The Greatest Sin

Contemplating a quarter loaf of severely stale ciabatta bread in my kitchen this morning, I was reminded of a staggering statistic I read recently. “The NRDC report said Americans discard 40 percent of the food supply every year.”

All that stale bread & an overripe tomato can be

As a person with a gut-level aversion to throwing anything edible away, this figure was unimaginable — especially given the hunger not only around the world, but in our own country. Another statistic: “In 2010, 17.2 million households, 14.5 percent of households (approximately one in seven), were food insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United States.” Children were “food insecure” (i.e. hungry) in 10% of households. All of which brings up a fairly obvious question:

How is it that 15% of America is hungry, when we are throwing away 40% of our food? More

Crustaceans in Oz

I do a lot of shopping. I go to farmers markets, Japanese markets, Persian markets, Vietnamese supermarkets, Indian spice stores, Mexican carnicerias, Chinese poultry shops… And on the way home, I usually stop at the regular old grocery store. It’s where I get staples — sugar, cheese for the kids, bananas, hamburger buns, etc. Our local one has reasonably good produce, an excellent wine department and a nice view of the Pacific Ocean across the street.

Butter-poached Australian lobster with saffron risotto and lobster sauce

On Valentine’s Day afternoon, I dropped by the local overpriced seafood market to see if anything caught my eye to serve with the bottle of Perrier Jouet I had chilling in the fridge. And everything was, well, overpriced. More

Spaghetti ai ricci di mare

Sea urchin is a prickly subject around our house. Ha, get it? Prickly??? Anyway, I could eat it several nights a week, my family not so much.

Spaghetti ai ricci di mare

For most folks, sea urchin exists in one context — uni, as served in sushi bars. And people generally either love it or hate it. The first time I had it, in my 20s, it was at a $14.95 all-you-can-eat sushi joint. Looking back, I imagine this particular urchin must’ve been sitting on or under the counter for quite some time. My friend, Gary, and I — in a fit of boldness inspired by saké bombs — split an order. Gingerly we put it in our mouths, then each watched the other’s face flush white as he grabbed desperately for his beer. It was, by a measure I hadn’t experienced before, not good. More

Freako for Frico

Mini-Caesar salad in a frico cone

It’s one of life’s best things. That little bit of melted cheese that escapes from the edge of the grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla, and sizzles into the pan, becoming crisp and lacy. More

I Believe in the Bean

If you’ve read much of this blog, you know that I’m a big fan of beans.

I like all kinds of beans — soupy black beans with garlicky, citrussy Cuban food (that’s the next post, so stay tuned), earthy borlotti beans from Italy (see two posts back), big meaty faba Asturiana beans from Spain, delicate and floral flageolets from France, fermented Chinese black beans, edamame, Mexican pinto beans…

Today I’m writing — or actually talking — about cannellini beans. In the following video, I’ve cooked a pot of these versatile beans, and prepared them four different ways… so you get an idea of how easy they are to make, and how many different things you can do with them. Of these four preparations, I’ve created two in an Italian style, one Spanish and one French. All take no more than a few minutes to make, once you’ve actually cooked the beans. You can even cook a big batch of beans and keep them in the fridge for a week or so, and make different bean dishes on different nights. Enjoy!

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