Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

A simple, healthy Thai shrimp salad with an authentic sour-savory-spicy-sweet combination of fresh lime juice, fish sauce and chili paste, showered with fresh herbs and crunchy roasted peanuts. Summer is in full swing and we are officially in the middle of a heat...
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Hibiscus-Vodka Cocktail with Mint and Jalapeño

This gorgeous cocktail combines homemade hibiscus syrup with lime, vodka (or gin), and a few slices of jalapeño and mint. Poured over ice, it’s just what you want on a hot summer day.   ————————- I’ve...
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Garlic! A garden success story (with Easy Roasted Garlic)

A successful garlic crop in the urban backyard depends on a lot of factors. We tell you what went right this year for us, what we might do differently, and one option for roasting your garlic once it’s harvested.

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Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

A simple, healthy Thai shrimp salad with an authentic sour-savory-spicy-sweet combination of fresh lime juice, fish sauce and chili paste, showered with fresh herbs and crunchy roasted peanuts.

Summer is in full swing and we are officially in the middle of a heat wave. You know those shots in movies of a long, empty road, heat lines shimmering up from the pavement? Maybe a tumbleweed blows by, lazy and misshapen?

That’s our living room right now. In this case the “tumbleweed” is Arya, our rescue dog who, for a pup who lived her first year on the streets of West Virginia, is hilariously particular about the range of temperatures she finds acceptable. 70º – 75ºF is fine, but a few degrees in either direction and get ready for dramatic sighs and woeful glances.

I hear you, puppy. I’m hot too.

Arya, hot and cranky

Arya, hot and cranky

Hibiscus-Vodka Cocktail with Mint and Jalapeño

Hibiscus-Vodka Cocktail with Mint and Jalapeño

Hibiscus Cocktail with Mint and Jalapeño

Hibiscus-Vodka Cocktail with Mint and Jalapeño; refreshing and downright gorgeous.

This gorgeous cocktail combines homemade hibiscus syrup with lime, vodka (or gin), and a few slices of jalapeño and mint. Poured over ice, it’s just what you want on a hot summer day.  

————————-

I’ve mentioned before that for someone who has lived her entire life on land, I’m extremely concerned about getting scurvy. The fact that my preventative measures always happen to be delicious, tart cocktails is purely just coincidence. Odd that.

Because I’m also concerned about you, dear reader, I’m writing you a prescription* for drink at least two of these cocktails a week, all summer long. You’re welcome.

*I’m not a doctor and you probably (definitely) shouldn’t listen to me.

Dried hibiscus flowers

Dried hibiscus flowers

Garlic! A garden success story (with Easy Roasted Garlic)

Garlic! A garden success story (with Easy Roasted Garlic)

Garlic drying on a crate

Garlic drying on a crate

A successful garlic crop in the urban backyard depends on a lot of factors. We tell you what went right this year for us, what we might do differently, and one option for roasting your garlic once it’s harvested.

There’s a line early on in one of those first-generation text computer adventures – Colossal Cave or Zork or Adventure itself, I think – where the game asks you if you’re a wizard and what the secret incantation is, requiring that you’ve played the game already, or you’ve been told the secret by someone else who has (this was way pre-internet, remember, and this wasn’t the sort of information that libraries tended to know). If you do answer that you’re a wizard, and you get the code wrong, the game scoffs at you and tells you you’re a charlatan.

Gardening is a bit like that. Some years you feel like a wizard and some years you feel like a charlatan, like an actual wizard left you in charge of their garden and you’re just randomly throwing things into the ground and seeing what comes up. I wouldn’t say that I have an innate skill by any means, but I do have an immense amount of fun getting things to grow and gradually, slowly, learning by my mistakes and the variations of the growing season. Last year we put up straw bales for the first time, and had great success there with most of our seedlings. At the time, the raised beds that I’d been relying on were retarded by the branches and roots of nearby maples, which I took down at the end of the summer. This year, the raised beds are going gangbusters, but the straw is not so successful. On the one hand, shazam!!!, but on the other hand, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Chickens on guard duty!

Chickens on guard duty!

Miso-Butter Chicken with Garlic Pan Sauce

Miso-Butter Chicken with Garlic Pan Sauce

Miso Garlic Butter Chicken

Miso Butter Chicken with Garlic Pan Sauce

If you’ve never cooked with miso before, this is the perfect recipe to start with. If you love it and cook with it all the time, this is probably going to end up on your monthly recipe rotation. It definitely has for us.

There’s very little work involved so when you pull it out of the oven and find perfect, crispy bronzed chicken skin, tender meat and a delicious sauce, it almost feels like cheating. “Did I really do that,” you might be tempted to ask yourself. Yes, you did. Now go eat your dinner before any goblins attracted by the glorious smell of chicken, miso and garlic steal it from you.

Miso Garlic Butter Chicken

Miso. ginger, garlic, butter, maple syrup and scallions.

Pulled-Pork Sandwich with Pickled Onions and Radishes

Pulled-Pork Sandwich with Pickled Onions and Radishes

Happy July 4th weekend, readers! We’re taking this week off from posting brand new articles while we organize our recipe boxes for the summer, but we thought you might appreciate this post from a couple of years ago. We make pulled-pork every year around this time, and made this way it is DAMN TASTY.

Pulled-Pork Sandwich with Pickled Onions and Radishes

I’m not going to tell you that slow-roasting a pork shoulder is the quickest path to dinner – far from it – but, for a weekend cooking project, it definitely pays off in spades.

There are actually two different cuts that get called pork shoulder: “Boston butt” and “picnic shoulder.” Either is fine for this, but do get bone-in and if possible, pasture-raised. Boston butt is easier to find but I tend to look for picnic because it’s usually sold skin-on and I like to make crackling.

True, there is a bit of planning involved here but most of the time is inactive and the end result is so worth it. It’s perfect for a relaxed kind of party (the best kind, in my opinion) where people don’t mind getting messy or sparring over bits of crunchy pork skin. Because of the way it’s cooked, pulled-pork should stay pretty juicy, so it’s great in this kind of sandwich.

I combined two recipes here, one is Momofuko-style with a sweet/tart glaze from Bon Appétit (I love the flavors but it didn’t include crackling). The other is a Jamie Oliver recipe which I used mainly as a technique to get crispy skin.

What you wind up with is a huge pile of delicious pulled-pork with a tart vinegary glaze and a sheet of crackling that you can cut up and distribute as you like (or eat by yourself when no one’s looking). This would be perfect on its own or in tacos, quesadillas, grilled-cheese sandwiches (try one with bleu cheese!).  I definitely recommend making something pickled to go along-side (we made both Quick-Pickled Red Onions and Sweet & Sour Pickled Radishes). We also made a version of this Asian Cabbage Salad, but without fennel since we didn’t have any.

We meant to take a picture of the pork coming out of the oven, but Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 1 [2016 update: feel free to replace with GoT Season 6 / Outlander Series 2 finales as applicable] was just starting and … well, there are some things you just don’t trust your DVR with.

We also meant to take a picture of the crackling … but we ate it.

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