Friday, January 25, 2008

In the Pinch Pantry

The Pantry 

With these things in your cupboards and fridge you can make a variety of Asian-inspired meals.

  1. Fish sauce
  2. Thai Kitchen red curry paste
  3. Mae Ploy chili sauce
  4. Reduced fat coconut milk
  5. Soy sauce
  6. Eden Organic Tamari
  7. Tamarind paste
  8. Rice Vinegar
  9. Mirin
  10. Toasted sesame oil
  11. Hot chili oil
  12. Essential produce: fresh garlic and ginger, green onion, bell peppers and cilantro.

  1. Barilla Penne and Thin Spaghetti
  2. Beretta Arborio rice
  3. Organic Basmati Rice
  4. Organic Wild Rice
  5. Muir Glen Whole Peeled Tomatoes and Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
  6. Albacore tuna in spring water
  7. Pimento-stuffed jumbo green olives
  8. Giardinera - Hot and Mild
  9. Tillen Farms Hot and Spicy Beans
  10. Imagine Organic Chicken Broth
  11. Mama Lil's Kick Butt peppers
  12. Noh Hawaiian BBQ sauce - tied here with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
  13. Organic Garbanzo beans
  14. Tahini
  15. Cholula
  16. Anchovies
  17. Horseradish
  18. Mustards: Dijon, country dijon, Pommeray, spicy

The Baking Cabinet
Vestiges of my professional life are evident in my pantry: I buy the largest tupperware containers that will fit into my cabinets and dump several bags of flour into them (this method is also less messy as paper flour bags are no good for storage). And now I label them so everyone knows what's what.
  1. All-purpose flour. I buy the organic 365 label at Whole Foods and have a container that holds about 15#.
  2. Cake flour. Soft as Silk or Swansdown are often available in regular grocery stores. It's in a 2# box. My container holds about 6#.
  3. Whole wheat flour. I spend a little more here, as there's more depth of flavor in the smaller batch flours. Whole Foods has a nice selection. I'll provide an update soon on the order I've got coming in from Ireland. Mmmm...brown bread! My stainless steel canister holds 5#.
  4. Pure extracts: vanilla, almond and peppermint
  5. Sugars: white granulated, superfine, light brown, powdered. Also: Sugar in the Raw (well-priced at Target - look for the 2# bulk box); rustic but still chic La Perruche cubes; coarse white crystal sugar for sprinkling atop scones.
The Spice Drawer
  1. Milwaukee Iron seasoning (from The Spice House in Chicago)
  2. Hometown blended seasoning (from Town & Country market on Bainbridge Island, WA. They're kind enough to ship me several jars once a year).
  3. Ancho Chili Powder
  4. All the basics from The Spice House - a fantastic purveyor

The Fridge
  1. Beef base, chicken base (Better than Bouillon is great)
  2. Kalamata olives
  3. Grana Padano
  4. Gruyere
  5. Buttermilk
  6. Bell pepper
  7. Fresh ginger
  8. Fresh herbs: cilantro, parsley, basil
  9. Green onions
  10. Jalapenos
  11. Leeks
  12. Lemons
  13. Limes

The Freezer

  1. Tilapia or Dover Sole - these both thaw nicely and are great for a dinner of fish and chips.
  2. Meatballs. I buy 1# packages of lean veal and pork at Whole Foods, and the leanest ground beef (96/4)at Trader Joes and make a big batch of meatballs a few times a year. Save some for that night's dinner and freeze the rest on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a big ziploc bag. Prepare straight out of the freezer: brown the sides in olive oil, add some tomato sauce, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 min until cooked thru.
  3. Uncooked shrimp - deveined, tail on. At Whole Foods and Trader Joes.

