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Friday, October 29, 2010

Potluck Posts 10/28

I'm getting ready to hit the road again, with a couple of trips in November. First I'll be in Napa for the Worlds of Flavor: Japan conference then I'll be going on my first cruise and adding on a couple of days in Miami. The photo above is from my most recent trip to Wisconsin. If you enjoyed my post here on Switzerland, check out my longer Frommer's report on Appenzell , a lovely region not far from Zurich. I've shared a few culinary highlights of the region, it's definitely worth a visit. On Epicurious, my most recent posts are about sweet piquante peppers , you might know them as peppadews. There's another post with an updated list of my favorite foodie newsletters , all are free and good reads. I explored the flavor combination of zucchini, thyme and lemon . The comments on my post were great. I loved the suggestion to make a lemon pound cake with lemon and thyme sugar glaze. Next week on Cooking with Amy you'll find another post in the ser...
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creating A Meal You'll Love: Book Review

It seems fitting that food writers and chefs, who focus on the pleasures of eating, also help out those who don't get enough to eat. That is the idea behind Creating A Meal You'll Love : Notable Chefs and Food Writers on Their Unforgettable Dining Experiences. It's a book of essays from chefs and food writers and all of the contributors provided their essays "pro bono" with the royalties from the sale of the book going to Share Our Strength , the leading non-profit organization ending childhood hunger in America. There are some recipes in this book, but mostly there are just wonderfully written essays from a wide range of voices. I am proud to share the pages with people I know like Shauna James Ahern and Jaden Hair , writers I admire like Louisa Chu , Mimi Sheraton and David Sax and inspiring chefs like Marcus Samuelsson , Anna Thomas , Susur Lee and Skye Gyngell . In fact, the essay from Skye Gynegell about a memorable meal that she shared with her father in...
Monday, October 25, 2010

Red Wine Pasta with Walnuts: Recipe for World Pasta Day

Pasta is my comfort food. It makes me happy to eat it, to cook it and even to look at it. I love all kinds of noodles from Italian to Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and even Spanish noodles. I love the texture and the way noodles are chameleon-like, absorbing flavors and reflecting all kinds of cultures. Noodles have something to say, whether lowly instant ramen or handmade fettuccine tossed with butter and shavings of truffle. I have written about noodles many times and am always glad to participate in anything pasta related and this time, it's World Pasta Day! I would not stop eating pasta for any reason, but it is good to know that pasta is not an "evil starch" but actually is a slowly absorbed carbohydrate, that has a low glycemic index. That means it does not cause sugar in the blood to rise as quickly as many other foods. Studies have shown that when eaten in healthy portions, pasta does not lead to weight gain, may be beneficial for those with diabetes, may reduc...
Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why do YOU cook, Vanessa Barrington?

There are lots of books out right now about canning and preserving and making all kinds of things from scratch. So how is D.I.Y. Delicious . different? It's written by Vanessa Barrington , a talented cook and writer, who figured out how to make stuff on her own, in a real home kitchen. It's filled with recipes for everyday things you will get excited to make yourself when you see how easy most of the recipes are. Soon you'll be making mustard, yogurt, pickles, horchata, crackers and more. The book also features recipes for using many of the things you'll learn to make. So after you learn to make Creme Fraiche (pg. 116) you can make Artichoke Soup with Creme Fraiche (pg.119). It also includes lots of cool ideas you probably haven't considered before like Savory Porridge with an egg and cheddar cheese or Pulled Pork Canapes with fig rosemary jam. Vanessa Barrington is creative, socially conscious and just plain fun. She's a talented writer, recipe developer...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Keys To Good Cooking by Harold McGee: Book Review

I love Harold McGee's classic tome, On Food and Cooking . I turn to it often when doing research for posts or articles I'm writing. But it's not the best book when I'm looking for practical advice. McGee's latest book, The Keys to Good Cooking is a bit like On Food and Cooking, only for dummies. Keys To Good Cooking is nothing BUT practical advice. And there is no book that I know of that answers quite as many questions about selecting ingredients, cooking and food storage. The book is a reference guide, not a cookbook. While it might be good to read the whole book the truth is, you are going to turn to various sections when you are cooking and the book is organized to make that easy. For example turn to the Sauces, Stocks and Soups to learn why you may not want to make mayonnaise with all olive oil or go to the Fruit section to learn why European plums are best for baking. My only quibble is that from time to time I would like a little more information, for exampl...
Sunday, October 17, 2010

Potluck Posts 10/17

If things have seemed a little quiet around here, it's because I've been busy traveling, writing and developing recipes. Since many of you have asked, each week I will be sharing links to recipes and posts I have written. Thanks for your interest and enjoy the Potluck Posts! Last month I was in Switzerland and this month I had a quick trip to Wisconsin to visit cheesemakers and dairies and to eat cheese; my thanks to the trip sponsor, Wisconsin Cheese . You'll be hearing more about the trip and my discoveries soon. For now, let me just say, it was wonderful. Those kohlrabi are from the Dane County Farmers Market in Madison, Wisconsin, and the picture is in honor of one of my new friends, Greg of Sippity Sup , who I met on the trip. In between my trips, I had the pleasure of hearing the very inspiring chef Rene Redzepi of restaurant Noma speak. My post on Rene Redzepi and Noma , is on EpiLog . Also on EpiLog are my posts on Savoring Sichuan Peppercorns , Hot Fresh Coo...
Thursday, October 14, 2010

What I brought home from Switzerland

I'm back from Switzerland and I thought I'd share with you some of my most prized purchases. Not surprisingly my first purchase was cheese. But no ordinary cheese. In fact, it's a cheese I am hard pressed to find at home. It's called sbrinz and if you can find it here, it will cost more than Parmigiano Reggiano, then again, you might find it even more delicious. It's a full fat, hard, dry grating cheese that is used much like Parmigiano. But it's sweeter, creamier and oh so yummy! In Appenzell I discovered this amazing dry, raw, smoked beef called Mostbröckli . I know, I know, it's not technically legal to bring meat into the US, but I couldn't help myself. It is shelf-stable and vacuum packed and it tastes like nothing I've ever tried before. It's leaner than prosciutto and less salty. It's smoky, sweet and beefy. It's also irresistible and literally forced me to break the law. Also from Appenzell I got a little tiny airplane s...