Archive: May 2007

Getting Fresh: A World of Peas

I eat my peas with honey I've done it all my life I know it may seem funny But it keeps them on the knife Remember that nursery ditty? I kept singing it in my head last weekend while strolling through Arlington Courthouse market, where peas of various shapes and sizes, were strutting their stuff. Sugar snap peas. (Kim O'Donnel) It's a wee early in the season for the aformentioned runaway peas (that also require shelling), but in their place for the moment are the sugar snap pea, pea shoots and, on occasion, pea sprouts. The sugar snap pea is a relatively new invention, a hybrid developed in the 1970s that combines the sweetness of an English pea with the crunch of a snow pea. Unlike its English counterpart, the sugar snap is completely edible, pod and all, and is one of my favorite things, other than the red bell...

By Kim ODonnel | May 31, 2007; 11:26 AM ET | Comments (2)

What's Cooking Veggie Chat, Today At 1 ET

A 100 percent meat-free hour is on the What's Cooking menu, today at 1 ET. Vegans, vegetarians and even carnivorous lurkers are all welcome in this monthly conversation on meatless eating, cooking and shopping. Catch up with previous Mighty Appetite posts of vegetarian and vegan interest....

By Kim ODonnel | May 30, 2007; 10:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

Summer Salmon

This time of year in this part of the country has got to be the most splendid stretch -- cool mornings followed by warm days, late sunsets, brilliant blooms on plants and trees, an ongoing, increasing supply of local vegetables and fruit -- and to top off the excitement -- the arrival of Copper River salmon from Alaska. The 2007 season kicked off May 15 with much fanfare and media hoopla, when several Alaska Airlines salmon-only jets arrived in Seattle for the first drop-off and distribution throughout the lower 48 states. Salmon as pop art. (Kim O'Donnel) There are several species of wild Pacific salmon, and the two you'll see in all their red-fleshed glory are king (aka chinook) and sockeye (aka red). Available for only four weeks, until June 15, king salmon is coveted and costly, starting at $30 per pound. Because it's so pricey, merchants, particularly on this...

By Kim ODonnel | May 30, 2007; 9:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

'Round the World in Sushi

Did you know that the prized and beloved fatty tuna (aka toro) was once considered unfit for human consumption and relegated to cat food? Or that Canada was central to shaping sushi as we know it today? These are just some of the interesting tidbits tucked inside "The Sushi Economy," a new book by Sasha Issenberg, a Philadelphia-based writer. If you ever wondered how and where that sushi traveled before it appeared on a pretty plate next to the lump of wasabi, this book may satisfy your curiosity, and perhaps have you asking even more questions. The book reads much like a spy novel, traveling back and forth in time, among five continents, with a cast of characters that include fishermen, business moguls, auctioneers, rising star sushi chefs, airport officials, pirates, launderers, fish surveillance and of course, the blue fin tuna. Last week, I caught up with Issenberg, who was...

By Kim ODonnel | May 29, 2007; 11:17 AM ET | Comments (0)

What's Cooking Web Chat, Today at Noon ET

Welcome back from a long holiday weekend! Now, get into the kitchen, ya hear? Join me and the other cooks today at noon, for this week's What's Cooking gabfest....

By Kim ODonnel | May 29, 2007; 7:24 AM ET | Comments (0)

Share Your Family Reunion Recipe

With the long holiday weekend now underway, I am immediately reminded of "Family Reunion," a song by R&B/soul songstress/poet Jill Scott. The lyrics paint a picture of the motley crew that is family, getting together year after year, with food as the thread that connects them: We at the family reunion, tellin' jokes and playin' spades Uncle Dave is on the barbecue grill Grandma braggin 'bout the blanket she made For the new baby on her way Even though the daddy ain't really ready This child is coming...anyway, yeah Niecie made her famous potato salad, somehow it turns out green Maybe it's all the scallions, could be the celery But oh, Uncle Jerome loves it (Hmm) Hey baby baby, here comes my favorite... my favorite cousin He says he's doing fine, takin' it one step a day but in my heart I know it ain't that way It's funny, but...

