Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rhubarb - Black and White Wednesday #142


For Cinzia's Black and White Wednesday #142, the weekly gallery of culinary images in glorious shades of grey scale. Ci's gallery will be online later tonight Rome time. For easy details on joining or hosting, you can check out the guidelines here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Black and White Wednesday - The Gallery #141

Finally!  After Blogger threw me a nasty little curve ball last night, challenging my tech chops as well as my sanity, I am pleased to present a belated Black and White Wednesday - Gallery #141.  

While all editions enjoy a unique and talented collection of perspectives and styles, this one is impressively diverse and was particularly pleasurable to assemble despite Blogger's best efforts to beat me.  Don't ask me what I did right; I couldn't tell you.  Nor can I tell you how these pretty photographs were made.  Part of the joy of photography is in the mysteries of the creative mind.

Thank to all who have shared their special work and equal thanks for your patience.  Hats off to Cinzia of Cindystar for keeping BWW on the hob!  Ci herself will be hosting next week's Gallery #142.   I'll be there if Nikon doesn't thumb its nose at me. ; )




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Egg and Mint by Sudha of Spicy, Quirky & Serendipty

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Sprouted Beans by Aparna of Stories from the Mahe Coast

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cooking in ancient rome
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Farmstand Baby Dumpling Pumpkins by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook




Baby Dumpling Pumpkins at Farmstand - Black and White Wednesday # 141


Another season is coming, and another season of Black and White Wednesday is already here!

I'm happy to be kicking off Cinzia's weekly culinary gallery today.  There is still plenty of time to send me your BWW shots (see link above for easy details).  The gallery will be online late tonight New York time.

Thanks to all who have already joined in.

See you later!




Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kulfi Molds - Black and White Wednesday


What is it about dessert molds?  Be they for charlottes, savarins, madeleines, bundts, or chocolates, their angles and curves are not merely enhancements for the delectables they shape, but are design elements unto themselves.

These aluminum kulfi molds are no exception.  A staple of Indian culinary culture, kulfi is a uniquely rich and dense frozen treat, a magic of condensed milk flavored with exotics such as rose, saffron, cardamom, or pistachio.  Without the fuss of traditional churning, a batch of kulfi is simply poured into individual-serving molds and set in the freezer to cure.

I tip my conical hat to the beguiling genius of this luxurious confection.

This is my contribution to Black and White Wednesday #140 hosted today by Aparna of Stories from the Mahe Coast.

Black and White Wednesday, the weekly gallery for colorfully colorless food, will return from summer hiatus on September 3.  Do stop by Cindystar, where Cinzia has all the details on how to participate or host this fun event.  Although Cinzia doesn't know it yet, I am re-upping to host September 3.  ; )


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Black and White Wednesday #138 - The Gallery

Good evening and welcome to Black and White Wednesday #138. Tonight's gallery was a particularly pleasurable assortment of photographs . We've covered everything from books, bread, and a boat to pasta, pastry, plants, pots, and a portrait.  I hope you enjoy the feast as much as I do.

Thanks to Cinzia of Cindystar, head hostess for this event, and to all those who have joined in. Lynne of Cafe Lynnylu is currently accepting your contributions for BWW # 139 to be published next Wednesday.

See you soon!


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Kouign Amann - Black and White Wednesday # 138


Although these buttery Breton pastry parcels failed to rise to the occasion of baking, their angled folds and crisply pleated cups earned them photogenic redemption.  

This is my contribution to Black and White Wednesday #138, Cinzia's weekly gallery for those who fancy food photos in every shade of gray.  I am hosting the honors today, welcoming your shots until 5:00 pm New York time (thewellseasonedcook AT yahoo DOT com).  I will have the gallery online later tonight.  

Thanks to all who have joined in thus far.  I'll see you later tonight. ~

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pistachio Shells - Black and White Wednesday #137

Pistachio Shells, Terracotta, and Wood


They were good.

My quick and dirty VSCO contribution to Black and White Wednesday # 137, hosted today by Simona of Briciole for Cinzia of Cindystar.

Do stop by Briciole later today for Simona's gallery, a weekly presentation of food photography for those like to dial down the color.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

My Legume Love Affair #72 - The Round-Up

Welcome to My Legume Love Affair #72 where you will find an impossibly appetizing assortment of legume-centric recipes.  
It's been great fun hosting again after many months since I passed the baton to Lisa of Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen.  