The Root Cellar
  1. Yellow onions
  2. Red Onions
  3. Garlic
  4. Shallots
  5. Russets
  6. Red New Potatoes (seasonally)
What Other Sites Are Saying:
Mark Bittman's Must Haves for the Pantry
Gluten-Free Girl's Pantry Essentials
101 Cookbooks: Building a Natural Foods Pantry

Read Full Post

Equipment I cannot cook without

* Professional Blender
* KitchenAid stand mixer
* Mini-Prep Cuisinart. I usually object to keeping appliances that I don't use weekly, but the mini prep is an exception. I really only make hummus and tapanade in it, but I can't imagine using anything else for the job.
* Cuisinart. Everyone's got to have a food processor.

* 10" cast iron pan
* 8" and 10" nonstick omelet pans
* Covered pyrex bakers for marinating meats
* Steamer insert
* Le Creuset dutch ovens - 4qt, 6 qt
* 4.5 qt All Clad saucepan

Cooking Tools & Utensils
* Food mill
* Zyliss garlic press
* Microplane zester
* Short and Full-sized off-set spatulas
* High-heat spatulas - I love the ones that are one-piece. I listed the Rubbermaid professional since I've had it forever. I just got another one - at TJ Maxx - that is all one piece, and a bit shorter, more like 10-inches. You really can't make scrambled eggs without one of these.
* Chef knives. These are so personal. I recommend spending some time in a shop and really getting a sense of how a knife feels in your hand. That said, find two chef knives, one about 6-inches and another somewhat larger (I think my biggest isn't quite 8-inches - I don't like anything any bigger), get a carving knife, a 3-inch paring knife or two, this 5-inch serrated utility knife, a 10-inch or longer serrated bread knife. My favorite brands are Henckels and Wüsthof and I have a fantastic Rösle chef's knife that I love.
* Variety of ladles
* Mesh Strainers

* Silicone pastry brushes - I use these to soak cake layers, to baste my pizzas, to slather panini oil on baguette. I love how they don't shed (I worried about even my best bristle brushes shedding on a wedding cake) and how they don't retain odors or oils. This particular one from Crate & Barrel really holds liquid better than some of the other ones I've (briefly) owned.
* Parchment paper - I buy these for my half-sheet pans (they measure apx. 13x18"). I cook everything in my oven on these pans, and all my baked goods get a sheet of parchment.
* Half-sheet pans - You can often pick these up at restaurant supply stores as well. I have 6-8 of these. And Bed Bath & Beyond sells one with it's own plastic cover!
* Pyrex liquid measuring cups - You really need a one-cup, pint (two-cup) and quart (4 cup).
* Melamine mixing bowls - Get the three-pack of these (and look at TJ Maxx, too - I've seen them there before). They're great for all your baking.
* Ramekins

Misc. Essentials
* Splash Shopper
* Desk Calendar - blotter type - use to plan weekly meals to give you a better sense of how you intend to eat on a monthly basis.
* High Heat Canola Oil (spray)

Where do I find all this stuff?
Target, Sur la Table,, Chef's Catalog and Williams Sonoma are always reliable. Both Bed Bath and Beyond and TJ Maxx frequently surprise me with their selection and competitive prices.

Read Full Post

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back to the 2 0 6

I know you're digging the Mix-A-Lot reference.

I lived in Seattle for a few years. I worked at some great restaurants and lived in close enough proximity to the public market that I shopped there almost daily. It was a lovely time.

Whenever I'm back I make the rounds of my favorite spots. I know there's got to be new good stuff, but these are some goodies.

1. De Laurenti Specialty Foods
For bread, amazing cheese and charcuterie, and imported foods. And olive oils! And wine!

1435 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 622-0141

2. 5 Spot
Best breakfast in the city, hands down. Love the mason jars and the breakfast potatoes. In Queen Anne.

1502 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 285-7768

3. Monorail Espresso
Seattle's FIRST espresso cart. Don't order a double or you'll get four shots. Double is understood at Monorail, fool.

520 Pike St
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 625-0449 (They have a phone in there?!? It's just a hole in the wall!!)

