Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Scandinavian Meatballs

December 19th, 2017 2 Comments

  Another Christmas favorite for (and from) all the Scandihoovians around me.  I just finished catering a December wedding with a very Norwegian flair and Meatballs were the main attraction.  Actually I think the gravy was the main attraction…but isn’t it always?  It’s all about the gravy.  I didn’t measure anything when making the gravy for the wedding so below only the ingredients for it are listed, maybe later I’ll try to recreate that scrumptious magic.   Swedish meatballs (Köttbullar)

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Spiced Blueberry Soup

December 13th, 2017 2 Comments

. Beginning in Sälen and ending in Mora, Sweden, the 90 kilometer Swedish Vasaloppet is one of the largest ski races in the world.  Tens of thousands of skiers pilgrimage to Sälen in mid-March to ski, enjoy the spectacle, and some to winter camp along the race course in a good spot to cheer on the racers.  During the week prior to the Vasaloppet between 50,000 and 80,000 people ski the course as a fun family event leading up to

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Favorites November 2017

November 2nd, 2017 No Comments

. . . .   It was a good day for a walk in the woods. This was how the world looked last week before I left for a trip to California: bright leaves, crisp smells, sun on the water.  I came back this week to the grayer and rainier side of Fall.  All good, but feeling cheer is so much easier with bright colors.  This second half of Fall needs the more intentional efforts to cultivate hygge: warm sweaters

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Favorites August 2017

August 29th, 2017 No Comments

  More fun with Annuals. These are Pinwheel Zinnias–small and ranking high on the adorable scale.  Zinnias are part of the daisy/aster family and are native to Mexico and Central America.  They withstand heat, drought, and can be directly seeded so are considered an awesome low-maintenance flower for any kind of gardener.   I used to think Zinnias were boring, a little too loud and indelicate, like wearing excessive makeup to a picnic.  They were one of the few flowers my mother grew in the farm

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New Mexico Chile Lime Slaw

August 15th, 2017 No Comments

  When creating a catering menu that highlights locally grown ingredients there is a certain amount of ambiguity that is necessary, especially if the menu must be decided upon months in advance.  No one can possibly know what will be available at an exact date so I cannot promise any particular vegetable in a dish.  Even with protective measures like hoop houses there are countless factors affecting crops–things like temperature, rain, no rain, early spring, late freeze, hail, floods, bugs, slugs, deer, raccoons—the list of variables

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Shichimi Popcorn

August 7th, 2017 1 Comment

  I did say I would try this, did I not? Spice combinations on popcorn—there is a world of tasty additive ideas out there.  From Za’atar to Parmesan-Rosemary, Caraway-Mustard to Lemon-Curry, or Chipotle-Bacon-Drippings to Dill-Cumin, there are endless flavor variations to amend your puffed maize.  Not that there is anything needed!  Corn is lovely with just salt and an oil.   Shichimi is a Japanese blend of spices including chiles, citrus peel, sesame seeds, and nori, and often poppyseeds, Szechuan peppercorns, ginger and garlic are

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Tamari Eggplant

August 1st, 2017 2 Comments

  Need a bacon substitute for a BLT?    Oh my, the bacon lover in me says there is no substitute for the Fruit of the Pig…but these tamari drenched roasted eggplant pack a load of flavor that gives satisfaction to the Umami Itch.  I made this little sandwich with parmesan but I’m positive a fresh ripe tomato would be a perfect match on top. I often use a marinade with equal parts tamari and cider vinegar—Roasted Tofu Skewers is another example

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Summer Salads

July 26th, 2017 No Comments

  More Willow!   Here are a few photos from two other sessions of the Willow Gathering that I catered, a “bird’s nest” technique giving some sculptural freedoms, and a traditional Danish rectangular basket technique.             I’m spending the week at Scattergood Friends School, my alma mater alternative high school and where I am spending more time these days.  This is the place where I fell in love with stainless steel and learned to cook on a large scale— each

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Cashew Horchata

July 18th, 2017 2 Comments

  Horchata The horchata we had in Mexico was made from rice, sugar, and cinnamon, and maybe rice milk added in.  Many a Mexican restaurant will have the churning white liquid in a countertop fountain dispenser, mesmerizing to watch as you wait for your tacos de asada.  Originating in Spain using tiger nuts, horchata can also be made with almonds, barley, sesame seeds, morro seeds, or peanuts depending where in the world you might be. I found an interesting recipe at oneingredientchef.com that includes

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Sesame Chicken Salad

July 4th, 2017 1 Comment

  I really didn’t intend to make a Chicken Salad, it just happened. It started because I wanted to make a chili-lime slaw as a trial run for something I might do for a catering event this summer.  I then saw the toasted sesame oil in the cupboard so I let it shift the flavors into that direction.  Rice vinegar, garlic chili paste, ginger—the dressing was tasty, but I shredded a hard green cabbage and it was not-quite-right, tasting almost bitter, and too intense for what I wanted. What to do?  Add noodles?

