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July 01, 2010

A little of this, a little of that

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This is a salad I made with lettuce from my neighbor's garden, pickled carrots, fresh chives and dill from the garden, roasted pepitas, a homemade vinaigrette, and many of the dried accoutrements from the "Beef, elements of A1" dish.  I could eat this every day.

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Here's a Chicago Tribune: The Stew interview with Patton Oswalt about his love of food and restaurants.  I love how he describes his dinner at Alinea as having "had just walked away from one of the great seminal rock concerts of all time."

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I tried to make this dish this week.  Perhaps you heard me sighing about it on Twitter.  Perhaps you heard me use the descriptor "open war wound with Band-Aid bits strewn about."  It did not end well.  A post is forthcoming, and I'm actually gonna try it again because I want to do it right.  I even bought a new scale that measures to the 0.01g.  That's how committed I am, y'all.

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Some of you sent the most amazing and sweet and heartfelt emails after my last post.  I loved reading about your unfinished business, and I hope you get to do whatever it is you want to. 

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Are you watching Top Chef?  Who are you rooting for?  Who do you loathe?  Do you think the show is a little tired and played out?  (I think I feel that way, but I'm willing to give it until the end of the season.)  I'm doing the episode recaps for Washingtonian magazine and would love your insights and thoughts on this season's cheftestants and the show as a whole.

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It's a long weekend (happy birthday, America!) and here's what's on my reading list for the next few days:

Food in Jars: my friend, Marisa, is a jamstress.  A canstress?  A jarstress?  Whatever she is, she's awesome and her blog is giving me a ton of great ideas for how to preserve everything I buy too much of at the farmers market.

The Victory Garden: I was obsessed with Crockett's Victory Garden on PBS (along with Hodge Podge Lodge) when I was a kid, and I remember carefully leafing through my mom's copy of the original Victory Garden book (which she's sending me) and thinking how cool it would be to have my own house and my own garden when I grew up (and was retired from being a ballerina-TV news anchor-surgeon).

A couple of books by Jonathan Tropper.  Easy summer reads that are well written and funny.

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Enjoy the holiday weekend -- and let me know what you're cooking and eating.  Don't mind me; I'll just be sitting here, drooling over my corn on the cob with tarragon butter (I love summer; can you tell?).

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Carol- We will be up at the cabin for 10 whole days! I've saved several recipes out of Cooks Illustrated because I will have time to fuss in the kitchen. Grilled stuffed chicken breasts and this "Sunday Gravy" which looks divine. I'll also make some falafel burgers with zuc fries for my friend Miss Ann who is a vegetarian. And I'm going to make some ricotta to drolop on a panzenella salad.....mmmmmmm

Hope you have a restful holiday!

cheezmaker

Carol,

I am SO glad that The Victory Garden Cookbook is back in print. It is one of my all-time, got-to-have-it in the City AND the country, constantly-looking-for-used-copies-for-my friends cookbooks.

I will check out Food for Jars over the weekend.

Have a great Fourth.

I've been a fan of Top Chef for the last few seasons, but this season seems a little joyless and back-stabby. I'm from Colorado, so I'm rooting for Kenny and Kelly. Kelly came across as a little annoying at first, but she's growing on me. Your blog for the Washingtonian is humorous and accurate, and you used the word hoodooguru - which indicates that either you are either a fan of my favorite 80s Australian rock band, or that God is telling me (through your blog) to purchase their back-catalog on iTunes.
Summer cooking - I've been eating a ton of lettuce, spinach, and mustard greens from my garden. I'm trying to eat more fish too, so this week was whole grilled snapper "tikin xic" with homemade corn tortillas, and soy-glazed salmon with an avocado-corn salsa inspired by Marcus Samuelsson. (As part of his recent dinner at Frasca, signed copies of his most recent cookbook were included.)
Looking forward to the write-up of your transparency disaster. Not that I relish your suffering, but you always manage to make the (few) failures entertaining for us.

[Guilty as charged re: HooDooGurus. I listened to "1,000 Miles Away" that afternoon. :) -----------CB]

Love Top Chef. Not a fan of Angelo. He's too full of himself. Have not seen last night's episode but I am crossing my fingers he messes up and gets cut. So far I like Kenny, probably because Angelo hates him, but he also seems much nicer. I liked Jacqueline, bummed she got sent home.

Oh god, those Twitter comments were both disgusting and hilarious. Food is great when it turns out, but it's awfully damn entertaining when it doesn't.

I like Top Chef but I am deeply sick of "I'm not a pastry chef!!!1!" Dude, I can make a dessert. Put on your big kid underpands and get in the kitchen.

This year's Top Chef cheftestants definitely feel like a let-down after last season's monster cast. So far it feels like probably 4 or 5 of the chefs from last year could slap around anyone from this season.

A few things have stood out so far:

1. We're seeing a lot more of the cheftestants smoking this year. In the past, it seemed like Top Chef left the nicotine-fest to Hell's Kitchen.

2. The attractive, ex-drug addict who made the great ribs and asparagus is getting a LOT of screen time. In the absence of a crop of stellar chefs, I think the producers are trying to emphasize the pretty ones as much as possible. Yes, this particular chef has been in the center of some of the "drama" (like the oven incident last night), but they show a ton of filler shots of her compared to the others.

3. I completely support the "I'm not a pastry chef" complaints from the cheftestants. Sure, your grandma can bake a pie, but she's 80 years old, has been doing it for 70 years, and has a recipe handy. To a certain extent, the pastry chef's retort last night was like demanding that a podiatrist diagnose and treat an eye ailment. I'm probably stretching things a little. It is a little baffling that anyone would go on this show without learning a basic pie crust recipe and spending some time practicing go-to desserts just in case.

It'll be fun to see if they make the Top Pastry (or whatever it's called) contestants do a non-pastry challenge that would be normal on Top Chef. Turnabout is fair play. Will Gayle criticize them when they complain that they are pastry chefs and don't cook stir-fry professionally?

Carol,

I made the roses dish last year with rose pedals from our plant in the back yard (I live in NYC so the word "Yard" is debatable). Do try to do it again. It came our great except I couldn't get them quite as de-hydrated as they should have been. Best of luck.

Your friend is a confitureier. I think. Well, it's close, any how.

I confess that I haven't watched Top Chef this time around but am loving your blog. Will be dealing with the excesses of my CSA box this weekend. There are cherries to pit for a tart, beets to cook up and chard to do something with, maybe two things. I ordered a book ("Farm City") that I hope arrives today for weekend reading. Enjoy your Fourth!

What puzzles me about Top Chef is how unprepared these people are for what they are going to be asked to do. Have they never watched the earlier shows? Do they not know they will be asked to do dessert at some point? Do they do any "rehearsing" of favorite dishes prior to showing up - just in case? It's a little like going to the National Spelling Bee without reviewing 10 dictionaries first. If there are ingredients you never use, try them out. If you cook beef, take a run at salmon. Are the bad dishes really that awful or is that the editing? Why would any chef serve a really horrible dish? Maybe someone else will be more horrible and you'll luck out?

By the way, I've cooked paella, crawfish (husband surprised me with 75 lively crawfish one night), made a huge antipasto platter and sweet potato salad over the past few days but July 4th was hot dogs and it was great!

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