The General Point.

My name is Emily Wood. I live in San Francisco.
"It’s possible and necessary to be interested in everything." - Adrienne Rich
These are my own opinions and not those of my company.

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May 13
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Feb 20
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Faking it: Jambalaya

Inspired by this recipe and the leftovers from a roasted chicken, last Wednesday I made “jambalaya.” It seemed appropriate, though maybe it would have been more appropriate on Tuesday? I’m not a Lent/Mardi Gras expert, though.

Anyway, I put “jambalaya” in quotes since a large part of it was winged, I used none of the extra meats beyond that leftover chicken and some chicken (!) andouille (the only kind of andouille at the “Valencia Farmers Market”/bodega near my house—not a choice I was pleased with). But goodness if it wasn’t delicious… and really easy! I will definitely be turning to this fake jambalaya more in the future. It’s pretty much on par with fried rice as far as a good, easy way to use up stuff in the fridge. Turns out Cajun* seasoning can really take you a long way.

Easy “jambalaya” for two (with seconds/leftovers)
(Inspired/based on Serious Eats’ Grilled Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya. Turns out, according to Wikipedia, this is a “white” jambalaya—which sounds faked/quote-mark-worthy to me—because the meat is cooked separately from the rice. Fair enough. I’ll take it on a weeknight.)

  • ~1/3 a leftover cooked chicken (both white and dark meat), torn up into bite-size chunks
  • 1 andouille sausage, sliced into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 can of diced/chopped tomatoes (or equivalent fresh tomatoes)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 leeks (if you have endless leeks from your CSA, like me) or 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (~1 tbsp)
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp Louisiana style hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth/stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Place stockpot/large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering, then add onions, pepper and celery. Cook until veggies are softened (7-10 minutes). Then add the garlic, a couple tsp of salt, 1 tsp black pepper, the hot sauce, and Cajun seasoning. Cook for two minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat grains with oil/spice/veggie mixture. Then add the chicken stock, bay leaf and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until rice is fully cooked, 20-30 minutes. Add the chicken and sausage and cook for ~5 minutes until heated through. Serve with garlicky wilted greens (any kind will do).

*The recipe calls for Creole seasoning, but I have Cajun and that’s what I used. A quick Google search doesn’t clarify the difference, as it’s more focused on the difference between the two cuisines and not the spice blends you buy from the grocery aisle. :)

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Farro & Herbs Salad

I’ve made this one a couple of times now: Heidi Swanson’s Farro & Herbs recipe. At my work, there is always at least one whole-grain salad at every cafe—bulgur, quinoa, farro, barley, spelt, blah blah blah. I love these damn salads, but have rarely tried to replicate them at home. This is at least in part because of the work involved—you have to cook the grains (not always the work of 15 minutes) AND sometimes cook the other stuff that goes in them. But this one is pretty easy, if you have the time to cook the farro itself. And you can play with it a bit to suit your taste. The only crucial piece of advice I have is that you really need time to cool the farro, too. I made this last weekend for my parents, and I was in a hurry, and the mozzarella melted a little bit due to the hot farro, which made it somewhat indistinguishable in texture from the creme fraiche and was just not as summery and pleasant. 

Other modifications/notes:

  • Do use creme fraiche if you can find it (it was not available at my parents’ Vons. Surprise, I know). The sour cream/cream substitute recommended in the recipe was fine, but it doesn’t feel as classy or delicious. 
  • Farro > barley. 
  • Add tomatoes! I slice up cherry or grape tomatoes and throw them in. They add some nice fruity pop. 
  • Arugula is also nice, for peppery-ness. Totally optional. 
Farro & Herbs Salad
modified just slightly from 101 Cookbooks
  • 2 cups uncooked semi-pearled farro
  • 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche 
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeeze lemon juice (plus zest)
  • 2 teaspoons good-quality white wine vinegar
  • 2 bunches / 1 oz fresh chives, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • scant teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • more salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 oz mozzarella or bocconcini, cut or torn into chunks
  • 1/2 pint (~20?) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Cook the farro: put the farro, salt and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer for ~25 minutes, or until the grains are cooked through, but not mushy.  (Or follow the packaged instructions. Also, I’ve never had extra liquid at the end of this process, but apparently you should reserve it and add to the cooked farro and creme fraiche to thin out the sauce if needed.) Let it cool (it can be warm, but you don’t want it steaming). 
In another bowl, combine the cooked farro with the creme fraiche. Stir in the lemon juice, zest, and vinegar (and add the cooking liquid if you have it). Stir in the herbs and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste, and then finally add the mozzarella and halved cherry tomatoes. 
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Feb 06
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Crunchy, not Spicy Peanut Slaw

OK, here is a recipe that is entirely thanks to the CSA. Anything I make with cabbage is; they have been giving us a cabbage a week, and that’s a lot of cabbage. You can only garnish so much posole, you know what I’m saying? So, then: slaws. 