4. Macrina Bakery
Great potato bread and killer ginger cookies. In Belltown.

2408 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 448-4032

5. Pagliacci Pizza
For starters, it's pronounced Pal-ee-a-chee. Oh, man. I thought I couldn't get east coast pizza in the Northwest.

550 Queen Anne Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 726-1717

6. Tutta Bella Pizza
OK - I haven't actually eaten here (my kids went with grandpa and we had the leftovers). It's the Northwest's first certified Neopolitan pizza - and I'm a big fan of that charred, thin crust 'za.

4411 Stone Way North
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 633-3800

Read Full Post

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Places in Chicago

Thank goodness for people who tell it like it is. My husband is one such person - and my friend Louise is another. Louise wrote scathing restaurant reviews in a past life (mine and, I think, hers as well) and took a lot of heat for it. I loved it. With little kids it can be hard to coordinate getting out for the evening and the last thing I ever want is to have overpriced, mediocre food on my plate. When Louise wrote reviews I was at least forewarned. One time I asked her what she knew about a certain Mexican restaurant in town. Her answer: "I know that it sucks."

I'm not interested in writing reviews. But I am a huge champion of great food. The restaurant industry is a tough one. When I have an awesome meal I tend to hype the place. No one should have to eat bad food.

I envision this as an organic list - I'll add to it whenever I'm compelled to promote.

1. India House
59 West Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 645-9500

Two words: Lunch Buffet.

2. Coalfire Pizza
1321 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 226-2625

Charred thin crust Pizza - traditional Neopolitan style. BYOB, too.

3. de cero
814 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607

(312) 455-8114

Love the small soft tacos! My favorite: skirt steak with potatoes, onion, cilantro, lime, and chipotle mayo.

4. Pete's Fresh Market
2526 W Cermak Rd
Chicago, IL 60608

(773) 254-8400

A fantastic grocery store in Pilsen. Pick up great produce, fresh corn tortillas and roast pork.

5. Simply It
2269 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 248-0884

BYOB Vietnamese. The Grilled Salmon Noodles, Sate Shrimp and Grilled Lemongrass Beef are personal favorites.

6. Matchbox
770 North Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 666-9292

Though it's a bar and restaurant (inside a very cool train car, no less!) I've only had drinks here. The pineapple infused vodka gimlet is NOT to be missed.

7. The Spice House
1512 N Wells
Chicago, IL 60610

Great quality and prices on standards like ginger, cinnamon and peppercorns, but don't miss the blended seasonings:  Milwaukee Iron Seasoning, Smoke House Seasoning, Sweet Curry Powder and Back of the Yards Butcher's Rub

Read Full Post

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

More Pinched News

Food and Children
Making Money off School Lunch
March 31, 2011 - The NY Times

School Lunches in France
February 23, 2010 -

Feds push Junk Food Out of Schools
February 7, 2010 - The NY Times

Play, Then Eat: Shift May Bring Gains at School
January 25, 2010 - The NY Times

Snack Time Never Ends
January 19, 2010 - The NY Times

School Adds Weeding to Reading and Writing
January 19, 2010 - The NY Times

School Gardeners Strike Back
January 15, 2010 - The Atlantic

Cultivating Failure
January 2010 - The Atlantic

CDC: Fewer Schools Sell Students Snacks
October 6, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal

A Crackdown on Bake Sales in City Schools
October 2, 2009 - The NY Times

Schools’ Toughest Test: Cooking
September 29, 2009 - The NY Times

Stars Aligning on School Lunch
August 18, 2009 - The NY Times

From Aspen to Silt, it’s fresh food and less junk at school
March 8, 2009 - The Aspen Times

Even Top Chefs Have Picky Kids
February 29, 2009 - The NY Times

Vitamin Use Is Highest In Kids Who Don't Need Them
February 3, 2009 - Science Daily

12-Year-Old’s a Food Critic, and the Chef Loves It
November 16, 2008 - The NY Times

