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Aug 16, 2019

I Got The Knowledge (Leaving London)

Our trip home was relatively simple compared with our trip to London from Sers. It only involved two modes of transit: airplanes and automobiles. We decided not to take the Heathrow Express. The cost of buying four tickets was roughly the same as the cost of hiring a black car to Heathrow. So, we took a black car, complete with London cabbie, from the flat to the airport and then caught our flight to New York. In New York, after we cleared customs, we had to transfer between JFK and LaGuardia. In order to save money I bought tickets from Houston to New York and then from New York to Europe rather than connecting flights through the airlines (I saved over $1,000 this way). We took a New York taxi and then flew home to Houston. Once there we hired a car service via an app and made it home around midnight. We were greeted by a happy cat (or at least loudly purring cat who couldn’t keep off of us if I refrain from anthropomorphizing him).

My blog posts about London are:

London Restaurants
Markéta Luskačová
Many Happy Future Shocks to You
The Last Bottle in the Country
The Cat Owned the Flat
Reflecting on the Mass Shootings in Dayton, El Paso, Gilroy, and Southhaven from London

Since this is my last post on London, I want to close by praising London cabbies. In London, taxi driving is highly regulated. It is a solid middle income job and getting a job as a taxi driver requires passing a special test, called The Knowledge, and waiting for a few years for an opening (in order to get a job driving from one of the airports you have to be able to speak at least two languages as well). The Knowledge is nothing more than understanding how to navigate through London’s notoriously mazing streets. Cabbies pride themselves in having The Knowledge. And its benefits, even in the age of GPS, sometimes show themselves. On our way to the airport the GPS wanted us to go the wrong way down a one-way street--the street had been converted into being one way for the day. The driver ignored the GPS recommendation and got us to the airport 15 minutes before the GPS on my phone said we supposed to get there, all the while obeying the speed limit. It was an impressive, if minor, victory of man over machine. I am sure that at some point in the near future apps like Waze will outperform The Knowlege. But that moment has not yet come. When I commented on our arrival time to the airport the driver, as if on cue, told me, “It’s ‘cause I got The Knowledge, sir.”

CommentsCategories Food News Tags London Sers Heathrow Travel New York JFK LaGuardia Taxi Drivers The Knowlege Markéta Luskačová Scotch Dayton El Paso Gilroy Southhaven Gun Violence

Aug 15, 2019

London Restaurants

Like Paris, London is one of the great food cities of the world. On this trip, we ate at two of the city’s most iconic restaurants—St. John and Ottolenghi. We had a number of pub meals, some memorable and some easily forgettable, and fantastic pizza. We also ate mediocre noodles at Menya Ramen House (my son argued, and I agree with him, that the Sunday afternoon ramen—with homemade noodles and broth—served out of paper cups at Ebisuya in Medford is significantly better) and had some innovative dim sum at a place called BaoziInn.

Ottolenghi

My parents made reservations three months in advance so we could have dinner at the eponymous restaurant of Yotam Ottolenghi—author of numerous popular cookbooks that form a staple in our houses. The thing that surprised me most about Ottolenghi was its modest price. Unlike the two high end restaurants we ate in France, Ottolenghi is quite affordable—plenty of the items on the menu cost less than 15 pounds. In truth, it’s the wine that really costs. If you’re in London, on a budget, and want to eat there, two people could probably have a world class meal without drinks for under 60 pounds (maybe even under 50).

The menu is divided into two sections. There are a bunch of pre-made dishes—essentially tapas—that they have in the window for passersby to see. These are all cold and all delicious. The most memorable was a grilled gem lettuce salad (grilled lettuce being something that I very much like and rarely find on the menu anywhere).

The other part of the menu is the larger hot dishes that come from the kitchen. We got a whole sole to share amongst the three adults, for reasons that are unclear to me neither of my children like seafood, while my son had pork chops (which he split with my father). We had a couple of other hot dishes, the mackerel being most memorable, and finished with some great desserts (the British usually call them puddings) which were flavorful and not too sweet.

