April 27, 2012

whole wheat indian no-fry bread

When I was growing up in Arizona, we'd occasionally go to a fair that had Indian exhibits with jewelry and blankets and pottery and other beautiful artisan objects. As a kid, what I remember looking forward to when visiting the fairs was Indian fry bread, a soft square or rectangular pillow of bread, fried in oil until it puffed, and then usually drizzled with honey. It's a close relative of the sopapilla, and everyone makes it just a little differently-some versions are denser, more bread-like, and some are lighter and more puffy. All versions are fried in oil, and this is where I digress.

April 20, 2012

a garden of green

Last week, on one of my daily walks with Hiro, I spied one caterpillar, and then a second, crawling across the sidewalk. This reminded me that there were probably at least two caterpillars in our garden at home, and obviously they're on the loose everywhere else. But though I can see they've been making a meal of the mustard greens, and even more so the spinach, the trouble is always finding those little grubbers in the act. What I need is a chicken or two in the backyard to make a meal of them.

April 13, 2012

cooking outside the box

You might think it's kind of ironic for a blog that revolves around sharing recipes to talk about cooking outside the box. And by that, what I mean is, cooking without strictly following the directions of a specific recipe. Personally, I've always been someone who follows recipes, and with my limited knowledge, that's not a bad thing to do at all. In the last couple of years or so, I've learned many things from the cookbooks I've read, and I've cooked many things I've never tried before. Little by little, I've gathered a practical base of knowledge and skills, and what seemed hard in the past has become something that is second nature. This is not to say there still isn't a lot for me to learn when it comes to cooking. What I mean to say is that all this cooking has unlocked that little box in my head that has its own ideas, and that is a very good thing.

Along those lines is the book An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, wonderfully written by Tamar Adler. Tamar's intention in writing her book is to empower the home cook. Although recipes do appear throughout the book, Tamar's focus is more on beginning with staples most of us regularly have in our kitchen. She even begins her book with the simplest thing, water, and talks about making the best use of it. To be able to consider what food you have on hand and make a fine meal of it, while also re-purposing parts of that meal for other meals to come, is the best skill of all. In Tamar's words, "cooking is both simpler and more necessary than we imagine."

April 6, 2012

a photo opportunity

In the process of putting together weekly posts for the musician, who cooks, I take a lot of pictures. When I first started taking pictures of food, the single best piece of advice I read was to use natural light when taking photos. Fortunately we've got a big sunny window in the kitchen, and this is usually where I stage my shots. Unfortunately, I am limited by my skill level with a camera, and if the available light is fickle or fading, then I am at the mercy of it. What should be a simple shot can become a long process, when maybe all I need to do is adjust the shutter speed or some other little tweak that is second nature to a trained and experienced photographer. In other words, I need to learn the fundamentals.