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Favorites June 2017

June 27th, 2017 No Comments

    Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado—-of course this is where one would find a store packed with intricately designed and cut wooden puzzles.  I had an hour to wander the ped mall before my meeting a few weeks ago and puzzle-gravity pulled me into the Liberty Puzzles store at the corner of 15th and Pearl.  It was difficult to not just plant myself in a corner for hours and play with these works of art.   These beauties are made in Boulder not far from the

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Carrot Quinoa Salad

June 14th, 2017 No Comments

  Cute tiny grains.  Bright orange carrots.  Summer days.  Good.   Quinoa is a relatively forgiving grain to cook.  I loosely measure 2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa, but if you rinse it well and pour a random large amount of water into the pot you can drain off whatever liquid is left when it is cooked to your liking, or you can add more water during the cooking process if needed.  Beautifully un-fussy and un-intimidating—but ONE EXCEPTION is that you

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Sonoran Tortillas Sobaqueras

May 30th, 2017 2 Comments

  In northern Mexico tortillas are commonly made with white flour instead of corn masa like most of Latin America.  In the state of Sonora the tortillas have taken on a life of their own and are made way, way, way bigger than your head, called tortillas sobaqueras.  “Sobaquera” (holster) is a slang term for armpit—these tortillas are made by slinging and stretching them over your arm like pizza dough resulting (if you’re good) in a tortilla the length of  your arm.  These delicate blankets are also referred

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Jerk Guacamole

May 23rd, 2017 8 Comments

  A quick jaunt to Colorado on Amtrak helped me remember that trains are an awesome way to travel.  Everyone is relaxed, friendly, unparanoid, and relatively diverse.  The leg room in coach is luxurious and the small stations have free long term parking.  Perhaps it’s time you consider an Amtrak adventure?     A sun rising over Nebraska was enjoyed by a few of us in the observation lounge.  There wasn’t much talking in that pre-dawn reverie but the appreciation was palpable as we waited for the downstairs

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5-Spice Tofu

May 9th, 2017 3 Comments

  I used to make a similar tofu at the deli, crusted with ground pumpkin seeds, cornmeal and 5-spice.  I simplified it in this version but it still has that hint of exotic with the Big Five to add to your sandwich or stir fry. In the past I would often treat tofu like fish, it has a similar wetness and needs to be handled delicately.  At the Loring Café with we used to make Chef Lenny Russo’s 5-spice grilled trout served

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Favorites April 2017

April 25th, 2017 2 Comments

  The Oxbow Hotel of Eau Claire, Wisconsin   Fun, swank, and simply beautiful this hotel is a collaborative effort of a group of visionaries helping to keep the revitalization of downtown Eau Claire in full swing.  We toured the place in March on our way back from the northland, here is a bit of their story from the website:   “Since the booming logging days of the Chippewa Valley, the ground beneath the Oxbow has always been home to a boarding house

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Another photo flashback

April 4th, 2017 2 Comments

    The word for the day is Mirabilia: miracles, marvels.   Rob Brezney describes Mirabilia such: “events that inspire wonder, marvelous phenomena, small  miracles, beguiling ephemera, inexplicable joys, changes that inspire quiet  awe, eccentric enchantments, unplanned jubilations, sudden deliverance  from boring evils”    Here are some examples of Mirabilia he shared this week: *The National Center for Atmospheric Research reports that the average  cloud is the same weight as 100 elephants. * The seeds of some trees are so

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Pickled Deviled Eggs

March 21st, 2017 No Comments

  Sanskrit scriptures describe the universe as being birthed from an egg. The term Brahmanda is from two words: Brahm (ब्रह्म) = ‘cosmos’ or ‘expanding’, and ‘anda‘ (अण्ड) = ‘egg’.  The Brahmanda Purana, an ancient Indian text, explains this fascinating concept in great detail.  Good reading while you wait for the weather to warm as we muck through this season of mudliness.    Eggs and Spring.   Along with symbolizing life and new birth, in earlier times eggs were one of the few things available

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Black Bean Paste

March 7th, 2017 No Comments

  Black Bean paste is a Chinese condiment used in many a dish (hoisin sauce, stir fries, Asian BBQ, noodles), and a secret ingredient of those from Team Umami.  It’s bold and tangy and can bump the flavor factor of your sauces manyfold. It can be really difficult to tell if Chinese condiments are gluten free, especially if there is the possibility of soy sauce (containing wheat) and it certainly doesn’t help if the ingredient list seems vague or incomplete.  I’ve been searching for GF

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Favorites February 2017

February 28th, 2017 3 Comments

  Can you name me another sport where a major race is cancelled yet thousands of people still show up?   The 2017 American Birkebiener Ski Marathon, largest cross country ski race in North America and part of the reason we trek northward for the season, was cancelled this year due to lack of snow.  Around 10,000 people annually participate in the numerous Birkie races and events, the majority of them venturing the long haul of 50-55 kilometers through the rolling

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