Category Archives: media

Official Launch: Refrigerator Soup

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m part of a new project. It’s a new cooking magazine, actually, called Refrigerator Soup.

In it, you’ll find writing – by me and some of my favorite other food writers – as well as recipes and tips for balancing good food with a busy family life.

The first issue, released today, is dedicated to moms, and filled with essays on how the joys and challenges of having children come with us into the kitchen. The stories are heartfelt, sometimes funny, and may feel a bit familiar to you. Future issues will most likely grow, with more recipes. The editor, a colleague I look up to with much respect, wants to hear what you have to say. (On Twitter, she’s @fridgesoup.)

Give it a read. (It’s print on demand: You order it, they send it.) Make dinner. (The recipes are designed with busy folks in mind.) Tell me what you think. (Really. Email me.)

Hope you enjoy it.

Practice Makes Patience
By Jess Thomson

I am a mom. At least, that’s what they tell me. Sixteen months in, I’m still finding it hard to believe. I always thought being a mom would require outstanding chin-scrubbing skills, and a good “no” voice, and pocketfuls of crushed cereal – all of which I have – but also, and perhaps most importantly, boundless patience. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a particularly patient person. Click here for more…


Filed under media, recipe


Ingredients for holiday dinner
To listen to the version of this story that aired on KUOW, click here.

I recently played the most ridiculous game of telephone. It started when I called my grandmother to cook her dinner.

I know, it sounds all wrong, doesn’t it? You can’t cook for someone over the phone. I didn’t think so either. I’d planned a trip to Portland to do it in person. My grandmother, June, called her sister, and a friend, and molded an entire day around a trip to the grocery store for about ten ingredients. They scrummed around the produce department guy, battering him with questions about fennel and kale. Then they hit the fish counter, where, June told me, she knew not to order the wild salmon because it’s bad for the environment, and knew she could have told the fish guy where to cut, but didn’t have to. I smiled over the phone, not caring what she bought, because she was going to cook. (This woman eats, but she does not, in contemporary lexicon, cook.)

Then my cat got attacked by a raccoon. He was oozy and insulted and very much upset about being left alone indoors, so at the very last minute, I cancelled on my grandmother. She was devastated. She used that word – devastated – and I could hear the truth of it in her voice, weighing her down like an age. (She’s not usually dramatic.)

So we made a phone date. She’d invite her friends back over, and I’d call “on the cellular phone,” and we’d do it all that way, ear to ear. I’d talk, and she’d chop, and it would be like I was right there in the kitchen.

Of course, there was a little catch. The point of cooking for her, that night, was to demonstrate for her a holiday entertaining menu that even she could master – a whole dinner that would take me a heaping ten minutes to put in the oven. There would be roasted salmon with a lemon-cumin raita (she loves yogurt sauces), Dijon potatoes (she’s a mustard fiend), roasted fennel with sherry, and creamed kale – just the right balance of familiarity and foreignness. I figured ten minutes for me meant 20 or so for us together. But on the telephone?

But they’d already purchased the food.

Dinner at Grandma June’s house is a five o’clock affair. I called at 4:15, and June answered on the first ring.

“We’re here,” she sang. “Mary’s had her cigarette, and Verna has the knife.” Taken out of context, I might have been worried, but in this case, I knew that meant they were ready.

“I’m just going to hand the phone to Verna, and you can tell her what to do, okay?” said June.

“Not so fast,” I said. June will do almost anything to not cook. “How about you hold the phone while she chops?” I figured processing the instructions counted for at least half.

And so it began. My dinner plan echoed from Seattle to Portland, from me, to June, then invariably Verna and Mary:

Jess: Okay, let’s start by turning on the oven.
June: Verna, turn on the oven.
Verna: How do you turn on the oven?
June: Push in the dial.
Verna: Okay, how hot do you want it?
June: How hot do we want it?
Jess: 400 degrees.
June: 400 degrees.
Mary: How long is this going to take?

And on we went. I learned, over the next (honestly) 40 minutes, to give extremely specific instructions. We started with potatoes, then fennel, then kale, then salmon. But we started everything slowly:

Jess: Is your white square ceramic pan nearby?
June: Yes, right here.
Jess: Okay, I’m going to tell you how to cut the fennel, then you’re going to put the fennel slices in, drizzle them with olive oil and roll them around a bit. Ready?
June: (To Verna, excited) We’re going to get the fennel ready now. (To Jess) Okay, what do we do?
Jess: Okay. Pretend the fennel is a hand. You see it, with the fingers sticking up?
June: Verna: Pretend the fennel is a hand, with the fingers sticking up.
Verna: I don’t see it. A hand?
June: We don’t see it. What do you mean?
Jess: Can you pretend that the white part is your palm and the green sticky-uppity parts are fingers?
June: Oh, yes.
Verna: What. What? (June explains.)
Jess: (Hems, haws, then decides not to trim the bottom.) Okay. You can eat all of it, but for tonight, we’re going to cut the tops off. Cut the long green stalks off where the rings would be, if the fennel was a hand.
June: Cut the long green stalks off where the rings would be . . . what?
Jess: If the fennel was a hand.
June: If the fennel was a hand. Isn’t it were a hand?
(Chopping sounds.)
Jess: Okay, now cut it into slices through the core.
June: Now cut it into slices through the core.
Verna: I have to talk to her about the center.

Verna washed her hands, and June handed her the phone. I explained how to cut the fennel bulb into wedges right through the center core, so the layers of vegetable stick together, and promised her that it would roast up nice and soft. She handed the phone back to June, and got to work. And on we went, for potatoes, kale, salmon, and the sauce.

Overall, though, it worked quite well. Since it took us (collectively) longer than it took me alone to prepare the ingredients, I had them cut their salmon into smaller filets, instead of roasting it in a big slab, and unless they were lying, it came out perfectly.

From my end, it was sort of a grueling half hour or so. But it also made my heart melt, they same way it does when a kid says something so entirely wrong it’s cute. I’d say, “Squeeze the lemon over the fish,” and June would say, “How do you squeeze a lemon again?” and Verna would say, “June, I know how to squeeze a lemon,” and Mary, more kitchencaster than participant, would say, “What’s the lemon for? Why aren’t we putting it on the fish later?” And since I was there, they’d ask me, to make sure, and we’d spend 25 seconds – watch the clock, it’s a long time – talking lemon-squeezing.