Peattie loves any kind of peanut-flavored thing (peanut noodles, panang curry, peanut sauce) so this was his request and the result of another Google search. It was good, but I thought it needed more spice. I added maybe 1/3 a jalapeno, diced, and when I make this again (which I will be), I’d add more. 

Crunchy Peanut Slaw

Barely modified from the Kitchn

  • 1 medium head green cabbage, outer leaves removed
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped (both white and green parts)
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro 
  • 1 jalapeno
  • Salt and pepper

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup light oil, like canola
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (or more, to taste)

Shred the cabbage very finely, then toss with the peanuts in a large bowl. Add the scallions and cilantro and toss again, then season lightly with S&P. Whisk the dressing until emulsified, then taste and adjust to your own preferences of sweetness and saltiness. Toss with the cabbage. Eat with gusto.

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Feb 05
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Baked Buffalo Wings

Should I take pictures of my food? Should I absolutely avoid taking pictures of my food? I can’t decide; I’ve let laziness and accident dictate this decision. 

Anyway, I’ve been cooking a lot more lately since we started getting a CSA box after Thanksgiving. So far, I’ve made no record of most of this cooking since it’s not so fancy (and there are no photos), but it occurs to me that if I ever want to make a recipe again, I can’t quite count on my Chrome history to find them again, as I have been (see: laziness and Chrome Sync). So I may start dumping them here. Maybe (see: laziness and past blog history). 

That said, this particular recipe is not even remotely related to our CSA box, because it includes no vegetables and tons of butter. OK, not literally tons, but cups. Cups I tell you! (If you triple it.)

The motivation for this recipe actually begins at the Super Bowl two years ago, when my friend Elizabeth made hot wings. (It’s funny how the bad-for-you food you can buy at a Chili’s or a Domino’s or whatever sometimes seems like it must be “hard” to make; to be fair I suppose this food usually involves a deep fat fryer, and I don’t have one of those, but nevertheless…) I was totally blown away when E informed me that all you need to make buffalo wings is… hot sauce and butter.

…Holy shit. 

So when it turned out the Niners were in the Super Bowl and therefore we were going to have a party, I obviously needed to make wings.

Since, again, I am lazy (or just a bad planner), a lot of the recipes I make are at least partially inspired by things I find on AllRecipes, About.com (what really is about.com, anyway? It seems like it should have been put away in an Internet closet years ago, and I can’t quite understand how it has not only survived but become something I end up landing on and using at least once a week), Epicurious or Simply Recipes. I won’t be crazy and call these recipes “platonic ideals” or anything but they do seem to be these extremely modifiable, basic recipes which you can do whatever you want with and they’ll still come out at the very least “not bad.” Also, the key to using random recipes you find on the Internet is most definitely the comments. The wings recipe has five stars but almost every review describes a modification; I’ve saved at least one coleslaw and one chutney from becoming a puckery mess by reading comments about how the recipe calls for twice the vinegar necessary. 

In this case, all I did was listen to the wise people of the Internet and bake the wings pre-sauce, in only their flour coatings (after one hour of fridge time), for about 30 minutes and then dunk in sauce and bake again for 15.

The other lessons learned:

  • I should have done a slightly better job greasing the foil with spray—a couple wings baked themselves onto it because I’d just let the polka dots of spray stay where they lay instead of spreading it around with a paper towel or something. 
  • Crystal hot sauce, while a New Orleans classic, may be too vinegar-based to work well as a wing sauce? It didn’t seem to stick too well to the wings post-dunk, though it had a nice, relatively subtle spice and…
  • I made extra sauce and spooned it on the finished wings before putting them out for people to eat. At the end, this meant there were semi-congealed ridges of spicy butter sauce on the platter, but I think it was worth that grossness. (Re my previous bullet point, I think the sauce solidified up a bit over time too, which I was happy about, even though it might not be technically awesome.)

