July 5, 2017

Yep. It’s been about two weeks. I haven’t exactly been neglecting blog posts. I HAVE been cooking a few tasty things and snapping pix for later posterity, but the luxury (not to mention time) to be able to sit in front of the computer and compose something for pleasure has not presented itself. The frantic finishing of print orders, and then the boxing and packing of a place of business that could possibly appear on an episode of hoarders has left me disturbingly stressed, exhausted, and on occasion grimy beyond description.

I truly feel like I have equine sleeping sickness. The weird feeling of having no place of current employ has blanketed me with a general malaise, but seriously, this sleeping thing is beyond words. I feel like I am catching up on about 2 months worth of sleep. People have pointedly said, ‘Adriann, it is physiologically impossible to catch up on sleep.’ Well fuck you. If my body is telling me (or more accurately screaming at me) to lay my body down for some...

May 5, 2017

 Why does Cinco de Mayo make me want Mexican food? It’s not really a thing in Mexico, and sometimes it just feels like an excuse to eat nachos and drink Mexican beer and tequila in the US. Is that a bad thing? Maybe ‘excuse’ could be changed to ‘a reason to contemplate regional cuisine and celebrate’ makes it sound better. Rationalization? Justification? Hell, I just wish I could pull out all kinds of wacky global holidays to give me a reason to go nuts on ingredients and flavors ranging near and far. Hmmm…. That might be an idea that I need to begin incubating in the space between my ears (and I am always open to suggestions).

So. Mexican food.. Something a little more… What? Well, something different than tacos. Please don’t be offended tacos. I love you so very much, but you get oh so very much attention. Let’s try to come up with something different. Grilled mole marinated venison? Grilled romaine and corn? Yes, I do love to cook with fire.

Mole is an incredibly complex sau...

April 28, 2017

I love noodle soups. Ramen, curry, pho, mien ga, laksa… I could go on. Savory broths with chewy noodles and fun toppings - I could wax poetic, but I will spare you. Focusing on eating a bit healthier, and wanting to feel virtuous about what was in my bowl, I decided to make a pretty dashi to have with zucchini noodles.
 

I have read that a lot of people prefer an instant dashi soup base, but I think this is a little silly as it isn’t that hard to make. Into a large stock pot go lots of bonito flakes, kombu, some dried shiitake mushrooms, and water. I add some slices of ginger and a large onion to my stock as well and then just let it barely bubble for an hour or so and then strain it carefully. I then taste it and season with fish sauce if needed.

Most recipes I have encountered use a meager amount of bonito flake to make their broth. I like to use a LOT of bonito flake. I want depth to my broth, so several packages (4 or 5) of the fish flakes go into the pot. I like the smaller...

April 24, 2017

Chicken Cacciatore. Does this sound retro? Do you tilt your head to the side and wonder who makes that any more? Though when you think about it, a 70s versions that resemble some type of cat sick over rice doesn’t do much to make you say - ‘Hell yes, THAT is something I want to spend an hour (or more) cooking!’

It CAN be a good thing though. Cacciatore is really just an Italian hunter’s stew, so you can basically chuck some veggies and protein together and have something resembling the idea.

I cook it once or twice a year, and when I do, I wonder why I don’t cook it more often. I’m glad when I DO remember it - it’s a good one to have it in the back of my brain when I want something different. I made it this January during my detox/reset thing when I press my grey matter to come up with dishes that I haven’t pulled out in a long time. It’s chilly in January, so a stew of vegetables and chicken fit well into what normal cravings would be. Putting it over pureed cauliflower kept i...

April 24, 2017

I love pho. I really do. Broth that I can personalize into a bright, tart, deep, heat building wonder. Filling noodles, tons of herbs, and bean sprouts. Spoon in one hand and chopsticks in the other. Slurping until there is nothing left at the bottom of my bowl. Yep, it’s not just food, it’s an experience.

Making the broth at home, aside from being home made, also has the added advantage of perfuming the house (and further) for a few days. It takes time, but it’s not labor intensive. Bones, onions, garlic, spices. That’s kind of it. I will use whatever leftover bones that I tend to horde in the freezer - turkey, chicken, pork, beef - the more the merrier. I like to roast them in the oven to get some good dark color before tossing them in a big stock pot (that will fit in my oven) along with a couple of cut up onions, some garlic, and classic pho spices. Black pepper, black cardamom, ginger, Vietnamese cinnamon, cloves, star anise. You can try mixing your own loose spices in a bouq...

April 21, 2017

When I was little, I used to make a sandwich of sautéed chicken with mushrooms on an English muffin with cheese and grainy mustard. Damn tasty. This is a translation of that flavor profile.

During January when I do my detox and reset my brain in relation to how I think about the food I eat, getting creative is what (I think) keeps me from any horrific cravings. It’s actually fun to come up with dishes that fall under the criteria that I have outlined for myself and still make food that I would be happy eating any time of year. This year, since I had someone that was completely new to the detox thing, but was sweetly willing to give it a shot - well, I wanted to put a little more thought into it.

This chicken dish looks pretty, but it is extremely simple to make. Presentation has always been an important element in treating yourself well. Food that looks great tastes even better. Take five extra minutes for fuck’s sake and bring what your eating up to a higher level. Yes, I do s...

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