Introducing the Amazing, All-Purpose, Always Delicious Browned Clarified Butter

1. Are you tired of wanting to fry things in butter and being foiled by butter’s low smoke/burn point? Clarify it! And then do whatever you darn well please with it. It’s lactose free, too!

2. Melt two or more sticks of butter in a saucepan over low low low heat. Cook until the foam and bubbling subside and the butter is a golden brown, about 40 minutes. Careful not to burn the milk solids that are at the bottom of the pan!

3. Strain through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer or old tshirt or any combination thereof. Or, mix in some hot tap water, fridge it, and come back a few hours later to find a golden frisbee of clarified butter with all the milk solids sunk in the water underneath.

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Yo.

I’m in a bit of a yogurt obsession.

I’ve never been a huge breakfast person (eggs Benedict on the weekends doesn’t count, that’s BRUNCH), nor much of a routine person and yet, every morning like clockwork for the past month or so, I’ve been waking up early and eating yogurt. Who is this new me? Usually sprinkled with blueberries and muesli, maybe granola, almonds or walnuts,  sometimes bananas, apples or strawberries, sometimes even dates, and ideally a spoonful of flaxseed.  I’ve tried Greek and probiotic, everything from whole milk to low fat to fat free, and multiple brands from Rachel’s Organic to Yeo Valley to Total, almost always plain or natural because I don’t like it too sugary. It’s delicious, healthy, and oh so easy –  no porridge pots or eggy pans to wash in the morning rush and all is good.

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Roasted Beets with Diamond Kosher Salt

1. Beets are some of the most delightful, sweet, tender and beautiful veggies out there. Buy them small and from the farmer’s market if you can.

2. Roast whole with a little olive oil in a foil pocket in a 400 degree (F) oven. They should be forkable, but not soft or mushy. Rub/peel with a paper towel. Enjoy the colors on your hands!

3. Dip in Diamond-brand kosher salt. It’s the perfect texture – doesn’t dissolve on contact with your food or tongue, but doesn’t feel like eating tiny pebbles either. Eat like candy. Salty, delicious, roasted candy.

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Sunshine Daises, Butter Mellow

Turn my kitchen color palette yellow!

(If you’re not a Harry Potter geek just ignore me.)

Learn to make pasta.

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The Age of Asparagus, or, Expect a Lot of Alton Brown-based Plagiarism Now That Good Eats is Ending

1. Asparagus season is almost over here in Ithaca.

2. Asparagus loses most of its flavor within hours of being picked, so eat it right when you get home from the market. Do not, do not, do not buy it from the supermarket unless it’s fresh!

3. Add lemon zest, salt, and olive oil; broil until blistered and tender.

Once Upon A Rambling Time in the Enchanted Fairytale Forest of Bumpkin…

Welcome friends, to the mysterious enchanted forest of Bumpkin, where last week the Rambling Restaurant transformed a skyhigh attic dining room for a fabulous fairytale feast. As one of the Three Little Pigs, let me welcome you into the lush and glittering Rambling Fairytale…

The whole event was a fantastic collaboration between so many talented people – Sarah demonstrating her chef skills in the kitchen along with the versatile and knowledgable Bumpkin staff, Abi aka the Little Red Riding Hood and I doing the serving with the help of Ali and Billy behind the bar, the gorgeous decor creations of Miss Ali O’Malley (previously of Moulin Rouge fame), and a participatory cabaret full of wit, wonder, and wows led by Lucy from The Little Show Off as the very Wicked Stepmother, Matt the contact juggler, and Simon who dazzled the crowd as the surprise secret ingredient. Although not one of the listed performers, the man behind these lovely photos, our photographer Martin – had our diners shaking with laughter at his spectacular poetic rendition of Hansel and Gretel.

I’ll let the wise and wonderful words of the Wicked Stepmother take you through the evening….