Chef Proves School Lunch Can Be Healthy, Cheap
July 2, 2008 - NPR

School Is Out, and Nutrition Takes a Hike
June 24, 2008 - The NY Times

Diet and Nutrition
The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food
February 20, 2013 - The NY Times

Food, Mood and You
February 18, 2013 - The Seattle Times

What You Think You Know (but Don't) About Wise Eating
December 31, 2012 - The NY Times

Demystifying Good vs. Bad Carbs
August 20, 2012 - WSJ

Disney Takes on Obesity
June 5, 2012 - The NY Times

Salt, We Misjudged You
June 2, 2012 - The NY Times

No Longer Just 'Adult-Onset'
May 6, 2012 - The NY Times

Black Women and Fat
May 5, 2012 - The NY Times

Counting Calories? Your Weight-Loss Plan May Be Outdated
July 18, 2011 - The NY Times

The Year's Worst Cookbooks
December 17, 2010 - Chicago Tribune

The Year's Best Cookbooks
December 2, 2010 - The NY Times

Teaching Doctors About Nutrition and Diet
September 16, 2010 - The NY Times

Nutrition: Risky Additions to a Low-Carb Diet
September 13, 2010 - The NY Times

cDonald's vs. Chipotle: Does the Big Mac Win?
June 15, 2010 - The Atlantic

Weighing the Evidence on Exercise
April 12, 2010 - The NY Times

The Claim: Eat Six Small Meals a Day Instead of Three Big Ones
March 21, 2010 - The NY Times

The Obesity-Hunger Paradox
March 12, 2010 - The NY Times

One Bowl = 2 Servings
February 5, 2010 - The NY Times

Don't Buy Mastering the Art of French Cooking
August 28, 2009 - Slate

Obesity Rates Hit Plateau in U.S
January 13, 2010 - The NY Times

The Carnivore's Dilemma
October 30, 2009 - The NY Times

Does Gluten Deserve its Bum Rap?
October 27, 2009 - The Washington Post

Probiotics: Health or Hype?
September 28, 2009 - The NY Times

Book Review: Born Round
August 19, 2009 - The NY Times

Staying Fit When Eating is Your Job
August 6, 2009 - The NY Times

Kid Goes Into McDonald’s and Orders ... Yogurt?
June 15, 2009 - The NY Times

The Claim: Candy Can Hinder Athletic Performance
June 8, 2009 - The NY Times

Bad Habits Asserting Themselves
June 8, 2009 - The NY Times

Parents’ Healthy Diet Has Little Influence
June 8, 2009 - The NY Times

What's Really in a Lot of 'Healthy' Foods
May 5, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal

The Science Behind Overeating
April 28, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal

The Surprising Cost of Fast Food Calories
April 27, 2009 - The Atlantic

Even a Dietitian Can Find It Hard to Craft a Diet That Covers All the Bases
April 14, 2009 - The Washington Post

A Cool Way to Lose Weight
April 11, 2009 - The NY Times

Eating Food That’s Better for You, Organic or Not
March 22, 2009 - The NY Times

Food, Glorious Food Myths
March 20, 2009 - The NY Times

America’s Diet: Too Sweet by the Spoonful
February 9, 2009 - The NY Times

In Kitchen, ‘Losers’ Start From Scratch
February 3, 2009 - The NY Times

Food Storage: How Long Is Too Long?
February 3, 2009 – MSNBC

Telling Food Allergies From False Alarms
February 2, 2009 - The NY Times

Posting Calories at Fast-Food Outlets
January 8, 2009 - MSNBC

Weight-Loss Guides Without Gimmicks
December 22, 2008 - The NY Times

Researchers Put a Microscope on Food Allergies
December 8, 2008 - The NY Times

10 Surprising Ways to Avoid Weight Gain During the Holidays
December 02, 2008 - U.S. News & World Report

Bake Sales Fall Victim to Push for Healthier Foods
November 9, 2008 - The NY Times