Thanks to Lisa and everyone else who participated in setting June's table.  Dining with you, as always, is a delight.

Food for 7 Stages of Life is hosting the currrent MLLA #73.  There is a particularly special giveaway (perfect for summertime) awaiting one very lucky joiner.  The monthly Hurst Bean and my own sponsored prizes will be drawn for as usual.

And congratulations to Usha of My Spicy Kitchen for winning the June drawing!  (Lisa and I will be in touch, Usha, to sort out the delivery details of the prizes.)

See you all soon!


1Sra
Authentic Pappucharu by Sra - When My Soup Came Alive

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2Linsy
Soya, Chickpeas and Spinach Curry by Linsy - Home Cook Food

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3Janet
Salsa Chickpea Tacos by Janet - The Taste Space

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4Lolly
Aloo Gobi with Chickpeas by Lisa - Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen

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5Elizabeth
Tuscan White Bean Salad by Elizabeth - Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

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6Shaheen
Vegan Jamaican Pattie Pie - Shaheen - A2K - A Seasonal Table

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7Ree1
Pav Bhaffi by Ree ~ Delectable Flavours

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12Ci

LentilJicamaSalad72WM

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lentil, Fava Bean and Jicama Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette - My Legume Love Affair #72


It's summertime. For those cooks who are attempting to opt out of their hot kitchens for as many meals as possible, this recipe will come to the rescue. It requires only ten minutes at the burners, the time it takes to boil water and blanch some beans in it.  The rest is a quick chop job at the cutting board, and a pour of oil and vinegar.

Although fava beans can be conveniently added from a can, it is worth the finger fiddling to prepare the fresh, bright green ones directly from their pods.  The zipping, plucking, and pinching ritual is quite therapeutic, akin to snapping a sheet of bubble wrap, but without the guilty shame of admitting you are either stuck in your tenth year or having a really bad day.

You can serve this salad as a side dish to an omelette or grilled meat, but that would defeat its purpose. They don't call it slaving over a hot stove for nothing. ~

Lentil, Fava Bean and Jicama Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette - My own recipe 

Makes 4 filling, fiber-rich, complete-protein servings.

Ingredients

5 cups water
2 cups dried sprouted lentils (or other lentils that cook particularly quickly and retain their shape)
4 cups water
20 large, fresh fava bean pods
1 tablespoon flavorless oil (such as canola)
1 medium jicama, peeled and diced (or other crisp ingredient, such as celery)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup minced red onion
3 tablespoons walnut oil (or olive oil)
8 tablespoons champagne or apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

In a medium saucepan, bring 5 cups water to boil. In another medium saucepan, bring the other 4 cups water to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Add lentils to first saucepan. (My sprouted lentils were al dente in 6 minutes.)

Meantime, bend or press open stem end of bean pods to reveal thin string that runs length of pods.  Pull each string down to end of pod. Place a thumb in stem end and zip it down pod to open it.  Pluck out each bean in succession, collecting them in a bowl. Discard the pods and strings. Increase heat to boil simmering water in second saucepan. Tip beans in and boil for 5-7 minutes. Drain immediately and rinse them in cold water. The beans will be heavily wrinkled.

Remove cooked lentils from heat, draining if necessary.Tip into a large serving bowl. Stir in flavorless oil to prevent sticking and drying. Set aside.

Gently nick open each wrinkled fava shell with a tiny pinch at the smaller end. The shell will be very fragile, as will the bean inside. Pinch the opposite side of the shell to slip the bean out. Add each bean directly to the lentils, assembly-line style. You will develop an easy rhythm.

Add jicama, carrots, and walnuts to bowl, mixing gently to avoid breaking fava beans. Whisk red onion with oil and vinegar.  Pour dressing on salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.  For a touch of sweetness, you can add a handful of dried cranberries; for dairy, spoonfuls of soft goat cheese would be a twangy, musky complement.

This recipe is for My Legume Love Affair #72, which is being hosted by me for the month of June.  I will have the round-up online in a few days, including the announcement of the prize winner/s.

Special thanks to Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen for keeping MLLA going for all these months since I officially retired from the event. And thanks, of course, to all of you who have joined in not only for this month, but for all the years since 2008. As time has told, I am not the only one who loves legumes.

See you again in a few days!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

And the Winner Is...



