Author Archives: Katrina

Crystallized Ginger

crystalized ginger slices

Ingredients:

1/2 (Measure) Water: 1/2 (Measure) Sugar: 1/3 (Measure) sliced fresh Ginger Root

Peel your ginger root. Try to slice the root so that you end up with pieces of relatively equal thicknesses. Bring water to boil. Add sugar and the ginger. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the ingredients simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir the mixture occassionally, and keep an eye on the pot so that it doesn’t boil over and that the sugar doesn’t burn.

When the sugar has crystallized around the slices of ginger, spread the mixture onto a non-stick surface. Once it has cooled, you can break the ginger up into pieces.

So far I’ve used the crystallized ginger in a dish of shredded Brussels sprouts with craisins, in tea, and in my hand (like candy). Yum!

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Brussels Sprouts

 

“I don’t even know what you’d do with it,” said the friend that offered me a food processor. One of the topics at the lunchroom table that afternoon was gambling, and I’d mentioned that I was waiting to see if I would win a sweepstakes that was giving away stand mixers. She was suprised that I don’t own one yet and that I don’t have a food processor either. Then she remembered that she had one in a box on her give-away shelf that she would be glad to let me have.

So, I had to do some research to see if I would really want a gadget that would take up space in my kitchen. What would I do with a food processor that I couldn’t do with a chef’s knife and/or a blender?

Google helped me come up with this list: potato latkes, yucca pizza dough, carrot salad, hummus, pesto, curry paste, date truffles, tzatziki, tomato sauce, and shaved brussels sprouts.

I was convinced enough to accept her offer.

I already had chickpeas, garlic, and olive oil, so hummus wouldn’t be a problem. Potatoes and onions for latkes? check! The shaved Brussels sprouts with cranberries recipe was tempting enough for me scribble “Brussels sprouts” down on my list of things to look for at the South Philly “Italian” market that weekend.

Saturday. After I’d taken the produce out of all the little bags from the market and put them away, I decided to take a look at the food processor. The cardboard pieces and bubble wrap were still wrapped around the pieces. But when I had taken everything out of the box, there was no metal blade. Perhaps they’d come up with a way for the plastic disc to to the work? No. So I re-wrapped the pieces and returned them to the puzzle box.

Thankfully, I had only purchased enough Brussels sprouts to make a test batch. With the  sharp blade of my 21-year-old chef knife, making shreds out of the miniature cabbages wasn’t too difficult. I even decided to slice a root of ginger to make my own crystalized ginger for the recipe.

shredded brussels sprouts craisins red onion

There were recipes for either cold or warm shredded sprouts. Rather than make a sort of coleslaw, I decided to braise the ingredients (in chicken broth) then add butter, salt, and pepper. The next evening I warmed the shredded Brussels sprouts with some pieces of leftover pork. Potato-and-Cheddar-cheese perogies were a satisfactory compliment to our meal.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Pierogies

Categories: Brussels sprouts, Food and drink, Pork, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Reading

strawberries creme fraiche book

Market-Fresh Strawberries & Home-Made Crème Fraîche

 

In case you’d like a taste of what I’m reading, here are two samples from a book I purchased yesterday.

“I do believe, against all the odds, that cream will be with us for a long time yet, despite its well-known high cholesterol content. After all, who in their heart of hearts would want to be without crème brûlée, the best vanilla ice cream, or clotted cream on a scone with strawberry jam?”

“Crème fraîche The only sort of cream to be found in Europe. It is a shock the first time you try it because of its sharp taste. ‘Oh, it’s off,’ people cry. I have never discovered the reason why this cream has been deliberately soured, but for something so rich, it is curiously refreshing and particularly good with chocolate things. I don’t like cooking with it; it separates more easily than any cream I know.”

Roast Chicken and Other Stories

by Simon Hopkinson with Lindsey Bareham

A newspaper clipping left between the first few pages of the book give a good explanation of the difference between an American cookbook and one you might find in Britain. In addition to pointing out that American cookbooks are big, heavy, and “include several dozen profound-looking photographs”, the review accuses Americans of “glamour, swagger [and] religious uplift”.  In contrast, the British author of Roast Chicken and Other Stories, Simon Hopkinson, shares personal favorites in a simple and pleasant manner.

In his introduction, the author admits that he is not a novelist. You can tell that he isn’t a professional recipe-writer, either. Last night I was chuckling out loud at the way he explained some instructions. His work is fun to read because you can tell that he likes to cook and that he enjoys eating good food.

As I looked at the titles of various chapters listed in the Table of Contents, I see there are more than a few ingredients that will probably not make it into my kitchen: brains, hake, squab, sweetbreads, tripe… but it won’t hurt to store some of the information in my head.

I look forward to dipping into this book from time to time over the next few summer months, and perhaps even trying some of the recipes that don’t require turning on the oven.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Books, Food and drink | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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