By Kim ODonnel | May 25, 2007; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Debating the Cost of Farm-Market Goods

It seems that in this week's What's Cooking chat, I've touched a nerve about the cost of food at local farmer's markets versus that in the large supermarkets. Good. Here's an excerpt from a comment from "Sarah," who posted in yesterday's blog space: You wrote "When you buy from a big store, you are paying for the cost of long-distance jet fuel and warehouses and lots of other stuff to support a huge corporation." Should that make us feel guilty? Like I said, I sympathize with farmers and love the philosophy of locally-grown food, but I'm not among the very small subset of the American population wealthy enough to afford it. The economics of what we eat and the class divisions in where we get our food is a huge topic with so many ramifications. Clearly your blog is written from the perspective of a person of relative privilege who...

By Kim ODonnel | May 25, 2007; 11:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

Getting Fresh: Reveling in Romaine

There's much to choose from this week at local markets --- pea shoots, chive flowers, squash blossoms and more of those luscious strawberries. But before the weather gets too summery, I wanna give a shout out to romaine lettuce, a coolish weather crop that's currently showing off its elongated green-leaf finery. Romaine lettuce: The most beautiful ruffles in the garden. (Kim O'Donnel) My main man Romaine. What a pleasure to see you again. And what an opportunity to make Caesar salad -- the quintessential application for hardy crunchy ruffles. Also known as Cos and Roman lettuce, romaine isn't just pretty to look at; it's really good for you. In fact, it beats out all other lettuces in the nutrition department, boasting substantial amounts of Vitamins A, C and K, as well as potassium, folate (a nice bonus for pregnant moms), and whaddya know, even some of those heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty...

By Kim ODonnel | May 24, 2007; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

For Grilling, Wood Is Good

The heat is on -- or will be come Saturday afternoon, when Memorial Day weekend is in full swing. If you have lost all sense of time, all you'd need to do is open the window and take a big whiff to know summer has arrived. The smell of burning charcoal will enter your nostrils just about everywhere you go, from sea to shining sea, suburban backyard to city park, beach cottage to camp site. But let's face it, the smell in the air doesn't really go away after the holiday. Basically, for the next few months, we grill-loving Americans are all about eating fire and inhaling smoke. As the cook in the family, I often don't accept much kitchen advice from Mister Mighty Appetite, but I must admit, ever since we met a few years back, he's taken the lead on grilling, and I like what he's done. Early...

By Kim ODonnel | May 23, 2007; 7:45 AM ET | Comments (15)

How Should Kim Spend Her Cookware Gift Card?

A hundred bucks fall from the sky, right into your line of vision. Attached to the bill is a note that says, "I'm your kitchen genie, and I've been watching you hard at work. It's time for a reward. Go buy yourself somethin' nice at your neighborhood cookware store [insert applicable name here]." Essentially, that's what happened to me recently when two friends out of the blue handed me a $100 gift card to spend at a nearby cookware shop. What a treat -- and good timing, to boot. In the midst of moving into a new home, I'm weeding through my kitchen inventory and letting go of broken measuring cups, a cracked citrus juicer, chipped glass mixing bowls. I'm pondering the state of the new space, asking myself if I've got more storage and if the space will allow for new tools to play with. It's a jigsaw puzzle...

By Kim ODonnel | May 22, 2007; 9:32 AM ET | Comments (31)

What's Cooking Web Chat Today At Noon ET

Come gather 'round the virtual kitchen counter and join me for What's Cooking, a live hour of culinary Q&A. 

 Be there or be a stewed tomato!...

By Kim ODonnel | May 22, 2007; 8:24 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Virtue of Birthday Cake

"Birthdays are milestones in the evolution of an individual or a group," according to the entry in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. Interesting notion. A milestone it is indeed, but a marker of individual evolution -- this is something I'd never considered. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. (Kim O'Donnel) I like it: With every birthday, we don't just age, we evolve. This way, the birthday stops being a numbers game and instead a nod to one's state of being. For years, I've come to think of the birthday as a personal New Year's Day, an opportunity to reflect on the previous year and to set intentions for the next one. To mark the occasion, it is fitting to celebrate the sweetness of having lived another year with cake. Like humans, cake has evolved over the ages, and there are references to sweetened bread in ancient Egypt...