Calories Do Count
October 28, 2008 - The NY Times

A Seafood Snob Ponders the Future of Fish
November 15, 2008 - The NY Times

Bottled H2O is a waste of money and resources. Pro or con?
June 17, 2008 - BusinessWeek

A social movement argues you can be healthy no matter how fat you are
October 3, 2008 - The NY Times Magazine

Obesity in China Doubled in 11 Years With Rising Prosperity
July 8, 2008 -

Eat less and exercise more
January 1, 2008 - The NY Times

Grow Your Own
Urban Farming, a Bit Closer to the Sun
June 16, 2009 - The NY Times

The Challenge of Growing Tomatoes
June 2, 2009 - The Atlantic

Rooftop Gardening in Chicago
May 2009 - Chicago Magazine

Shopping Responsibly
Will Walmart Save the Small Farm?
March 2010 - The Atlantic

Bad News for Bluefin Tuna
November 17, 2009 - The Atlantic

The Carnivore's Dilemma
October 30, 2009 - The NY Times

Got Milk? Yes, at My Doorstep
October 29, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal

A Fall Guide to Apples
October 13, 2009 - The Atlantic

Political Revolution at Whole Foods
September 4, 2009 - The Salt Lake Tribune

The High Price of Cheap Food
August 21, 2009 - TIME

Are Vintage Stoves Better than Modern?
August 5, 2009 – Slate

Natural vs. Organic: The Battle Begins
July 3, 2009 - The Atlantic

Farmers-market food costs less, class finds
June 4, 2009 - The Seattle Times

Buying Coffee at the Supermarket
June 2, 2009 - The Atlantic

Nutritional Insights on Saving Money
February 6, 2009 - The NY Times

Grocer to Flag Healthful Foods
January 15, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal

How the press got the idea that food travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate
September 17, 2008 – Slate

Why the food press rarely talks about dollars and cents
April 16, 2008 – Slate

Sweet News
Ladurée Brings Its Macarons to NY
March 17, 2009 - The NY Times

How Caramel Developed a Taste for Salt
December 30, 2008 - The NY Times

The State of the Cookie
December 11, 2008 - Slate

Food and Politics
Kahan, The Aviary lead Chicago haul at 2013 James Beard Awards
May 6, 2013 - Chicago Tribune

Deep Inside Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Taco
May 1, 2013 - Fast Company

Food labeling 101: GMO, organic, and other common grocery labels decoded
Christian Science Monitor

Venture Capitalists Are Making Bigger Bets on Food Start-Ups
April 28, 2013 - The NY Times

The Disgusting Consequences of Plastic-Bag Bans
February 4, 2013 - Bloomberg News(View)

U.S. Releases New Rules for School Snack Foods
February 1, 2013 - The NY Times

Culinary Institute of America ups its science curriculum
September 19, 2012 - The Chicago Tribune

Chicago announces food-truck parking-spot locations
October 4, 2012 - The Chicago Tribune

World Bacon Shortage "Unavoidable”
September 25, 2012 - Bon Appetit

On Their Stomachs: A taste of war
May 4, 2012 - The NY Times

With Classroom Breakfasts, a Concern That Some Children Eat Twice
April 19, 2012 - The NY Times

Starbucks will no longer feed you bugs. How nice.
April 19, 2012 - The Chicago Tribune

Consumption of Buffalo at an All-Time High
January 22, 2011 - The NY Times

Hospital Meals Made to Order
January 14, 2011 - The NY Times

How the Microplane Grater Escaped the Garage
January 11, 2011 - The NY Times

Childless Couples Eat Healthier, Study Finds
January 7, 2011 - The NY Times

Weight Watchers Upends Its Points System
December 3, 2010 - The NY Times

Wendy's Rethinks Fries in Nod to More Natural Foods
November 21 - The NY Times

While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales
November 6, 2010 - The NY Times

Tuna's End
June 21, 2010 - The NY Times

New Food TV: The Cooking Channel
April 20, 2010 - The NY Times

WOne in Eight Americans Used Food Banks in 2009
February 2, 2010 - The Wall Street Journal