St. John

We had dinner with Marketa Luskacova our last night in London at St. John Bread and Wine in Spitalfields. Years ago, it was almost impossible to get into. These days it is still quite popular, but St. John Bread and Wine was able to accommodate a party of five with a few days’ notice. Like Ottolenghi, it is surprisingly affordable. The total cost of meal for five, with drinks, was about the same cost as a meal at a fairly good mid-priced place in Houston. The food, however, was in a different class.

St. John is credited with launching a Renaissance in British cooking. When it opened it did something completely different—it offered a well executed return to classic British cooking. Not pub food, or the high-end stuff that, at the time, was basically trying to imitate French or Italian, but the food that the British made for themselves from local ingredients prior to the wars.

It advocated something they called nose to tail cooking—making use of every part of the animal—which I appreciated in the 1990s and still appreciate today (I didn't partake in it then (as I was, at the time, a vegetarian) or now (currently being a pescatarian)). St. John also returned to vegetables that had been forgotten or where rarely used—samphire being one—perfected the Welsh Rarebit, and just generally celebrated local food.

I love St. John because despite all of this it is the opposite of pretentious. The tables are refurbished wood and the chairs exhibit a utilitarian happenstance like beauty rather than an intentional elegance. What’s more, it is quite possible to eat there for the same price as a meal of fish and chips. Their Welsh Rarebit is something like a seven pounds. That, a green salad to accompany it, and a glass to wash it down won’t set you back more than fifteen pounds.

Smokehouse Islington

We ate here our first afternoon in London. It is located right up the street from the flat we rented for the week. Overall the meal was quite nice—the best bit probably being their homemade kimchi—but the part we enjoyed most was the sticky toffee pudding. Sticky toffee pudding is a classic British dessert and sometimes can be a bit cloying. This version was just about perfect, spicy and deep with a sweet, but not overwhelming, toffee.

Santore

Over the years, I have become something of a pizza connoisseur. As a single parent, I have often had to take my son along with me on preaching and speaking gigs. Part of the deal is that whenever he accompanies, we try the local pizza place that is reputed to be the best. I have lost track of the number of pizza places we’ve eaten at together but it’s easily over fifty.

Our consensus is that the best pizza we’ve had is from Santarpio’s in Boston. It is one of the oldest pizza places in the United States. I took my son there for all of his birthdays between the ages of six and ten and we made sure to eat there when we were in Boston for my first Minns lecture.

Santore is second on the list (I would actually put it first, but I doubt my son would forgive me). Located in the Exmouth Market, they make pizza by the meter. The sauce is amazing (fined ground tomato without too much garlic), the cheese excellent, and the presentation, well the presentation is something else.

Baozilnn

We had dim sum for lunch our last day in London before going to go see Hamilton. We wanted someplace near Hamleys, where my son and I spent the morning, from which we could to travel the theater easily afterwards. BaoziInn specializes in colorful dim sum, basically dumplings cooked in dough that’s been naturally colored with beet or spinach juice. Overall, it was among the better dim sum I have had (the salt and pepper squid was exceptional). My son really liked their soup dumplings and there was a cloud ear fungus dish that was something else.

Of the five restaurants I have mentioned, I would definitely go back to Ottolenghi, St. John and Santore. BaoziInn and Smokehouse were both good, but I would only go to them again if they happened to be convenient. The dim sum at BaoziInn is a fun experience but in truth its not as good as Windsor Dim Sum Cafe in Boston, where my family went regularly when we lived there. And Smokehouse is basically a less interesting, and less well executed, version of St. John.

 

 

CommentsCategories Food News Tags Ottolenghi London St. John Menya Ramen House Ebisuya Medford BaoziInn Tapas Spitalfields Market Marketa Luskacova Samphire Welsh Rarebit Smokehouse Islington Santore Pizza Boston Santarpio's Minns Lectures Exmouth Market Hamilton Hamleys Sticky Toffee Pudding Houston Windsor Dim Sum Cafe

Aug 6, 2019

The Last Bottle in the Country

I have a great number of memories associated with whiskey, particularly scotch whiskey. My father became a scotch aficionado through the efforts of his late friend the Scottish photographer Murray Johnston. When I was nine or ten years old the two of them took me out one night to pub in Edinburgh that specialized in scotch. I remember staring up at the rows upon rows of hundreds of different kinds of scotchs as the two of them rambled on about photography. I have no idea why I was with them or what I did while they talked. I suspect that they were watching me while Murray’s wife Kate and my mother caught up.

