Archive: May 2009

Weekend Project: Chicken Barbecue in a Loaf Pan

I know what you’re thinking, cooking a chicken in a loaf pan sounds like a half-baked idea, particularly on the grill. How is the bird going to cook thoroughly while scrunched in a pan intended for bread, after all? It may seem counter intuitive, but the walls of the pan actually work as a protective cushion, a moist oasis (think clay pot) that keeps the bird from drying out. (Kim O'Donnel) Crazy? Maybe. But this method, courtesy of Alabama barbecue master Chris Lilly, works like a champ. If you know anything about barbecue, you know there’s usually a wet “mop” and a dry rub of seasonings applied to your intended protein. In this case, the “mop” comes first, a sweet-tangy mix of applesauce and Worcestershire sauce, which is lathered all over the bird, inside and out. Then comes a savory melange of spices that permeates the meat during its low,...

By Kim ODonnel | May 30, 2009; 7:15 AM ET | Comments (8)

Save the Date: Eating Down the Fridge, Round 2

Back in March, you, me and more than 100 households across the U.S. (plus folks in Canada, Denmark and Australia) kicked off the first Eating Down the Fridge challenge in this space. With guest bloggers and a robust Facebook group page, we went great guns, sharing the ups and downs of taking a break from food shopping and using what you had stored in the freezer, fridge and pantry. In fact, when the week came to an end, many of you kept going and expressed interest in future frugal adventures. Your enthusiasm is the inspiration for the second quarterly EDF, scheduled for June 20-26. If you’re new to this idea, here’s the FAQ I posted from the first EDF: So how is this going to work? The challenge is in effect from Saturday, June 20, until Friday, June 26. During this time, the goal is to do zero food...

By Kim ODonnel | May 29, 2009; 7:10 AM ET | Comments (8)

Wanted: Oregon Coast Must-Dos, Eats

The majestic view at Cape Arch, Ore. (Kim O'Donnel) I have a terrible problem. I made last-minute plans for a solo retreat on the Oregon coast, and other than the drop-dead naturally gorgeous oceanfront oasis where I’m holed up for three days, I know nothing about the area. Are there culinary, cultural, historical, oenophilic, wildlife or maritime points of interest I should know about? Help a damsel in distress, why doncha. Consider this a sand-drawn SOS message awaiting a response....

By Kim ODonnel | May 27, 2009; 9:50 AM ET | Comments (29)

The Summer of Food Docs

If you like food for thought with your films, you’re in for a serious smorgasbord this summer. Beginning this week, a fresh batch of food documentaries hits the big screen. Here's a taste of what's on the menu. FRESH (running time 71 minutes) WHEN: Tonight, in D.C., at The Avalon, the first night of a 23-day tour across North America WHAT: Assumes that the viewer has a basic understanding of industrialized agriculture and its impact on the environment, our diet and our economy and directs “its focus…on the farmers, thinkers, and business people across America who are coming up with alternatives” to the industrial model, writes director Ana Joanes, in a recent Huffington Post article. WHO: Joanes is a Swiss-born, New York-based filmmaker; this is her second documentary. Featured in the film are: Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in Swoope, Va. (see last year’s story on Polyface Farm Day); Diana...

By Kim ODonnel | May 26, 2009; 7:50 AM ET | Comments (3)

Grilled Pizza Party

(Photo courtesy of The Bitten Word) This post originally appeared July 7, 2006, just a few months after A Mighty Appetite was born. To mark the first “official” weekend of the summer grilling season, I’ve updated my grilled pizza prose and spiffed it up with a purty picture on loan from Zach and Clay, the savvy cooks from DC-based blog, The Bitten Word. While your dough rises, have a looksee at the following tips based on my first-hand experiences with pizza a la grill. I’ve also shared the recipe details for my version of dough, which has served me well for the past 9 years. * While a charcoal grill yields more flavor, a gas grill, which offers more temperature control, makes pizza grilling a snap. The reason? Pizza dough needs a mixed temperature setting. The first few minutes, you want things nice and hot to allow for dough...

By Kim ODonnel | May 22, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

What's Your Favorite Farm Market?