But my goodness, they giggled. There were three of them, but even so, sometimes they were so overwhelmed by the collective energy it took to, say, find the cumin, that they’d abandon me on the counter, and I could hear them twittering, one to the next. It was like listening to a recording of a pack of teenagers in 1939.

And after they’d called back to report that yes, dinner was sensational, I imagined them gathered in front of her giant new television, watching the World Series, picking kale out of their teeth, and wished I wasn’t such a sucker for Whiney McWhiskers. But if anyone understands coddling a cat, it’s June.

Over Thanksgiving, she told me again how much fun she’d had. “But fennel,” she said. “I wouldn’t be too sad if I never saw fennel again. I’m a carrots-onions-potatoes kind of gal.”

Fair enough. I’ll cook the fennel here.

Holiday Dinner 2

The Ten Minute Holiday Meal: Roasted Salmon with Lemon-Cumin Raita, Caramelized Fennel with Sherry Vinegar, Simple Dijon Potatoes, and Creamed Kale (PDF)

The holidays are a time to put the shine on your best silver, if that’s what suits you, but it doesn’t suit everyone. Me? I didn’t always save the pasta-making, reduction-simmering, and bread baking for other times of the year. It used to make sense to stand in the kitchen for hours, talking and stirring. But these days, with an 8-month-old, I’m lucky if I can boil water in one try at 6 p.m. So this year, having guests over will mean simplicity, so there’s a chance – even the slightest, skinniest chance – that I’ll get to talk to the people hanging out with us in our home.

The following simple menu was designed with a 4-person dinner party in mind, to be prepared in a bit over 10 minutes (with dinner about 20 minutes afterward). It doubles easily, but if you do double it, keep in mind that it will take you longer to cut the vegetables, so the salmon might go in later. Luckily, it’s hard to overcook the potatoes, fennel, and kale, so let the salmon determine dinnertime – just add the sherry to the fennel right when you start taking things out of the oven, so it has a minute or two to sizzle.

If you can’t find Olsen Farms’ “Spud Nuts,” which are basically ridiculously small potatoes, quarter golf ball-sized potatoes and use them instead. Potatoes simply halved (per the photos above) don’t quite cook enough in the time allotted.

And, as always, please READ THROUGH the directions before beginning. The directions assume all produce is washed.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

MAKE THE POTATOES: Grease a shallow roasting pan with a teaspoon of olive oil. Toss 1 1/2 pounds Spud Nuts (or quartered small potatoes) with 2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard, transfer them to the pan, and put them in the oven on the bottom rack.

MAKE THE FENNEL: Cut the long green stalks off a 1 1/2 pound fennel bulb and save to slice into a salad. Cut the fennel in half vertically (with the stripes), then cut each half into 6 or 8 wedges, so the core keeps each wedge intact. Pile the wedges in an ovenproof pan big enough to fit them in one layer, drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and mix with your hands until all the fennel is coated. Add to the oven’s bottom rack.

START THE KALE: Cut 2 small bunches (about 3/4 pound) lacinato (also called dinosaur) kale crosswise into thin ribbons. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large, deep pan over medium heat. Add a crushed, chopped garlic clove, stir for a few seconds, then add the kale, and cook, stirring occasionally while you continue.

MAKE THE SAUCE: Stir together the contents of an 8-ounce container full-fat Greek yogurt, the zest and juice of a lemon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, salt and pepper to taste, and if you want, a chopped clove of garlic. Set aside to let the flavors marry, as they say.

MAKE THE SALMON: Center a 1 1/2 pound (roughly 1 1/2” thick) salmon filet on a parchment- or baking mat-lined baking sheet. Smear with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes or so, or roughly 10 minutes per inch of thickness, until the salmon just begins to exude small white beads of fat (but really not much longer, please).

UPKEEP: Add 1 cup heavy cream and a quick grate of nutmeg to the kale, stir, and walk away. Come back in 10 minutes, stir the kale, pour yourself more wine, and sit back down. (The kale is done when the cream’s gone, but it’s very happy to sit on low heat until you’re ready to eat.)

WHEN THE SALMON IS DONE: Add a big splash – about 1 1/2 tablespoons – sherry vinegar to the fennel pan, and return to the oven without breathing in too deeply (watch those vinegar fumes). Take the salmon out, and transfer it to a serving platter, along with the sauce. Transfer the kale to a serving bowl. Snuggle the potatoes in next to the salmon. Shake the fennel pan to release the wedges, and add them to the platter, too.

Serve hot.


Filed under farmer's market, fish, gluten-free, kitchen adventure, media, radio, recipe, side dish, vegetables

Little things, and a roasted vegetable chowder

Simmering Root Veg Chowder

Today, just a few quick links, and a recipe for an oven-roasted (mostly) root vegetable chowder…

That fried squash? You might have heard me talking about it on KUOW, Seattle’s NPR station. (If you didn’t, it’s here.)

Kabocha-Maple Sour Cream Coffee Cake close

Also, I’ve entered the maple-kabocha sour cream bundt cake in Bon Appetit’s holiday dessert bake-off. The winner is picked in part by popular vote, which – if junior high cheerleading tryouts are any indication – has never been my strongpoint, but what the hay. Head on over to vote. (Hint: It’s in the cake category. And while you’re there, look for entries from other Seattle food bloggers!)

And then – then – I’m done with squash. Promise. At least for a day or two.

Salty Marcona Almond Toffee 1

My recipe for Salty Marcona Almond Toffee – one of my favorite holiday treats – is being featured over at

We’re having fifteen people here for Thanksgiving. Not much is decided, but I’ll certainly be making this pear-spiked cranberry jam, as well as these bleu cheese and walnut cookies, because a Thanksgiving elf just sent me a six pound wheel of Point Reyes. Today, I begin the hunt for an excellent sausage-studded cornbread stuffing recipe. And if you’re a geometry expert, I could use your help fitting a table for fifteen into our living room.

I’ve been on Twitter (@onfoodandlife) for a couple months now. For those uninterested in joining, note that you can now follow my tweets – and not learn a single thing about social media, if it’s not your thang – on the righthand side of Hogwash’s home page.

