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september challenge. packing.

We’ve just returned from a few fantastic days spent floating down the Rhine river valley, and traveling the Routes des Vins d’Alsace. I peered into every charcuterie shop, checked out every butcher. Oh, don’t worry. I did not overlook the vegetables. Or the cheeses. Or pastries. I stopped at markets and chatted up the people selling meats under cheerful red umbrellas. Struck up conversations. Snacked on picnic sized saussicon sec. I wanted to experience it all. The pride in their art is evident in every bite. Look at those pretty pastry covered patés. That’s when the inspiration struck for this month’s challenge. The Apprentice Challenge: Paté Campagne OR Paté Gratinée (ex: Pork Terrine with Pork Tenderloin Inlay) 
The Charcutiere Challenge: Paté Gratinée en Croute OR […]

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what to do with 25, or 50, pounds of tomatoes

We returned from vacation and the first day back, I went right to the farm stand. I needed to see the State of the Produce. I knew the weather had been really hot and dry. As expected, the chiles were just starting to arrive. The jalapenos were huge and plump. And equally expected, the tomatoes were just gorgeous. A little panic set in. I started measuring off the weeks of tomato season, and all the foods I like to can – salsa, tomato jam, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato soup, tomato juice – and those I freeze – oven roasted tomatoes by the sheet pan full. I craved a tomato sandwich. A BLT. A BLaT (avocado.) I fretted. I calculated the pounds of tomatoes that […]

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Decorating Cookies with One Tough Cookie!

I am so excited about this news. My good friend Gail Dosik, the one and only One Tough Cookie, will be coming to DC in December and I’ve roped her into teaching a couple of classes. I just love Gail, and I know you will, too. She’s smart and savvy and clever and makes the most beautiful, DELICIOUS, decorated cookies I’ve ever had. Stop being intimidated by piping, flooding, icing, and decorating! Gail says it’s easy to make great looking cookies.  In this class, you will learn from the best in the business, One Tough Cookie. We’ll all be decorating holiday cookies using her special techniques, learn  how to make a fabulous, flawless icing, and get hands on experience with those pesky little icing bags […]

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National Can It Forward Day, Quickles, and a Giveaway

I just love pickles. Sweet, sour, or half sour. Pickle relish. Piccalilli. Cornichons. Incendiary Lime Pickle. Branston Pickle. The more the merrier. I don’t even know when I learned to make them. It seems I always have. I remember having a vat of pickles in the closet of my college apartment. The sweet pickle of my childhood. Then I learned about half sour (lacto-fermented) cucumber pickles – so easy to make, one jar at a time. That led to sauerkraut and kimchi for the healthy reasons and so much more. These terrific briny foods work for me. Yes, all that lacto fermenting is wonderful, but when the cucumbers of summer are gone, and it’s impossible to find anything but those suspiciously plastic wrapped seedless things, […]

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an old fashioned grocer, amazing pork and spicy plum sauce

Where have all the grocers gone? When I was a little girl, my grandmother would go to Shorling’s every Friday morning to pick up her weekend groceries. I accompanied her in the summertime, lingering over the pretty food. The guys working in the produce aisle would have samples to nibble while we shopped. Watermelon, sweet cherries, cantalope. Locally grown, of course. The neighborhood grocer. They were everywhere in America. There was a helpful person in every department ready to answer your questions. At every moment, the produce, meats, breads were presented beautifully. Nothing was wrapped in styrofoam and plastic – it was all paper bags and butcher paper and twine. The butcher was a big fellow with enormous hands. He would grind beef – mixing […]

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charcutepalooza august challenge. binding.

Remarkable sausages have been made in the last three months. Really, you Charcutepalooza folks are making the most amazing foods. And taking gorgeous photos. Makes me want to sit at your dinner tables. Every last one of you. The Binding challenge will move us away from sausages, and use all those mad charcuterie skills you’ve developed. We’ll be making terrines. Molded, formed, weighted, chilled, sliced, and served cold. And bound with gelatin, egg whites, or natural gel from bone stock. This month, you have an opportunity to show us what you’ve got. Make the most of the pre-sen-ta-tion (do you hear my French accent? see my arms waving about?) It’s the perfect month – hot and steamy August – to celebrate chilled charcuterie. The Apprentice […]