I had my three-deep stack of beautiful cast iron skillets pulled out the other night, and while I was grabbing my monster-large 18″ one to make a braised sausages and balsamic onions dish (stay tuned for this one), I pulled my 11″ one aside to try this skillet cookie recipe that I found on Heidi Swanson’s site, 101 Cookbooks a few weeks back. I was looking for an easy dinner – dessert combo as we were all packing for school vacation week ski trips, and we didn’t have a lot of time to be futzing in the kitchen.
Archives for February 2011
This is a dish that we whipped up a few weeks back in advance of a ski trip with my brother and his family. We were looking for something that could be completely cooked in advance, so that after a long day on the slopes we’d have little more to do than throw the pot into the oven to reheat while we sat by the fire, enjoyed a glass of wine, and stretched our sore muscles.
My sister-in-law doesn’t eat red meat, so the beef bourguignon or short ribs I had in the freezer were off-limits….thank goodness for our friend, the noble pig. This dish is incredibly easy to make, wildly flavorful, and satisfied everyone at the table that night, served with some gingered sweet potatoes and a simple green salad.
Jessica Goldman, the lovely food writer who brings us the delicious and informative blog, Sodium Girl, tweeted me last week and asked me to join her, and a number of other bloggers in what she is calling her “Love Your Heart Recipe Rally”. For the event, she is asking participating bloggers to rework a favorite “sodium heavy” recipe into one that would be considered “sodium-free” (or at least “sodium-light”), then blog about the dish, posting on Friday, February 18th….yes, that would be today.
The rules of engagement were pretty straight forward, we had to identify our original recipe’s salty ingredients, eliminate them, and recreate the recipe with as little sodium as possible – i.e. no salt (duh), no salted butter (ouch), and no products that contain sodium content higher than 40mg per serving – or “very low sodium” according to the American Heart Association.
A very cool idea, I thought.
That was, until I told my wife about the invitation, then had to endure the humiliation of watching her double-over in laughter at the mere thought of my cooking a low-sodium meal.
I had the good fortune a few weeks back to meet Sally Sampson, a woman I’ve admired for some time. Sally has worked for years as a cookbook writer, and as such, brought a number of my favorite cookbooks to market. Some of my most worn volumes were written by Sally, including Todd English’s The Olives Table, The Olives Dessert Table, and the first book of his I ever owned, The Figs Table. Sally is also the author of my most used cookbook (if its physical disrepair is any indication), the terrific Party Nuts!, from which we’ve pulled many recipes for the nut mixes we give friends and family in our annual holiday gift baskets.
As I struggled the other day trying to decide whether to cook pasta with meat sauce or chili for Superbowl Sunday dinner, I thought of my friend Kathy Bechtel who writes the great cooking/travel blog “Chefbikeski”, and a dish she had mentioned to me a while ago, Cincinnati Chili. Prior to our chat, I had never heard of the stuff before, and at first thought it was little more than a regional variant on chili that introduced a few different spices to distinguish the dish from something like a Texan chili, much in the same way BBQ is unique depending on where you eat it, be it Kansas City, Houston, or Memphis.
Peyton, home from school the other day, was banging around the kitchen at lunchtime looking for a way to enhance her standard lunch fare, a classic grilled cheese. She was looking for something to elevate the dish to something more befitting the special occasion that is a SNOW DAY. Her first inclination was to make a croque monsiuer (a brilliant idea for a future post), but as we didn’t have any ham in the house, decided instead to whip up some tomato soup as an accompaniment.
The girl was in luck, not only did we have all the ingredients needed to make a delicious tomato soup from scratch, but I had recently stumbled across this recipe and was dying to give it a try. In our studied opinion, there are few things more perfectly matched than a gooey grilled cheese sandwich and a creamy bowl of tomato soup. I don’t know about you, but the combo was one of my favorites as a kid, ranking right up there with a PB&J with potato chips!
Every night before dinner we pause for a moment and take turns giving “gratitudes” for things we are grateful for each day, it is our non-denominational spin on a meal-time prayer. A few weeks ago my gratitude went something like this….
“I am grateful that Sarabeth Levine decided to name our dessert treat tonight Chocolate Chubbies, because their name will give me pause each time I am fighting my crack addict urge to eat six of these at a sitting. Were it not for their name, I’ve no doubt that I’d eat enough of these in short order to soon be looking like the Hindenburg.”
Thank you Sarabeth.
Just this one word evokes all sorts of wonderful childhood memories for me. Nana’s Sunday “Gravy” was a staple of my early years, and if I close my eyes I can still see her tending her gently bubbling pot of sauce for hours, while all of us grandchildren took turns working alongside her, finessing the crank on her old Atlas pasta machine.
Some folks never stray far from the pasta sauce they grew up on, and my Nana’s (then my Mom’s) was certainly good enough to make me think twice before experimenting with other recipes. Over the years however, I came to enjoy bolognese in a wide range of styles, some at the hands of other home cooks, some while dining out or traveling abroad, and one in particular from a wonderful Italian restaurant in Bar harbor, ME.