By Kim ODonnel | May 21, 2007; 11:02 AM ET | Comments (11)

Food To-Do List: Giada at Dupont Market

Sometimes I don't feel like cooking, yet still like to stoke the culinary fire with activities outside the kitchen. Below, a few items of interest which have piqued my curiosity and will surely get me out of the house. And if you've got something to add to this food to-do, by all means share in the comments area. This Weekend Shoppers at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market will get a helping of celebrity eye candy with their bags of produce this Sunday morning. Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network Italian darling and cookbook author will be strolling through the market, with a film crew and entourage in tow. FTV star Giada De Laurentiis. (Food Network file photo) The babe sighting will commence at 10:30 a.m., when De Laurentiis will begin tasting her way through the market, as part of a segment for her show, "Giada's Weekend Getaways," which airs Friday nights....

By Kim ODonnel | May 18, 2007; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (2)

Getting Fresh: Sweet on Strawberries

Strawberries are here! And I mean the real deal -- the fire-engine red, lip-smacking variety that are at their peak, right now, at area farmer's markets. Yesterday, I spotted them at the Foggy Bottom FreshFarm Market as well as at the market in Clarendon, just in time, before the pounding rain. Farmer's market beauty queens: Strawberries from D&S Farm in southern Maryland. (Kim O'Donnel) Overcome by their honeyed perfume and eye-popping beauty, I bought two quarts and tore into one as soon as I got home. It's a once-a-year opportunity, folks, for a few short weeks. Hightail it to your nearest farm market now! Below, 10 ways I like to get my strawberry groove on: *Churned into sorbet or ice cream -- for cones, sandwiches, or better still, milkshakes *Baked into a crisp or cobbler, depending on which topping I'm in the mood for *Layered in parfait glasses as a...

By Kim ODonnel | May 17, 2007; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (23)

Jamaican Patty Party

A few days ago, my friend B. who lives out in the country asked if I had a recipe for "interior meat pie." At first, I thought she meant something along the lines of steak and kidney pie, and I racked my brain over which cuts of meat would be most appropriate. Did she mean organ meats or something along the lines of haggis, perhaps? When she realized that I was knitting my brow over the word interior for far too long, B. clarified. "No, something hand held, like a snack, using ground beef." Jamaican patties just out of the oven. (Kim O'Donnel) Ah! A patty is what she's talking about. Or maybe not. There's a different word for nearly every continent to describe the notion of stuffing meat inside pastry (now I get the "interior" reference) -- empanada, empandinha, saltena, fetayer, samosa, simbusak, calzone, pasty, and of course, the...

By Kim ODonnel | May 16, 2007; 7:54 AM ET | Comments (10)

The Vegan Experiment

David Carver, of Reston, Va. was just three days into his 30-day vegan challenge when he posted a comment in the April installment of What's Cooking Vegetarian, my monthly vegetarian Web chat. "Being a huge lover of red meat, white meat, the other white meat and fish, this has been the single most difficult thing I have done," wrote Carver. "I feel like I am going through some detox phase only after 3 days." It was an intriguing concept, one that I wanted to hear more about. In addition to Carver, I heard from Kevin Goldberg, of Washington, who had embarked on a similar vegan journey, albeit with a drastically different outcome. Here are their stories. David Carver Yesterday, I caught up with Carver by phone, to see how the experiment was shaping up, and to see how he was faring. He was now in the fourth and final week...

By Kim ODonnel | May 15, 2007; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Do You Eat for Your Dosha?

Ever think about how food makes you feel? I'm not talking about emotional pleasure or food preferences, but rather physiological reactions -- how your body processes and reacts to the stuff you put in your mouth. The expression "You are what you eat" seems appropriate here, but in the ancient Indian healing science of ayurveda, the additional question is, "Who is eating?" The connection between diet and body type was the theme of a lecture I attended this weekend at Tranquil Space, my home-base yoga studio in Dupont Circle. Leading the conversation was yoga instructor Anne Thiel, who has been studying since January, 2006, at the School of Ayurveda at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Mass. Anne, who had long been concerned by erratic energy levels and her quick, impatient reactions to stress, said that "with ayurveda, things started to click." The first task on her...

