Mangoes-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

4.3.12 Go Mango

My love affair with mangoes goes way back to summers spent in Mexico. Late afternoons on the plaza, after the rain had doused everything, fidgeting with anticipation as the mango man peeled me a big ripe one with his blackened steel knife, pierced it with a stick, then drenched it with lime and sprinkled on salt and earthy red chile. Sweet, slick, soft almost to the point of slimy and oh, so juicy. These flavors reach back inside me and conjure up memories of bustling markets, the smell of burning leaves, the delight of a pirulí—that brilliant red elongated pyramid of a lollipop that I twirled and twirled in my mouth. Ah, childhood. Every year at this time I can get it back for a moment when I eat my first mango of the season.
Read More...
Tagged — chile
Cooked-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.20.12 Spare Me

I've acquired an armload of new cookbooks—despite a total lack of shelf space to house them in our tiny cottage. I just can't resist, especially after reading so many entertaining and informative reviews, especially those from Food52's Piglet competition. The newest tomes are piled up beside my bed, and any seasonal ones (grilling, popsicles, etc) are temporarily lodged in the attic. Cooking in the Moment has now migrated from the bedroom to the kitchen and, though I've only officially cooked one recipe from it so far, I have added several more to my always evolving mental list of "things to be eaten soon." After reading Nigella Lawson's Piglet review of North Carolina chef Andrea Reusing's enticingly photographed and thoughtfully composed book, I was seized with the urge to make her roasted spareribs. Whatever she means by "cooking in the moment"—eating seasonally, I assume—I take it as an excuse to immediately make whatever I most feel like eating right this minute. So ribs it is.
Read More...
Tagged — chile
Leather-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.14.12 Warm Leatherette

One of the great things about starting this blog has been connecting to kindred spirits near and far, some of them with blogs of their own. Distances collapse in the virtual landscape, rendering us all just a keyboard away. But true connections inevitably materialize in 3-D—as recipients of my caramels discovered—and on occasion this means little packages of pure joy winging their way to me from Julia (quince & sour cherry preserves; grape, fig & walnut conserve); from Rob & David (birch syrup and homemade herbes de Provence); and from Janet (wild lime catsup and Buddha's hand preserves). This last creature is an old pal from 20 years ago. We had long gone our separate ways only to chance upon one another and discover how our paths had neatly converged. Janet is an artist (married to an artist), mother and writer living on a farm. Her newish blog, A Raisin & A Porpoise, is full of her hilariously wry wit, but also poignant insights and recipes for nourishing dishes that I actually want to cook right away, like this divine dip and these gingerbread muffins. And the spicy fruit leather, above, which she kindly presents to you here, in her own words.
 

Read More...
Tagged — chile
Salsas1-790-xxx
photo from saveur magazine

5.5.11 Condimental: Salsa Lessons

It’s hot and rainy here in Indonesia, and so far I haven’t managed to do more than catch up on sleep and wander around the hotel. Any hopes I had of going sight-seeing with G were dashed the moment I clapped eyes on his leg: scarily mottled and swollen, his toes like little sausages. Not to mention the 8” incision through which they inserted two titanium plates and seven screws. I’ll venture out into the city on my own eventually but for today, the 5th of May, I'm content to do a little armchair traveling to another part of the globe: Mexico. It’s Cinco de Mayo, not Mexican Independence Day as so many seem to believe (that’s September 6th), but a date observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and in one part of Mexico as a commemoration of the army’s unlikely 1862 victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla. If you lack the time or inclination to make something like my mother’s chile relleno casserole or my green chicken enchiladas, but still want to skew south of the border, maybe you’ll try one of these salsa recipes from Saveur magazine. (This month's issue is devoted to Mexican cuisine.) Salsa simply means “sauce,” and variations extend well past the fresh-tomato-onion-chile-cilantro pico de gallo we all know (and love) so well. They’re quick and easy to throw together, pack a huge punch of flavor and are endlessly versatile. Beyond scooping them up with tortilla chips, you can serve them with grilled chicken or fish, stir them into scrambled eggs, spoon them into quesadillas, or whip them into mayonnaise to slather on fresh seafood or a steak sandwich.
Read More...
Tagged — chile
Chutney blog-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

4.28.10 Seeing Red 2.0

I adore chutneys, with their wonderfully complex mix of flavors: hot, sour, salty, sweet. They're like a perfect storm for your tastebuds. This one combines tart rhubarb with dark brown sugar, cider vinegar, sour cherries and a host of spices and aromatics: cumin, coriander, garlic, hot chiles, ginger and fresh turmeric. Look for this last in an Indian market, or substitute a teaspoon of ground dried turmeric. It has a wonderfully bitter bite and a rich saffron color that will stain everything in sight.
Read More...
Tagged — chile
Tamarind-790-xxx

4.27.10 Cool Quotient

Soon we'll be hot, sweaty and reaching for something refreshing as we push through the swinging door into the screened-in porch, the smell of summer still on us. Another of the thirst-quenchers I'll have on hand is this Tamarind-Lime Cooler. The agave nectar balances the tartness of the lime and tamarind, and the sweet-spicy Chile Salt really kicks it up a notch. These are the flavors of summer in Guadalajara, in Bangkok, in your own backyard...
Read More...
Tagged — chile
Shichimi1-790-xxx
photo by george billard

3.1.10 Condimental: Spice Girl

If you've ever been out for Japanese food (not just sushi, but maybe soba or yakitori or hot pots), you may have noticed a little red shaker on the condiment tray. That's shichimi togarashi, a Japanese spice blend traditionally eaten on noodles, soups and stews. It's made from a combination of seven spices (shichi means seven in Japanese), most commonly ground red chili pepper, dried orange peel, black sesame, white sesame, ginger, ground sansho, and nori flakes or powder. You'll often also see a little green shaker alongside, and that's just plain sansho, a berry from the prickly ash tree that is a relative of the Sichuan peppercorn. It has that same peppery-piney flavor that leaves a slight tingle on the tongue. You can find both these condiments at any Japanese market, or online at Japanese food specialty sites.
Read More...
Tagged — chile
BACK TO TOP