That’s what the American Farmland Trust wants to know. Beginning June 1, members of the farm-marketing public are invited to cast their votes in the “America’s Favorite Farmers Markets” contest, a first for the organization. KOD at Arlington Courthouse Market, Arlington, Va. (Forrest Pritchard) The online ballot, available here, will be searchable by zip code, but will only include markets that officially register with AFT. Translation: If you want your local farm market on the ballot, you’ll need to bug the market manager to sign up. And if all farm markets sign up, the ballot will be enormous. As of last year, there are 4,685 markets nationwide, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), an increase of 6.8 percent since 2006. With so many markets to choose from, how can a farm market lover pick just one? Huckleberries at Clark Fork River Market, Missoula,...

By Kim ODonnel | May 21, 2009; 7:50 AM ET | Comments (13)

Let’s Play 20 (Kitchen) Questions

I’ve got nothing to show today, but plenty to tell, if you’ll let me. KOD sipping on a date shake just outside of Palm Springs, Calif. (R. Walker) Today -- all day -- I’m all yours. Here’s your chance to get some answers to those nagging cooking/kitchen questions that have been keeping you up late at night. Ask away, and I’ll do my best to fix you up. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT, I’ll be your on-call gal. Fire away....

By Kim ODonnel | May 20, 2009; 7:40 AM ET | Comments (50)

Getting Grounded With Chicken & Dumplings

The planet Mercury is in retrograde for most of this month, and as my astrologer friend Stephanie tells me, the notorious planetary configuration isn’t just about misfires on the communication highway or misunderstandings with your nearest and dearest; it’s also a great time for “reflection and heightened inner awareness.” (Kim O'Donnel) Whether or not you groove to the tune of astrology, you’ve probably experienced bouts of extreme unsettledness that feel like an eight-lane traffic jam in your head and your heart, a time when you don’t know if you’re coming or going, and all you can see is the dust flying around your head. It’s been so chaotic here at the Casa I can hardly remember my name. Sylvia, right? When I set out last week to recreate New Orleans chef Donald Link’s recipe for chicken and dumplings, my objective was pragmatic: To check for recipe accuracy and quality. A...

By Kim ODonnel | May 19, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (12)

Meatless Monday: Korean Snack Plate

As I mentioned last week, I’ve long put off Korean cookery, but Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee’s new book has now got me champing at the bit. I kicked off my Korean kitchen party with a trio of dishes that play so nicely together you might think they’ve been friends forever. (Kim O'Donnel) First mate: spinach, ever-so-quickly steamed, then squeezed, squeezed of its water until it’s dry as a bone, chopped, then tossed with a kicky soy sauce seasoned with scallions, garlic and sesame seeds. Total cook time: Maybe 12 minutes. (By the way, have you heard the latest about spinach – it’s now being studied for tumor reduction! ) Second mate: A super-cinchy dipping sauce of soy, scallions, garlic and more sesame seeds. (Are you starting to see a theme?) This little number takes a whopping 3 minutes, and then has a chance to steep while you fry up a...

By Kim ODonnel | May 18, 2009; 7:20 AM ET | Comments (9)

Bourbon Cherry Lemonade? Heck Yeah!

I’ll make this snappy because the cocktail I’m about to share with you is so marvelous that I don’t want to keep you at your desk. In fact, I’d like you to walk away from your computer and start mixing RIGHT NOW (after all, it’s Friday). Seriously, if I could come up with a way to pour a batch of Donald Link's Bourbon cherry lemonade through your wireless router, I would, and you would all thank me very much and beg me for a refill, please Madame. Bourbon still life. (Kim O'Donnel) As a bourbon purist -- neat, with a waterback -- I’m a bit taken aback by my new-found love for a bourbon-y cocktail, but unlike an Old-Fashioned and even a Manhattan, this backyard party in a glass is spunky rather than syrupy, and dare I say it, refreshing. Link’s recipe calls for sweet cherry juice, which is not...

