the food and travel things that have been going on in our lives the past few months, we were interrupted by something wonderful that we just have to tell everyone about. It's called the Butcher's Box.
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I consider myself a reasonably adventurous cook, generally gung-ho to try out cuisine with unpronounceable ingredients (at least for me) or making some item that any sane person would normally purchase. But sometimes I get stuck in a rut, and outside influence can be helpful. To that end, I decided to join the Daring Cooks and take part in their monthly challenge (read more here).
Continue reading "Am I a Daring Cook?"
Ages ago, I decided to deal with my incurable cookie habit by trying to make a cookie that wasn't pure sugar and flour and butter (though those are utterly lovely). The likely candidate was an oatmeal cookie, but my problem with most oatmeal cookies is the inclusion of raisins. Sure, they could be omitted, but that makes for a rather dull cookie. Eventually, we wound up at chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
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Ever since we acquired the KitchenAid stand mixer, homemade bread has become a staple in our house. I'm perfectly fine with kneading bread; in fact, I even enjoy it. However, during the hot and sweaty central Texas summer, I have very little interest in toiling over a hunk of dough that's hell-bent on sticking to everything it comes in contact with, especially when the dough itself is meant to be a bit on the sticky side.
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File homemade hot dogs in the “because I can” category. The truth of the matter is that Sean and I like hot dogs, so generally the fewer questions we ask about what they're made of, the better. However, since I've gathered all the tools (grinder, stuffer, smoker), I've been itching to try to make them myself. In fact, hot dogs were second only to home-cured bacon on my DIY charcuterie wishlist.
Continue reading "Mystery-Free Meat"
If you're on the fence about whether to join a CSA, summer would definitely be a good time to find out. Gone are the dreary greens and root vegetables (generally anyway) which I had been struggling to use. Instead, our early June box was absolutely brimming with gorgeous spring and summer produce. I had fun showing Sean our bounty once I had returned from picking up our goodies. (Our CSA, Johnson's Backyard Garden, is now on Twitter and Facebook, by the way.)
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I really don't mind kneading dough for bread. It's interesting to feel the texture change as you work the dough, and for the longest time, I felt that it was the only way to get it right. However, once I got the KitchenAid (you know, for grinding sausage), I discovered that for very little effort at all, I can have freshly baked sandwich bread and hamburger buns. For even less effort (and no stand mixer to clean up), I can have a lovely "artisan" loaf using the no-knead method.
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I don't know why this didn't occur to me sooner. I bitch and moan about the heat here every summer, and yet I rarely make frozen desserts of any kind. It took my friendly neighborhood CSA and an excess of basil along with some suggestions from my Twitter friends to convince me that I needed to try my hand at popsicles.
Continue reading "A Popsicle by Any Other Name"
It's strange, but we actually don't eat a lot of fresh tomatoes at our house. For one, Sean steadfastly despises them. For another, while I find them tasty enough, they're rarely anything I seek out. Typically, I buy tomatoes to cook into sauce or as a cooked ingredient in something else, and consequently, I go for the paste tomatoes, typically Romas. Recently though, I got to taste the sort of tomatoes that I'd actually enjoy eating out of hand.
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I know you wind up seeing a lot of blather about curing bacon, grinding sausage, and cutting up meat, but Sean and I actually eat vegetarian meals more often than you might imagine. Among our favorites are saag paneer with naan and tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches, however a new love has entered our life, and curiously, it features another kind of grilled cheese. Well, *grillable*, anyway. Thanks to Lisa of Lisa is Cooking, I have been routinely making Braised Chickpeas with Greens and Haloumi Cheese for the past couple months.
Continue reading "The Other Grilled Cheese"