Whatever the case, scotch has always been a deeply gendered drink in my family. My ex-wife hates it and my mother typically only tastes it. During my parents’ dinner parties there usually comes a point in the evening when the gathering divides along gendered lines—the men assemble to drink whiskey and the women, well, I am not actually certain what the women drink, port or armagnac or calvados or something.

Over the decades, Cadenhead’s scotch has been the second most special digestif served at these parties (the prize of most special belonged to a case of pre-Prohibition rye whiskey, now sadly gone, that someone found boarded up in the basement of a New York apartment building). Cadenhead’s is an independent bottler. They basically go around Scotland and buy casks of scotch which they then age further and bottle themselves.

Cadenhead’s has a storefront in Edinburgh. We go to it whenever we are there. They used to let you taste whiskey straight out of the cask, which was an amazing, if somewhat intoxicating experience. My father arranged for a whiskey tasting for me there the summer I turned 21. And last time I was in Scotland with him we went, and they bottled the scotch straight from the cask for us.

Scotland isn’t on the itinerary for this summer’s trip. Fortunately, Cadenhead’s has a London store. My father and I went while my mother and son slept in. Cadenhead’s London location is near the Baker St. station with its Sherlock Holmes statue. It’s on a street of very tony shops—something like the Marais in Paris but with significantly less grit.

The shop consists of three rooms—two rooms displaying wares and a third for storage. Unfortunately, they don’t sell scotch from the cask anymore. Apparently, the same government that is devoted to Brexit is also devoted to heavily regulating the whiskey business. They made it illegal for Cadenhead’s to bottle in the store and so they can’t offer tastes from the cask anymore.

They still give tastes and guidance. They also offer political commentary. One of the staff members referred to the current administration in the United States as the Fourth Reich and complained bitterly about Brexit and Boris Johnson. He told me that US trade policies have resulted in the cost American whiskey skyrocketing. And he showed me a bottle of 8-year-old Wild Turkey that he had on sale for 85 pounds, not because it was any good but because distributors can’t sell it in the UK anymore.

I love peaty scotches—my ex-wife described the scotch I like as tasting like dirt—and his colleague helped me select some. I bought three bottles: a bottle of the Islay that Cadenhead’s distilled themselves, a bottle of Old Ballantruan, and a bottle of 14-year Benrinnes that Cadenhead’s bottled themselves. The last bottle came from a cask of 264 bottles. It was final bottle they had for sale and they assured me it was good. So, I bought it, the last bottle 14-year Benrinne in the country. I am not claiming it super special, but it has a nice story behind it and, because it is Cadenhead’s, I know it will be good quality. I hope, though, when I serve it at a dinner party people won’t decide to self-segregate along gender lines. I suppose if they do, I have some nice cognac.

CommentsCategories Food News Tags Scotch Murray Johnston Kate Johnston Gender Cadenhead's Edinburgh London Marais Paris Brexit Boris Johnson Donald Trump Old Ballantruan Benrinnes Islay

Aug 3, 2019

Leaving France

Our trip from Sers to London involved almost every available mode of transit. Our friends drove us to the train station and we took the train to Bordeaux. We took a bus from the Bordeaux train station to the airport and then flew across the channel. Once we landed in Gatwick we caught a very expensive taxi into the center of London (the train from Gatwick to London is also expensive, it was actually the same cost either way and travelling with my parents it made sense to take the cab). And, then, of course, we walked from the taxi to our hotel. We’re staying at the hotel for one night before moving to a flat we rented for the week.

Here’s the posts I made while we were in Sers:

Paris Restaurants (and one from Angouleme)
Sers
Château de La Rochefoucauld
Angoulême

Here are links to the posts I wrote about Arles and Paris. The posts from our first couple of days in Europe are available here and here.

