Category Archives: produce

Going Meatless next Monday? Vegetarian Lime Orzo

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So, I know a few people who are now embracing Meatless Mondays (including our friends at Triangle Good Eats). Meatless Monday sounds like a good idea to me, but ever since my daliance with Vegetarianism (the hardest 12 months of my life), it’s still a little hard for me to imagine a filling, healthy, and satisfying meal without meat. Even my mushroom risotto needs chicken broth!

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Adventures in Home Cooking: Irish Lamb Stew

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The seasons are changing slowly but surely here in Raleigh. My poor lonely sweaters are coming out of hiding, the AC is finally off, and I saw the first of fall colors outside of my window this weekend. More importantly, it’s time for heavy, meaty, stick-to-your-ribs food. After my culinary de-pantsing that was my Ratatouille, I needed something a little easier, but tasty. I was a little bummed that my last attempt turned out so bad, but I didn’t want to fall back on old “well, I can always get takeout” habits. It was time for the beginner cook’s secret weapon, STEW!  Continue reading

Adventures in Home Cooking: Julia Child’s Ratatouille

I just finished My Life In France by Julia Child and was inspired to create one of her dishes. Unfortunately, I don’t own Mastering the Art of French Cooking and it’s a tad pricy for me to run out and buy right now (especially if you subscribe to Regina Scrambling’s recent article in Slate about the book :http://www.slate.com/id/2226512/). Luckily, a quick google led me to a PDF excerpt from the book on Knopf-Double Day’s website (http://cooking.knopfdoubleday.com/2009/08/03/julia-childs-ratatouille-recipe/). The recipe was for her Ratatouille and looked relatively simple. I mean, Julia wouldn’t lead me down the wrong path….right? Continue reading

Adventures in Home Cooking: Tomato Salad

 

 

 

Tomatoy Goodness

Tomatoy Goodness

Labor Day is the last gasp of Summer. No more shorts, time to put away my sunscreen, Tony’s speedo must go up on the shelf (just kidding). What better way to celebrate the end of the season with an old-fashioned cookout (not “a barbecue” Northerners, you eat barbecue, you eat at a cookout)? Our friends Molly and Brian hostessed and hosted respectively a great cookout featuring so many smoked meats, vegetarians around the world cried out in pain. I could have lived in that smoker next to the ribs and chicken. Continue reading

Durian: our pungent picnic

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It is feared and reviled among some; sought after and savored by others.  With an odor so strong it has been banned on airlines throughout Southeast Asia. Durian is nothing less than a divisive fruit.

We were both quite excited by the fact that Grand Asian Market carried Durian but we were way too nervous by its reported overwhelming smell to bring it home to try.   It took many more trips to GAM before we decided that we need to come up with a plan to find a way to try this pungent treat.  It still took us two more trips to the Asian Market (we wussed out the first time) before we finally buckled down went on a Durian picnic.

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The East in the South: Grand Asia Market

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Going to the mainstream American supermarkets is a pretty removed experience. Outside of a butcher counter (if there’s actually a butcher behind the counter), everything is already sliced up and in identical portions behind glass, so you don’t really get a sense of the actual food. Heck, the chicken packed in plastic wrap and styrofoam is pretty far removed from an actual chicken on a farm (or in many cases in a supermarket, the assembly line). That said for someone who hasn’t lived in an area with a lot of Asian markets, it’s a pretty shocking experience when you go into one for the first time.

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“Farm (er’s Market) livin’ is the life for me”

 

It’s the hipster in me that wants to say “I was into Farmer’s markets before they were cool.” At least I wish I could say that. When I was a kid growing up in Virginia Beach, the Farmer’s Market was one of those things that my parents enjoyed that felt like a punishment to me. After all, the four food groups to me were chicken nuggets, chips, Butterfinger bars, and Soda. Anything green was the enemy, so the Farmer’s Market was dangerous territory.

Man, what a difference a few decades makes. Going to the NC Farmer’s Market is a treat now, a chance to get to experience seasonal and local foods that my immature palate couldn’t handle a few years ago (*sigh* the dark days of my college eating, where every meal meant cereal and a side helping of grilled cheese). Continue reading