When I was 5 or 6, I played tee-ball. Coordination was never my strong suit and neither was attentiveness. With this in mind, the coach relegated me to the deep outfield behind third base, where I was left to make clover chains, eat grass stems, and, always, get caught completely off guard when the occasional ball came speeding my way. My outfield technique did have one advantage, at least — everyone moved in when I came to bat, freeing me up to hit the ball right over their unsuspecting heads. [Read more…]
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There are lots of little ways to reclaim our kitchens, and those I relish most are the daily battles and small victories. One of my favorite kitchen triumphs is the MacGyver dinner. You know that one –– you realize you have nothing to eat for dinner: no plan, no protein, and hardly any time. But then, with a bit of ingenuity, or at least a nicely chopped onion and some olive oil, a good meal is suddenly underway. Home cooks know the braises we’ve planned or the pasta sauce that’s cooked all day will be delicious, but these surprise meals, these takeout near misses, these dinners that make use of all the odds and ends, are always the most gratifying. [Read more…]
Blogging can really ruin your desire to cook. February, too. During the past few weeks, I’ve had a string of recipe fails –– both the blogging kind and the oh-shit-dinner’s-disgusting kind. (The former is my job, so fails are part of the process, but a ruined dinner is just heartbreaking.) No matter what I’m making, the blog looms large. I’m constantly taking notes and snapping pics, just in case the recipe I’m winging turns into something I want to develop for this space. But after so many painful fails, I needed to give the blog less mental space when I was in the kitchen. [Read more…]
I spent my teen years outside of San Diego during what may have been a fish taco renaissance. But, because I was a vegetarian in those days, I’ve never actually had a legendary Baja or Baja-style fish taco. Instead, my first best fish taco happened years later at the Bonita on Bedford Ave. Everyone insisted you get the fish tacos. And so you did, and then you were indoctrinated and went on to only order the fish tacos pretty much every time. Even when you didn’t, the decision not to was excruciating. [Read more…]
Generally speaking, I hold a winter without snow in very low esteem. Still, when temperatures hit the sixty degree mark this weekend, we surrendered to nature and decided to grill. Likewise, I typically frown on early chives or premature forsythia blossoms, but decided to embrace things and reserved a spindly bunch of early chives for the weekend’s cooking projects.
Brian likes to take a book outside and watch the grill while it gets going. Then at some point, I’ll set the girls up with an activity (just kidding –– it’s tv) and sneak outside. If there’s bourbon, we drink some. We dodge the smoke and talk. The girls usually make their way out too. And for just a while, we all hang out before things descend into the usual pre-dinner chaos. [Read more…]
During my eighties childhood, a halved grapefruit appeared in the breakfast portion of any diet’s sample menu. My family took that as a cue, I think, and served up these healthy halves of grapefruit, too. Except, in a move that definitely undid whatever health benefits the fruit had, the adults spooned a modest sprinkling of sugar onto their grapefruit, while I dumped a good-sized mound onto the same. As a rule, we should be wary of a fruit that requires sugar to consume.
We should also be wary of a fruit whose most popular varieties have been chosen because of how well they ship and store rather than how good they taste. Where grapefruits are concerned, the emphasis has long been on ease of distribution. But those of us who like to eat (even in winter) are lucky that grapefruit technology has come a long way. Better distribution, producers who understand that people want flavor too, and a general upscaling of everything mean that flavorless grapefruits have mostly gone the way of mealy Red Delicious apples. (Even if the bad rep they earned seems to linger.) [Read more…]