Weekly Links 6.12.09

Melissa McCart on restaurant sourcing. [WaPo]

I’ve been taking note of cherry trees, peach trees and blueberry bushes on my walks around the ‘hood.  Someone even has squash that just so happens to grow onto the sidewalk.  Bring on the foraging! [NY Times]

I will be making a stop here while I’m in South Carolina next month [NY Times]

Recession “flexitarianism”: I have to admit, I usually eat meat when I’m out, but I don’t cook it a lot at home.  It’s just so much easier to thrown some peas and cheese in with pasta and call it a day.  [Gourmet]

Speaking of which, Kim O’Donnel loves peas as much as I do. [WaPo]

The Atlantic sez you must see Food Inc. [Atlantic Food]

I keep promising LT3 strawberry shortcake.  Maybe he’ll settle for dumplings instead? [Bitten Word]

The answer to all those hard to find groceries [Serious Eats]

Indeed, can you patent a chocolate bunny?  I should point out that this is Gina’s nickname for me.  [WSJ via Atlantic Food’s Twitter]

Non Food:

The American Prospect has a great series on women and work. [American Prospect]

Echidnas! [NY Times]


I am will be at the market on Saturday, as usual, but immediately after, I’m headed to NC to see my dog and my mom, eat a lot of lovely things, and see the Divine Ms. M.

a bit of navel-gazing

I have been feeling a little down lately. May was not the best month for me, and last week was unbelievably bad. It’s taken a lot of effort to keep up appearances, so much so that by midweek, I’m usually exhausted. I woke up to head down to the market on Saturday hoping for…something.

It worked. I love the lovely little community that has developed at the H Street market. Dan likes to try the new flavors of muffins and always shares. Fredi, the owner of the orchard where I work, always shares whatever she picks up from around the market, and quizzes me about what I’ve been cooking that week. I like seeing the regulars and playing with the dogs. It’s the perfect way to start a Saturday- it doesn’t even feel like work. And then there are the Amish kids at Garden Path Farms with their unbelievably addictive strawberry lemonade.

This weekend, I bought a LOT of peas from Richfield Farm and they needed shelling. Fredi sent me home with 2 quarts of extremely ripe strawberries (and potatoes, cabbage, and tomato sauce) that needed to be washed, capped, and sliced. I bought bread, cheese, asparagus and snow peas. Then I went to the market by my house and somehow ended up with parmesan rolls, a ficelle, and half a dozen black eyed susans.

So I spent most of Saturday afternoon slicing strawberries and shelling peas. I weeded a bit in the yard (not that you can tell), got eaten alive by mosquitos and planted flowers. I felt like my grandmother, but in a good way. It was meditative and exactly what I needed.

Sunday I woke up in a much better mood, and went down to Dupont to see emmzee at the Sunnyside farm stand. AND THEY HAD CHERRIES. I. Love. Cherries. I am not much of a fruit eater, but I will eat cherries until I am ill. Then I will wait a few hours. And then I will eat more.

Sunday afternoon rolled around, and it seemed like the perfect time to try ADM’s pizza pan for the grill.  I whipped up a batch of this crust, and headed over with some vegetables (and the cherries) to try it out

I think we needed more coals on the fire, but after a quick run under the broiler, it turned out well.  Here’s a close up:

And that pretty much concludes the weekend for me.  No more navel gazing, I promise.  Later this week, I’ll tell you about the wedding cookies from last night…

Weekly links 6.5.09

Newest Southern trend: retrofitting closed chain restaurants.  [Slashfood via Atlantic Food’s twitter]

The Atlantic Food Channel on one cubicle dweller’s quest for farm life.  I’ve been tossing this idea around.  [Atlantic Food]

The head of the Yale Sustainable Food Project weighs in on the above. [Atlantic Food]

This makes me long for a decent ham biscuit.  [NY Times]

I love unripe stone fruit.  Maybe I should move to Lebanon.  [Atlantic Food]

Yellow cabbage collards in North Carolina [NPR Morning Edition]

DCist reviews Eatonville.  I ate there last weekend, and it was far better than I expected.  The collards were delicious!  The over 50 guy who tried to hit on me at the upstairs bar while I was waiting for ADM, not so much. [DCist]

