Little Things Mean a Lot

I was thinking the other morning, as I was writing out a recipe for this blog, about how I often use qualifiers when listing ingredients. For example, rather than saying, “1 tbsp. butter,” I will say, “1 tbsp. fresh sweet cream butter.” Or instead of “salt,” I will recommend “flaky sea salt, such as Maldon.”

Gorgeous pyramid crystals of Maldon salt

Gorgeous pyramid crystals of Maldon salt

It’s because little differences in ingredients can mean a lot. Especially in simple dishes that utilize only a few ingredients. More

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Don’t Try This at Home

Even as long as I’ve been cooking, I’m still guilty on a regular basis of stupid kitchen injuries and snafus. I try to tell my children, when they cook with me, to learn from my mistakes. I show them the assortment of current cuts and burns on my hands as a cautionary tale. Perhaps they’ll learn the lessons of their father, or perhaps they’ll learn the hard way.

Don't let a shark bite off the tip of your nose!

Don’t let a tiny kitchen shark bite off the tip of your nose!

Here is a list of culinary “Don’t”s — dumb kitchen mistakes that I find myself repeating over and over. I share them with you in the hopes you might have more common sense than I and avoid them. Or at least get a laugh at my misfortune. More

The Best Salmon, the Best Way

As we prepare for our upcoming family trip to Alaska, I find myself thinking a lot about salmon. The beautiful filets of sockeye and king from the Copper and other pristine rivers I’m finding at the fishmarkets these days have my mind already north. I once saw a river in Sitka so choked with spawning salmon swimming upstream that it seemed as if you could’ve walked across their backs and never touched water. Another river near Juneau was littered with the skinless carcasses of salmon — in bumper years, the bears peel off and eat the skin, and discard the rest.

Spawning sockeye in Juneau.

Spawning sockeye in Juneau.

I’ve oft commented on this blog about how people tend to overcook salmon. And while it is still a delicious fish when cooked all the way through, it is so much better when left medium-rare to rare. Or, as I personally prefer, raw. More

Green Tomatoes for Lori

Late last fall, I was picking up my son Flynn from the home of our friends’ Lori and Gerard, where he was playing with his friend — their daughter Kiana.

Green tomatoes, herbs & squash blossom

Green tomatoes, herbs & squash blossom

Lori and I were standing in the yard chatting while the kids hammered on their wood projects and toddler Immy rolled around in a big plastic Smart Car-looking toy she found on the patio. We talked of the difficulty of growing vegetables in Topanga Canyon, as I admired her tall, barren tomato plants. More

Love Thyself

It was a Sunday morning. My wife had taken the kids to church, and I was alone in the house. I spent some time chasing a guinea fowl in the yard, but failing to catch it, returned inside to do the responsible thing: pick up toys and clutter. I hadn’t gotten far into my chores, however, before the kitchen called.

Lunch with myself

Lunch with myself

Shifting things around in the fridge for inspiration, I remembered some toro and sea urchin I’d purchased at the Japanese market a few days before and hadn’t used yet. With dinner plans for the evening and time running out on the freshness clock, it was now or never. So I got out the short grain rice and began rinsing it. More

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