Best Wishes to R. Dutta, winner of random drawing for Lora Krulak's Veggies for Carnivores - Moving Vegetables to the Center of the Plate.  I will be be contacting Ms. or Mr. Dutta to arrange for delivery of this very delicious cookbook.

Thanks to all who joined in.

I will be back soon with more recipes, reviews, or giveaways in the following weeks. ~~

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cocktail Tomatoes on the Vine - Black and White Wednesday #132


My sepia-toned contribution to Cinzia's Black and White Wednesday, the long-running weekly gallery for fans of virtually color-free culinary photography.

Click on the link above to find out how you can join in, either as a participant or a host. ~~

Sunday, June 1, 2014

ANNOUNCING MY LEGUME LOVE AFFAIR #72


My blogging days were in their infancy. It was before everyone got addicted to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Most bloggers were focused on blogging and developing their styles and readerships, some by design, and some by serendipity. 

My Legume Love Affair (now run by Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen) was my serendipity.  For several months, I'd been banging out posts as participant or guest host for other bloggers' events.  It was entertaining, exciting, and enriching in those special ways that discovery of the novel often are.  But I was soon ready again for something different, something to test my creativity, courage, and commitment.  I wanted to develop my own event with its own theme.

All my brainstorming had settled on a niche group of ingredients which I knew was often considered a poor stepchild on the food chain: the legume.  The but of many a bean joke, legumes are as old as agriculture. In their 12,000-year-old history, thousands of varieties of legumes have been cultivated, along with countless ways to prepare and enjoy them.

Let me try to count the ways.  Since the very first My Legume Love Affair launched in January 2008, thousands of recipes have been welcomed, featured, and archived, all reflecting the finest diversity of delicious diets. 

Now in its seventy-second edition, I am very happy to announce that My Legume Love Affair is back when it all began, here at The Well-Seasoned Cook.  Thanks to dearest Lisa for carrying on MLLA with the talent, hospitality, and energy only matched by all of you who have served up your wonderful dishes throughout the years.

I'm feeling rather nostalgic now.  Do send your recipes to me this month to feed that feeling. ~~




Paraphrasing Lisa's words, here are the details for participation:

For your dish to be included in the roundup, it must contain more than just a few tablespoons of legumes. The slight exception to this are legumes such as fenugreek or tamarind that typically are used in smaller quantities. Fresh or dried beans, lentils, pulses, and the sometimes edible pods that contain these seeds, and derivative products such as tofu or besan, along with tamarind, fenugreek, carob, and peanuts are all acceptable. The possibilities are endless. Just ensure that your shining ingredient is in fact a member of the legume family. All types of cuisines and courses are welcome, so long as the mighty legume is the key ingredient and the recipe is vegetarian or vegan.

All you need to do is post your legume-centric dish, linking to Lisa's MLLA page, along with a link to this announcement. Email me (thewellseasonedcook AT yahoo DOT com) with your name, blog name, recipe title, and picture (500 pixels wide) of your dish, along with a link to your posted recipe. Use of the logo is optional. Your location must be included in your email for prize eligibility purposes and won't be published. The winner or winners (to be announced in the round-up first week of July) will be contacted via email. 

Prize information:


Hurst Beans is the sponsor of their prize to US residents for a 6-pack assortment of products by the N.K. Hurst Company.  
In addition, I am sponsoring my own prize each month that I will ship worldwide at own expense. This month's prize is a set of bowl scrapers.  The prizes are awarded through random drawing/s. If the winner is a resident of the US, she/he will win both the Hurst Bean Prize and my offering - otherwise a second drawing will take place for the Hurst prize from the pool of US residents. 
*Note: my immediate family and friends are ineligible to win a prize. Links to Amazon are for non-commercial purposes and intended as prize descriptions. Neither I nor Lisa are receiving monetary or product compensation.


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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pu-erh Chinese Brick Tea for Black and White Wednesday #131



Never heard of Pu-erh Chinese Brick Tea?  Neither had I until I was approached by Teavivre with a sampling of a variety of esoteric and enchanting Chinese teas to discuss here.  While that review will be forthcoming in a few weeks (to include a giveaway) I couldn't resist shooting and sharing these small, twist-wrapped parcels for Simona's hosting of Black and White Wednesday #131.  Black and White Wednesday is Cinzia's long-running weekly gallery featuring culinary photography for those with a fondness for images free from color.

