German Potato Salad from Ivy Manning's "It's Bacon, Isn't It?"

Make homemade senbei rice crackers, also from Ivy.

Shizuoka Gourmet writes about Japanese Rice Crackers/ Senbei (煎餅)-The Basics.

And then Alexandra Cooks' recipe for Slow-Cooked Tuscan Kale with Pancetta, Breadcrumbs, and a Poached Egg - mind you I would substitute the breadcrumbs for something else or leave them out, but this one looks delish.

Finally, Nuria's Rich Man's Rice - Arròs Parellada

the seafood of summer

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every summer, my family gathers in Nantucket and eats a ridiculous amount of seafood. this side of the family is Chinese, so eating in general is pretty much the activity of choice, and when it comes to seafood, they can hoover up enormous quantities. with the exception of the traditional Lobster Of Enormousness, we catch all our own. now, i had no idea that Nantucket was somewhat of a high-flutin' sort of vacation spot until i was in college, because it was simply the name of the place that my uncle & aunt had since before i was born. we're not typical Nantucket vacationers anyway; we don't come from old money East and we're not exactly white people. besides, i'm told that only "locals" go through the trouble of obtaining licenses to catch their own food out there.
the adults have passed on to the kids the skills: how to catch blue crabs, how to pry open the hundred clams you just harvested for Clams Casino, how to make a floaty crustacean/bivalve basket out of an innertube you found in the trash and some plastic twine (thanks, Aunt Dorene). i'm thankful that i am part of a family that doesn't separate food and love and shared time into separate categories; all three are interconnected, and you can't have one without the others. that's what having happy tastebuds are all about.

1 pork shoulder butt or other 2-3 pound slightly fatty cut of pork roast

1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Grind in mortar with pestle

1 shallot sliced thinly
1/2 tsp thyme
add to mortar, grind to paste

1 tsp good mustard
1 tsp apricot jam
add to other ingredients in mortar, grind to paste

Pull out pork butt, pat dry, put on a plate, lightly salt & pepper.
Rub in marinade until thoroughly coating pork and a bit rubbed in - 2 mins.
Stick back in fridge for 2-4 hours. Pull out about 15 mins before putting in oven.

Bake in 375-400F oven until meat thermometer reads 160-170.

Serve with some pan juices. Excellent.

Making pickled carrots & cauliflower
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N900.

Sun 12.06.09 - At many of the taquerías in SoCal there will be a salsa bar with a small container of pickled carrots and peppers to put on the side of your plate. My absolute favorite carrots are the ones at El Camino Real in Fullerton, as I love how crunchy and spicy they are. Many other places has over cooked carrots or they have very little flavor.

Today, I decided to try to make my own. I searched the net for various recipes and the recipe over at sounded closest, minus oregano, to the carrots at El Camino Real.

Due to what was living in my refrigerator and some leftover cauliflower, I did alter the recipe to my taste, here is my version:

* 6 big carrots, cut on the diagonal a bit thicker than a 1/4"
* 1 head of cauliflower separated into biggish florets, stem sliced like the carrots.
* 2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed with the side of a knife but not chopped
* 1 1/2 cups vinegar
* 1 1/2 cups water
* 10 bay leaves, whole
* 8 peppercorns
* 2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1 fresh jalapeno, sliced in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out
* 1/2 teasp. marjoram (sorry no oregano in the family, and marjoram is otherwise known as sweet oregano).

1. Saute the garlic in a wee bit of olive oil in a good pan, add the carrots and the cauliflower after a couple of minutes, saute until coated.
2. Add vinegar, water, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt. Bring to a small boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes.
3. Pop in that jalapeno pepper and the marjoram. Boil for a wee bit more. Check for carrot consistency. All total, I barely let mine boil for 10-12 minutes before the carrots were on the verge of too soft.
4. Put lid on pan, pull off burner. Let cool. Put in a covered container in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Make sure the carrots, et al, are covered in the liquid. I had to add a bit more water at this stage, which is fine as the liquid was a bit vinegar-y.

I will report back tomorrow on how they taste.

Pea-a-Palooza Risotto

Pea-a-Palooza Risotto
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97.

Sat 11.07.09 - Hadashi and I met up at her and the Husbanator's house this evening and we made a delightfully large pot of Pea-a-Palooza Risotto. When she said she had peas - then a bag of Trader Joe's bag of frozen peas got opened and the whole of the bag poured into the pot at the end of the cooking, I was very surprised, as I would have used about 1/3rd of the bag, but Hadashi was in the right, a whole bag of peas was *Amazing* in the risotto.

Moral of the Story: Don't be afraid to be free with your peas.

Today I was looking through the recipes in the last issue of Gourmet Magazine (*shakes fist at Conde Nast*), when I read the recipe on Vegetarian Shepherds Pie which called for seitan as one of the main ingredients.

Seitan is an Asian protein-rich, meat-free food stuff made of wheat gluten that is very popular for creating meat substitutes for vegetarian and vegan cooking.

If you are gluten-free for health reasons, such as gluten-intolerance or celiacs disease, or for diet reasons, also very valid, then navigating the world of vegetarian and vegan cookery can be very tricky as it can be very gluten-full.

After reading the recipe in Gourmet tonight, I decided to Google "gluten-free seitan" to see if there are any good gluten-free, meat-free seitan substitutes. And there are. Not packaged to be bought at your local health food store, but here are a couple of sets of recipes for gluten-free seitan to be used in various veggie recipes:

If you have made gluten-free seitan, please comment and let us know what you thought of it.

iGigi's Rosti with Poached Egg and Salad - Amazingly Delicious!
Sale e Pepe Josh Russell iGigi's Food Prep Counter, a Feast for the Eyes and the Mouth Josh & Jeremy, No Really - Look Across the Street to the Guy Leaning Out the Window Tomato & Thyme on the Rosti
Photos by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N86.

Sun 10.04.09 - Today Jeremy and Jessica took me to brunch at i gigi's cafe on Western Rd on Hove, Josh Russell and Nik F met us there for a truly delightful brunch.

The food was a fresh riff off the usual breakfast and brunch foods. Each dish was well considered and beautiful as well as tasty. The best part is that each of the servers prepared the dishes on the sideboard right next to us. Fresh. Tasty. Moderately DIY.

Now when is i gigi going to open a Long Beach, Calif. cafe? ;o)

[posted with permission from Black Phoebe :: Ms. Jen, by me (Jenifer Hanen).]

peach jam!

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div class="note"div class="note"click on the photos for larger images!
hadashi's peach tree was very very productive this year, thanks to responsible watering and the judicious use of a bird net. what to do with all the bounty? enter Ms. Jen and her box o' Ball jars! she's great at research, so after consulting several sources -- including a canning savvy grandma (always the best source) -- all we needed were the right tools. a quick trip to cooking mecca Surfas yielded a cheery red-accented set of tongs, funnels, and more! between all the boiling, chopping, sterilizing, and funneling, we not only had a great time, but produced a half-dozen jars of absolutely delicious peach jam. well, it's more like peach compote, but who cares? it tastes like sunshine and will be a welcome topping to breakfasty things or ice cream especially once winter rolls around. happy tastebuds all around!


My Pig Has Arrived, Making 'Da Bomb' Breakfast Sausage

The Happy Tastebud is:

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