Posts

Peach Nectarine Butter Recipe

Image
I can't help it. I love to experiment with recipes. But when it comes to canning, experimentation is not always a good idea. For safety sake, my canning recipes are usually just very minimal tweaks to recipes that I trust. When my second batch of fruit from Washington State Stone Fruit arrived last week I made low sugar nectarine preserves from one of my pal Sean Timberlake's recipes. Sean is the brains behind the do-it-yourself site Punk Domestics and a canning expert. I also made a combination peach and nectarine butter from another recipe I'd used in the past. 
I�m always eager for opportunities to adapt recipes and put my own spin on them and when it came to these recipes I was inspired to use some samples of bitters and an amaro from Greenbar Distillery. While it's typical to use them in cocktails, I asked Sean about the safety of using these ingredients as well as a bit of spice in canning. Here�s what he said, �Adding a small amount of alcohol or spices should …

Deiss Pro Julienne & Vegetable Peeler Review

Image
Is a spiralizer necessary? I got one to review, but truth be told I�m unconvinced. It turns out there are lots of ways to get strands and ribbons from vegetables and fruit. The most common kitchen tools, a grater and a vegetable peeler work remarkably well. I'm also a fan of the mandolin which can be used to make many more types of cuts. But if you really enjoy creating these textures and want a single gadget, the Deiss Pro Julienne & Vegetable Peeler is really a three in one. It�s great for peeling potatoes and carrots, but it�s also good for creating those slithery ribbons and shredds for salads. It also has a nifty feature on the side that allows you to remove the "eyes" from potatoes without resorting to a paring knife or use it to create a peel strip from citrus fruit. 

I�ve been using this gadget on zucchini. I use the larger ribbons with chunkier pasta and the shreds with skinny noodles. I blanch the zucchini for a minute or two with the pasta, to get rid of th…

Discovering Cr�mant d�Alsace Ros�

Image
When I think of the wines of the Alsace I think white wine. After all 90% of the wines produced in the Alsace are white. But there�s growing interest in one particular red wine, Pinot Noir. This is a recent development, in part due to changing climate conditions. The Alsace already has a staggering 15 different soil types and now it has a longer growing season. Limestone and clay ensure that Pinot Noir will develop the right acidity and tannins. Good Pinot Noir never happens by mistake! I recently enjoyed a wine dinner with a number of different bottles of Pinot Noir from the Alsace. They had all the characteristics I expect from Pinot Noir�notes of strawberry or raspberry, smoke, leather, sometimes spice, fresh acidity. Some were fresh and vibrant, others more complex and earthy.  But the wine I enjoyed the most? Allimant Laugner Cr�mant d�Alsace Ros�. It's bright with strawberry and lemon, and deliciously fizzy and can be found for under $20.
I love sparking wines and Brut Ros�…

Cherry Jamming in the Miele Kitchen

Image
If you�ve been to the store or maybe the farmers market recently you might have seen cherries. The sweetness of bing cherries is both intense and fleeting. Cherries don�t last long after being picked, unlike apples or oranges. That's why I'm glad to be a part of the Canbassador program.

The past few years I�ve received a crate of fresh sweet cherries from Northwest Cherry Growers. Every year I experiment preserving something different. I�ve prepared cherry barbecue sauce, canned cherries for pie, put up bourbon cherries, made cherry vanilla shrub and even dried and frozen cherries. This year I decided to make cherry jam. It turned out to be a very special cooking experience for me because I wasn�t in my kitchen, but over at the Miele showroom in San Francisco, with my pal Chef Rachelle Boucher. She kindly invited me over to do a little cooking. To be honest, working with Miele appliances will spoil you. Here�s how it went and the key ways it differed from what I do at home: 
Ste…

Easy Shrimp Curry Recipe

Image
Here's one of my strategies for dinner in a hurry--tweak a classic dish by loading it up with vegetables and creating a one pot meal. Recently I worked on a shrimp and feta recipe, it started out very much the same as many other recipes, but I added lots of fresh fennel. Basically this shrimp curry recipe started with a simple coconut curry recipe to which I added sugar snap peas, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. I happened to have some sugar snap peas from Mann's produce (another great time saver because they are stringless and don't need any prep), but I could have added broccoli or sweet potatoes or some other study vegetables. Just add rice or noodles and dinner is done!

This recipe comes courtesy of American Shrimp Company, they kindly sent me some more of their fresh wild gulf shrimp. The shrimp are bursting with flavor and can be used in so many dishes. They arrive clean, deveined, peeled, fresh, not frozen, perfect for when you don't have much time for meal p…

Pecorino Toscano & Pecorino Sardo

Image
Yesterday I wrote about Pecorino Romano, today Pecorino Toscano and Pecorino Sardo, two other kinds of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Pecorino you are likely to find in the US.
Pecorino Toscano I ate the fresh version of Pecorino Toscano practically daily when I lived in Tuscany. In Florence, fresh Pecorino Toscano was like the Italian version of Monterey Jack, the cheese I grew up eating in California.It's mild, slightly herbal, sweet, approachable, easy to love. It's really great in a sandwich--either cold or grilled.

Pecorino Toscano is made from milk produced in Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria. As with all cheeses, it gets harder and drier as it ages. In the US it used to be much easier to the find the aged versions than the really fresh soft ones. The fresher version is particularly mild and creamy. The aged version is buttery, sometimes nutty with a peppery finish It�s just a great table cheese, perfect for an antipasto platter. Even aged it tends to be much milder than …

Pecorino Romano

Image
Knowing Italian is sometimes a help in the culinary realm. But not always. Pecora means sheep in Italian providing the clue that Pecorino refers to sheep�s milk cheese. But after that it gets complicated. There are 6 kinds of Pecorino with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in Italy but only a few you are likely to find in the US. First up is the most commonly found Pecorino cheese, Pecorino Romano and tomorrow, Pecorino Toscano and Pecorino Sardo.
Pecorino Romano is the easiest to find Pecorino cheese in the US. The name is a bit confusing however. It�s not just a cheese from Rome or even Lazio as you might assume, but is also produced in the province of Grosseto in Tuscany and in Cagliari, Nuoro, Oristano and Sassari on the island of Sardinia. In fact, Sardinia is the biggest producer of Pecorino Romano, go figure. It�s an ancient cheese and it was mentioned by Pliny the Elder almost 2,000 years ago. It was such an important cheese, that it was part of the Roman legion�s rations�…