A Fast Bean Friday: Khichdi

...basic khichdi formula, as it lives in my head, is all you really have to remember–the rest is improvised: The ratio of lentils to rice is 1:2, and the water is twice the measure of the rice and lentils. For example, for two servings, I’d combine 1 cup of rice and 1/2 cup lentils. That’s 1 1/2 cups total of dry stuff. That means I’d need 3 cups of water. The basic cooking methodology is to first rinse your lentils and ric...

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Slaughtering Turkeys for Thanksgiving

...e that the organs came out in neat sack. It may not always happen so neatly–you may have to fish around in the cavity to make sure you have everything. See the little green blotch? That’s the bile sack. This has to be removed and discarded carefully–you don’t want to spill bile on the meat. Here’s one of four big fat livers Steve collected. We tossed them in a bowl and coated them with olive oil to help keep them f...

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How to Make Stock

...oup, for instance, you might start with a stock made with lemongrass or ginger. Otherwise, I’d skip adding the strong flavors until you’re actually cooking with the stock. Keep it simple. Want to work harder? I learned this one from Mark Bittman. To bring out more savory flavors in a veggie stock, you can chop all of your veggies (except the parsley) into smaller pieces and then saute them in some oil in the bottom of your soup pot ti...

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Poached eggs and greens on toast with wildflowers

...so often. Anyway, it’s easy to make: All you have to do is cook up a mess of greens of your choice: steam them, saute them, do whatever you like. The greens can be spiced up with onions, garlic, hot pepper, etc.–or absolutely plain. At the same time, get some water going for poached eggs. While that’s heating, toast up some nice big slices of bread. Dress that toast how you like–with butter, olive oil, S&P, a rub of...

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Garden Bench Ideas

...s monastery ended with many of the stones getting distributed around the park as benches and walls. Most went to the construction of a new abbey near Sacramento. Really nice stonework here–a bench midway up a staircase on the Lands End trail overlooking the entrance to the bay. It’s the most beautiful place on the planet with a nice bench to enjoy the view.  A bench at the Preston Winery, home of that olive oil I blogged about yest...

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A Favorite Tool: Canning Funnel

...nging it and spilling a lot, or fashioning funnels out of newspaper. Life is just to short to chase beans around the kitchen. I use this thing every day. Here’s a hint: If you have one of those little mesh tea strainers made to fit in the top of a tea pot (they always sell them in Asian markets), you’ll find it fits perfectly both into the funnel and into the mouth of a quart jar. Using one with your funnel, you can strain off tea, o...

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Return of Bean Friday: Spicy Mayocoba Beans

...jalapenos *I had no chili powder so used lots of paprika plus a little bit of cayenne pepper as a substitute Put the beans in a big pot, cover them with a couple of inches of water and simmer until tender. When the beans are getting close to done, heat some oil in a deep skillet or a heavy bottomed pot and saute the onion until translucent. Then add the garlic and the rest of the spices, reserving only the jalapenos. I like to cook everything wel...

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What to do with all those hot peppers: Harissa!

...bundance of very large, hot Italian Long Peppers. Thumbing through some recipe books we realized that we had all the ingredients to make Harissa, a spicy Moroccan condiment. The recipe is simple and quick. We cut open five of our hot peppers, discarded the seeds, and combined them in a food processor with: 1 tsp salt1 tsp cumin1 tsp caraway seeds2 tsp coriander seeds1 tsp fresh mint3 garlic cloves Turn on the food processor and add enough olive o...

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Plantago coronopus, a.k.a. Buckhorn Plantain, a.k.a. Erba Stella

Cruise down the produce isle of a supermarket in the United States and you’ll only find highly domesticated foods. Thumb through the pages of the Silver Spoon (the Joy of Cooking of Italian Cuisine) and you’ll discover entire chapters devoted to the use of wild or semi-wild plants. This summer I grew one of these semi-cultivated Italian vegetables, Buckhorn plantain (Plantago coronopus) also known as Erba Stella and Barba di frat...

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Our favorite way to cook zucchini

...ecipe–or technique, rather– sounds too simple to be good, but it really works. As one friend said of the dish, “It tastes like there’s a lot going on, but there’s not.” All you’ve got to do is shred your zucchini up on the large holes of your kitchen grater. Saute the shreds in an uncovered skillet with lots of olive oil and some chopped up garlic, until there’s no water in the pan, and the volume...

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