The Kitchn rounds up the best kitchen finds at Ikea. I think on my next run, I’ll have to pick up some spice jars, and VT swears by the grater.  [the Kitchn]

Foreign policy, Scooby Doo style [UN Dispatch via FP Passport]

If I owned this, I would never, ever, ever get out of it.  [Apartment Therapy: DC]

Why Nationals Stadium sucks.  I completely agree about Clint.  He is a bastard version of Ryan Seacrest, which is saying something.  [Deadspin]


That’s all for now folks.  Catch me at the Quaker Valley Orchards stall at H Street Market tomorrow morning.

a detour for Audrey


I’m going to take a small detour from food today.  I got “the call” yesterday on the bus on my way home.

My mother called to tell me I needed to come home  because it was time to put Audrey, our half Lab-half Great Dane “pound puppy”, to sleep. 

Audrey found us about 12 years ago.  My younger sister and I were staying with my aunt for a week in Hampton, VA.  My uncle returned home from work to find a strange dog sitting outside his car door when he pulled into the carport.  He called the house and my aunt, sister, and I ran to the door.  We begged him to let us bring the dog in, but he refused.  So we put food and water out for her (she had a beautiful coat, but was skin and bones).  The next day, she was caught by the local dogcatcher.  My mom arrived that day and my sister went into hysterics until my mom agreed that we could go get Audrey from the pound and adopt her.

We brought her home and in the first week, she ate a broom, my mother’s favorite purse and several pairs of shoes.  She dumped a giant peace lily out in the middle of the living room carpet so she could play with the plastic pot.  She stole socks.  She pulled gross things out of the trashcan.  She chewed off the handle on the rocking horse I’ve had forever.  She climbed on counters and ate cakes and chicken and bacon grease.  We nicknamed her Houdini- she squeezed through the back fence and ran into the neighbor’s yard to chase squirrels.  She dug a hole under the fence and through two bags of compost (put there to keep her in) and ran into the front yard to chase squirrels.  She blew out her knee and had to have reconstructive surgery after she climbed on top of the woodpile and jumped over the fence to chase squirrels.  She pulled one of my friends out of his chair and humped him repeatedly.  She harassed a flock of Canadian Geese in the park near my house until they chased her home.  Our scrawny pound puppy grew to be heavier than my sister and more strong-willed and intelligent that we could have imagined.

She also woke my mom up every morning so they could have their walk.  She would give her toys to my mom’s friend’s little girls and let them put their fingers in her eyes, ears, and nose and climb all over her.  When my aunt had her first daughter, M, they came for a visit.  With M’s first whimper or dirty diaper, Audrey would go find my aunt and harass her until she went to check on the baby.  When it got cold, she would curl up in front of the fireplace and grumble to my mother until she built a fire.  She was amazed at the snow (much like many North Carolinians). She slept in my bed every night I was home, even though as she got older, I had to help her get in and out of it.  She took naps with my sister, both of them asleep under the dining room table.  My other uncle had a Giant Schnauzer, Onyx, that my mom kept for a while.  When he developed bone cancer and my mother had to put him to sleep, Audrey moped for days.  She still drinks out of his water bowl.  When my sister and I graduated and left for school, she kept my mother company, even as debilitating arthritis set in, first in her back legs, then her front.  I know my mom can’t work too long, because she has to come home to take care of Audrey.  Their 4-mile morning walks have slowly dwindled to a block.  But Audrey still wakes my mom up every morning to go.  I’m not sure if Audrey gets up every morning for my mom, or my mom gets up for her.

She has led a charmed life.  We have completely spoiled her, she is lady of the manor.  She eats gross things (rabbit shit, rotten apples, dead possums) and rolls in gross things.  She turns her nose up at certain cheeses, and stands guard over the Thanksgiving turkey every year.  She likes nothing better than to fly through the muddy swamp in the back of the yard after the rain, then run into the house and shake all over everything.  She has charmed the entire office at our vet- everyone knows her by name.  My mom made one trip up here to see my grandparents without Audrey.  My grandfather was so upset that she never did it again.