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Edible Adventures in Berlin: Slayer Espresso, Kick-Ass Ramen, and Das Chicken Temptation

I hopped over to Berlin last week to do some work and found some amazing food experiences.  One of my favorite things about traveling – besides getting to see all the awesome people I know scattered around the world – is discovering interesting aspects about the way people eat in various cultures – where they buy groceries, how they purchase food and where it comes from, what the restaurant culture is like, what things people snack on – and getting to eat some of it myself.

I enjoy seeing different food innovations, like this shop called Kochhaus which sprung up on my friend Thom’s old block in the year since I last visited. Although I couldn’t read any of the signage, it’s a shop that encourages and educates on cooking and ingredients and how to put together a meal.  Inspiring ingredient and recipe displays are dotted around the open and airy shop with step-by-step instructions and visuals with each recipe.  I’m curious how the shop is doing and whether it’s getting more people cooking. Genius, I say.

I don’t read German, but I can decipher enough to know that  Tomato Bread Salad with Arugula and Passionfruit Vinaigrette sounds absolutely delicious, and I certainly wouldn’t turn down a Rinderfilet with Provencal Ratatouille and Thyme Polenta.  I’m sure Rinderfilet is excellent, whatever it is.

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Dan Barber TED Talk: How I Fell In Love With A Fish

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

Dan Barber on ‘a farm that doesn’t feed its fish, a farm that measures its success by the health of its predators, a farm that’s literally a water purification plant’.

‘We need a radically new conception of agriculture…one where the food actually tastes good.’

Insightful, inspiring, educational. Hilarious.

Promise me you’ll watch it when you next have a free 20 minutes.

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Sunday Farmers Market Trips and an Easy Cheesy Recipe

Since I moved to West London about a month ago, I’ve been trying to make it to my local farmers market at Queen’s Park almost every weekend.  It’s a different style of market for me  – my favorite markets back east were all about discovering and eating the incredible prepared food, from eating extravaganzas and grilled cheese happiness at Borough Market to wild mushroom risotto and salted caramel cupcakes at Broadway Market just behind my old flat.  In contrast, my new local market has some good snacks, but here it’s more about the grocery shopping  – you can buy everything from excellent free-range meat to fresh eggs to heritage cheeses to lots of local produce all grown within 100 miles of the M25.  I’ve been trying to maximize farmers market shopping and minimize supermarket shopping as much as possible, so each Sunday has been a big shopping spree to buy as much as we can for the week.

We’ve been obsessively experimenting with happy chickens – here you can see Old Hall Farm and Fosse Meadows Farm stands, both of which offer a perfect bird for a Sunday night roast with market vegetables. And pretty bunting.

Perry’s Farm and Ted’s Veg are great for stocking up on produce – I’ve been trying all sorts of fun and colorful things like green and red kale, red cabbage, Isle of Wight tomatoes, sorrel, cress, local apple and pear varieties, rhubarb stalks, and purple sprouting broccoli.

It’s all excellent quality, grown by small farmers and producers, and a great way to get involved in supporting the local community. Plus, it’s delicious.  Showing up at the market and buying whatever looks exciting is a great way to try out new vegetables and play around with different recipes.

I love broccoli, especially when it’s pretty and purple. I think it’s delicious on its own, but let’s be honest…isn’t everything a little bit extra awesome when you add cheese into the mix?

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Real Bacon, Real Excitement, and a Really Delicious Caramelized Garlic Tart. Obviously, With Bacon.

If  you’ve ever met me, you know I have a thing for bacon.

I love bacon enough for my sister and I to make an all-bacon Thanksgiving feast with 8 dishes including bacon stuffing, bacon mashed potatoes, and bacon-wrapped turkey. I love bacon enough to go to a Bacon Camp and make bacon sushi and take random photos of beautiful bacon dishes. I love bacon enough to do a 4-course Iron Chef-style bacon smackdown that included bacon chocolate and bacon cookies and have been known to make bacon cupcakes and even bacon macaroni-and-cheese cat cakes. Don’t ask. I even love bacon enough to tattoo it on my face.

So you can probably comprehend my fat-kid-in-a-candy-shop-on-Christmas-morning level of excitement when this package arrived in the mail. I actually jumped up and down and squealed like a pig.  A delicious, dry-cured British pig.

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