There are over twenty cookbooks on my kitchen shelf, the collection squeezed between a small, black, plastic bookend on one end, and the beige kitchen wall on the other end. From the kitchen, you can see the various spines, with a variety of colors, types, and themes. There are books on baking and grilling. There are books devoted only to Italian and Greek cooking. And there are books from restaurants encountered along the way.
My collection, in other words, has a nice variation. Except in one respect. On the wall side, wedged between my Cooking Light Desserts and Justin Wilson’s Cajun Cookbook, sits seven books, each spine beginning with the words “Barefoot Contessa.”
Ina Garten is, in other words, my go to chef. So with my New Year’s Resolution to make more main courses, I naturally Continue reading
When I read the instructions for preparing orzo, I was a little taken aback.
Orzo is sometimes referred to as “Italian rice.” And rice, I know, absorbs the liquid it’s cooked in. So, when the instructions called for 2 quarts of water to cook 1 cup of orzo, I was a little confused. With a water to orzo ratio of 8:1, thoughts of football-size orzo grains popped into my head.
Fortunately, I read the rest of the directions, and noticed Continue reading
After I made the curried couscous, I thought it would make a great base on which to lay an entrée. Always eager to fire up the grill in our courtyard, I decided on tuna steaks. As luck would have it, the colors and flavors of each worked well together.
I cooked the tuna for four minutes on each side, with the grill cover up. The steak cooked through but without being tough or overdone. If your preference Continue reading
If you’ve ever been in a Parisian café, you’ve seen Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle at work. In this environment, waiters move about like errant electrons, brushing past you with little care for their momentum, their movements, or their duties. To a stationary observer, it is impossible to know both the location of a server and the speed at which he is ignoring you.
The croque-monsieur made its debut in 1910, in a café on the Boulevard des Capucines. The origins of the name are unknown, but I suspect the etymology is quintessentially French. An exasperated Frenchman Continue reading
Miso is a fermented, soybean paste, dating back to seventh century Japan.
Miso begins with a grain, usually rice or barley, which is then inoculated with mold spores. These molded grains, koji, are combined with soybeans and sea salt, and then pakced into wooden barrels, where the mixture ferments for anywhere from three months to three years. Indeed, the various types of miso owe their differences to the length of the fermentation period. The fermentation temperature, the proportion of koji to soybean, and the type of grain also influence the miso product.
Rice miso (kome miso), barley miso (mugi miso), and soybean miso (hatcho miso) form the three basic categories of miso. These groups Continue reading