And oh, yes. Hogwash. She’s had a little bit of a face lift. What do you think? Is there anything you’d like to see more of around here?

For now, a quick chowder for two. For the days when you can’t sit over the stove and stir.

Mostly Root Veg Chowder 1

Mostly Root Vegetable Chowder (PDF)
Made with fennel, parsnips, kale, shallots, garlic, and of course potatoes, this bacon-studded, oven-roasted chowder is a break from the kind that cements you to your seat for the hours following lunch. And because the bacon and vegetables are roasted together in the oven, it takes much less active time than most chowders—and you get the same potato skin snap you get when you roast potatoes alone.

TIME: 20 minutes prep
MAKES: 2 large servings

2 fat slices bacon, diced
Half a (1-pound) fennel bulb, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1” rounds
1/2 pound small white potatoes, quartered
2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup chopped kale

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Scatter the bacon on the bottom of a heavy ovenproof pot, such as a Dutch oven. In a mixing bowl, toss the fennel, shallot, parsnips, potatoes, garlic, and thyme with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Roast 40 to 45 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to brown on the bottom and the bacon is crispy. Stir to release the vegetables from the pan.

Roasted veg and bacon for chowder

Add the chicken stock, cream, and kale, and stir again. Cook another 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary, and serve hot.

Note: To double the recipe, switch to a wider pan, like a heavy roasting pan, so the vegetables have enough room to spread out and caramelize a bit.


Filed under gluten-free, Lunch, media, pork, recipe, soup, vegetables

Halloween homage


It’s hard to bring a dead magazine flowers, especially when you live thousands of miles away from its former headquarters. But more than profess Gourmet magazine’s perfection or symbolism, its former prowess or power, what I’ve been wanting to say, these last few weeks, is just. . . You know. Sorry.



Filed under media

Hungry Monkey

Pretzel & mustard 2

I knew I’d want to cook again, but I didn’t know exactly how I’d get started. It didn’t happen the way I expected—not with the ripe fragrance of strawberries on the counter, or a craving, or a taste, translated from tonguespeak to brainwave, like they so often do, into some sort of cookable fantasy. It was sound that brought me in.

There are a lot of new sounds in my life right now. There’s Graham, of course, who turns out to be part horse, whinnying and neighing in his sleep. There’s the thud of the mail in the bin, always right around 2 p.m. There’s the now-familiar squeak of our not-so-gently used rocking chair.

That chair is beginning to feel like part of my own anatomy. I feed in it. I read in it. I pump in it. And yes, occasionally, I sleep in it. The other day, I had Graham on my shoulder, rocking and patting. It must have been some seldom-seen hour, because as I listened, the thwattwhattwhat sound of my palm on his back morphed into the steady rhythm of a KitchenAid, beating its contents against the side of the work bowl with dutiful regularity. I am going crazy, I thought. I am imagining my child as a stand mixer. I could see the dough in the bowl, curling and cleaving around the white hook. I’m not generally that into bread making, so it sort of surprised me to find myself wondering what sort of bread I’d start in the morning. No, I thought. If you haven’t showered in 3 days, you may not make bread. I ignored the urge, but for days, every time I went to burp Graham, I thought about it. Thwatthwatthwat.

This chair of ours, it’s been a godsend in the wee hours, which I’ve decided to dedicate to all the baby preparation reading I never did before Graham was born. At night, after I feed him, I’ve been plunking him on a pillow on my lap, and reading and rocking to make sure he’s good and konked out before putting him back to bed. This worked like a charm for the first few nights, when I was reading one of those What to Expect books, which are roughly as entertaining as a grammar primer.

Then I picked up Hungry Monkey. It’s ostensibly a book on raising a kid to eat well, so it qualifies for inclusion in my midnight reading pile. The only problem is that it makes me laugh so much—and I say makes, not made, because I keep picking it up to reread bits and parts—that I keep waking my kid up.

You know Roots and Grubs, right? It’s a blog, by Matthew Amster-Burton, another Seattle food writer. He’s fantastic; it’s one of the few blogs I actually read on a regular basis. When I’m in a funk—or worse, at a bad press event—Matthew always makes me laugh.

If I were to make sweeping generalizations, I’d say Roots and Grubs is about making his family dinner. It goes like this: He cooks something, and his daughter, Iris, says something hilarious. I’m not convinced he doesn’t make some of it up, because it’s always funny, and no one’s funny all the time. Except Matthew and Iris. I’ve never actually met her, but Iris seems to be a great advertisement for having children. And Matthew, it turns out, is a great advertisement for being a parent (in the food department, at least).

Hungry Monkey is Matthew’s first book—one I’d been waiting anxiously to read, because it chronicles his attempts to raise an Eater, capital E, within the restraints toddlerhood naturally entails (pickiness, unexplained changes in food preferences, preschool peer pressure, etc.). I plowed through my advance copy before Graham was born, chortling over stories about taking Iris to a Seattle sushi-go-round, teaching her to make pancakes on an Iris-sized griddle, and competing with other parents to make the most sensational preschool snack. Here’s the one about fish eyeballs that Graham lost sleep over:

One night I made stuffed trout for dinner. “And will the trout get very, very big when you stuff it?” Iris asked. She helped me stuff the trout with fennel, bacon, red onion, and fresh herbs.

Stuffed trout is easier to make than it is to eat, because you want to just cut off a hunk with stuffing sandwiched between two pieces of boneless fish, but there are many bones in the way of this noble intention. For this reason and because Iris is frequently more enthusiastic about cooking than eating, I figured she would forget about the trout by the time it hit the table and concentrate on the hash browns I served with it.

Wrong. Iris at the fish, the bacon, the vegetables, the potatoes, and even, well . . .

To say that she was undeterred by the fact that the fish’s head was there on the platter would be an understatement. “There’s the head!” she exclaimed. I found a piece of cheek meat and ate it, and Iris said,

“I want to eat some cheek.”

I said okay and rooted around for another piece. “There’s some check,” Iris said, pointing.

“No, that’s the eyeball.”

“I want to eat the eyeball.”


“Yes.” She took a bite. “It’s gooey. Why is it gooey?”

“Eyeballs are just like that,” said Laurie.

