- Drinks (84)
- Easy Indulgences (43)
- Gifts (35)
- Media (207)
- Product Reviews (8)
- Recipes (185)
- Restaurant Reviews (114)
By far my favorite food genre, soups are perfect for this time of year. One day chilly, the next sweaty, I find a lovely pureed vegetable soup that can go hot or cold to be genius. Just saute a chopped onion in a little butter and olive oil and then add, all roughly chopped, 2 bunches of asparagus, 1 head of broccoli, a couple of potatoes, and 8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, or a combo of stock and water. Bring it to a boil and then simmer 35 minutes. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender and heat through, adding a healthy dose of hot sauce. This is a great mid-week meal served with cheeses and bread.
A few months ago the White House released the recipe for the President’s home-brewed beer. It’s a honey ale made with honey from the White House’s own hives. Instantly, you could buy kits to make Obama’s beer yourself. While I left the beer making to someone else, I do like to cook with beer, so I headed for my kitchen. (In 2011, Greg Kitsock at the Washington Post had a great piece on the history of presidential beer making. Read it.)
Nothing is better than a great pot of soup that can feed you (and any guests) all week. Just heat and supplement with cheese toast or garlic bread or a plate of sliced, salted cucumber spears. But if you’re going to visit the same soup several nights it has to be interesting. This week I wanted something really warming and especially healthy. I made a very special lentil soup.
This is going to sound like a pretty obvious statement, but I just tried a recipe from Thomas Keller’s ad hoc at home and it was awesome. I had a taste for some Indian flavors, so initially I thought of dahl, but then I came across Keller’s recipe for lentil and sweet potato soup. I had a ton of aging sweet potatoes in my larder, so it didn’t take much convincing.
Let’s be frank: Turkey doesn’t hit you over the head with its flavor. It’s subtle, fragrant, earthy, fresh even. So, as you dress it up in its many iterations this year, you might want to keep some of these flavor enhancers in mind. Of course, they are good to have on hand year round. You’ll use them again and again.
Here’s a kitchen truth: You can have too much of a good thing. I recently made a meal whose individual parts were all lovely, but together they left “pleasant richness” in the rear view mirror. I guess we needed some salad in here somewhere. Or a level head guiding the hand in my larder.
I made my first foray into a Little Serow-inspired odyssey for new and exciting flavors in my own cooking. As promised, I started with good ol’ chicken soup. My technique has long been to simmer chicken parts in stock and water along with all my herbs and spices before pouring it through a sieve. I pick the meat and add it along with a few vegetables and maybe a starch to the broth. I enjoy the complexity (read: heat) of the broth alongside the simplicity of the ingredients in the final product. I decided to use this familiar approach and just mix up my flavors. No more French; now Thai!
I’ve gotten into a restaurant rut, and I don’t ever want to get out of it. Maybe it’s more like a gambler’s lucky streak–only it’s a sushi and Serow streak. I simply alternate between high-end sushi at Sushi Taro and the most exciting food in town at Johnny Monis’ Northern Thai Little Serow. And after a year, it’s only gotten better. A couple of nights ago, about three courses in, I had a terrible thought: One day I will not have access to this food. It nearly ruined my mood, so I quickly had another slurp of the tom kha pla duk, the sweet, spicy, tart broth before me. It starts with catfish cooked in coconut fat, but that’s all I could get out of our server. Oh, and the stock cooks for three days. I know there are chilies; I know there is lemongrass; And I know that if I enter my kitchen with only these instructions, I will fail. And yet, yet, I must be able to capture this experience however diminished and slight my own version might be.
Last year I read Ruth Reichl’s first food memoir, Tender at the Bone, and loved it. She’s becoming this summer’s Stieg Larsson for me–as in I close one book and go on to the next. I’ve finished Comfort Me with Apples (2001) and am now diving into Garlic and Sapphires (2005). I can’t stress enough that Reichl’s books make excellent gifts (especially for any Baby Boomer you know who is into food and perhaps used to be a hippie–I gave my mother Tender at the Bone.)
I don’t usually make vegetarian soup, but this pistou I cooked for the Washington Post‘s feature on summer soups was delicious and savory, with deep almost meaty flavor. It’s basically just a bunch of vegetables–onions, carrots, leeks, fennel, garlic, tomatoes, …