Category: Culinaria

If Only We’d Made Cheese in High School Chemistry Class

My mother likes to tell people what I said about chemistry class, “I don’t know why anyone would care about the rate of a reaction. I don’t even care about the reaction itself.”

This, coming from the daughter of two biochemists.

I’ve always loved science, but failing at one type forever brands you a flunkie.

And yet, I’ve spent more hours than I can count creating science on the stove, in the oven and, unfortunately, in the fridge of the bluish-green variety.

Chemistry was never so fun than at a recent cheesemaking class with cheese whiz Mary Rosenblum (and science-fiction author). Thanks to SlowFood Portland (organizers) and to Chef Robert Reynolds Chef Studio (use of space). Read more

Give a Man a Bowl of Pasta…

…and you feed him for a day; teach a man how to make pasta and you feed him for a lifetime.

Second only to enjoying a bowl of steaming pasta is the pleasure of making your own, which is what five people did here last Sunday. It does involve work. But as several of them said afterwords, “This was easier than I thought it would be!” This was my thought, too when I learned to make several hand-formed pasta shapes at a cooking school in southern Italy. Read more

Sorbets for the Season

Rhubarb strawberry sorbetAs quickly as summer finally appeared in the Northwest, it disappeared just as fast. We’re back to gray skies and cool weather. But a small window of much-anticipated hot, sunny weather was good excuse to whip up some rhubarb strawberry basil sorbet. You can sorbet almost anything. And sorbets are hard to ruin since they are essentially fruit, sugar, water and often lemon. Sometimes even vegetables. They can end a meal along with a cookie, or they can be used as a palette cleanser between courses.

Below is a recipe for the sorbet I made, but there are many recipes out there and they call for wildly different amounts of simple syrup (your sweet base) and even the ratio of sugar to water for the syrup itself. This means there is no right way or recipe. Some recipes called for corn syrup, which I didn’t want to use so I left it out. Read more

A Presentation Worth Its Salt

an appleMichael Pollan needs little introduction. But even a celebrity journalist can’t rest on his laurels. Much ink is spilled on the common pitfalls of presentations, and the suffering they inflict on audiences everywhere. Yet presentation best practices are still lost on most presenters.

Not so with Pollan who drew a crowd of some 4000 at University of Portland’s Food for Thought conference last Saturday. Pollan, a little incredulous at the crowd’s size, wondered if some of us were in the wrong place. “You’re sure you’re here to see a food writer?” he asked. Read more

Year of Produce: March, The Final Chapter

radishThis month marks the final installment of a “Year of Produce” in which I charted my fresh produce purchases in illustrated form for a year starting in April 2010. I was curious to see if I put my money where my mouth is about eating locally and, by definition, seasonally. Yes, 2010 was so last year. But April is so now! Which means you can start all over again if you missed the whole thing. Scroll down for March as well as a mini image of each month that links to that month’s post. Each one has some combination of recipes or recipe links, preparation ideas, thoughts on eating locally and other good stuff. So please explore!

With this final post I offer:

• A tally for the year
• Thoughts on what is local
• My observations on the project
• March recipe links
• How to eat seasonally, affordably (prompted by a question someone asked me) Read more