May 27, 2011

honey whole wheat hamburger buns

I think I've achieved a perfect whole wheat hamburger bun. I'm not bragging, because I certainly didn't get there by myself. I mean, I did bake it myself, but I had the benefit of a good recipe as well as methods from bakers who have spent many hours of their lifetime figuring out what works. In that sense, it was a successful collaboration, with a little experimentation on my part. And my third attempt was the charm.

So I'll give credit where it's due, but I sure had fun tweaking the details to get what I wanted. I relished the process, like a scientist pursuing different theories. Sometimes you just have to keep trying something new each day, and even an attempt that doesn't quite hit the target can be a new rabbit hole to explore later. Mistakes can be unexpected sources of inspiration, as long as you don't give up.

May 20, 2011

bison burger with alderwood smoked salt and muenster cheese

If you crave a good burger, but don't want to eat beef, a bison burger is a great alternative to traditional ground beef. Bison, also known as buffalo, is leaner in fat than beef and turkey, lower in cholesterol, and higher in protein. You can buy bison pre-ground, but to make the best burger, I choose a boneless chuck roast cut of bison and grind it at home. I've included a variety of suggestions here that will hopefully give you a juicy homemade burger and help to prep your tastebuds for those many summertime meals.

If you go the route of grinding your own burger meat, I've included a short list of tips. For the full perspective on why and how you should grind your own meat, read this excellent post from the blog Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Kitchen by Cathy Wheelbarrow, co-founder of the popular Charcutepalooza challenge where you can learn to salt, smoke, and cure your own meat.

May 13, 2011

visual cornucopia

I'm taking some time this weekend to check out a food photography seminar taught by Penny De Los Santos on She's an "award-winning internationally published photographer, a Senior Contributing photographer to Saveur magazine, and a regular contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine and Martha Stewart Living."1 If you're interested you can catch the remaining two days, Saturday and Sunday, online for free.

On a very cool food photography-related note, I had three recipes from this blog published this past week on and These websites are an incredible visual cornucopia of photos from food bloggers across the internet. Each photo links back to the corresponding recipe from the related blog, and it's a great way to find new blogs, try creative recipes, and also gain exposure as a food blogger.

May 6, 2011

mango coconut cardamom muffins

Sometimes it's important to remember to just slow down and enjoy the process. The simple act of preparing food can become a meditative experience as you carefully craft each step, taking in the fragrance and freshness of food made with your own hands. Besides, if you nervously rush through, you're likely to forget things. I discovered this as I was experimenting with a second batch of these muffins and forgot two of the essential flavor makers, ground cardamom and orange zest.

Some of my favorite foods are those that contain that extra hit from fresh spices or herbs in unique combinations. Just a couple of ingredients can change something from average to really good, and the orange zest and ground cardamom are definitely the game changers in this recipe. While you're making these muffins, be sure to dip your finger in the mango purée after blending, and breath in the fragrance of the cardamom when you mix it into the flour. Mmmm.

This muffin recipe makes use of coconut pulp leftover from making fresh coconut milk. The pulp is a light and fluffy flour-like substance that remains after straining the milk. For a basic muffin recipe template, I used Mark Bittman's "Muffins, Infinite Ways" from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and to verify the ideas I had for main ingredients I used The Flavor Bible by Andrew Dornenberg and Karen Page, a great resource for finding complimentary flavors in food. The resulting muffins are loaded with healthy ingredients like coconut milk, whole grain flour and mango, and achieve a wholesome sweetness with medjool dates. They're a perfect grab and go breakfast, and would also be wonderful as part of a breakfast brunch. Anyway you prefer them, be sure to savor the experience.