CommentsCategories Food News Tags France Paris Sers Angoulême Château de La Rochefoucauld Gatwick London Mass Transit

Jul 29, 2019

Sers

This week we are staying at our friends’ country house in Sers, a small village outside of the southwestern city of Angoulême. It’s a very relaxing week. I am catching up on some reading—I’ve read two books by James Baldwin, a bit of John Rawls’s “On Justice,” and some elementary school readers in French—and my sleep. There’s not a lot to do other than walk and explore the countryside. Yesterday my son and I took a walk through the village and came across the town’s church (built in the 11th century, remodeled sometime between the 12th and 15th, and then remodeled again in the 19th), its cemetery, a field full of sunflowers and a sign pointing to a 5th century monastery, which I hope to explore before we leave.

We also went to the market in Angoulême where Nicole and my mother planned a menu for the next few days. Lunch and dinner were both heavy on shellfish—oysters and langoustines—served with a simple salad or radishes and local white wine.

About the only other things we’ve done since we’ve been here is eat at La Cigogne and visit a cognac distillery. It’s called Les Frères Moine. The owner was kind enough to give us a tour. It is a small distillery where they make their own cognac barrels and host art exhibitions and gatherings. I bought some cognac and a bottle of pineau, a local aperitif that’s a mixture of cognac and wine. It is quite good which is kind of unfortunate since it is difficult to find back in the States.

CommentsCategories Food News Tags France Sers Cognac John Rawls James Baldwin Angoulême Les Frères Moine Pineau des Charentes

Paris Restaurants (and one from Angouleme)

No discussion of Paris would be complete without at least a gesture towards the city’s restaurants. In past years, when I’ve been in Paris, we’ve cooked a lot in the apartment we’ve rented. This year the apartment we had was quite small and the heatwave was debilitating. As a result, we didn’t host any dinner parties or make excursions to the Bastille Market. Instead, we either ate sandwiches and pastries from the local boulangeries (bakeries) or went out to eat. Here are some a few of my favorite meals:

Yam’Tcha

My parents took my son and I and their friends Gilles and Nicole to this Michelin Star restaurant that has been getting a lot of press internationally. The chef specializes in a fusion of French and Chinese and doesn’t cook from recipes. She goes to the market and is inspired each day from what she find’s there. The most interesting part of the meal was the tea and wine pairings that went with each course. We had what was billed as a three-course meal but actually turned out to be six courses. There were two amuse bouches—Chinese waffles and three small dishes of crab, sea snails, and egg rolls—followed by a salad of heirloom tomatoes, cockles, and mussels, a main course of sea bass cooked with tea, and then a dessert of fruit and sorbet finished by a palette cleansing coconut marshmallow and a coconut sorbet.

Alongside each course was either a delightful tea—white, oolong, or green—or a wine. I’ve never had food specifically paired with tea before. It works almost as well as pairing it with wine. It’s something I plan to experiment with at home.

Lao Siam and Krung Thep Mahanakorn

The British photographer Nigel Dickinson has been close friends with my parents for something like two decades. He has a fabulous studio in Paris’s Belleville neighborhood. Belleville is a very diverse community. It is one of those places where you can find Sephardic and Tunisian Jews living alongside Muslims from Algeria and Morocco. It is also the home to a sizable Laotian and Thai community.

We had a dinner with Nigel twice. Both times he took us to Laotian or Thai restaurants near his home. The food was far better than any Thai food I’ve had in the United States. It was also quite a bit different. Most Thai places I know serve variations on perhaps a dozen kinds of curries. These places served a huge variety. We had fish mashed and then steamed in a banana leaf while cooked in a coconut milk curry, a red tofu curry that didn’t even vaguely resemble the red curry I get in America, a delicious raw papaya salad, and half a dozen other dishes. Unlike Yam’Tcha, Lao Siam and Krung Thep Mahanakorn were both quite affordable. Two people could eat there for well under forty euros a piece. 