Simona will have her gallery on line later today.  Do stop by for a look and consider joining in as a participant and/or host.  It is an easy and fun gig.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Green and Yellow Summer Squash Carpaccio Salad - A Review and Giveaway of Veggies for Carnivores

Zucchini Carpaccio with Baby Arugula and Spicy Globe Basil.

Lora Krulak, the lifestyle author of the vibrantly healthy cookbook, Veggies for Carnivores, Moving Vegetables to the Center of the Plate (Changing Lives Press) is blessed with an effervescence one would think is only available through the popping of a pill.  But Lora's energy is the creative combustion of what she prepares in the kitchen through recipes that are as innovative as they are simple.  I highly recommend her Zucchini Carpaccio. It has repeatedly dazzled me with its colorful presentation and flavors.  It makes an elegant appetizer when plated, but can also be piled high in a salad bowl for casual dining.              

A world traveler, Lora spent some time with me to discuss her culinary style, why it works for her, and how it can work for you, too, even if you are a meat eater.  (Details on the giveaway are below.)

Q:  Why Veggies for Carnivores?  What is the concept, and what are your goals in sharing the recipes you have developed in this cookbook?   Are you a carnivore who eats veggies?  What is a typical daily menu for you?

A: The goal behind Veggies for Carnivores is to show readers how to flip their vegetable ratio. I illustrate how vegetable-centric meals don't have to focus on tofu or beans and can be delicious - beautiful meals that can either complement a "carnivore's creation" or easily stand on their own. I'd also like to teach my readers how to use the recipes as starting points for their own creations, to learn techniques allowing them to incorporate more vegetables into their daily routines.

Regarding my own eating habits, I'm a vegetarian, mostly. I do eat fish and sometimes eat sheep or goat cheese. I can go weeks without eating any animal protein and not really notice.

I'm a creature of habit and will go through phases with foods. I'll find something I like to eat and will have to eat it every day. I recently went through a hummus phase and I'm pretty sure I ate it for lunch, snack and dinner every day for six months.

On a typical day for me is a breakfast of avocado, lacuma powder and dried mulberries, but I always have my green juice first. Lunch normally is a salad of some sort, and dinner is a vegetable and perhaps grilled fish or a roasted squash. Sometimes it's just soup and salad. My weakness lately is frozen yogurt. I like to make it myself, which is easy to do in a Vitamix.

Q: Tell me about your background. You have a degree from Parsons. You've mentioned that it has been very helpful in getting you to the place you are today. How have you applied your formal education to the career path you have now chosen?

A: You wouldn't think a BFA would have much to do with cooking or nutrition, but to me it's been the most useful training. I studied graphic design so I was trained to think in layers and in 2D. A professor at Parsons once taught me that if you limit yourself to two typefaces and only use those two with no other elements, you'll be able to design anything. I did that for 6 months. So when I was faced with food intolerances and began to re-create recipes, I applied that principle to cooking. I call it "creating in a small box." I actually approach everything that way. I find it easier to be more creative when I limit ingredients or choices. Anyone can create a masterpiece if given everything. Creating one with almost nothing makes cooking and eating more fun, don't you think?

Q: You have mentioned food intolerances. Which ones do you suffer from? What suggestions could you offer to those who do about making wise decisions to accommodate their own particular dietary requirements?

A: I am sensitive to dairy and wheat. I also avoid soy, but that is mostly by choice. As far as accommodating one's own dietary requirements, it's easier than you'd think. Many people approach food intolerances and allergies as if it's a difficult task or a prison sentence. In fact, it's really quite liberating and opens up a whole world of possibilities. Nowadays there are so many more products available, and restaurants are very accommodating to almost any eating style. When beginning to eliminate certain foods, the taste buds actually become more acute and awakened, so you may find you enjoy food more. My advice would be, try indulging in the plant kingdom first before reaching out to substitutes. Meaning, look into roasting a sweet potato and topping it with a homemade tomato sauce and grilled veggies before looking for a gluten-free pizza. Not that there's anything wrong with gluten-free pizza, but nature provided us with a whole rainbow of choices so why not look there first?

Q: You occasionally use ingredients like yacon, which is not widely known. What is it, why is it valuable to incorporate into recipes, and where can cooks locate these kinds of special items to stock in their pantries? 

