Thursday, July 29, 2010

Have You Seen This?

Check out this commercial where designer Candice Olson draws a Foodtoon. Alas, I have as yet received no royalties.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Surf's Up!

As a matter of fact, I did fall on my head as a child. Why do you ask?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


My friend Annie went to Tallulah on Thames last weekend, and she reported that she was less than thrilled with her "Deconstructed Clam Chowder." Personally, I'm getting tired of hearing the term "deconstruction" bandied about. In the same way that using the word "ironic" when you mean "funny" doesn't make your fart joke highbrow, saying something is "deconstructed" doesn't automatically make it artistic. Or, in this case, good.

From what I can tell, they used "deconstructed" as shorthand for "we didn't bother to build flavors in this soup, we just had the server dump broth over a couple of clams and some potatoes at tableside." The whole point of soup is that the process of making it creates a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

To quote Inigo Montoya, I do not think it means what you think it means.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Guacamole - with Recipe!

I made this guacamole a couple of weekends ago when I was in a taco kind of mood. I loved the guacamole we had at El Charro Cafe in Tucson, and this recipe is my version of it.

Now I know that guacamole is one of the things that people get passionate and, frankly, a little nutty about. Messing with guacamole is like messing with people's grandmother's recipes. First of all, folks should lighten up. I am not submitting this as the definitive guacamole recipe, but instead as something you might like to try. Second of all, I mess with my own grandmother's recipes and you may feel free to mess with this one. I like the brightness of lemon juice with avocados, but lime juice is certainly more traditional. If you love cilantro, add more than my recipe calls for. Taste as you go and make it your own. It's what I did and the Army Dude and I loved the results.


2 ripe avocados

1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. minced cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

1 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

1 medium tomato, chopped


Remove avocado flesh from the skin and place in a bowl. Mash with a fork. Add lemon juice, and continue to mash until you get the consistency you want. Add garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper, and mix well. Give it a taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Fold in tomato and goat cheese. Taste again, and make any adjustments. Once you love it, serve.

Note: If you are making the guacamole ahead or you have leftovers, scoop it into a plastic container, press a piece of plastic wrap flat onto the top of the dip to prevent discoloring, and then close the lid on the container.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Summertime Favorite

Army Dude and I went to the Wickford Art Festival yesterday. We saw a lot of really cool art, but I didn't buy much. I didn't want to blow my whole art budget only to discover a treasure like a sofa-sized dogs playing poker painting on velvet later on.

We had a hot tip from our friend Joe that the place to go for strawberry shortcake was the First Baptist Church on Main Street. We weren't really sure where it was, but when we heard a man announcing "Chowder! Clam Cakes! Strawberry Shortcake!" we snapped to attention like a pair of war horses hearing a bugle. We wasted no time procuring two strawberry shortcakes.

The ladies of the First Baptist Church know their stuff. The fresh strawberries had been lightly poached in a simple syrup, and a generous portion was poured over a homemade baking powder biscuit. The whipped cream was beaten until it was about a minute away from becoming butter and piled high. I took one bite and exclaimed "Oh my God." The church ladies didn't seem to mind. I think they're used to that reaction.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Informed Consumer

It turns out you can know too much about the food you eat.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saturday Farmer's Market

You know how, 'round about this time of year, you lose your cooking mojo? You feel like it's getting hot, heavy food doesn't appeal, and salads get boring? How time spent in the kitchen is time not spent enjoying the too-short New England summer? No? Well, it happens to me.

So I went to the Aquidneck Island Grower's Market looking for fresh produce and inspiration. Upon arrival, I put up my psychological Yuppie shield so that the annoying Yuppies (you know who you are) that often frequent farmer's markets could not disturb my inner fabulousness.

Imagine my delight when, toward the end of my shopping, I met the Queen of Quince. (No really, she said so.) Talk about fabulous! Barbara Ghazarian, author of Simply Armenian and Simply Quince, is - as the back of her cookbook says - a true original. Passionate about Armenian cooking and the quince, she is friendly, fun, and eager to share. She described recipes so well I could feel myself putting on weight just listening.

But comfort food is only part of Simply Armenian. Many of the recipes are fresh, light, and healthy - perfect for summer cooking. I bought the cookbook, and then went home and made the Carrot and Toasted Pine Nut salad (page 91) that Barbara had mentioned. It was beyond delicious and so simple to prepare. If you want to introduce some healthy recipes into your repertoire while maintaining your reputation as an awesome cook, buy this cookbook.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Rite of Passage

The Army Dude and I were sitting on the deck at his house, having just finished a dinner of grilled chicken, pasta with arugula pesto, and sliced tomatoes, and we started thinking about dessert (as you do). I suggested we make S'mores since the grill was still hot.

Then the Army Dude asked me if I knew how to make S'mores. I honestly thought he was pulling my leg because everyone knows how to make them. Also, as an army dude, he's basically spent the last 20 years camping for a living. He explained, "There is something called Light and Noise Discipline. We don't light big campfires and then sit around toasting marshmallows and singing 'Kumbaya.' That would make it easy for the enemy to find us." I guess that means that in combat situations, army dudes sit around in the dark and talk about their feelings.

I decided this was a situation that had to be rectified with all convenient speed. We went to the Summit General Store, where they helpfully place the S'mores ingredients all in one place, right up front. We heart them. Then I taught the Army Dude how to make S'mores. Next time I'm going to teach him some Girl Scout songs to sing while the marshmallows toast. Baby steps.