Muhammara (or mouhamara) is something I love to turn people on to. It's a traditional red pepper spread originating from Syria made with a beguiling blend of red peppers, walnuts, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, and a handful of other ingredients - depending on the cook. I included a recipe for it years ago in Super Natural Cooking, and make it when something reminds me of how much I love it. Which is exactly why you're seeing it today. I was having dinner the other night at Aziza, here in San Francisco, and always order Mourad's beautiful spreads - one of which reminds me of muhammara (although I think he makes his with piquillo peppers and almonds, or perhaps whatever looks good at the moment). It's a perfect spread for late summer -- you can use red peppers from the market and grill them -- ideal alongside grilled flatbread or toasted pita...Continue>>
I suspect we've talked about this before. I fight a losing battle to keep my kitchen under control. Looking at the counter tops this morning I see - Corsican honey, clary sage-blackberry honey, also olive blossom honey. There are voatsiperifery peppercorns I picked up in Paris months ago, preserved kumquats from the Saturday farmers' market here in San Francisco, dried candy cap mushrooms, dried celery blossoms in a small bowl, camu and wheat grass powders, midnight beans, and a lavender thyme za'atar blend I made over the weekend with dried rose petals and black sesame. The sprawl extends to the refrigerator, cupboards above, and kitchen island behind me. But there is a limit, and every couple of months, I put the brakes on, refrain from bringing anything else into the kitchen, clean up, re-organize, and do my best to use what I have on hand. Enter today's recipe, a pretty, summer-centric zucchini agrodolce. The premise is simple - shredded zucchini doused with a garlic infused agrodolce splash of vinegar, honey, and olive oil. Add to that a good number of other tastes and textures pulled from the cupboards and pantry - toasted coconut and walnuts bring crunch, red onion for bite and assertiveness, a couple of chopped dates, and tiny greens (you could do herbs) threaded about...Continue>>
I make homemade ghee from good butter every few weeks. It's a process I enjoy, and it yields one of my favorite cooking mediums. For those of you who might be unfamiliar, ghee is an unsalted butter that has had the milk solids removed after separating from the butterfat, resulting in beautiful, golden, pure fat with an unusually high smoking point. This means ghee (and its cousin, clarified butter) is remarkably stable, even at higher temperatures. The process for making clarified butter is similar to that of making ghee, ghee is simply cooked longer and has more contact with the browning milk solids, in turn lending a different flavor profile. So(!), there you have a basic description, but ghee is so much more than this...Continue>>
Friends - we finally have shelving in the QUITOKEETO studio. It's a small miracle. There's still a centimeter of dust on the floor, and an 1800s bathroom to deal with - in short, a few more things need addressing if we think we're going to open the doors to anyone aside from our UPS guy. My not-so-secret hope is we'll have some open studio days/evenings/weekends in the near future, where people can stop by, chat, handle knives, and smell perfume - in person. I'll let you know when I have a better sense related to timing. I tend not to post most updates related to QK here, so if you think you'd like to be in the loop related to the shop, the mailing list is here. Not at all related to shelving, I noticed we haven't had a favorites list in quite some time, and thought I'd attempt to remedy that. Enjoy! -h
- Read this, now reading this.
- Ruth Asawa
- Flowers mean everything to us here.
- To visit
- Extra excited about this book, and this one, and this beauty from Yotam.
A lot of the fruit salads this time of year are sweet. Juicy, ripe fragrant fruit with a sweet dressing - summer bliss bite after bite. These compositions live in the dessert category of my brain. That said, there are often times I feel compelled to snap fruit salads out of dessert-land and lead them over to the savory side of the spectrum. One of the more popular examples of this is watermelon, feta, and mint. You probably know the combination well. Sweetness from the melon, salty from the feta, tingly herbaceous from the mint. That's one example, but there are other realms to explore, and many ways to play off the soft sweetness of summer fruit. I thought we might work through some other ideas. Summer fruits are often tender, so bringing crunch and texture to a preparation can be good. Or, the introduction of a medley of green notes with herbs, sprouts, or salad greens. Also, I think we can agree, few things aren't improved by introducing deeply caramelized shallots - this works particularly well in this realm. To inspire, here's an example of what I'm talking about using pluots as the lead fruit. The fruit is set off with toasted ginger, garlic, and shallots. It is drizzled with a simple lime soy sauce dressing, and is generously flecked with herbs - in this case, mint, basil, and cilantro. Also, lots of toasted peanuts.Continue>>
One thing I've most enjoyed experimenting with over the past year is broth. I suppose the style of broth I'm interested in would technically be considered vegetable broth. That said, this isn't what one tends to think of as a typical vegetable broth - I rarely kick things off with the holy trinity of onion, carrots, and celery. Instead, I might focus one around a favorite chile pepper, or varietal of dried mushroom, or, in this case, lemongrass. It might be more helpful to think of this as thin, flavor-forward soup, where I attempt to build on a short list of intense flavors. I like broths to be compelling on their own, but also like them to function as a dynamic base for other preparations. Now, I know summer tends to be the time of year people rally around grilling and outdoor cooking, but I have to tell you, it's also the time of year I like a light, clean brothy soup. So the broth experiments continue. This one, in particular, was a standout - as a pot of water is on the stove, coming to a simmer, you add a host of ingredients like chopped lemongrass, shallots, ginger, tomatoes, and coriander. Simmer, season with miso, and you have a beautiful, unique component beautiful served straight, but also wonderful and surprising as a base for noodles, poached eggs, or rice soup...Continue>>
What you can't see in the photos here is the river running just a few feet out of frame. You can't smell the pine and redwood or their sun-warmed tree bark. What you can see is a good lunch. We were greeted at my friend Bonni's sweet, little alpine cabin with this deliciousness. I thought I'd share her feta-olive preparation - it was beautiful, and it is something you can throw together and serve as part of a series of mezze for people to pull from. It's comprised of good feta and olives served with a lot of fresh oregano, slivered lemon rind, black pepper, and a thick finishing thread of olive oil. Bonni served it with an assortment of crackers and pita, black yogurt-dolloped lentils, and chilled rosé. You can enjoy any leftovers on salad greens or grains, or a simple pasta bowl. You can also cover the herbs, feta, and olives in with olive oil in a little oven-proof dish, and heat it through for a nice little appetizer.Continue>>