Friday, November 14, 2014

And the beets go on...

Something fun to do with the tops you chop off when preparing your beets for roasting or soup. The original tops were sautéed with garlic for a side dish; not sure what I'll do with these little ones. But they make a nice counter decoration, and it's good to watch something grow as the garden is preparing for the frost to come.

Photograph ©2014, Lori Korleski Richardson

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Taming the wild buffalo wing

Photo by Lori Korleski Richardson
For those who aren't baseball or sports fans, we are getting nearer to the World Series, and once again, San Francisco is in contention. (Not to be totally biased to the West Coast, Baltimore is also doing well.) Although one-third of my household is nutso over the Giants, we have never plunked down the big bucks for cable, and for most of the year, that works out well, since the subscription is reasonable and we can throw up the Internet on our HD TV. But playoffs are a different story, so last night, Jim called up "Top 10 Sports Bars in Charlottesville," and we headed over to a place we know has plenty of parking, Buffalo Wild Wings.

The last time I had a bucket of wings, they came out hot and lightly sauced, and served with a side of blue cheese dressing and more hot sauce, some carrots and celery sticks.

Buffalo Wild Wings has a variety of sizes and a whole menu of heat choices, which we didn't bother to peruse before ordering. I mean, the game was on and we were focused. So we just ordered a plate of medium boneless chicken, with hot sauce.

The boneless chicken wings arrived, hot and just dripping with gooey sauce. I popped one in my mouth.

I want to tell you that I am a Texan native, born in Lone Star State and proud of it. I have eaten chili that could put hair on anyone else's chest. I add Cholula or Tabasco to my eggs. I once won a jalapeño-eating contest. When it comes to hot and spicy, I have never been a wimp.

I almost had to spit out that hunk of chicken. My eyes teared up so bad that it looked like Hunter Pence was wearing long pants. Beads of sweat broke out on my forehead. I think I ate one more before admitting defeat and calling our waitron back. "I need a small order of the mild wings," I managed to gag out between cooling intakes of air. "And a to-go box for these."

The Giants won last night, 5-4. Super game. But this is a food blog, not a sports show.

If there's one thing I've learned over the years, the heat of jalapeños and habaneros often mellows overnight. And as hot as those chunks of white meat were, that's exactly what happened the next day.

When I got home, I wiped off as much sauce as I could and blotted the "wings" with paper towels and  put them in the fridge. Around noon today, I got out three of them, heated up a small pot of canola oil over medium heat and fried them for 2 minutes on one side and 90 seconds on the other. They were heated through, still nicely spiced, but crunchier and slightly drier than they had been the night before. But I ate all three without breaking a sweat. My tongue, thoroughly recovered from last night's scorching, was smiling now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mud soup

In honor of Carolyn Kizer, Dec. 10, 1924-October 9, 2014, an excerpt from her poem, Mud Soup, from Saturday's New York Times:
Sauté pork and add the veggies,
Add the garlic, cook ten minutes,
Add to lentils, add to ham bone;
Add the bay leaf, cloves in cheesecloth,
Add the cayenne! Got no cayenne!
Got paprika, salt, and pepper.
Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer.
Did I say that this is summer?
Simmer, summer, summer, simmer.
Mop the floor and suck the finger.
Mop the brow with old potholder. ...
Tastes like mud, the finished product.
Looks like mud, the finished product.
Consistency of mud the dinner.
(Was it lentils, Claiborne, me?)
Flush the dinner down disposal,
Say to hell with ham bone, lentils,
New York Times recipe.
Purchase Campbell’s. Just add water.
Concentrate on poetry:
By the shores of Gitche Gumee
You can bet the banks were muddy,
Not like Isle of Innisfree.

To read the obituary, a subscription may be required.

The poet Carolyn Kizer in the library of her home in 1998. CreditPeter DaSilva for The New York Times


Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween party appetizer

Love this idea for dressing up deviled eggs for Halloween. It's from the food blog, Delicious as It Looks, by Diane B., a woman with irritable bowel syndrome. Just as she was posting it last year, she discovered she was intolerant to eggs. Sad, indeed!

To do this, for each deviled egg half, take a black olive (not Kalmata), and cut it lengthwise in half. Put one half in the middle of the egg. Cut the remaining half into 8 slices. Put four slices on each side of the olive. Voila! Spiders.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Smoked trout salad with raspberries

What a great day: A friend's garden is in overdrive, so she shared the bounty with me.

Fresh, crisp red sail lettuces on the cusp of bolting.

Small, purple-perfect eggplants.

A cup of tiny raspberries.

Green pepper, large and small, sweet bell and a jalapeno-scotch bonnet mix.

And in the fridge from the City Market yesterday:

A local smoked trout, a cucumber, some shallots.

On hand: Always mustard. Always a lemon. Always extra-virgin olive oil. Always Celtic sea salt. Always pepper. And an open jar of tahini.

So I made a great salad with the lettuces, cucumber, raspberries and the trout, and dressed it with a vinaigrette of EVOO, mustard, balsamic vinegar, and shallots, then sprinkled it with the Celtic salt and freshly ground pepper.

With the eggplant, tahini and lemon juice, I made baba ghanoush.

Baba Ghanoush
adapted from "Jane Brody's Good Food Cookbook" (Norton, 1985, 728 pages)

1 large eggplant (about 2 pounds)
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
(if you want a more intensively lemon-flavored dip, add a slice of preserved lemon)
1 large clove garlic
¼ cup onion or shallots, chopped
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Take the green top off the eggplant, cut it in half and slice it into 1-inch half rounds. Salt with kosher salt and let stand for 45 minutes to an hour. Wipe off the moisture and the salt. Place eggplant slices on oiled cookie sheet.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook for 20 minutes, turning halfway.
When cooled, remove the flesh from the eggplant, discarding skin (and seeds, if you want it very smooth. I kind of like the seeds).
Blend ingredients 3-5 in a food processor. Add eggplant. Pulse until well-blended.
Transfer to a small bowl and garnish with parsley. Cover and chill. Serve with pita quarters, or as a dip with vegetables.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Trader Joe's doesn't know beans about lentils

Photograph ©2014, Lori Korleski Richardson
I was going to make a refreshing green lentil salad from Patricia Well's "The Provence Cookbook" last week. Jim said he would go to Trader Joe's and get what I needed. Well, he came back with a bag that said "Small Whole Green Lentils." They didn't look very green to me, but I thought maybe it was just a variation in color.

No. They are not little green lentils, as you can see by the photo above. They cooked up exactly like regular lentils, only smaller, too mushy for salad use.

Luckily, the ones I ordered through Relay Foods were the correct ingredient, and that salad was excellent.

I sent in a product feedback form to Trader Joe's. We'll see if anything is done about this misrepresentation.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Odd fruits and vegetables get new life

If France can do this, why can't we? It certainly would go a long way in providing food security for everyone.