Iris thought about this, then requested and ate the other eyeball.

Anyway. The first time through, I folded down page corners, like I always do with food books, promising myself I’d make potstickers, and larb gai, and gingerbread cupcakes, and duck hash. Then came Graham, followed almost immediately by fantasies about raising a kid whose plate sees as much action as Iris’s. I picked up Hungry Monkey again, and bought twelve copies (not joking) for friends celebrating (or about to celebrate) Mother’s Day.

So now, every day, I open the book to a random page, hoping to absorb the crumbs of parenting wisdom Matthew sprinkles throughout his stories—but after Graham’s asleep, so when my belly jiggles I don’t disturb him as much. This morning, frustrated by Graham’s introduction to breastfeeding, I flipped to the first chapter again:

According to Laurie, on our first night home from the hospital, I made one of our favorite dinners, salmon with cucumber salad. I have no memory of this, or much of anything from those first three months before Laurie went back to work. I remember Iris nursing almost constantly, day and night, and taking naps in our laps. She refused to be put down, ever, for twelve weeks. I’m not exaggerating for effect: we held her 24-7 for twelve weeks. I called her the Ice Princess, because she never smiled. Sometimes, when it had been twenty minutes since her last feeding and she was ready for the next one, I called her Hungry Monkey.

Ah. So it’s not just me. And it’s okay, that my child has no concept of time, and that I will have no recollection of writing this?

So nice to have a book on child-rearing that tells me I’m normal.

Yesterday, I flipped to chapter 13, and was reassured in advance that no parent can avoid being a sucker at the grocery store:

But shopping at the supermarket with Iris brings up the kind of stereotypical parent-child issues that I like to pretend I can opt out of. As in: Iris tries to convince me to buy some stupid product. I say no. She whines. I relent. When we get home we eat 10 percent of the product and the rest goes stale. This happened most recently with frozen pretzels, which I agreed to buy even though I make homemade pretzels and Iris loves to sprinkle salt on them.

Time out, I thought. He makes pretzels? As in, squishy, salty, Bavarian-style pretzels? It never occurred to me that they could be produced without a two-hour rest on some sort of spinning device under heat lamps. But there it was, a recipe for pretzels, right at the back of the chapter. Better yet, it looked easy—just required a quick knead in the stand mixer. Oooh, I thought. I can make bread without actually making bread.

These pretzels require very few ingredients and the attention span of a three-year-old. (Perfect!) Sometime mid-afternoon, I announced to Jim that I’d be baking them, and that yes, I’d let him dip them in mustard. He looked at me like he was going to go get prepared to clean up after me (emotionally or physically, I’m not sure), and mumbled some sort of acquiescence.

I measured. The KitchenAid mixed. The dough puffed up. I rolled it out into skinny little snakes, feeling almost a little guilty that I didn’t wait for Graham to be old enough to make them for the first time. I boiled them, flipping them with a fish spatula before transferring them to the baking sheet. I salted, and when the salt melted in a little, I salted again. (It’s best to use salting as a verb, so you get enough on there. Someday, I’ll have a toddler who can do this for me.) They looked like a line of grumpy old men with their arms crossed, standing guard on the baking sheet. In they went.

In about 20 minutes of actual work time, I had pretzels way tastier than what we buy for $4 a pop at the German pub down the street—soft, gorgeously crackled, gently blistery pretzels. Even better, they came out of the oven on the same baking sheet I put them in on, which meant something in my brain registered “hot” and I didn’t burn my fingers, like I do every single time at Prost. We ate all six of them immediately.

Honestly, I sort of fault Matthew for buying frozen pretzels now. I mean, I understand the in situ issue—gorgeous child embarrassing him in the grocery store, baying about how if he loved her he’d buy her frozen pretzels. . . but really. If you make these, and ever feel the urge to buy a frozen pretzel afterwards, I’ll buy you a beer. (If you remind me I said this when Graham’s 3, though, I’ll deny it.)

Of course, now that I’ve made them, I have to admit that I was wrong—the thwattwhattwhat sound I was remembering is the one the paddle attachment makes, whipping a looser batter, like for a cake. Kneading dough with the hook makes more of a grumbling noise. Which, come to think of it, Graham makes also. But whatever. All that happens in the middle of the night, and in a few weeks, I won’t remember any of it anyway.

Hungry Monkey pretzel

Pretzels (PDF)
Recipe by Matthew Amster-Burton, from Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater. Used with permission.

TIME: 2 hours, including rising time
YOU’LL NEED: stand mixer
LITTLE FINGERS: After I let Iris help shape pretzels, she invented this game where she curls a rubber band or piece of string into a squiggle and asks,” Would you eat a pretzel shaped like THIS? Yes or no?” Repeat a hundred times. Other than that and the obvious warnings about the electric mixer and the oven, I have no caveats about letting your children help make pretzels.

Makes 6 pretzels

8 ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup lukewarm water
cooking spray
2 tablespoons baking soda
kosher or pretzel salt for sprinkling

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, yeast, and salt. Stir the honey into the water until it begins to dissolve, then add the honey-water mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix with the paddle on low speed until the dough starts to come together, then switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed (4 on the KitchenAid) for 4 minutes. If the dough is very dry (bits are refusing to incorporate) add an additional tablespoon of water. Spray a bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in it. Spray a bit more cooking spray on top of the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise 75 minutes, punching down the dough after 45 minutes.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and spray with cooking spray. Divide the dough into 6 pieces (about 2 ounces each). (It will be easier to form the pretzels if you cut the dough into strips with a bench knife rather than pulling off balls of dough by hand.) Roll each piece into a long (18-inch) snake and form into a pretzel. Place the formed pretzels on the baking sheet.
3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bring 2 quarts of water and the baking soda to a boil in a saucepan. Add 3 pretzels to the boiling water and boil 30 seconds. Flip the pretzels, boil an additional 30 seconds, and return them to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pretzels. Sprinkle the pretzels with kosher salt or with pretzel salt (available from if you have it.
4. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool pretzels on a rack and serve warm.

Pretzel & mustard 1


Filed under appetizers, bread, kitchen adventure, media, recipe, review

Rah! Rah! Winter!

