Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Horn tooting

I'm really excited about a couple of stories I wrote that just came out in Lake magazine's August issue:

I also wrote an extensive story about Mexican torta sandwiches for the July/August issue of Plate, a magazine for chefs. The research was excruciating for a number of reasons, but when I received my issue in the mail yesterday, with the story exactingly edited and set in a beautiful layout, I forgot all about it. Ah, that's the beauty of the writing life.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Drive Time

A quick trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan meant I had lots of time in the car by myself this weekend. (Because of our work schedules, my roomie and I had to drive separately.) But thanks to my newly purchased audiobook Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, the hours flew by. I've read every book Barbara Kingsolver's ever written, and this book is every bit as good as the rest. What I especially appreciate is that the sidebars written by Kingsolver's daughter, Camille, includes mentions of recipes. So far, I've decided I'm going to try the cherry sorbet, melon salsa (apparently great on chicken or salmon) and frijole mole.

In other food news this weekend, I took my husband's niece, Elizabeth, to the Fulton Street Farmers' Market, just east of downtown Grand Rapids. We had a ball. Added bonus: We happened across a massive booth for Bova Bakery, one of my hometown favorites. I loaded up on fresh foccacia, raisin-walnut bread and garlic-herb pizza crusts, plus I let Elizabeth talk me into some cheesy onion breadsticks.

Whenever I stay at someone's house out of town, I like to bring them a local treat from Columbus. I've done everything from Jeni's Ice Cream on dry ice to French macaroons from Pistachio to artisan chocolates from Pure Imagination. This time around, since I was staying with a family who has four kids under 13, I opted for a three-way can of Pam's Popcorn from the North Market. It was a hit with both kids and adults, and I didn't have to worry about it going bad, melting, or getting smashed in the trunk of my car.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What I've been up to:

  • Concocting my first-ever batch of ratatouille. (Yes, inspired by the film.) I'm happy to report that every major ingredient came from my Saturday morning trip to the North Market, and the Silver Palate Cookbook has an excellent recipe.
  • Making Key Lime Bars. They're beyond delicious, and positively addictive. Recipe from America's Test Kitchen. (The Cook's Illustrated folks.)
  • Enjoying my companion's famous jerk chicken with mango-avocado salsa, accompanied by grilled plantains.
  • Marinating chicken Marbella for tomorrow night's dinner. A Silver Palate classic. The Chicago Tribune features the recipe and many other SP favorites here.
  • Hoping my North Market peaches aren't yet overripe. I'd like to make this Texas Peach Cobbler. From Cooking Light. I bought a new serrated peeler from North Market Cookware and I can't wait to try it out.
  • Sipping viognier. My new favorite summer white.
  • Preparing mushroom ragout (served over pasta). Recipe from The Joy of Cooking. Its comprehensive index comes in handy when you're trying to figure out what to do with your farmers' market surplus. Mushrooms from Toby Run farm, via the North Market.
  • Brainstorming what kind of fun food/drink item to bring to my in-laws this weekend. They've got four school-age kids. Any suggestions, dear readers?

Monday, July 09, 2007

What I consumed on my summer vacation

I've been negligent in my posting because I've been on vacation in Michigan. It was glorious, and I enjoyed lots of food-related pursuits during my time up north:
  • Saw Ratatouille at South Haven's Michigan Theatre. A marvelous movie with a valuable message: "Anyone can cook!
  • I made my first pie (pictured here) in a master class with the Pie Maven, aka Mom. She recounted her cherry pie recipe from memory. Impressive.
  • Brunch at the Journeyman Cafe in Fennville, topped off with housemade truffles. They're stored in a tiny fridge that you see out of the corner of your eye on the way out of the restaurant. Very well-placed. Coincidentally, the cafe was written up in the Chicago Tribune just days after we visited.
  • Bought basil and rosemary plants at the Saugatuck Greenmarket (finally), plus a moonflower--I love its twilight blooms.