My Olympic Peninsula Adventure

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Please unfurl your map of the United States. Now place your finger in the center and drag it to the most northwestern corner of the continental U.S. If you are doing this correctly, your finger is in Washington State. And your finger should be very happy because up there on the northwestern most corner it is in one of the most beautiful locations a finger can experience in the natural world: the Olympic Peninsula, the crown jewel of Washington state. This is where I just returned from after two days of roughing it: and through the magic of my digital camera, iPhoto, Flickr and Typepad, I can now take you there with me. Your finger can come too.

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Campfire Cooking

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The tents are in the car, the sleeping bags are rolled and ready, and tomorrow we leave bright and early to go camping on the beach. Last night I asked Craig if we could build a campfire and he said “Sure” and I said, “Maybe I can cook on it?” And he said, “Nothing too elaborate.” That’s where you come in, readers: besides hot dogs and s’mores, what are some easy things we can cook on a campfire? The cheaper and easier the better. Maybe I’ll live-blog it as I cook–the wilderness has wireless, doesn’t it?

Off To Seattle

I’m headed out to Seattle–my flight leaves at 6:50 am!–and I’ll be there for the next two weeks to join Craig as he embarks on his directorial debut. His film–an independent feature–is called True Adolescents and you can read all about it on The True Adolescents page or on MySpace. We may be location scouting the next few days–Craig said something about hiking and camping on the beach (will that involve physical exertion on my part?)–but expect a post sometime in the middle of the week. Off to the airport I go!

Spring To Summer Salad

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Summer is here, and yet spring is still finishing it’s run at the farmer’s market. Featured in the bowl above you will see my favorite springtime vegetable: sugar snap peas. I bought a whole bunch Saturday at Union Square and created my new signature Spring To Summer Salad. To make the salad, I just stringed the snap peas (you pull the little tail across the pea until the string is gone), boiled some beets (I know chefs love to roast them, but I like boiling better and think the result is just the same–you drop in boiling water (with some vinegar and salt) and then, when you can get a knife through the beet, it’s done), peeled some carrots, sliced some radishes and then hard boiled those eggs. To get your eggs pretty like mine, just place the eggs at the bottom of a saucepan, cover with cold water, put on the heat, when it comes just to the boil, put the lid on, turn the heat off and wait 15 minutes. Then drop the eggs in ice water, peel under a faucet, and wha-la: pretty eggs. I tossed all those vegetables with really good olive oil, some balsamic vinegar (and a splash of red when I ran out of balsamic), salt, pepper and it was quite a feast. But to gild the lily, I placed a giant wedge of Cato Farm’s blue cheese on top and served with some olive bread. And that’s what I call a Spring to Summer Salad.

Elise’s Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

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Isn’t the internet great? On that same trip to the farmer’s market (see Green Garlic Soup) I bought a bunch of rhubarb and a carton of strawberries. After having that soup for dinner, I wanted to make a strawberry rhubarb cobbler, only I didn’t have a recipe. Enter the internet. I Googled “Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler” and what was the fourth result? My friend Elise’s recipe. And guess what? As you can see by the picture above, it’s a pretty fantastic recipe. You can read the recipe here. The only substitution I made was, because I didn’t have any tapioca (and it was too late to go get some), I just used an equal amount of corn starch. That worked fine. Hot out of the oven and topped with a scoop of David Lebovitz’s vanilla bean ice cream (which I had in the fridge), springtime desserts don’t get much better. But you better act fast: strawberry and rhubarb season’s almost over. Get thee to the farmer’s market!

Green Garlic Soup

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At the farmer’s market last week, I spotted green garlic and I recalled a whole section about green garlic in my favorite cookbook: Chez Panisse Cooking. On page 105, Paul Bertolli and Alice Waters write: “Garlic is commonly used as a mature plant when the bulb containing many cloves has formed. Green garlic is the same plant pulled from the ground at a much earlier stage, before the bulb forms and when the plant resembles a leek, with a stalk about 1/2 inch in diameter. Until recently, green garlic never appeared in the market and was largely unrecognized by cooks. The quality of green garlic is unique and of great use in the kitchen. When cooked it has none of the hot, pungent qualities of fresh garlic cloves. Its flavor, although unmistakably associated with the mature form, is much milder.”

When I got home I took their advice: “The flavor of green garlic is most clearly captured in a pureed soup made with new potatoes and finished with cream.” Here’s how you make it.

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Wednesday Wade-Through (6/20/07)

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Today’s Wednesday and that means the nation’s papers published their food sections, so it’s time for me to wade through them and all the food blogs to share with you the tastiest bits. Those of you who read my piece a few days ago in defense of food blogs might find that hypocritical–“Didn’t he say that mainstream media was dying? Why is he wading through it?”–but if that’s what you took from my piece, you misunderstood me. There will always be a place for both newspaper food sections and food blogs–it’s just that food blogs are becoming more and more relevant. And doing this wade-through proves the point: as you may have noticed in previous weeks (and perhaps today), only one or two links are from newspapers and the rest are from food blogs. Let’s see what happens. A’wading we go!

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