Oyster Club

Oyster Club is a classic Breton seafood place in the Marais. We had their mixed seafood plates and oysters. The mixed seafood plates came with winkles, whelks, more oysters, pink shrimp, and grey shrimp. This last item was to be eaten whole—shell and all.

The restaurant itself is on a small side street and sort of spills out into the street. It’s a lively evening scene and the food is excellent—though the menu is limited to seafood. It is certainly a place I will go back to next time I am in the Marais.

Au Bouquet Saint Paul and Chez Mademoiselle

Au Bouquet Saint Paul and Chez Mademoiselle are two excellent bistros near Rue Saint Antoine in the Marais. Au Bouquet Saint Paul had an inexpensive fixed price lunch—14.50 euro for either an entree and a dessert or an entree and an appetizer—that consisted of classic French bistro food. We ate there twice. The sea bass and gazpacho soup were both great and my son loved the cream brûlée. They also served Berthillon ice cream, which an experience in itself.

Chez Mademoiselle is a bit pricier. It also has a bit more of a scene. It is located in the front of the building where we rented our apartment. I went there a few times—once for dinner and twice for drinks. One night while I was sipping on a glass of rose the bar erupted into a spontaneous dance party. 

La Cigogne (Angouleme)

We ate at La Cigogne for lunch our first full day in Sers. It is a Michelin Plate restaurant. While this is the lowest designation that Michelin can give a restaurant, it doesn’t mean the food is bad. On the contrary, it means it is quite good. It just isn’t good enough to earn a Michelin Star or a Michelin Bib Gourmand. 

I suspect that La Cigogne earned its Michelin ranking because its food is excellent but not necessarily innovative. Yam’Tcha pushes culinary boundaries. La Cigogne delivers fantastic and classic French food. I would happily eat at either again (provided  someone else is picking up the tab) but Yam’Tcha undoubtedly provided the meal that my parents and their friends will be talking about for years to come.

CommentsCategories Food News Tags Yam’Tcha Paris Marais Angouleme Gilles Perrin Nicole Ewenczyk Lao Siam Thai Food Krung Thep Mahanakorn Nigil Dickinson Belleville Photography Oyster Club Au Bouquet Saint Paul Chez Mademoiselle La Cigogne Michelin Guide

Jul 27, 2019

Leaving Paris

We left Paris for a week in Sers, a small village outside of the southwestern city of Angoulême. We will staying with our friend Gilles Perrin and Nicole Ewenczyk. They just finished building a country house and studio there. It is so newly constructed that all of the furniture is yet to arrive. Everyone gets their own bedroom but I get to sleep on the floor.

Here’s the list of my blog posts in Paris:

It is the Job of the Far Left to Organize the Margins
The Failure of French Socialism and Future Tasks for the Left
Rue de Turenne (or some thoughts on champagne socialism)
Versailles
Walking Paris
The New French Right: a Conversation with Pascale Tournier
Canicule (Heatwave)

I will be writing a long post about food in Paris over the next couple of days while we’re in Sers. No trip there is complete without a meditation of the city’s cuisine.

CommentsCategories Anarchism Climate Change Food News Tags Paris Sers Angoulême France Gilles Perrin Nicole Ewenczyk Anarchism Organizing Climate Change Rue de Turenne Fashion Socialism Conservatism Versailles Pascale Tournier

Jul 31, 2017

Cinnabar Chanterelles and Sour Cream with Fried Potatoes

Yesterday I had friends over to make Czech fruit dumplings. When I make dumplings I usually proceed the dumpling course with a course of salads. In this instance, I made a raw beet salad, a grated carrot salad, and a dish of cinnabar chanterelles and sour cream with fried potatoes. I am fortunate that there’s a nice patch of cinnabars growing a few blocks from my house. I have been able to forage meals from it on three occasions over the last month. I adopted a recipe from the New York Times for the meal:

Cinnabar Chanterelles and Sour Cream with Fried Potatoes

1 lbs cinnabar chanterelles
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lbs small potatoes
1 cup finely chopped onions
3 tablespoons sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1

Clean the mushrooms. Take three medium bowls. Place the foraged mushrooms in one bowl and fill the second with water. Working one at a time, quickly place a mushroom in the water and shake it to knock loose any debris. Then put the mushroom on a cutting board and, using a small paring knife, cut or scrape away any remaining debris. Place the cleaned mushrooms in the third bowl.