A: Yacon is a low glycemic sweetener much like coconut sugar. It tastes a bit like molasses but is not as deep in flavor. I like it because it's filled with friendly bacteria for the gut, and that's a good thing! As far as looking for alternative sweeteners, I think it's important to find a few that you like and just use them. If you have a library of sweeteners, you can play with them in your cooking. I use maple syrup in my guacamole. It sounds strange but tastes fantastic. I'd never have thought of it had I only been a refined white sugar and brown sugar user.

Amazon sells a lot of alternative ingredients, but I also source items from therawfoodworld.com or sunfood.com. 

Q: What cooking shows do you watch and why do you enjoy them? 

A: I do watch cooking shows - not often, but when I do I find I can't stop. I really enjoy the Cooking Channel. It has a slew of different chefs, and shows that many have never heard of like "Hook Line and Dinner" and "The Beekman Boys," and I love the Debi Mazar show with her Italian husband and family. Very charming! Of course, I still indulge in Ina Garten and Giada. I mostly watch for inspiration - there's very little that I'll cook verbatim, but I like to look for inspiration, and also tips on how to present on-camera. Oh, and I love Anthony Bourdain's show, but then I'm a traveler at heart. 

Q: Since you have traveled all over the world, you've enjoyed many diverse cuisines. If you could envision yourself retired decades down the road living abroad, which country would you be inclined to settle in and why? 

A: Without a doubt, on an island in Greece. I have a bit of a "Mama Mia/Le Grande Bleu" fantasy. I absolutely love Greek food and every time I've visited, my body feels so good. The way Greek food is prepared just agrees with me. It's light and never overcooked, over-seasoned or over-oiled. 

Q: There is a lot of debate over what is the best diet for us to aspire to. How do we find our way through all the arguments for and against each option to arrange something on our own plates that we can live with, be nourished by, and take pleasure in eating? 

A: It is a great debate, isn't it? I truly believe that if your baseline is a vegetable-centric way of life, and then you follow your taste buds after that, you're going to end up in a very healthy, balanced place. We'll never be perfect and, quite frankly, who wants to be? It's too much work! But a diet of real, whole foods that don't come in foil wrappers, that have one ingredient (as Michael Pollan says so eloquently) will lead you to exactly where your body wants to be. 

ZUCCHINI CARPACCIO - Recipe reprinted by permission and courtesy of the author. ©2012 Lora Krulak.

INGREDIENTS

2 small green zucchinis, sliced thin
2 small yellow squash, sliced thin
1/2 cup basil leaves
2 Tbsp. olive oil (plus a splash more to drizzle on top)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (lime is also delicious on this)
 Sea salt and pepper to taste
Large handful (about 1cup) of arugula
5 ounces Pecorino Romano (or parmigan/Parmesan if that is your preference)

METHOD

1. Slice zucchini diagonally into thin slices with mandoline.
2. Arrange them on the plate so they overlap.
3. Sprinkle the basil leaves over the veggies.
4. Top with combined olive oil and lemon juice; sprinkle generously with sea salt and black pepper.
5. Allow the flavors to marinate and soften for at least 20 minutes.
6. Toss the arugula leaves with the remainder of the olive oil and lemon juice and place on top of the zucchini to serve.
7. Delicious served with shaved Pecorino Romano.

VARIATIONS

• Substitute with mushroom, carrot, radish, beet.
• Any firm vegetable that can be sliced with the mandoline.
• Shave any cheese or vegan cheese on top.

GIVEAWAY

To enter the random drawing for a free copy of Veggies for Carnivores, Moving Vegetables to the Center of the Plate, please leave a comment below with your full name.  The deadline for the drawing is June 10.  The winner will be announced on June 11.  The giveaway is open to all readers worldwide with the exceptions of my personal friends and family. 

F.T.C. Disclosure -  I received a free, unsolicited review copy of this book.  The giveaway copy was purchased by me and will be shipped worldwide at my expense. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Black and White Wednesday #128 - The Gallery

Welcome to Black and White Wednesday #128, the long-running gallery of monochrome photographs of all things food.

It's been nearly eighteen months since charming Cinzia of Cindystar assumed the ultimate hostess role in her administration of these weekly presentations.   I know I speak for everyone in thanking her for her time and effort in seamlessly managing the banquets.  
In fact, Ci will be hosting next week's BWW; here are all the details you need to join in as a participant and/or future host. 

And I thank you for sharing your talents here tonight.   It is always a pleasure to see you and what you have created for this very special table.



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