Chicken Stock

It’s a hard sell, I know, when the sky is falling and you’ve eaten enough kale to turn your fingernails green. But really: some of winter is worth saving.

So you heard me? Talking about freezing stock, soups, cookies, and crisp topping for the perfect summer freezer, on KUOW?

Here are the recipes I discussed with Megan Sukys (all PDFs):
Chicken Stock
Carrot-Lemongrass Soup
Onion Fennel Jam
Cinnamon-Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Ultimate Crisp Topping (Big Batch)
Whole Grain Cranberry-Walnut Biscotti


Filed under appetizers, Cookies, dessert, media, recipe, soup

Oh, me? Oh, my.

Wowie zowie. That’s what my dad would say.

This year’s Best Food Writing is out, and guess what? I’m in it, for the piece I wrote on Alinea last year, right here on hogwash.

If you know me well, you know my best exclamations are unfit for large audiences, but suffice it to say that I’m thrilled, and oh, so humbled. Little old me, snuggled into the same pages not only as great Seattle writers – I squealed out loud when I realized my piece was printed right next to Bethany Jean Clement’s – but also near the untouchables: Michael Pollan, Calvin Trillin, Frank Bruni, David Leite . . . (And Peter Sagal of Wait! Wait! He writes about food!) The last page of my piece is actually touching the first of Dan Barber’s. As if.

Thank you, a million times. Especially you and you.

I, for one, will be doing some reading this week.

If you’re up for more, I also have some November reading links for you, and lots of recipes – apologies, I’ve been so derelict in posting them over the past few months.

Here’s Yes, We Cran (PDF) an election-appropriate piece on Washington cranberries from Seattle Metropolitan magazine. (Have you voted yet? Go.)

For recipes, check out the fall issue of Edible Seattle (the one with the pie recipe), where my column features apple recipes, including a cider-braised pork shoulder that has to happen again in this house soon.

If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, try some of the Thai recipes by Seattle cooking instructor Pranee Halvorsen. I wrote about my class with her for the November issue of Seattle Homes & Lifestyles magazine. (If you try nothing else – which would be a shame, because the recipes are stellar – try the baked coconut-lemongrass rice.)

This month also brings my first full recipe feature in Arthritis Today magazine. (Admit it. You have a secret stash of them under your bed.) The recipes for a no-chop holiday dinner are up, so if the last thing you need to spend in the kitchen is effort, head over.

Most fun, of possibly all the food-related profiles I’ve ever done, was my day with the Urbanspoon folks, detailed in a story in the November issue of Sunset, along with a few other bits and pieces on Seattle stuff. (“It’s hard to eat a cookie and jump off a house at the same time.”)

Thanks for listening to me toot. I feel much better now. And slightly lightheaded.


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My garden, on the radio

Hey, oh, did you hear? I was on the radio today, on Seattle’s NPR station, talking about that harvest I’ve been telling you about, and what I’ll do differently in next year’s garden. Click here to hear the spot (it’s somewhere around 34 minutes into the show, in a segment called Cooking Klatch).

No garden grows in perfectly pint-sized packages, you know. This year, I did well with carrots, onions, and beets, and to a lesser extent, with peas. My neighbor coddles about 50 tomato plants, too, so I benefit by association – but with each vegetable, it tends to be all or nothing. My fennel bolted. My peppers are trying, and possibly failing, but I’m not ready to wave the white flag. Those leeks that did so well last year? They’ve been as big around as kitchen string for three months straight. But snails? Oh, yes, I can grow snails. Quite well. I feed them fresh kale and chard.

I suspect you have the same problem. I can’t tell you much about gardening, but I can help with recipes for the windfall, should you find yourself with an overwhelming counterful of something fresh and wonderful. Check out my new summer produce recipes page to the right. It is by no means an exhaustive list (I haven’t even touched peppers or zucchini yet), but hopefully it will help those that have asked.

You’ve listened. Now it’s my turn:

What’s overwhelming your vegetable basket right now?


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When life gives you nettles

Nettle Pesto Pasta

I’d like to file a petition to officially divide the spring season into two sub-seasons: “Spring,” which comes after Mother’s Day and is usually lovely, and “Unsprung,” the obstinate lovechild of January and July. I don’t like Unsprung, that prepubescent stage between March and April. Every year, I’m hoodwinked into believing that the rain will end, the sun will come out, and we’ll finally be able to stop eating root vegetables. Instead, week after week, I find the same pathetic produce in stores and put up with two months of petulant weather.

Last week, for example, it was 80 degrees in Seattle, and I thought the cold weather was gone. I sailed to my farmers’ market on a boat of absurd optimism, thinking that on some sunny slope within driving distance, a well-tended patch of asparagus might have been bribed out of hibernation. I fantasized about tender, bendy rhubarb and early morels, but the market mocked me. I bought obese parsnips. Again. And kale. Again. And onions. Again. And my hope boat sank.

Continue reading “Taking the Sting Out of Nettles” at Leite’s Culinaria. . . or click here for Bucatini with Nettle-Pecan Pesto.


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New things

Oh, just a list of things today, to get them out of my brain.

First, there’s a blog called Miel et Sel (Honey and Salt). It struck a familiar chord the moment I wandered over (not sure how). It appealed to the fancy side of my culinary proclivities (the one that’s almost extinct), cute little things like rock shrimp and scallop dumplings, cuddled together close. I read for days before realizing Miel et Sel is Lisa, my pixie-ish French-Filipino friend from culinary school. Lisa! I’ve missed you so.

You’ll also have to wander over to Eat & Tell, another newbie (as if I’ve been around so long) started by a hilarious Filipina Seattleite (what’s in the water in the Philippines these days?) with a penchant for bit parts and brawny meals (think shooting your own chicken).

Also, some light reading: Here’s a piece on quinoa that’s a must-see for those who haven’t been convinced to try it yet, something you might not have known about lentils, and a bit about Washington potatoes.

And in case you missed it at the Hugo House last fall, here’s a link to a new podcast of my reading at Talking With Your Mouth Full, from Leite’s Culinaria. Nothing quite so shocking as hearing a recording of your own voice.


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Sin Rolls

A few weeks ago, The New York Times‘ food section came out with a recipe for Simple Crusty Bread. It’s actually easier (is that possible?) than Mark Bittman’s No-Knead Bread, which ran in the Grey Lady in November of 2006.