EU Bars Stilton From Making Its Cheese
December 11, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal

To Feed the Hungry, Keep the Can, Open a Wallet
December 11, 2009 - The NY Times

Good Food: Who Can Afford It?
December 9, 2009 - The Atlantic

Foodie App Launches in Chicago
December 8, 2009 - Crain's

Luxury Kitchens on the Back Burner
December 7, 2009 - Slate

A Makeover for Food Labels
December 7, 2009 - The NY Times

Food Stamps: The Economics of Eating Well
December 7, 2009 - The NY Times

Can Biotech Food Cure World Hunger?
October 26, 2009 - The NY Times

American Artisanal Cheese Ventures Into Europe
October 16, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal

Now Entering Upper Michigan’s Smoked Fish Zone
August 25, 2009 - NY Times

'Food, Inc.': The Unsavory Business of Feeding America
June 19, 2009 - The Washington Post

Ambassador Hot Dog
June 6, 2009 - The NY Times

Food Truck Nation
June 5, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal

Big Food Under Fire
June 3, 2009 - Slate

Bringing Flavor Back to the Ham
June 2, 2009 - NY Times

Organic Dairies Watch the Good Times Turn Bad
May 28, 2009 - NY Times

Meeting, Then Eating, the Goat
May 24, 2009 - The NY Times

Many Summer Internships Are Going Organic
May 23, 2009 - The NY Times

Congress' Eye on Your Memorial Day Menu
May 23, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal

When fast food gets in the fast lane
April 14, 2009 - LA Times

Is a Food Revolution Now in Season?
March 22, 2009 - NY Times

Turning Cameras on American hunger
February 28, 2009 - AP

Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants
February 24, 2009 - US News & World Report

Alice Waters Seeks Organic Bailout
February 20, 2009 - Gawker Media

Obama Woos G.O.P. With Attention, and Cookies
February 4, 2009 - The NY Times

Obamas Hire Chef From Chicago
January 28, 2009 - The NY Times

When Big Business Eats Organic
March 19, 2008 - The NY Times

French Bistros File Record Bankruptcies as Le Big Mac Reigns
October 21, 2008 -

With Goat, a Rancher Breaks Away From the Herd
October 14, 2008 - The NY Times

Tug of War in Food Marketing to Children
July 30 , 2008 - The NY Times

On Booze
Thinking of a Kegerator Party This Weekend?
June 12, 2009 - The Atlantic

Easy Mixing: 5 Cocktails for the Lazy
June 10, 2009 - The Atlantic

Cooking 101
Making lunch with Michael Pollan and Michael Moss
April 23, 2013 - The NY Times

The Joy of Not Cooking
May 2011 - The Atlantic

E-Kitchens Can Get Crowded
September 22, 2009 - The NY Times

The Mystery of Cheap Lobster
June 24, 2009 - The Atlantic

The Secret of South Carolina BBQ
June 23, 2009 - The Atlantic

Ireland's Renowned Oatmeal
June 19, 2009 - The Atlantic

An Elegant Gruel: Polenta
June 8, 2009 - The NY Times

Cooking by Ratio
June 2, 2009 - Slate

TV Cooking vs. Real Cooking
April 14, 2009 - The NY Times

What to do with the kale, turnips, and parsley that overwhelm your CSA bin
March 25, 2009 - Slate

Couscous: Just Don’t Call It Pasta
February 23, 2009 - The NY Times

Mark Bittman = Your Pantry's Keeper
January 6, 2009 - The NY Times

No Chefs in My Kitchen
November 29, 2008 - The NY Times

Rinse the Turkey? Not So Fast
November 24, 2004 - The NY Times

Should we bother washing our fruits and veggies?
September 19, 2006 - Slate

The myth of the 30-minute meal
April 23, 2008 - Slate

He Cooks. She Stews. It’s Love.
February 14, 2007 - The NY Times

Read Full Post