By Kim ODonnel | May 14, 2007; 11:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Feast for Mom

Earlier this morning, I left a voicemail for my mother, with the following message: "Top of your head. Tell me the top three things you'd like someone to prepare for you on Mother's Day." I'm betting she'll say egg salad or some of her other odiferous favorites -- liverwurst and onion on rye, a pot of sauerkraut, a hunk of limburger cheese with crackers. Pass the nose plugs, please. Generally, she sniffs at dessert, which she considers too sweet, (unless it's on someone else's plate), so that's not even a remote possibility, I think confidently. A few minutes later, the phone rings. "Well," she says via cell phone with pouring rain in the background, "I'd like a really nice salad, with mango, like you've made before." She's referring to a curried chicken salad that I made on Mother's Day last year (recipe details below). "And the egg dish that you...

By Kim ODonnel | May 11, 2007; 10:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

My Mother's Un-Cooking School

The kitchen of my childhood was of near-phantasmagoric proportions. The walls and countertops were bright orange, a hue that might hurt your eyes. Hanging on the walls were found objects from my mother's weekly garage sale adventures. Instead of being used for chopping vegetables, the counters were a display area of Americana-style artifacts, such as a vintage mint-green milkshake maker and a glass jar of Christmas ornaments circa 1940. I think at one point there was an old sewing machine stand over by the oven, but I'll have to check with her on that. My mother, Susan O'Donnel, the technicolor wizard. (Jim Oschmann) The dining room was no less a kaleidoscope of color. Pepto pink was the dominant color scheme, accented by stripes of Easter egg yellow and green. The piano that we kids learned to play was pink, too. Filling out the space was a wicker baby carriage turned...

By Kim ODonnel | May 10, 2007; 10:06 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Magic of the Mango

"Whatever anyone else might say, America's new nuclear and trade pact with India is a win-win deal," argued Madhur Jaffrey in an Op-Ed she wrote for the New York Times in March, 2006. "India gets nuclear fuel for its energy needs and America, doing far better in what might be called a stealth victory, finally gets mangoes." And now, at long last, Indian mangoes are here, an exciting moment if you've ever tried to smuggle a mango in your suitcase from southeast Asia or have wondered what the fruity fuss was all about. Despite the possibilities of 400-plus varieties from around the world and a world-class mango festival held every year in Coral Gables, Fla., the mango pickings in this country have been notoriously slim, usually limited to four often tasteless varieties. "When you get your first Indian mango, perhaps an Alphonso, just hold it in your hand and admire...

By Kim ODonnel | May 9, 2007; 7:55 AM ET | Comments (43)

Getting Schooled in Pasta

Last Friday, I barreled out of Arlington and headed to greener pastures - Berryville, Va., to be exact. My destination was Smithfield Farm, home to the Pritchard family, a flock of chickens and small free-ranging herds of pigs, cows, goats and lamb. Their naturally-raised meats and eggs are sold at nine farm markets in the Washington area, but the reason for my visit last week was to learn the fine art of making pasta. Smithfield Farm's Nancy Pritchard feeding the chickens, aka "the girls," their breakfast of veggie and pasta dough scraps. (Kim O'Donnel) While Forrest Pritchard and his sister, Betsy, tend to the animals and the great outdoors, Nancy, Forrest's wife, is busy indoors mixing flour and semolina. Since 2003, Nancy has been selling one-pound boxes of fresh noodles and ravioli, at the height of farmer's market season, she and her staff of three crank out 500 boxes a...