It’s not quite the same – no artisanal shatter to the crust, just a homey, honest-to-goodness loaf of white bread.

But. But. It plays dress-up.

I made two loaves from grapefruit-sized lumps of dough, as the original recipe suggests. I had almost as much dough leftover, waiting patiently for me in the fridge.

Why bake plain bread dough, when you can laminate it with butter to make cheater brioche, douse it with sugar and cinnamon and pecans, and roll it up into sticky buns in half an hour?

As I jotted down my notes, I kept writing cinn rolls, ground cinn, and kept wondering: Is this pastry sin? No kneading? No turns?

I’ll admit, I was a little surprised they turned out as well as they did.

Never too proud.

cheater sticky buns

Cheater Cinnamon Sticky Buns (PDF)
Recipe 358 of 365

Based on a recipe for Simple Crusty Bread, a basic no-knead white bread that takes about four seconds to whip together, these sticky buns satisfy wintry sticky bun cravings in a flash.

TIME: 30 minutes active time
MAKES: About 8 sticky buns

1 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 pounds Simple Crusty Bread dough (about the size of 2 grapefruits)
All-purpose flour, for rolling out dough
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, left at room temperature for 30 minutes
Vegetable oil spray

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, and zest until blended. Set aside.

The dough should be rather sticky – sprinkle it all over with flour. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about the size of a legal pad.

Slice the butter very, very thin, like you’re using it for toast. Arrange half the butter slices evenly over half the dough. (It doesn’t matter which half, just make sure the butter pats are flat.) Fold the empty half over the buttered half, and re-roll the dough back to legal pad size. Repeat with the remaining butter, and roll the dough out again.

Sprinkle the dough with the sugar mixture. Starting with one long side, roll the dough up into a spiral. Cut the dough into eight to ten 1” rolls.

Spray an 8” cake pan with vegetable oil spray. Place the rolls in the pan, and sneak any extra sugar and nuts that fall out when cutting the rolls into the cracks between the rolls. (If desired, you can place the end bits in another pan and bake them separately.)

Let rolls rise at room temperature for 45 minutes. (You can also refrigerate the rolls overnight, then let rise in the morning for 1 hour.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the rolls are puffed and set in the center and the sugar has caramelized to the bottom of the pan. Immediately invert the rolls onto a serving plate, and scrape any remaining caramel over the rolls. Serve hot.


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Hear, hear!

A hearty, full-flavored congrats to all the winners of the 2007 Food Blog Awards!


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Good news: Hogwash is a finalist for the 2007 Food Blog Awards, in the “New” category. Shnikey, after 346 recipes in 346 days, it sure feels old, but compared to the other Seattle-based nominees, I’ve barely learned to walk.

Gosh. Thank you.

Take a look; voting is on through Friday.


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Waiterly Conduct

Meyer Lemon Rosemary Tea

It worked. The Meyer lemon and rosemary and honey thing worked, and by noon yesterday, my voice had morphed back to normal, and when I stood up to read, my epithelial muscle bounced happily along my vocal chords; I sounded much more like a normal human being than I had 36 hours before.

Plus, my family was a big help. My mom showed up, flew in from Boise just for the occasion. And my brother left me a useful phone message: Hi. It’s your brother. Just wanted to give you a heads up for your reading tonight. If you go top to bottom and left to right, you should be all set.

Thank goodness he called.

But the highlight of the evening wasn’t standing up in front of a crowd, or wearing my new dress, or tasting how Tom Douglas interpreted courses from the dinner I read about. It was when a woman walked up to me and asked me if I have arthritis.

She seemed a little shy, at first, but her smile was kind. I read in your bio that you write for Arthritis Today, she said. Are you . . . She trailed off, uncertain what she should say next. She introduced herself, telling me she’s done some food writing, and also has rheumatoid arthritis. I told her I have lupus, and suddenly we were long-lost friends, yelling like crazy people about spoon theory, methotrexate, and hair loss, hands flying, voices trilling above the food talk around us. We hugged and promised to start our own support group, and I spent the rest of the night wondering how it had taken me so long to find her. Just last weekend, I finally admitted to myself and my husband that no matter how many people comfort me, support me, encourage me, something about having lupus makes me feel entirely alone. But now. Ahh. I found a buddy. And I don’t even know her last name.

Anyway. Here’s what I read (published over at Leite’s Culinaria), if you’re interested, a piece called Waiterly Conduct. (There’s an audio version, also.) It’s a shortened version of something I posted here in April. Click here for the original (and outrageously long) version.


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November Reading, Surfing, Cooking, Watching

Surfing a fake wave in Hawaii

If you’re interested, I have a piece on Dry Soda in this month’s Sunset magazine, something on celery root in Seattle Metropolitan, and an article on Tacoma’s food scene in Seattle magazine. To my knowledge, none of these are available online (boo hoo!), but I’ll work on adding them to my website, which needs an update anyway. And I’m gearing up to taste an awful lot of frozen yogurt this weekend.

Where I’m spending my time when the words won’t come, or when I need insipiration:

Road Remedies lets me travel vicariously through Amanda, who goes everywhere. (I had to consult a map to find Micronesia.) She’s a good eater, too.

Visit Eating Seattle for an updated roster of what’s new in Seattle’s restaurant scene.

Italian Woman at the Table peeks in on food from just about every corner of the world (but she’s got Idaho roots also).

Pat’s still working on The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook, and sharing the recipes she meets along the way.

And my winemaker friend Melanie has just launched the website for her new label, Cinder Wines. Based on what I tasted last spring, I can’t wait for her 2008 releases.

Recipes cut out and floating around my desk:

a ginger cake make with flaxseed meal and wheat germ

slow-cooker cheesecake!

-Molly’s Vinegar-Roasted Shallots

Turkey bahn mi

interesting pumpkin soup

And if you’re the type that’s inspired by the likes of Super Size Me and The Inconvenient Truth, check out the trailer for King Corn. Coming to Seattle November 16th.

Also, Talking With Your Mouth Full is almost. . .full!

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Gluten-Free Girl

Gluten-Free Girl cover

You, dear reader, are on a book tour.


