All posts filed under: Featured

Tales of Woe – Those Sunbutter Cookies

FANTASTIC!!!!!!! AMAZING!!!!!!! STUPENDOUS!!!!!!!! 3 INGREDIENT SUNBUTTER COOKIES!!!!!!!!!! … the internetowebbyverse screamed at me as I searched for a peanut-free cookie recipe. All of the recipes.. and I mean ALL… were simply an even swap (Sunbutter for peanut) in a standard peanut cookie formula. I threw caution to the wind, and blindly followed their advice.. wildly inappropriate punctuation. Here’s the hitch… Peanuts and sunflower seeds aren’t the same thing. Peanuts work so well for nut butters because they are homogenized easily. Oil seeds (like sunflower) resist blending… they naturally separate and continue to separate even after incorporation into a dough. Is that a big deal? Certainly.  Butters that want to be oil will be inherently greasy… meaning, the Sunbutter cookies are going to be overly oily on the exterior as the oil migrates to the surface, while the interior becomes dry as a powder keg. And all that oil is going to turn to laquer, creating an odd plastic texture to your finished cookie. There’s also something green going on. Sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and the …

One from Column ‘A’ – Five Spice Caramel Pork

To be fair, I’ve never seen this on any Chinese take-out menu. I have only been able to get it in Bangkok…. or at my favorite Chinese fare haunt in the city. So, dont hate me there. In fact, if you are going to hate me at all – its because I’ve monkeyed around with the traditional recipe a goodly amount… I’m not using pork belly, Jane is deathly allergic to soy, neither of us like our head blown off with heat….. and (God forbid), I’m not using a wok, it’s a Dutch oven. Five spice pork is an old Cantonese recipe that has cousins and distant relatives across most of Asia. And, unlike most take-out oferings, is more of a stew rather than a quick wok fried dish (hence, the dutch oven.) It is smoky, spicy, slightly sweet and terribly flavor packed. Short of Char Sui, it is my absolute favorite way to enjoy pork. Alrighty then… on with the changes we’ve made. Chinese Five Spice Powder – If you wanted to go through …

Camera Obscura

About 37 years ago my dad and I went on a safari. No, we didn’t see lions…. or wildebeest… or even meerkat (although, truth be told, that would have been epic.)  Frankly, we didn’t even leave Marietta. It was a different kind of safari altogether. We were in search of the vanishing Cobb County. Even then, so very long ago, he knew what we had that made Marietta and the surrounding areas special was disappearing, vaporizing, and being ground into indisquinishable landfill fodder. He had the idea of capturing it all on cellulose,  preserved for all eternity in a little metal can. Now, driving all around town, snapping photos of every old building, house, and tree-lined street  we could find sounded like a laudable exercise. In fact, it sounded, well… fun. And, seeing that my father and I  really never did that much stuff together (just a wholly different set of interests going on) other than yard work… shop work… tree work…. repair work… ( see all those works there?) , I was game…. hell, …

Bread Whore ~ Perfect Caraway Rye

I’m really a simple guy in a lot of ways… it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy.  But perfection in the grand order of things is one of them. You don’t see it a lot; small perfections are elusive and fleeting. But if you slow down just enough to take it all in, you can catch all those bits that classify as Perfect. A perfect pair of shoes… the kind that feel magnificent as soon as you take them out of the box.  The ones, whether socks or commando – dirty or shower fresh, your feet are absolutely at home. A perfect day… Where first thing in the morning there is such a crispness to the air, you don’t know if you want to jump out of bed as not to miss a second… or snuggle deeper into the covers to make it last as long as possible. A perfect loaf of rye bread… Loaded with caraway seeds, it’s a delicate balance of softness, chewiness, structure and flavor. One that adds pedigree to …

Tales of Woe ~ Love, Hate, and Fake Soy Sauce

Shortly after Soy became an ugly four – letter word in our house (okay… 3, but it’s still a terrible thing), I was convinced I could produce a fake soy sauce that would mimic the properties, taste and joy of the luscious dark brown elixir. I’m here to tell you – I can’t…. And, neither can you. There is an army of crazy people out there that believes just because it looks like soy sauce… you can trick people into thinking it actually tastes like it. I fell into their trap; mixing balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, and instant coffee – – – Roasting mushrooms and steeping them in beef broth, or this attempt,  expressing the heavenly ( garbage )mixtures into soy-free nirvana – – – Fake soy sauce has become the culinary equivalent of the  alchemist transmutation of lead into gold… it can’t be done. However… that isn’t to say that  finding a suitable medium (like chickpeas, or lentils), then submitting them to rigorous fermenting, salting, and aging (like a traditional soy or tamari) can’t …