By Kim ODonnel | May 15, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Thursday Is Veggiedag in Ghent, Belgium

By the time you read this with your morning coffee, the plates will have been cleared at the first official Veggiedag (Meatless Day) in Ghent, Belgium. Poster from U.S. Food Administration's war conservation ad campaign. (Courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration) As reported by the BBC, mayor Tom Balthazar has officially declared Thursday meatless in his city of nearly a quarter million people. In an effort to make the connection between meat consumption and greenhouse gases (18 percent of which come from livestock production), Balthazar has asked his fellow civil servants to abstain from meat every Thursday; vegetarian meals will also be served in the city schools. Earlier this year, Germany’s federal environment czar publicly urged his fellow citizens to reduce meat consumption, but those words have yet to be translated into deeds, as they are in Ghent, which may be the first city in the world to implement...

By Kim ODonnel | May 14, 2009; 7:15 AM ET | Comments (9)

Three Cookbooks I'm Excited About

The UPS guy and I have become pretty good pals, and I owe it all to cookbook publishers. There’s hardly a day that goes by that I don’t receive a review copy of a new kitchen-appropriate title, an embarrassment of riches that requires constant upkeep. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it, even when a book doesn’t speak to me or goes promptly into the donation pile. Here are three titles that have passed the “looks good” test and have earned a time slot on the recipe-testing calendar at the Casa. (Courtesy Clarkson Potter Publishers) “Real Cajun” by Donald Link I’ll admit, New Orleans has a spiritual hold on me, so it didn’t take much to win me over with Donald Link’s book about the food of his native Acadiana, the heart of Cajun country. I was expecting all the classics -- etouffee, gumbo, jambalaya -- which are...

By Kim ODonnel | May 13, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Meet the Triticum Family, aka Wheat

As part of my recent pledge to become more intimate with whole grains, today is all about wheat, the second oldest grain in the world (*Psst – do you know what the oldest grain is? Answer at the bottom of this page.) Before we get started, I’d like to acknowledge that wheat contains gluten, and as such, is off limits for the 1 in 100-or-so Americans with celiac disease. You’ve got my word that the next installment in this series will feature a nonglutinous grain. Wheat goes waaaay back --- about 9,000 years. Triticum is its botanical genus name, encompassing 14 species of grass (both wild and domesticated) and more than 30,000 varieties worldwide. Next time you spread some peanut butter between two pieces of whole wheat bread, chew on the following: The story gets started with einkorn (triticum monococcum), the oldest cultivated form of wheat, domesticated around 7,000 BC....

By Kim ODonnel | May 12, 2009; 8:15 AM ET | Comments (4)

Meatless Monday: The Fresh Feeling of Favas

It’s about that time of year when fava beans (aka broad beans) make their debut in the produce aisle (or if you’re lucky, at the farmer’s market). If you’ve never had the pleasure (or only know them because of Hannibal Lechter), the fava bean (which acts more like a pea in its cushioned pod than a bean) is a glorious green treat worth trying. In the past, I’ve compared the prep work of a fava to that of the artichoke (another spring arrival), but I’ve decided that the fava is a piece o’ cake compared to the thorny armor of the ‘choke. Plus, underneath its suitcase padding, the fava packs a ton of nutrients. (Kim O'Donnel) In addition to high fiber and protein, the fava is chockfull of iron, manganese and folate, as well as L-dopa, a substance used for a variety of medical applications, from treatment of Parkinson’s...

By Kim ODonnel | May 11, 2009; 7:10 AM ET | Comments (5)

Go Postal Tomorrow and Donate Food

Here’s a no-brainer: While brewing coffee tomorrow (Saturday) morning, open the cabinets and take a look at what you’ve been meaning to eat down. Pull the stuff from the shelves and fill a shopping bag. Walk outside and place your bag of non-perishables by the front door or wherever your postal carrier drops off the mail. And that’s it -- you’ve done your good deed for the day. It’s all part of the 17th Annual Stamp Out Hunger Drive, hosted by The National Association of Letter Carriers and the US Postal Service. While delivering your mail tomorrow, those postal elves will also pick up your donations, which will be distributed to various food banks and pantries in your area. More than 73 million pounds of food were collected during last year’s food drive, and the elves are hoping to do even better this year, when the number of hungry Americans...