It’s a virtual book tour, to be exact, for Seattle-based blogger Shauna James Ahern‘s heart-warming, honest, educational first book, Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back…And How You Can Too. Shauna’s jumping from site to site this month, sharing her journey to living gluten-free through the hearts and words of other bloggers, and watching how her experiences get reflected and refracted through our different lenses.

For me, Gluten-Free Girl is a love story. It’s about saying yes to food, about finding a new way to live life, and about Shauna’s inspiring rebirth after 30 years of living in the cocoon of pain and fatigue that eating gluten caused her. The book speaks to anyone who has experienced depression, injury, disease, or frustration. To anyone who’s fallen in love. And, of course, to anyone who loves food, or fears it.

(Here’s what I wrote about the book for Seattle Weekly.)

For me, Gluten-Free Girl was a surprising education. How could I know so much about food and not realize how much some of it hurts people?

You’ve probably seen “gluten-free” on a package in the grocery store. Maybe you’ve heard of celiac disease – it’s an autoimmune disorder that affects a person’s ability to digest gluten.

But maybe you’ve dismissed it, or viewed it as a dietary choice. She’s a vegan. He doesn’t eat meat. She doesn’t like gluten. I told a friend about the book months ago – a friend who cooks, who knows food, like me. I could almost see her there, on the other end of the phone back east, raising her eyebrows and pursing her lips in disbelief. I’m sure she cocked her head to one side, then shook it slowly, the way she does. Honestly, I don’t know if I buy the whole gluten-free thing, she said.

Here’s what I learned: Eating gluten-free is not a fuzzy, fictional goal. For those with celiac disease, avoiding gluten is a necessity. It’s the difference between barely surviving and really living.

On her blog, and with Gluten-Free Girl, Shauna is bringing celiac awareness to a new height. As a percentage of the population, there are as many (or according to many sources, far more) Americans with celiac disease as there are people allergic to peanuts, yet few people understand how sick gluten makes those who don’t tolerate it.

At the beginning of the book, when Shauna realizes she needs to go gluten-free, her journey starts in the kitchen. She discovers good ingredients – oils, cheeses, chocolate, grains, vegetables, fruits– that her body loves, and learns to use them well. She undergoes a culinary epiphany, and shows us that falling in love with food is really, really fun.

I went along for the ride, cheering her newfound devotion to real food, diving into what she told me about ingredients that are still relatively new to me, like quinoa and teff.

But each time I returned to Shauna’s book, to reread delicious-sounding recipes (Chicken thighs braised in pomegranate molasses? Yes, please.), an emotion peeked in through the back of my heart, from what must be the dark part.

It took a few days, but eventually I recognized it: Jealousy. I wasn’t jealous in a raging, angry way, but softly, curiously. Jealous that Shauna knows not only what causes her autoimmune disease, but also knows how to fix it. She learned to eat a certain way, and it disappeared. Now, she knows. Now, she can help the millions of others like her. She’s doing it already.

Gluten-Free Girl made me want to know what that feels like, too. It made me wonder whether I’ll ever find a solution for lupus, as it affects me. I’ve always assumed there would never be an answer. Then again, so did Shauna. She made me jealous, but she also gave me hope. And God, did she make me feel lucky. Lupus isn’t always fun, but my pain will never reach the depth and longevity of what Shauna endured. My heart ached for her.

Reading through Gluten-Free Girl, I couldn’t help but think that Shauna’s diet, on the scale of all American diets, isn’t that different from mine. As much as I yearned for boxed, processed foods growing up (and took shameless advantage of my father’s willingness to purchase them when he had grocery duties), I didn’t grow up eating brands. I grew up eating food.

I could eat that way, I thought. I could eat gluten-free. I decided to try it, not because I think I might have celiac disease (I don’t – I’ve checked), but to test my own response to dietary restrictions. Say there was a diet that could cure lupus and, over the course of months, reverse its past ill effects. My hair would grow back thicker. My steroid-soaked skin would clear. Could I follow it?

Shauna would say yes. She’d say I could.

But I haven’t found that diet yet, so I tried hers. Just for kicks.

I started on Sunday night. That’s right – last Sunday. All the recipes on Hogwash this week have been gluten-free.

You haven’t noticed, have you? Neither did my husband.

That’s because eating gluten-free doesn’t preclude eating deliciously – it just means eating carefully.

I’ve been gluten-free, on and off my site. No bagels or bread for breakfast, no sandwiches for lunch. No pasta, no flour tortillas, no baked goods containing gluten. I ate eggs many wonderful ways for breakfast, and moist, hearty pork enchiladas from my freezer. I went out for Vietnamese food, and went to a cocktail party and found gluten-free foods. I drank wine instead of beer. I had black bean soup for lunch, and we had friends over for dinner, who loved my moist, mushroom-studded quinoa, cooked risotto-style. The car needed an oil change, and I chose a garage next to a gluten-free bakery. I used homemade chicken stock, and checked the ingredients on everything I thought about buying at the grocery store. Yes, I learned. It’s possible.

But there were mistakes, to be sure. I tried to start on Sunday, but I topped my soup with bleu cheese, which is inoculated with a form of bread mold that has traces of gluten in it. When I was mixing the spices for the pumpkin seeds, I added soy sauce the first time, and had to start over, because soy sauce contains wheat. My dog eats a food that has wheat in it, too, and I must have gotten a wet smack on the lips at some point this week. I forgot to check the ingredients in my toothpaste. We brewed beer on Thursday night, and my husband spilled roasted barley on the counter, and we didn’t sterilize it. And halfway through the week, I realized I had a story on Seattle bakeries due – I had to eat something from four different places. I tried everything I needed to taste, but took only one bite of each: One bite of shoofly pie. One bite of adorable red velvet cupcake. One bite of pumpkin bread. My neighbor got box after box of pastries that looked like they’d been tested by a very picky mouse.

These bites, these mistakes, would have sent Shauna into days of writhing pain. (I love the encouragement she gives to those with celiac disease who are tempted to cheat and eat gluten: You wouldn’t “cheat” and drink some Drano, would you?) But my transgressions drove the point home: for those with serious celiac disease, eating requires mindfulness. I have a newfound respect for her, and all those who suffer from the disease, and hope I can help spread the word. I’ve added a “gluten-free” category for my recipe collection here on hogwash.

