Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
Archive for October, 2009
Let’s face it. Leaving one’s comfort zone is intimidating at best and often downright scary. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing — traveling to a new place, trying a different career, or cooking food from a different culture — entering into the realm of the unknown can sometimes seem like more trouble than it’s worth. How about you? Still stuck in your cooking comfort zone or have you stretched your repertoire and tried dishes that were once foreign? I’d love to hear some stories.
Recipe for Vietnamese-style Crispy Halibut included.
As a kid, every autumn held a sunny October weekend where my mom would toss my sisters and I into the back of the Volvo and head out to the country to go apple picking. Recreating this experience on the West Coast can take a little doing, but it’s possible.
While chatting with a friend the other day over lunch, the conversation turned to travel– where we’ve been, where we’d like to go, etc.
“Have you ever been abroad?” I asked my friend in a tone not unlike a half-soused society matron at a garden party. He nodded. I was expecting him to mention one of the usual places one goes to expand one’s global horizons, like France, or Italy, or Japan.
“Well, I lived in Luxembourg for three years.”
This wasn’t the answer I had expected, which both threw me and delighted me at the same time.
“Luxembourg? Seriously?” I had to admit that, over the past forty years, I had never given that country the time of day, except perhaps in thinking that it’s name gave the Benelux countries a decidedly luxurious ring.
Normally I stew beef, pork or chicken when braising, but last week I was in the mood for something a little different and ended up buying some turkey thighs instead along with pancetta, brown mushrooms and a bottle of red wine. I envisioned something between a coq au vin and beef bourguignon, but with turkey.
The jerky salesman was the real deal, I thought, a Kentucky classic, an intrepid street food hustler in a lean and largely cart-less land. I wanted to meet him again, to interview him perhaps, to most importantly get my hands on some more of his delicious wares.
Ruth Reichl, editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine and former New York Times restaurant critic, joined Forum Tue, Sept. 29, 2009 to discuss her latest cookbook, “Gourmet Today: More than 1,000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen.” Reichl has been honored with four James Beard Awards. Her other books include “Not Becoming My Mother: And Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way.”
Can you tell what is in the foreground of this blurry little image, shining like a diamond? It’s not a real diamond, you know. It is a piece of ice. Not just some run-of-the-mill, made by a cold, inhuman machine kind of ice. It isn’t even technically an iced cube and don’t you dare to call it one. It is, to my eyes at least, the Hope Diamond of frozen liquids. Why? Because it has given me 20 glimmering karats of hope at the end of a rather traumatic afternoon, that’s why.
So what do you do with 20 lbs of tomatoes and a can-not attitude? What do you do when you have no desire to stand over a boiling pot of tomatoes in 90 degree heat? You roast and freeze. That’s right. I let my oven do most of the work and then after that, I’m letting my freezer do the rest.