By Kim ODonnel | May 8, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

Breaking New Ground with Rhubarb Buckle

I’ve played with rhubarb (here and here), and I know my way with a buckle, but I gotta say, this is my first adventure marrying the two. (Kim O'Donnel) Rhubarb buckle. Those words certainly got my attention as I paged through a copy of “Rustic Fruit Desserts,” a new cookbook by Portland, Ore.’s Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. I’m so intrigued I can hardly stand it, and I’ve got five stalks of rhubarb from the farm market. And then I notice -- these baking bandits are stealing my heart -- they've added candied ginger to the batter -- bringing the flavor profile to all-time tantalizing high. Well, it wasn’t just in my head; this fruit vegetable-forward cake with a slighty crumby topping is possibly one of the most interesting desserts I’ve made in a long time. In every bite, I get a rhube-y tang that I can’t enough of. Go...

By Kim ODonnel | May 7, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (15)

Wanted: Your Candy-Coated Sweet Nothings

(Courtesy of NECCO) Valentine’s Day may be months away, but the folks at New England Confectionary Company (NECCO) are already planning ahead for next year’s Cupid fest. Probably best known for its retro wax-papered roll of pastel candy wafers, NECCO also manufactures Sweethearts, those candy conversation hearts that we’ve come to associate with February 14. In preparation for next year’s lineup of messages (there are a total of 80), NECCO is turning to the public for inspiration in the sweet nothings department. The company has set up a Web site, My Sweethearts, for online submission, until May 31. Eighty new messages will be chosen, 11 of which will win a candy-coated prize. Ten second-prize candy gift baskets (with NECCO treats, of course) are up for grabs, but the grand prize might be one of the quirkiest I’ve come across: A custom run of conversation hearts, printed with messages of...

By Kim ODonnel | May 6, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

A Toast to Sunday Supper

A friend of a friend here in Seattle is an Orthodox Jew, and as such, every Friday at sundown, he and his family observe Shabbat. For 24 hours, J. et al put work and outside-world obligations on hold and focus on rest, reflection and quality time with each other. That quality time includes a long, leisurely lunch, or what some might call supper. Here at the Casa, Saturday is typically filled with errands and completing to-do lists, hardly a day of rest. But Sunday, that’s when life comes to a temporary halt (at least that’s what I like to tell myself), a day dedicated to the crossword puzzle, contemplating the meaning of life over coffee… and supper. Depending on where you grew up, the words “dinner” and “supper” may mean different things; for Mister MA, who hails from Kentucky, dinner is served at lunchtime, and supper is a late-afternoon meal....

By Kim ODonnel | May 5, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (7)

Meatless Monday: Yummy Sweet Potato Tacos

Yes, yes, I know the calendar says it’s May, and you’re thinking, Why would I want to eat a sweet potato when it’s warm enough for tulips to bloom. Don’t worry yourself about such details, because this little number is the furthest thing from winter. And I dare ya, just like I did with Mister MA, to try this one on all the sweet potato naysayers in your midst. I’m telling you, I’ve got a gem right here, and you need not waste one more minute in dubious contemplation. (Kim O'Donnel) Here’s how easy it gets: Boil a large-ish sweet potato and mash it, and zing it up with some chopped garlic and the heat of a chile or cayenne. Whip up a little pepper-onion mix in the skillet, grate some cheese and assemble these little beauties. Dinner is ready in about 45 minutes, sooner if you’ve got a...

By Kim ODonnel | May 4, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

Delightfully Very Banana-y Cake

I’m up to my eyeballs in a freelance editing project that concerns a collection of menus from about two dozen restaurants here in Seattle. Of the many recipes I’d like to try on my own time, I dog-eared the page for Banana Cake with Savory Coconut Sauce, the signature dessert at Monsoon, a groovy, upscale-ish Vietnamese restaurant. (Kim O'Donnel) The words “cake” and “squishy” usually don’t go together in the same sentence, but I suppose what I mean is that “cake” is a loose interpretation of this heavenly sweet ending, which is more like custard or bread pudding. It’s all banana, front and center, with just enough flour (1/2 cup) to allow for some structure. Hmm. Maybe it’s a Vietnamese clafouti? Whatever you decide to call it, do give this one a whirl next time you’ve got a few bananas on the verge of no return. Its unique spin on...

By Kim ODonnel | May 1, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

 

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