The Food of the Times [Fierce Foodie]

I have a penchant for reading cookery texts, from M.F.K. Fisher on transatlantic shipboard cuisine in the 30’s to Apicus on Roman cuisine. I enjoy imagining what a paste of stewed calf’s brains seasoned with pepper and cumin, and cooked with broth, wine, milk and eggs might taste like. Foods come in and out of fashion just like modes of dress, and tastes evolve with the inclusion of other cultures. There was a time when the now ubiquitous pizza was considered exotic or when the tiny breast meats of thrushes and other small songbirds were looked upon by many as delicacies and not potential SARS carriers. Today’s modern cooks have nearly unlimited access to ingredients and cuisine, but very limited time for cooking. Luckily fresh garden produce goes from kitchen to table with little or no cooking. My mother, the green thumb of the family, has donated many a zucchini to my pantry. This recipe makes great use of them and also includes fresh basil and mint. Zucchini ribbon salad with ham (courtesy of Good Housekeeping) Ingredients 2 pound(s) (5 small) zucchini, ends trimmed 4 slice(s) (1 ounce each) deli ham, sliced into 1/2-inch ribbons 1 lemon 2/3 cup(s) salted pistachios, shelled 1/3 cup(s) packed fresh basil leaves 1/3 cup(s) packed fresh mint leaves 1 clove(s) garlic Salt Pepper 3 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoon(s) water 8 slice(s) whole wheat baguette, toasted 1 1/2 ounce(s) goat cheese, softened Directions With vegetable peeler, peel zucchini into wide ribbons. Transfer zucchini ribbons to large bowl and add ham. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate up to 1 day. From lemon, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice. Cover and refrigerate lemon peel. Prepare pesto: In food processor with knife blade attached, pulse pistachios until finely chopped. Add...

What I love… [Frankie Says…]

Frankie Says… TRY IT. In the spirit of love and all that crap, I’ll give you a snapshot list of all the things I love in my life right now: I love warm LA days in February. I love my new apartment. I love making eggs with sautéed kale or spinach in the morning and eating it standing up in my kitchen. I love seeing my name in print – one of the many perks of getting published and the biggest rush when you flip to that page. I love Sunday dinners with my family. I love my mom. I love my hair – (I’m blessed with great hair, what can I say?) I love looking at the books on my shelf that I have no time to read. I love checking things off my to-do list. I love boys. I love being confident in being single. I love Starbucks Valentine’s cup (however, I do not love Starbucks.) I love sitting in coffee shops and writing. I love people watching in coffee shops, too. I love new music – anything different and non-mainstream. I love my bed. I love scarves. I love greaser boys – their outfits make me smile. I love finding a new great watering hole and sitting at the bar alone. I love going to the movies alone, and I love that my older sister cries because she thinks it’s so sad that I go to the movies alone. I love movies. I love making movies. I love film festivals. I love dressing up. I love buying new dresses, even if they sit in my closet for months unworn. I love shopping online for shoes, putting them in my basket, and then clicking out of the page. I love making fun...

Ahem…There Seems to be Bacon in My Pancake [Fierce Foodie]

The eternal American breakfast question is “savory or sweet?”  Do I have a hearty scramble of eggs with sausage or bacon and home fried potatoes, or do I essentially have dessert for breakfast, a.k.a. the tower of fluffy pancakes covered in fruity topping and whipped cream?  Some brave souls have tried to eat both.  Generally such attempts lead one into food comas spanning lunch and dinner and lasting well into the night, causing the victim to awaken bleary-eyed and bewildered, lips still sticky with syrup. Others have gone a separate route.  Could it be possible to combine the essential elements of both savory and sweet and create a new hybrid breakfast food?  Yea, cried some, and the bacon pancake was born.  Recipes abound on the internet; here I include one of the myriad forms of this morning treat. Maple Bacon Pancake Courtesy of AllRecipes.com Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 20 Minutes Ready In: 30 Minutes Servings: 5 “A sweet and savory oven pancake with cheese, bacon and maple syrup.” INGREDIENTS: 4 ounces bacon (turkey or pork or soy as preferred) 1 cup baking mix 1 and 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided 1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup maple syrup 2 tablespoons white sugar 2 eggs DIRECTIONS: 1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 2.  Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. Spray a 9 inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray. 3.  In a large bowl, beat together baking mix, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, milk, maple syrup, sugar and eggs until only small lumps of cheese remain. Pour into prepared pie plate. 4.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into...

Give Me Quinoa: Hot or Cold, for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner! [Fierce Foodie]...

I am a big fan of quinoa, not because it has the “health food” stamp, and not because it’s a “superfood” that sustained the Inca Empire, but because it really is a delicious and extremely adaptable food.  You can make it Indian curry style, Italian style, Chinese style, and the list goes on.  You can serve it with eggs for breakfast, with beans for a light vegetarian meal, or pair it with roast chicken and fresh veggies for a complete dinner.  And best of all, it’s pretty cheap, especially if you buy it in bulk from a health food store. Quinoa has an agreeable nutty flavor and light texture that tastes good hot, warm and cold.  I love how it goes from looking like a collection of tiny pebbles when its uncooked to a light brown translucent mass, with the outer part of the grain separating to form slightly crunchy C-shaped bits. I’ve tried the following recipe hot for dinner, warm with a salad for lunch, and cold with a hot fried egg for breakfast.  All three times, it was yum! Quinoa with Onions, Tomatoes, and White Beans (2-4 servings) 1 cup quinoa 1 medium onion, sliced into medium strips 2-3 cloves garlic, minced 1 can diced tomatoes 1 can white cannellini beans 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil Fresh ground salt and black pepper In a deep pot with a lid, heat the oil at low/medium heat.  Add onion and stir occasionally until they start to brown.  Do not let the onion burn; turn down the heat if you see any blackness.  After a few minutes, add the garlic. While the onions cook, prepare your quinoa.  To avoid clumping you need to rinse the quinoa in cold water.  This can be complicated with your average...