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Archive for the ‘why would you do that’ Category

It was a dreary day, typical of a Chicago spring, and I was looking for something to cook. I was tired of hearty soups, stews and pasta and was on the hunt for something light and bright. Something spring-like. Putzing around the internet for inspiration, going from one random link to another I came across something on the Eating Well website. Radish Soup. Was that a thing? The color caught my attention – a lovely shade of light pink. Curiosity piqued, I was about to find out if this was indeed a thing.

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I’ve been on a mission lately, looking at the contents of my refrigerator in new and different ways. For the last two posts, in a series I’ve come to call Why Would You Do That?, I’ve taken vegetables one wouldn’t necessarily think of cooking and done just that. I sautéed radishes. What? I braised cucumbers? What what? Much to my surprise, they were both delightful. Surprise surprise. You can learn all kinds of interesting things by turning your regular way of doing things on its ear.

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Earlier this week in my first installment of “Why would you do that?”, I sautéed radishes. Radishes are crisp and fresh. Why would you cook them? Why indeed. They were unexpectedly delicious and I started thinking of other recipes I’ve seen over the years that left me perplexed. Like cooked cucumbers. Can you, and why in the world would you, cook a cucumber?

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I am frequently overcome with waves of guilt for the amount of food I throw away. I recipe test; it’s an ever present reality. Not every recipe turns out the first, second or even third time so these are often destined for the trash. Other days, it’s things I’ve forgotten about, found again in a sorry state in the back of the refrigerator or a crisper drawer – often vegetables bought with good intentions but crazy schedules. And other times it’s parts of vegetables – greens, tops, slightly wilted bits – that I cut off and throw away wishing the city had a composting program or that I kept city chickens. I know I need to do better and sometimes I do. Last year I made a sort of meatless meatball with carrot tops that were good in an earthy, grassy kind of way and I genuinely love sautéed beet greens, enough that I frequently come home with free bunches from the farmstand. People tear these things off and toss them. Can you believe that?

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yellow tomatoes

I’ve been thumbing through my new/old copy of the Café Boulud Cookbook, considering what my next recipe would be and then who’s the guest judge of Top Chef this week?  Daniel Boulud with his cute smile and melt-the-cockels-of-my-heart accent.  Oh, the timing is impeccable, I tell you.  So what’s next?  I’ve already done a lovely chilled melon soup so maybe Onion Soup with Braised Beef Shanks?  No, it’s too hot.  Potato Gratin Forestier?  No, I’m too fat.  Candied Yellow Tomatoes?  Huh?  I kept coming back to the tomatoes, turning the idea over in my mind, trying to figure out what it would look like, taste like.  I’ve certainly seen tomato desserts over the years though I’ve never made one myself.  Is it too weird?  Would it be just awful?  If you think about it, technically the tomato is a fruit.  And fruit can be candied.  So is it really that far of a stretch?  Well, we’re about to find out.

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