Tales of Woe ~ The one with the Cauliflower

Since in this month’s Raw Spice Bar shipment I got an extra packet of Memphis Rub Dry Mix, I didn’t want it to go to waste… so I put on the thinking spurs. Jane and I have both seen wondrous, spiced, roasted cauliflowers on various media outlets and really wanted to give one a try… this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Slather on your spice mix – roast for 30 to 45 minutes – be rewarded with amazing roasted cauliflower deliciousness. It sounds easy… right? It sounds too easy to be true… right? Okay.. like everything else that sounds too good to be true… so was the cauliflower recipe. Here’s the thing. Cauliflower is dense. 30 minutes… 50 minutes… 1 hour in an oven just isn’t going to heat deep enough through all that bulk to do anything more than softening up the outer lobes a bit… and heat the center….maybe. All in all – cooking time was 1 hour and 20 minutes at 375. I then turned off the oven and let the head rest in there …

All that Lemony Goodness ~ #10

The other day while Jane was doing a bit of research, she came across the little jewel of information that hazelnuts aren’t the same thing as other tree nuts. Meaning – supposedly, she should be able to eat them and not have to hop on the train to Crazytown. I bought a small (1 cup) pack of dry-roasted chopped nuts, gave her a teaspoon to eat… and waited…. Nada.. Encouraged..Elated…Excited… I decided to make her up a batch of Trisha Yearwood’s Pecan Pie Muffins (you know… using hazelnuts). Because you all know that with her particular food triggers, anything I can do to make her life suck a little less – I’m going to do. Well…. we were a bit premature in our assessment. Hazelnuts didn’t effect her cognitive functions, the problem was much further down the pike (if you get what I mean)…. I had to toss them out. So why am I talking nuts when this is about lemony goodness? Because lemon is my go to for her. She loves lemon almost as much as …

As Thick As Pea Soup

Our 3 year-old back up chest freezer gave up the ghost and died today. It’s an irritation. Not entirely because the thing stopped working… things happen. It is because A.) It wasn’t that old. and, B.) I have to replace it with another like kind of inexpensive machinery. and, C.) I have to go through all the stored bits and bags of veg, meat, stock bones, Parmesan rind, citrus zest, extra egg whites – and the like… and decide what I’m going to keep and what to trash. and then, D.) Do the same thing in the Main Freezer to make room for everything I can’t live without. I had 6 packages of frozen Green Peas in the freezer….. I don’t know why. Since I wasn’t going to throw them away… and I really needed that real estate in the working freezer for a large hen I bought on special (I wasn’t about to trash perfectly good protein, either), I figured it was time for some Spring Pea Soup When I was a kid, The Magic Pan …

On the road to Persia – with Raw Spice Bar©

To be all legit & legal  – We were offered a free sample of the Rawspicebar.com March Spice Blend to try out. Any insights, opinions, and general impressions are all our own. You all know I don’t dance for just any company out there. I have standards… and rules. So, for some company to approach me (even after reading my disclosure) and ask me to review their product… well, it’s a big thing in my book. Rawspicebar.com is a limited, small batch production spice outfit. For a nominal fee, they will ship a monthly selection of three to four unique spices and blends from a geographic area on the map. The monthly selections aren’t pre-listed on their site so it is always a mystery until the pack arrives.   Some months ago, I received a message to check out their website and get back to them if I would like a free sample of their spice blends. After some serious reviewing, I agreed  – and received their March Shipment which consisted of:  Saffron Threads Mast – O – Khiar Herbs …

No Buns for You

Historically speaking – since this isn’t even Good Friday, I really shouldn’t be making them at all. that is… if I were English… and lived in Elizabethan England, where they considered the buns were too special and sacred to be consumed any other time of the year… … and, if I cared a great deal about goofy superstitions (I don’t, by the way). And if you get right down to it – these really aren’t Hot Cross Buns, because the recipe isn’t traditional – the fruits are all wrong – and the bun isn’t dry like a powder keg. No, these are soft, lush, pillow-y, enriched brioche-style buns… with an “X” on top – and they’re delicious any time of the year. But – if you still feel hinkey about flapping in the face of superstitious traditions – then share one with a compadre, so that your friendship will grow stronger and you’ll both enjoy excellent luck throughout the year. . [amd-yrecipe-recipe:4]