Step 2

Place the potatoes in a small saucepan of salted water. Bring to a boil and then cook until they are just about fork tender. Remove from heat, drain, and then cut into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the potatoes. Ideally the potato pieces should be bite-sized.

Step 3

Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in an iron skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes and fry until golden brown, about 10 minutes. When the potatoes are ready, remove them from the heat and place in a small bowl.

Step 4

Return the skillet to the stove, add the butter, and melt the butter over medium heat. After the butter has melted, add the onions and cook until they are translucent.

Step 5

Add the mushrooms to the onions and continue cooking until all of the liquid has evaporated. Cinnabar chanterelles give off a lot of water so don’t be surprised if the mushroom and onion mix initially has a soupy consistency.

Step 6

Once the liquid has evaporated, stir in the potatoes and cook for another minute or so. Then add the sour cream and cook for an additional two minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Note: If you want to make this recipe with yellow chanterelles (the kind you can sometimes buy in the grocery store) increase the butter to 2 tablespoons. They are a lot less watery and, consequently, do well with a bit more fat from the butter.

CommentsCategories Food Tags Cinnabar Chanterelles Recipe Fruit Dumplings Foraging

Aug 21, 2014

Marketa's Czech Fruit Dumplings

Several years ago the photographer, and close family friend, Marketa Luskacova taught me how to make Czech fruit dumplings. I try to make the dumplings most summers, just as I make pierogis most winters, and this week we're having a dumpling party for friends. The recipe is so great that I thought I would share. 

Marketa's Czech Fruit Dumplings

Makes about 16 dumplings, depending on the size of the fruit used

Mix:

1 cup rough ground white wheat flour or refined flour mixed with semolina
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 egg
pinch of salt

Let the dough rest for at least one hour.

Then, a piece at a time, pinch off an inch diameter ball of dough, flatten and wrap around the fruit. The dough should be very thin around the fruit. If you are using apricots, plums or cherries keep the stones (pits) in the fruit (other popular fruits are strawberries or apples cut into quarters)*. As you form the dumplings make sure your hands and the dough are both well covered in flour. Otherwise the dumplings will stick.

Immediately before serving boil the dumplings for about six minutes. Apricot and plum dumplings require slightly longer to cook. The dumplings will be ready when they float and the water returns to a boil.

Serve with melted butter, sugar, ground poppy seeds, bread crumbs, dry farmers cheese and sour cream.

*An alternative version requires pitting the fruit before forming the dumplings. When this is done a sugar cube is put in the place of the pit. Cherry dumplings are made three cherries to a dumpling.

CommentsCategories Food Tags Summer Marketa Luskacova

Jul 3, 2013

Kathy's Wild Black Raspberry Sauce

When I was a kid my mother used to make this amazing raspberry sauce. We would eat it on fresh and home canned peaches, ice cream and yogurt. In the last few days I have found an abundance of wild black raspberries growing near where I live. Yesterday I called Mom up and asked her for her recipe.

Kathy’s Wild Black Raspberry Sauce

3 cups wild black raspberries
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar depending on the tartness of the berries
juice of 1 lemon

1. Wash the berries and and mix with the sugar in a moderate sized mixing bowl.
2. Place about half of the berries in a sieve. Holding the sieve over a clean mixing bowl press the berries through it. The sauce should start to come out in globs. Continue pressing the berries until all of the juice is gone and you are only left with seeds and pulp. Repeat with the second half of the berries.
3. Mix in the lemon juice.

The sauce freezes well so you have a wonderful blast of summer in the depth of winter. This recipe makes about 1 cup. I reserve the remaining seeds and pulp and then soak in some cheap rum to make a cordial. You have to, of course, filter the rum before you drink it.

