Sunday, January 19th, 2014

We Are So Divorced From Nature Example 2: Spent Christmas Trees

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Here lies the crisped remains of the tree that spread so much cheer throughout my home; decked the hall with boughs of Balsam fir; stood a symbol of goodwill and love and green leaves so unchanging. O tanenbaum, rest in peace ye merry fellow. (AKA, good riddance, ye fire hazard.)
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Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Celery and Its Root Soup

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Not just celery root (or celeriac), not just celery (stalks), but all-parts-of-celery soup — from soup to nuts, as they say. Okay, there’s actually no nuts in this soup. (Why do they say this?)
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Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Spicy Korean Chicken Stew (Dak Dori Tang)

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There’s a dish like this in every culture: chicken curries, coq au vin, chicken paprikas, tagine chicken, red-braised chicken, chicken mole. The list is endless. You braise some chicken with tasty stuff. Scoop it ’til the last drop. Feel better. Sleep better. Be a better person. You know the deal.
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Monday, December 30th, 2013

Spinach and Cheddar Cornbread

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It’s all about balance. Sweet and savory; healthy and buttery; light and fluffy, and somewhat dense and gritty. That’s what good cornbread is all about. You could see it as a series of contradictions, of too many conflicting elements trying to work together at once. Or you could try to keep it all in check, to each his own place in this small casserole dish, a miniature world that’s really not that hard to govern over, when you think about it. Making food is empowering; you have complete reign over this little thing.
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Friday, December 20th, 2013

My Five Favorite Food Books of the Year

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It’s that time of the year to look back at the year. This Monday on my podcast Eat Your Words, I’ll be joined by two local foodies to discuss our favorite words on eating this year. That is, we’ll be rounding up our favorite food books from 2013. Since I promised my guests to provide them with my own short list before the show, I thought I’d go into what these picks are, and why I think they’re so great, beforehand. This year has been one in which I’ve been bombarded with new cookbooks — ever since refocusing the podcast to be centered around books, my bookshelf has been positively bulging. I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m praising.
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Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The Apple Pie Cake (and a few warnings on working with fondant)

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Last weekend was Karol and Dave’s wedding. And Karol — as evidenced by numerous blog posts chronicling her bake-off victories — is a master of making apple pie. The perfect golden crusts, tall mounds of apple-y ooze, and her signature crimped, lattice-woven tops, were the delight of many parties she has treated myself and friends to throughout the years. I wanted to honor that at her wedding somehow. But a wedding must have cake.
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Friday, December 13th, 2013

Sundried Tomato Caesar Salad Dressing

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This recipe is dedicated to all the do-gooders hosting gatherings who’d like to make their standby favorites, but find that something’s not vegetarian… and someone attending is. Caesar salad is one such popular crowd-pleaser that pairs well with rich, holiday fare. But the classic dressing gets its umami oomph from minced anchovies, a taboo for certain diets.
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Thursday, December 12th, 2013

We Are So Divorced From Nature Example 1: Moonlit Lavender

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A large factor in my quest to cook more was getting acquainted with the basics. I would say “back to” the basics, but given that I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in New Jersey, I didn’t have too much experience with nature aside from cooking store-bought ingredients now and then. It seemed worthwhile — and agreeable enough — to get “down and dirty” by cooking from scratch for a while. But the seedling for this idea was that, we are so divorced from nature.
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Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Stir-Fried Broccoli with Fermented Black Beans

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You know what? I predict that salty, pungent, Chinese fermented black beans will not only sound less creepy but become more widely embraced by American cooks in the near future. Why? Well, we’ve familiarized ourselves with soy sauce pretty well, dabbled with miso paste aplenty, and foraged into Asian grocery shelves for sauces like Korean gochujang and Sichuan doubanjiang (chili bean sauce). All are made from fermented beans. It seems a good time to take a look at them up close and personal.
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Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Chili Flakes and Fresh Herbs (Not-Candied Not-Yams)

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Maybe I’m just not understanding something. But when a vegetable is so naturally sweet as to have “sweet” in its name, why smother them with marshmallows and syrupy goo? It’s like sprinkling salt on your prosciutto or lox. I know it’s tradition, but “candied yams” can go with dessert then. For the main meal, why not roast some sunny-orange slices with savory herbs and a hint of spice?
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