Recipes for inspiration in the kitchen
Recipes for inspiration in the kitchen
One of my favorite foods to eat in Vietnam, cua rang me—crabs sautéed in tamarind—is a humble yet glorious dish prized for its freshness and balance of flavor. It’s best eaten with the hands and a chilled lager (or three), followed by a hearty serving of French bread, which is broken off the community loaf and use to mop the vibrant, sweet sauce.
A fond memory of childhood summers is weekend trips to the Gulf Coast, where in addition to playing in the murky brown water, I’d help my parents catch blue crabs with nothing more than string, chicken necks, and a hand net. Okay, I thought I was helping, but I was not much more useful than the rock to which my parents tied the end of a fishing string since I was terrified of the crabs. (Ironic, isn’t it, considering I had to cook a live one on national television years later?)
Back in January, I wrote a post about what to cook and eat on a ski/snowboard trip—basically foods that were easy to prepare, provided ample sustenance, and could warm you from the outside in.
It’s May now, and summer is officially a few weeks away. In Houston, where temperatures have reached the lower nineties on occasion, summer’s already here. This means it’s camp time!
Having first learned to cook as a college student with very limited funds, I’ve had my fair share of crappy cutting boards. Moreover, as a novice cook, I did not know how to take care of these cutting boards, thereby contributing to their crappiness. My first cutting board was wooden, and although I knew not to run it through the dishwasher—oh wait, my first college apartment didn’t have a dishwasher—I had no idea wooden boards needed to be oiled to keep from splitting.
So for a long time, I used these dry, cracked wooden boards, ignoring the idea of bacteria teeming from within. I sliced raw beef on the same board I’d use to chop spinach. I left the board sitting in the wet sink until my roommates and I had our weekly argument about whose turn it was to do the dishes.
We have a friend who loves to fish. I mean, he’s one serious fisherman. He drives to our neighboring state of Louisiana on the weekends to go deep-sea fishing. He went halfsies on a boat with his dad so they could take fishing trips together. He’s getting married this summer, and for his bachelor trip, he’s going to Costa Rica on—you guessed it—a fishing trip. (I’ve been told by the hubs there are other activities on the agenda, but we’ll see what really happens when you put the old man in a new sea. Will he finally catch his white whale? Sorry, the writer in me couldn’t help throw in those puns.)
If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you would know I spent last weekend in Breckenridge, Colorado, on a ski/snowboard trip with friends and family (more on this to come in a later post). Today, we’re going to focus on food.
It’s an unwelcome dilemma every time: what will be filling enough to satiate 8 to 12 hungry folks but easy enough to prepare when everyone’s exhausted from all the physical activity? And don’t forget that nearby markets may be limited in ingredient selection so no Sichuan, no sushi, and no soufflés.
My mama-in-law likes to gift us Asian pears. They are large and juicy with sweet, crispy flesh. I’ve made them into pear, blueberry, and banana juice, and we’ve eaten many of them purely sliced as a snack. But they are quite sizable, so we often can’t go through them as quickly as we receive them.
I don’t like to waste food, so poaching them allows me to prolong their refrigerator shelf life and, more selfishly, my own enjoyment of their unique succulence.
As promised, here is the remainder of my holiday gift ideas for the home cook, just in time for those procrastinators out there. Like I previously mentioned, most all of these items are available on Amazon, so you can select that crucial next-day or second-day delivery option. For my fellow blind readers, Amazon has an accessible app; I just used it at 3 AM to order some stuff. (Yes, I tend to shop or read about food online when I have insomnia–don’t judge.)
One week till Christmas. Are you ready?
I’ve blogged about what to get your vision impaired friend or family member, and I’ve written about some useful kitchen aids for the blind cook. Now what about the rest of you sighted folks who like to cook too?
For those of you still at a loss as to what to get that self-proclaimed chef in your life, whether sighted or not, here is an extensive list of useful items in my kitchen, without which I would not be able to create many of the fabulous foods in my home. And best of all, most of these products are available at Amazon, whose app from iTunes is accessible for the blind, and which offers second day, even next day, delivery—so when Granny gets choked up come Christmas Eve, it’ll be because your gift was so thoughtful, not because it was late or, worse, nonexistent.
Thanksgiving is done, but the leftovers are not. Because Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday (and with that comes the love of traditional Thanksgiving food), the hubs and I usually cook enough fowl to feed family, friends, and ourselves for days, even weeks.
This year was no exception: we sous vide a turkey and fried two turkeys. We vacuum sealed most of the leftover turkey to make it last as long as possible in the fridge. (You can freeze the turkey leftovers too.)
Inspired by my recent MasterChef cruise to the Caribbean, I made this sous vide pork chop using some jerk spices from the Virgin Islands. Tired from the week-long trip away from home, I wasn’t in the mood to cook entirely from scratch, so these spice blends came in handy: just rub the pork chops, vacuum seal, and then drop it in the water bath the next day with the immersion circulator set to 62.8°C for 92 minutes. (This temp and time is for 1” thick boneless pork chops; for bone-in or other thicknesses, consult your PolyScience sous vide toolbox app.)