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Vino 101: J’accuse! Wine frauds and scandals

roman god wine

While the wine trade enjoys a romantic public image, it is a business, and a cutthroat one at that. And, like any other business, it has had its share of unscrupulous operators. The first fraud involving wine probably arose shortly after it was initially recognized as a valuable commodity many thousands of years ago, and the ensuing years have only seen the schemes grow more ingenious, even as more controls have been put in place to stop them. 

 

The history of scandal in the wine business is not only long and colorful; it also has much to say about our complicated relationship with this complicated beverage. Wine may be the most regulated drink in the world, and yet it remains surprisingly easy for knaves and scoundrels to exploit our fundamental gullibility, credulousness, and insecurity about it. 

 

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Hunting for Dinner: Attempting the perfect polenta

polenta

Nobody is ever going to mistake me for a vegetarian, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like vegetables. I just don’t think I could live off them alone. After all, meat is a central part of most everything I do. I hunt, fish and trap a lot of meat. There really isn’t anything out there that I won’t eat. 

 

But that said, it is probably time I started making more vegetable-themed meals. I don’t even know what is considered vegetarian.  I have a few friends and family members that are vegetarians but they still eat fish and eggs and cheese. I’m not sure that counts as being vegetarian but what do I know. 

 

 My interest in vegetables has grown ever since planting my first garden a few years ago. I do a fair amount of canning and freezing and enjoy vegetables from my garden year-round. I enjoy them next to some kind of meat, as a side dish. I have never really considered them anything other than a side dish until recently. 

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Kids Cook French: Eggs Jeannette

pepin cover

As a society, we have tried to encourage kids to eat healthy foods by hiding them, disguising them as something else, or pouring processed cheese sauce on them, and I think that we do a disservice to children by doing so. Children don’t come into the world eating only chicken nuggets, pizza, and french fries. They will eat the food that they are given. That’s the food that they will become used to and like.

 

So, if we feed them only “kid” food, those are the tastes they will develop. If, however, we feed them all sorts of foods, they will eat them as well. Our daughter, Shorey, eats almost everything. Now, though, at ten years old, she doesn’t like asparagus, tripe, polenta, sweet potatoes, or head cheese. We’re okay with that — and her grandfather says that she will change anyway.

 

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Kitchen DIY: Tumeric and cumin spiced potatoes

tumeric cumin potatoes

The potato craving usually hits hard in the winter when I need some good ol’ comfort food that will stick to my ribs and satisfy my need for warmth — if only for a while. These potatoes, spiced with turmeric and green chilies does just that.

 

I usually use sweet potatoes in my cooking since it's the healthier option and they contain a ton of good stuff, especially vitamins A and C. But for this recipe only a good old-fashioned potato will do, in a dish I call "batata fry."

 

Tear off a warm piece of ghee-soaked roti, use it to envelope a couple of spiced potatoes and a bit of the green chili and pop it into your mouth. With each bite, the warm heat from the green chilies will slowly creep into your body and the comfort of the potatoes will have you floating into an abyss of happiness. I would suggest grabbing a warm comfy blanket and head off for a nap after this comforting meal.  Sigh…

 

Batata Fry

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Cooking with Cast Iron: 4 reasons to love your cookware

cast iron

Having burned and scraped my way through various pots and pans and spent a pretty penny for new issues every five years or so, I have a few reasons for reverting to old ways and adopting cast iron into my cookware family.

 

Formed by a pouring molten pig iron into casts, the technology behind the creation of this age-tested cookware is very simple. The earliest references to civilization’s use of cast iron can be traced back to fourth century BC and its debut into the kitchen scene was around the 17th century. 

 

Though the cast iron skillet was chucked aside by most and Teflon-coated pans became commonplace, there are many worthy qualities to be examined and preserved. Here are four reasons you should consider giving this time-honored cookware a try:

 

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Veg Out: A primer on community supported agriculture

csa box

Although there's plenty of winter left — remember, as the wise Prince sings, sometimes it snows in April — this is the perfect time to start thinking about tomatoes. And cabbage, and green beans, and kale...

 

Whether you've made a New Year's resolution to eat healthier or not, maybe this is your year to consider a share in a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm. I'm pretty biased on the subject, since my partner Karla and I have a farm that runs a CSA, but since we're taking this year off, it's my last chance to sound somewhat objective so I'm going for it. 

 

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Kitchen DIY: Cooking with acid

kinilaw

Cooking is simply defined as the preparation of food, typically using heat. In a biochemical process called denaturing, high temperatures from various methods such as grilling, braising or steaming alter proteins in meat and seafood, making them firmer (as with egg whites) or breaking down tissue to make them more tender (as with tough cuts like shanks). 

 

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Hunting for Dinner: Sandhill crane au poivre

jamie carlson at cooks

I have been working with Cooks of Crocus Hill on a setting up a wild game cooking class and earlier this month, my first class took place. It was a huge step outside my comfort zone and I will admit that I was nervous as hell going into it. I think as a cook I am always afraid that I don’t know as much as I think I do and that I am going to fail. Or worse, one of my dishes is going to fail. 

 

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