By Kim ODonnel | May 8, 2007; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (8)

A Summer Trip Down Food Memory Lane

Memorial Day weekend is but three weeks away, when summer seems to officially kick off. While some of us are dusting off the grills and bringing patio furniture out of storage, others are packing bags and hitting the road. I remember piling into my mother's orange Pinto hatchback for our annual summer exodus to the Jersey shore, a 70-mile-trip that took about three hours because my mother hated driving on the highway. As a result, she'd drive through every little town in south Jersey instead, put-putting in that Pinto at 35 or 40 miles an hour. It was like driving to Egypt in this nine-year-old's mind. Also along for the journey were my two kid brothers and our dog, Mumford, who inevitably would get car sick. We always knew we were almost there when the salty smell of the bay would replace that of canine car sickness, and our road-weary...

By Kim ODonnel | May 7, 2007; 8:01 AM ET | Comments (22)

ABCs of Guacamole

Cinco de Mayo has nothing to do with Mexican independence, which falls on Sept. 16; instead, it commemorates Mexico's victory in battle against the French in Puebla, on May 5, 1862, some 42 years after declaring independence from Spain. But it's a good reason to drink and eat cocina Mexicana, and one of the easiest things you can to do to celebrate is make guacamole. A Hass avocado, ready for guac. (Kim O'Donnel) Originally known in the Aztec empire as ahuaca-mulli, which literally means avocado sauce, guacamole goes way back in history because the avocado is an ancient fruit, originating in Mexico somewhere around 5,000 B.C. For the better part of a millennium, the avocado was known as the ahuacatl, which is said to be the word for "testicle," which would explain why the fruit was considered an aphrodisiac. When the Spanish conquistadores got wind of this luscious fruit in...

By Kim ODonnel | May 4, 2007; 8:41 AM ET | Comments (9)

Cooking to the Music

"Dance Dance Dance." Remember that song? It's an oldie-but-goodie from Chic, one of the great disco bands of the 1970s that also produced classic dance-floor hits such as "Le Freak" ("Freak Out") and "Good Times." Dance is something I used to do a lot of growing up in the late 70s, when disco was king. Purple Haze was the DJ of choice at most Bar Mitzvah record hops in my neighborhood outside of Philadelphia, and we kids would dance to Chic, Earth Wind and Fire, the Jackson Five. The theme song for my high school prom in 1984 was Lionel Ritchie's "All Night Long." Sadly, I no longer make time to cut the rug the way I used to -- unless I'm cooking. Given the amount of time I spend in the kitchen, that hardly sounds like a change in the ole dance routine, I know. The reality is, I...

By Kim ODonnel | May 3, 2007; 10:40 AM ET | Comments (7)

The Ways of a Traveling Eater

In the eyes of three food monthlies, May is the month to travel -- or at the very least, develop an appetite for it. Readers of Bon Appetit will find a "Where to Eat Now" issue, with longer features on what's cooking in Istanbul, Shanghai and Sydney. In Food & Wine, the focus is on wanderlust dining, with a lengthy "Go List: The World's Best Restaurant Guide," covering eateries at all price points in 40 cities near and far. And this month's Gourmet boasts a "Global Guide to Food at the Source," a hodgepodge mixture of armchair-style, gastro-vignettes from several corners around the world, both well-traveled and obscure, decadent and humble. It's hardly a new phenomenon to find travel content in food magazines or vice versa, but over the past few years, the content crossover has reached a crescendo, sometimes making a travel magazine indistinguishable from a food magazine. As...

By Kim ODonnel | May 2, 2007; 11:12 AM ET | Comments (27)

Fixing Your Own Granola

Breakfast cereal is an American invention. Rewind the tape all the way back to the mid-1800s (way before Tony and his frosted flakes), when one Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister, created "graham bread," the first version of graham crackers. Homemade granola, just out of the oven. (Kim O'Donnel) His curiosity and desire to diversify his vegetarian diet paved the way for granola. By the 1860s, Graham had developed "granula," baked graham crackers broken into smaller pieces and soaked overnight in milk to make it soft enough to eat for breakfast. Over the next 20 years, a Seventh Day Adventist by the name of John Harvey Kellogg (yes, that one), also tinkered in the kitchen to make his own version of a ready-to-eat cereal, which he also called granula. The Graham posse challenged Mr. Kellogg in court, which forced him to change the name to "granola." The rest, as you may...

By Kim ODonnel | May 1, 2007; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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