CommentsCategories Food

Jun 28, 2013

Porcini Mushroom Risotto

In Barcelona’s Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria Sara and I were lucky enough to find cheap and plentiful dried porcini powder. I bought a bunch. Last night we had friends over for dinner and I made what might be the best mushroom risotto ever. Here’s the recipe:

2 T butter
3 cloves garlic finely minced
1 shallot finely minced
1 T porcini powder
1 oz dried porcini
1/2 lbs king trumpet mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups arborio rice
5 cups vegetable stock
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Place the dried porcini in a bowl and cover with about 1 cup boiling water. Let sit 30 minutes. Remove the porcini from the water and chop. Reserve the water.
2. Add the mushroom water to the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil in a medium sized sauce pan.
3. Melt the butter in a 3 or 4 quart french oven or similarly sized pan. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant.
4. Add the trumpet mushrooms and sauté until soft.
5. Add the wine and porcini powder. Cook until thickened.
6. Stir in the rice and cook until translucent and well coated with the powder, garlic, shallot and butter mixture. This should take no more than 2 or 3 minutes. Do not let the rice brown.
7. Stir in the stock mushroom water mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Make sure the liquid is completely absorbed before adding more. Make certain to scrap the bottom of the pan so that the rice doesn’t stick.
8. Stir the porcini when half the liquid has been used.
9. When you have only a cup of liquid left stir in the cheese and then the balance of the liquid.
10. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

CommentsCategories Food

Mar 30, 2013

Mom's Haroset Recipe

In honor of Passover, and because we're going to a Seder tonight, I thought I would post my mother's recipe for haroset. 

Haroset

Makes 3 cups

2 large, crisp apples, cored and partly peeled
½ cup raisins
¼ cup almonds
½ teaspoon each ground ginger and cinnamon
4 to six or more tablespoons sweet red kosher wine

1. Coarsely chop raisins and almonds to desired consistency, do not over chop. Use food processor
2. Coarsely chop apples
3. Mix together with other ingredients and refrigerate 4 hours for flavors to blend

CommentsCategories Food

Feb 25, 2013

Some Sides for Pierogis

In case you're curious, this beet salad and this cucumber salad both go well with my perogis. 

CommentsCategories Food

Feb 24, 2013

Anarchist Vegan Pierogis

Well, it's that time of year again, time for my vegan anarchist perigois. They're vegan because, well, they're dairy and egg free, and they're anarchist because, well, I'm the one who makes them.

Anarchist Pierogi (Vegan)
adapted from Saveur issue 37

Dough

1 egg worth egg replacer
3 tbsp melted vegan margarine
2 tsp salt
5 1/2 cups flour

Filling

4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
10 tbsp melted vegan margarine
2 heads garlic, diced
1 onion, chopped
8 ozs mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup sauerkraut
salt and pepper to taste

1. For the dough: Put egg replacer, vegan margarine, salt, and 2 cups warm water in bowl and mix until combined with either an electric mixer or a wooden spoon. Gradually add flour, continuing to beat. Keep beating until a soft, elastic dough forms. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead to form a smooth ball. Cover dough with a damp cloth and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

2. For the filling: Put potatoes in a medium pot of cold salted water, bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until tender, 20-30 minutes. Drain, then return potatoes to pot. Add 5 tbsp vegan margarine and mash potatoes with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Season to taste with salt.

Meanwhile sauté two thirds the garlic 4 tbsp of margarine when it becomes translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are soft and then add salt and pepper to taste.

Concurrently sauté the remaining garlic and the onion in the remaining margarine until the onion and garlic and soft and a little golden.

Divide the potatoes into three equal portions and mix the sautéed mushrooms into one portion, the onions and garlic into the second and the sauerkraut into the third.

3. Divide dough into 2 balls. Roll out 1 dough ball about 1/8" thick on a floured surface, then cut out 3" circles. Spoon 1 heaping tsp. of filling into center of each circle, then fold in half to form a semi-circle. Pinch edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. (Freeze pierogi, if you like, and cook later without thawing).

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pierogi in batches, until dough is tender, about 5 minutes. Lift pierogi from boiling water with a slotted spoon and drain well. Serve hot with melted butter or sour cream.

CommentsCategories Food

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