Spring officially arrived a few weeks back, but from the look of it here in St. Louis, you would never know it. Between a light snowstorm to start the week, and freezing rain at week’s end, the thaw of Spring remains in hiding. Given the wintry conditions, I decided a few winter vegetables would make a suitable side.
Roasting over high heat gives the vegetables a crisp outer skin while keeping the inner flesh moist. The high heat also serves to caramelize the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes and carrots, for a sweet, yet healthy, cold-weather treat.
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Like the Camry, the Walkman, and the Wii, broccolini is one more Japanese product making its way into the American household. And like its predecessors, the vegetable is one part engineering and one part marketing.
Broccolini was developed in 1993, when the Sakata Seed Corporation crossed broccoli with gai lan, or Chinese broccoli. Sakata originally marketed the green as “aspiration,” perhaps a not so subtle allusion to its hopes for the product. The name may have also been designed to suggest a connection to asparagus. Indeed, Sakata also tried calling it asprobroc and asprospeer – never mind its misleading nature. Crossing broccoli with asparagus, one article noted, would be like breeding a chipmunk with a tree: it can’t be done.
Ultimately, the more accurate broccolini prevailed, though brocoletti was in the running for some time.
Broccolini is basically Continue reading
Choosing a recipe is a lot like playing the Kevin Bacon game.
The Kevin Bacon game, or Six-Degrees of Kevin Bacon, centers around the small-world principle, or the idea that any two people are linked by a finite number of connections. With Kevin Bacon, the goal is to link him to any other actor using no more than six intermediary actors. For instance, Elvis and Kevin Bacon are separated by only one intermediary – Edward Asner, who appeared with Elvis in Change of Habit, and with Bacon in JFK. At last count, over one million actors can be linked to Bacon in fewer than six steps.
The principle can be applied to any number of disciplines or phenomena - from linking baseball players in various decades, to demonstrating the thought process in choosing a recipe. Continue reading
Broccoli hasn’t had it easy in this country.
Broccoli was first cultivated in Italy, and came to the United States in the late 19th Century, with the incoming crop of Italian immigrants. Albert Broccoli, the producer responsible for putting Ian Fleming’s James Bond on the big screen, boasted that his uncle brought the first broccoli seeds to the States in the 1870s. By the 1920s broccoli had become a commercial crop, with the D’Arrigo Brothers Company shipping the product to Boston’s growing Italian population.
But despite its loose association with the debonair spy, broccoli has never been all that popular.
Early in his presidency, Continue reading
This is one of the first recipes I learned to make on my own. It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s versatile, and, naturally, it’s good. Try these potatoes as a side to miso glazed halibut. Continue reading
Every few days, it dawns on me that I haven’t exactly been eating my greens. I don’t have any particular aversion to vegetables – especially the orange ones (see my pumpkin and sweet potato posts!). But for whatever reason, green vegetables often get overlooked. Whenever I realize my oversight, Continue reading
One of my favorite things about cooking is getting to experiment. In the kitchen, there are so many different mechanisms with which to experiment and try something new. You can play with the type of ingredients and their amount. You can alter the cooking time and the cooking temperature. Or you can change the medium in which you cook – be it a grill, an oven, or a stove top.
Today I got to test something new.
One of my favorite side dishes Continue reading
Like any good American, I often buy things I don’t necessarily need. And I’m particularly susceptible to this urge when I’m around kitchen gadgets. Exhibit 1 would be my recently purchased 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan. Fortunately, the Food Network came to my rescue.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved sweet potatoes. In grade school, our class was putting together a cook book, and we were all asked to bring in our favorite recipe. All the kids brought in recipes for typical kid fare: grilled cheese, ice cream sundaes, macaroni and cheese – normal kid stuff. My recipe involved a root vegetable: sweet potato pie.
As near-eastern dishes go, baba ghanoush is the quiet sibling to the more popular hummus. Both recipes revolve around a similar mix of ingredients, and both dishes are all-but ubiquitous in your pita-bread establishments. And yet, for whatever reason, hummus always seems to get top-billing. It practically co-starred with Adam Sandler in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.
It needn’t be this way any longer.
I prefer grilling the eggplants, Continue reading