Here is the recipe (modified from All Recipes):

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 20 chicken wings (per my calculations, this is about 3-3.5 lbs)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce 

1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with cooking spray. Mix together the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add the wings and massage ‘em around for a while until they’re well coated with the flour mixture. Place the wings onto the prepared baking sheet, and place into the refrigerator. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. After the wings have dried out in the fridge, bake them for 30-35 minutes. 

3. Meanwhile, make the sauce: melt the butter, add the hot sauce, and whisk together.

4. Once the wings have baked for half an hour or so, dip the wings into the sauce using tongs, and place back on the baking sheet (flip them over so the other side can cook). Continue to bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and crispy on the outside, about 15 minutes more. 

5. If you want extra sauce (this may depend on the kind of hot sauce you bought and how well it’s sticking to your wings), then make maybe 1/4 as much as you made before, and spoon over the finished wings. Don’t forget the blue cheese dressing and celery of course. Celery burns calories when you eat it, remember?

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Jan 17
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Love this photo. There is another cool owl photo in the Nat Geo photo contest photos here. And lots of other great ones… it’s a little gruesome, but the drowned sheep is pretty amazing. (National Geographic Photo Contest 2012, Part II - In Focus - The Atlantic)

Love this photo. There is another cool owl photo in the Nat Geo photo contest photos here. And lots of other great ones… it’s a little gruesome, but the drowned sheep is pretty amazing. (National Geographic Photo Contest 2012, Part II - In Focus - The Atlantic)

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Dec 17
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Don’t knock About.com

Last week I wanted to make roast root veggies, and I knew that I had turnips, sweet potatoes and carrots. So I googled “roast turnips sweet potatoes carrots” and clicked on the first link. Let me tell you, that was a solid (lazy) Google job. Easiest, best recipe ever. I threw in half an onion, some shallots, fennel and (this part I wouldn’t repeat) celery and the extra sweet roasted fennel and onions really made the recipe. Anyway, lesson learned, easy Internet recipes are not to be sneezed at.

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Dec 11
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Beer dinner - holiday 2012 edition

I wish I had a picture to go with this, but as you know, nearly all pictures of food, especially those taken with one’s phone, are unappetizing. So I’ll just have to talk about it. Friday night we did a beer tasting dinner with some friends. Each couple contributed two dishes and two matched beers. It was quite the dinner - it took about six hours to get through all six courses, and it was delicious too. Here’s what our menu ended up being:

  • Chicken Liver Pate - with caramelized shallots, whole grain mustard, crostini and cornichons. Paired with Scaldis Noel, and also a semi-vertical tasting of Sierra Nevada Celebration (2004, 2006, 2012). 
  • Lentil soup with knockwurst and fennel. Paired with La Rulles La Grande 10.
  • Brussels sprouts salad - with dates, pomegranate seeds, feta, arugula and aged balsamic vinaigrette. Paired with Auburn Alehouse’s ZZ Hop.
  • Cajun spice-encrusted halibut - with dirty rice, collards and a spicy persimmon chutney. Paired with The Bruery’s Five Golden Rings. 
  • Roast pork tenderloin - with pine nut spaetzle and a blackberry reduction. Paired with four different beers: Aventinus, Optimator, another bock of some kind and a fourth I can’t remember (not for the reasons you think!)
  • Interlude - another semi-vertical tasting, this time of Anchor’s Our Special Ale (2001, 2005, 2007, 2009). 
  • Rice pudding. Paired with a New Glarus Wisconsin Cherry and a kriek of some kind. 

Like, whoa, right? Who are these people? 

I was super proud of how our dishes - the salad and the halibut - and their matched beers turned out, since we took a total shot in the dark across the board. The fish dish was super spicy (I would de-spice it a little next time) and went really well with the sweet holiday beer, and the fruitiness of the IPA was a nice compliment to the spicy/bitter/sweet salad stuff. I had sort of developed a fixation on cooking with persimmon, and I wasn’t sure if it would go well with the other ingredients, but it was really yummy (FYI I cut the vinegar from the recipe, above, in half). It would be really good with pork, or on a sandwich. I was also pleasantly surprised by the dirty rice. I hadn’t made it before, and I was slightly intimidated by the fact that it called for chicken livers. (Chicken livers, btw, are SO CHEAP. $2.30 for .77 lbs. The only problem is I only used about 1/3 of them, so now I need to buy more and replicate the chicken liver pate from this same dinner.) But the rice was so easy to make, so flavorful, and so good leftover with fried egg on top…

As for the title of this post? I’m just hoping this is the first edition of many…

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Nov 19
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Nov 16
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