For some people, a dog is just a pet.  We’re dog people in my family.  When the holidays roll around, we inevitably spend a few hours telling stories about the ridiculous dogs we’ve had over the years and the ridiculous things they’ve done.  Like Useless the poodle, who would crawl under then bed and drink from the glass of JD my grandfather always put there (so he wouldn’t step on it in the morning).  Or Shogun the doberman, who used to let the foxes eat his dog food.  Or Kelly the poodle, who would unwind toilet paper all over the house without breaking a sheet.  Or Bandit, the Jack Russell, my grandfather’s constant companion, who jumped out of a car window and peed all over the National Arboretum.  Or Audrey, who has an unhealthy obsession with the men in my family.

So with any luck, I’ll be headed home next weekend to say my goodbyes to Audrey.  I couldn’t have wished for a better dog.

fear of frying

I love deep fried food.  Love it.  Love the North Carolina State Fair, where you can get deep fried oreos (and twinkies and snickers) on a stick.  Love fried chicken.  Beignets.  Pickles. Whatever.  Bring it on.

I am terrified of deep frying.

Let me explain.  When I was about 5 years old, my dad set our house on fire (I refer to it as “the straw that broke the camel’s back in my parent’s marriage”).  He was irritated that my mom didn’t have dinner waiting when we got home and slammed around the kitchen, putting oil on for french fries.  He left the oil on too long and set fire to the kitchen and almost caught the roof of the house on fire as well.   My mom got to redecorate the kitchen, as it was basically gutted, and I got a nasty case of pyrophobia, and whatever fear of deep frying is.

I’ve gotten over the fear of fire, although I wouldn’t use matches until I was about 14 or 15.  But I still don’t like to deep fry.  Even though I DESPISE kitchen uni-taskers, I’ve often contemplated a deep fryer, simply to calm my anxiety.

I took the leap today.

I happened to have a lot of leftover risotto on hand.  After scanning several recipes, I decided to make arancini, mostly because it appeared I could pan fry them (not as scary).  After looking at the sides on my trusty cast iron skillet, I decided to put on my big girl panties and (wo)man up.  But we’ll get to that.


(loosely based on both this recipe from Food Junta and this one from Wine Bar Food)

2-3 cups leftover cooked risotto, preferably room temperature

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups panko

1/2-3/4 cup flour

cheese (traditionally mozzarella, I used some Keswick Creamery whole milk ricotta I already had in the fridge)

vegetable oil

breading setup

1. Set up your dipping stations.  In three bowls  dish out the flour, then eggs (beat both in the bowl), then panko.

2.  Take a heaping table spoon of risotto, flatten it and shape into bowl.  Add cheese to the bowl, and seal risotto over into a ball shape.  (Alternatively, make a ball, poke a hole in it for the cheese, insert and cover back over.)

4. Roll in flour, then egg, then panko.

I will stop here to talk about my frying method.  Not having a dutch oven (I know, the shame!), I used a 2-quart saucepan with enough oil to come a little more than halfway up the arancini- about 2 inches. As such, I had to turn them, but it depends on the size of the arancini and whether or not you have a fear of full on deep frying.  Baby steps people.


5. Heat the veg oil in a skillet/saucepan/dutch oven.  I defer to Food Junta’s post for temperatures.  I didn’t use a thermometer, and basically played it by ear.  At any rate, once the oil is hot, place the arancini in and fry until golden brown, flipping if necessary

6. Drain on a plate with a paper towel or cooling rack and eat immediately.


I had mine with some spicy tomato sauce (took some jarred tomato sauce from Quaker Valley Orchards and boiled it down until it thickened with red pepper flakes).  They are rather rich, and the recipe above makes about a dozen apricot sized balls.  I’m going to try freezing some of the already cooked ones and see how they turn out.

back again

Hello friends.

Been a while, no? I can’t say I have a valid excuse. I will say that twitter has made me incredibly lazy though. Why blog when you can brain dump in 140 characters or less?

I do have some exciting news though. With any luck, I will soon be writing for an online mens magazine on all things food and beverage related. Have no fear, though, I will not abandon you, at least not any more than I already have. More details to come…