But oh, I fear I’ve been too meticulous. Too serious. Too strict. Too focused on avoiding.

Did I just mention suffering? No. Shauna doesn’t suffer. What Gluten-Free Girl also makes clear – with equal importance to her discussions of celiac disease – is that eating requires joy. Shauna tells us that each bite taken should be taken with care, respect, curiosity, interest, and playfulness. She teaches us that the food we eat – whatever it is – sustains us as much emotionally as it does physically, and that no person should live without a constant, conscious love for it.

And for that, I thank her.

Here’s Shauna’s blog, and her book. Oh, and if you’re on your way to the University District farmers’ market this morning, like I am, she’ll be there, too.

Wild Mushroom Quinoa “Risotto” (PDF)
Recipe 293 of 365

Cooking risotto has a comforting pattern: first you sweat the onions in butter or olive oil. Then you add the grains, often toasting them just a bit, then wine or stock, and whatever vegetables you’re using. Then the whole thing gets impregnated with butter and cheese, so that when the grains hit your tongue, they slide across each other, rich with flavor.

Here’s a version made with quinoa – it allows you to skip the stirring part of risotto, but adds protein, and still provides the unctuous mouth feel that makes mushroom risotto, made with fragrant wild mushrooms, such a cornerstone of fall food.

TIME: 25 minutes total
MAKES: 4 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound wild mushrooms, such as chanterelle, oyster, or porcini, cleaned and chopped
1 cup raw quinoa
2 cups homemade chicken stock
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil and mushrooms, season again, and cook for another five minutes, or until mushrooms have begun giving off their water. (You can prepare the dish up to this point and set aside for an hour or two, or refrigerate overnight.)

Add the quinoa and the chicken stock, stir, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook at a bare simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter (you can skip this, if you insist) and the goat cheese until both have melted, season to taste, and serve hot.


Filed under gluten-free, media, recipe, side dish

September reading (and listening)

Oh, and yes, I’ve been meaning to tell you. Check out my rather cranky piece on blackberries in Delicious City, the new Seattle food publication that launches this week. (Better late than never.) I also have a September Cookout Menu in Seattle Homes & Lifestyles, and a piece on Tom Douglas in the Septemer issue of Sunset Magazine (it’s toward the back).

And remember that piece on Alinea from my trip to Chicago in April? I’ll be reading a (very) condensed version at Talking With Your Mouth Full, an evening of food-related readings (and a fundraiser) sponsored by Leite’s Culinaria on November 13th, in Seattle. Here’s a link to recordings from the first event, held last January in New York.

Click here for the invite (PDF), with info about how to get tickets, etc.

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Good Sunday reading

Ciabatta w Cardamom Peach Butter

I love Calvin Trillin. If you read a lot of food writing, you might be saying “Oh, that’s so so obvious.” Or maybe”Oh, that’s so unoriginal.” Or maybe you’re thinking “WTF is Calvin Trillin?” I’m thinking “WTF is his website?”

The New Yorker’s food issue has been beckoning to me from the little wooden table beside the couch for going on two weeks. It seemed late this year; its arrival has claimed a time slot in my brain closer to mid-August. But last night, after I remembered I’d taken a lower dose of prednisone yesterday morning (and mentally justified the general physical crankiness I felt all day), I finally settled deep into our red armchair with some ginger tea and The Issue. As usual, my pal Calvin showed up inside, and came through again, this time with a piece on Singaporean street food.

Which reminds me: My friend Pat, who was born in Jakarta and raised in Singapore (and doesn’t read the New Yorker regularly, but will now have to read at least one article, because I have to know how she feels about the Makansutra) is working on a book called The Asian Grandmothers Cook Book. It’ll be a compilation of recipes from all over Asia that have been handed down through the generations. Pat is looking for recipe contributions. Drop me a comment below if you’re interested in finding out more. (Hint: You need to have at least a few Asian ancestors.)

Anyway, this morning I read Adam Gopnik’s piece, and ate ciabatta with cardamom peach butter, and took a slightly bigger hit of the ol’ steroid, and things looked much brighter than yesterday. And I still have the second half of the issue to look forward to.

Also on my reading list:

Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back…And How You Can Too by Shauna James Ahern

Because how could one turn down a big dose of Shauna’s prose?

The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones

Kathy gave me her copy, and so far I like it.

How to Cook a Wolf by MFK Fisher

Ethan Stowell is opening a new place on Queen Anne called How to Cook a Wolf. I want to actually read it from start to finish, instead of reading it piecemeal like I have in the past, to figure out whether he’s just found a good name, or if he’s actually digging down into her meaning with his new concept.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

Still haven’t read it. Her take on being a locavore in Virginia for a year.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

Yes, I’ve read it. And its offspring. But I recently got my own paperback copy in the mail, and I just can’t seem to get enough.

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Have you seen Cookthink? Genius. I entered ITALIAN and BACON and got Avocado with Bacon Vinaigrette. Um, yum, yes please.

I just hope they get the kinks out. I entered GINGER and POULTRY and CONSOLING and got Poached Soy-Ginger Salmon.

The weird thing was, even though it wasn’t  poultry, it was totally what I was going for.


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What they’ll never know

Sometimes I wish editors required an extraneous fact sheet. Writers would have to include any random information encountered in their research, just for shits and giggles.

I just turned in a bread recipe (after twelve rounds of testing), and it makes me so sad that telling the editor my animal stories would be inappropriate. She’ll never know that my cat hopped onto the floured board and splashed little white pawprints all over the counter like a kid with fingerpaints on his feet when I wasn’t looking. The art director will never see how many times my dog licked the side of the loaf while I was taking its picture at hip height, where the best light was. (Anyone who says animals don’t know when they’re doing something wrong is lying.) No, four million people don’t need to make the mental connection between whole grain bread and Bromley’s tongue, but it was definitely part of the process.

I did get to turn in a photo of Bromley recently, though, because she was part of the story. She’s on the contributors’ page of Seattle Metropolitan‘s August issue, wearing a t-shirt, for chrissake. Now here’s a misunderstanding: whoever looks at this page might think I dress my dog up on a regular basis. It happened once. That one time. I promise.

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