Posts Tagged ‘lemon’

3 quick chicken roast tactics

January 23, 2010

Saturday. I’m writing music, using my pencil. I’m copying extensive cues from one part of a concerto for two keyboard instruments by J.S. Bach into photo copies of the second part, in preparation of a rehearsal on Monday, where I will be the only keyboardist present, and where I will have to fill the gaps left by the absent other soloist.

This act of severe retro-geekiness – writing Bach with a pencil – costs a lot of time; time I cannot spend on cooking (one may wonder where I get the time to write this blog entry). In anticipation of all this, I bought a whole organic fresh chicken (these things are possible in Southampton. I’m still amazed). Preparing a Chicken roast goes fast, and you don’t have to stand and chop and stir all the time. But even here, most of the talk is about how to fill the gaps, or rather, the chickeny hollows. (more…)

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parcel experiments with savoy cabbage

October 17, 2009

Somewhere in my archives there is a recipe with Savoy cabbage and salmon. I am sneakily not giving the link. Otherwise people would never have to leaf through my accumulated postings which would be sad.

I keep being interested in the possibilities of savoy cabbage –  it should be a marvelous vegetable, the queen of leaf cabbages. We might, for example, attempt to braise the cut-up cabbage in white wine and give it a creamy lift at the end. We’ll likely end up with a soggy and squishy heap that tastes quite nice but looks like what, when I was little, the farmers gave to the pig. Alternatively, we might try out some kitchen-wiz oven treatment with shredded savoy and minced lamb, which could result in dried-out, brown and bitter strands between the sizzling fragments of meat.

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lemony chickpea soup with salmon

May 27, 2008

The last scoop-in-the-pan of home-cooked chickpeas is usually too watery for hummus. But it is a perfect starting point for chickpea soup.

The following recipe is slightly too much for two. No, maybe it isn’t.

I sauté a cup or so of finely cubed carrot and half a cubed onion in olive oil. If you have really fresh really red peppers, you could add some of these as well. A little later, I add a chopped clove of garlic and cook everything a little longer. Now the chickpeas enter with their cooking water – the amount is a little up to taste but I guess that I’d use two or three cups of chickpeas-as-if-drained and as much water as there is. I add fresh water until there is enough soup and bring the whole to the boil. I mash some of the chickpeas with a fork against the side of the pan, but not too many.

In the meantime I have been in the garden for some fresh mint. (more…)

small improvements

February 26, 2008

Someone on ask metafilter is asking for new hamburger recipes. Funny that people actually know what to answer. I mean, we’re talking about hamburgers. What I would find interesting with hamburgers is how they are cooked, technique-wise. This is much more important than what happens in terms of authenticity if I mix another teaspoon full of this, that or the other into the burger mix. Spices and combinations can be improvised, cooking techniques much less so. A spoiled burger remains spoiled, no matter whether we’ve added thyme or not.

The small good things that happen in the kitchen have little to do with recipes. They are about spending tiny bits of time on actions that make all the difference. Reducing watery matter is one such example. (more…)

lemon zest-icides

December 6, 2007

Have you ever found a red bell pepper to smell faintly like diesel when rinsed with warm water, or peeled an orange that smelled like mosquito spray? These are the moments when we think that we’ve identified a piece of fruit that is contaminated with pesticides. The truth is that without the opportunity of elaborate chemical testing, the consumer has no chance to know what chemicals enter his kitchen hidden in the folds of the groceries. A few days ago the Swedish public was informed about a new study about the steadily increasing diversity of undesired chemicals in our food. Of course, for those who cared to read up on the matter, it has been known for decades that pesticides are creeping unobserved into our food; the news is that the cocktail of chemicals gets ever more varied.

If we, then, need to read about pesticides in order to know about their unwelcome existence, because we can’t smell them, people actually have to write about them. One of the most puzzling things lacking in the majority of baking books around the world concerns lemons. Lemon zest is a lovely and beloved ingredient for most things sweet and tempting. How many baking recipes alert the happily anticipating baker to the fact that lemon peel can be completely saturated with pesticides? Almost none. A Google search on lemon zest pesticides at least turns up the idea to scrub the peel thoroughly to get rid of most of the wax and pesticides. But what does that help? As above, we cannot possibly judge whether the scrubbing ritual truly exorcised all the bad spirits of the peel.

In Lori Longbotham’s book Lemon Zest – More Than 175 Recipes with a Twist, (when I wrote this post, I provided a link to the relevant passage, but it has gone dead since then. Poisoned, no doubt) we finally can read what thousands of baking books have omitted: If you want to be sure to avoid pesticides, buy organic lemons – but you’ll have to scrub them nevertheless, because even they have been waxed.