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May 31, 2010 in sides, vegetarian1 comment

asparagus risotto

asparagus risotto

Rice is born in water and must die in wine. – Italian proverb

Mm, risotto. The creamy arborio rice dish accepts all sorts of additions, especially vegetables of all kinds. One of my favorite risottos, right up there with mushroom, is asparagus risotto. When the asparagus season wanes and we’ve had our fill of steamed or pan-roasted, or oven-roasted, or with-an-egg-on-top asparagus, I like to make this risotto before the weather turns too hot to want to attend a stove for half an hour or more. Read more on asparagus risotto…

May 28, 2010 in daring bakers, desserts4 comments

daring bakers: piece montée, or croquembouche

the small piece montee / croquembouche

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

I’m going to suck it up and pick one name to stick with for this post…so croquembouche it is. I like the sound of it and how it rolls off the tongue. Try it yourself: CROAK-EM-BOOSH. Isn’t that fun? “Piece montée,” on the other hand, means “mounted piece.” So you can see that, clearly, “croquembouche” is the superior term. Read more on daring bakers: piece montée, or croquembouche…

May 25, 2010 in PIE, vegetarian2 comments

annnnd…it’s PIE season

the perfect slice of rhubarb pie

It’s asparagus season, it’s baseball season, it’s school music program season, it’s kitten season.

nom nom nom

All of these pale, though, compared to the One Season to Rule Them All.

rhubarb pie, motherfuckers

Pie season. Read more on annnnd…it’s PIE season…

roasted red pepper and kalamata olive pasta sauce

nom nom nom

Sis and Mom were thrilled with the dinner party. “You can do this anytime,” they cooed conspiratorially, and they began plotting holiday schedules. “Thanksgiving, Christmas…no, Mom will still do Christmas…Easter….”

calm before the PARTY STORM

I hadn’t hosted an event of this magnitude before. A bit over a month ago my sponsor, Foodbuzz, contacted me with the offer to host a pasta and wine-pairing dinner party using free coupons supplied by Buitoni Riserva. That shit’s expensive, so I jumped at the chance. Read more on roasted red pepper and kalamata olive pasta sauce…

May 17, 2010 in sides, vegetarian3 comments

pan-roasted asparagus

pan-roasted asparagus recipe

Everyone knows that a little fat in cooking is a Good Thing. Butter or olive oil brings out flavor, coats food, and makes it glisten and look pretty. What I want to know is the name of the god person who got the brilliant idea to use both at once.

butter and olive oil, together at last

butter, olive oil, salt, and garlic

The plain, quick-simmered aspargus I slapped up earlier is a homey preparation, perfect for quick weekday suppers. This asparagus, cut the same into 1-inch niblets, is fried in olive oil, butter, salt, and garlic for about 8 minutes or so. Infused with flavor, it works when you have company, or a bit more time to hover over the stove with the asparagus. Wait, what was that above? Let’s reiterate. Read more on pan-roasted asparagus…

May 3, 2010 in garden porn, notfoodno comments yet

time to blossom

pear blossoms

In terms of making new beginnings and forging new paths, New Year’s takes a distant third on my internal clock. New Year’s is the new beginning of the earth’s rotation, marking the end of the year’s shortest day and looking forward to lengthening ones.

New Year’s is a quiet time, as far as heralds go. Party revelry aside, it’s marked by a sunrise a wee minute earlier than the day before, sunset a wee minute later. We are inspired to set plans in motion, but the still-long darknesses encourage long nights under the covers and slow-cooker meals. Read more on time to blossom…