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The flat bread society

May 28, 2009

There are few things as profoundly satisfying as baking bread.  The only downside for me is the oven, which I sometimes just don’t want to crank to 500 degrees, hot weather or not.  The solution to this is flatbread, which gives you the same happy knead and rise, but can be accomplished on the stovetop–or [...]

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Prince of the apple towns

May 20, 2009

Apple season in Southern California always takes me by surprise.  In boarding school, we’d eat apples not in May but in the fall, from wooden crates that the faculty had set up outside (the school, in Ohio, was also a working farm with an apple orchard) for mid-class snacking, and later in the season we’d [...]

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The (metaphorical) cherry orchard

May 18, 2009

Look what I found this Saturday at the Santa Monica (Pico and Cloverfield) farmers market.  The stalls were loaded with cherries (I saw Brooks and Tartarian); it was like one giant marble festival.  We just ate them in the car, spitting the pits out of the window on the way home (yeah, yeah; it’s fun).  [...]

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Salmon curing in Japan

May 17, 2009

Cool fish, eh?  These are curing salmon, strung from a snowy porch in the coastal town of Murakami, in Niigata Prefecture, Japan.  Click here to find out more about the process: warning, it’s in Japanese.  Here’s how my sister, who has lived in Japan for close to 2o years and who took the pictures, translates:
Remove [...]

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3 ways of looking at vanilla sugar

May 15, 2009

Vanilla beans are pricey, but they’re well worth it. Especially if you consider what they are: the hand-pollinated, hand-picked, cured, dried and fermented fruit of an orchid.  One of the ways to get the most out of every Mexican, Tahitian or Bourbon-Madagascar bean is to save the pods–after you’ve scraped the seeds from them or [...]

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A trail of breadcrumbs

May 12, 2009

You can buy breadcrumbs at stores, which I find completely absurd given how many bits of baguette I always have at home–and the inherent lunacy of paying money for someone else’s stale crumbs.  Instead of buying the stuff (it tastes and looks like ground up cardboard anyway), simply save the ends of loaves or the [...]

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Turkish coffee & spice grinders

May 11, 2009

These utterly gorgeous contraptions are brass grinders, made for pepper or other spices, or for the grinding of Turkish coffee. They’re both from Turkey: the smaller of the two I bought at the spice bazaar in Istanbul a few years ago; the larger is from Turkish Coffee World, a fantastic online site that sells Turkish [...]

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Still life of gremolata on a counter top

April 26, 2009

Fishing around for something to make for dinner the other night, or more accurately for something to spice up dinner, I made a quick gremolata on the counter top.  Gremolata, the traditional garnish for osso bucco, is a simple fine chop of fresh parsley, lemon and garlic.  The beauty of it is that it’s stunningly [...]

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