The other morning I woke up fully intending to just have some baguette with butter and jam for breakfast. Then I spied the apricots I bought at a farmstand sitting on the counter. My intention was to make preserves with them the night before, only to realize I was running low on sugar. I know, that sounds hard to believe, but all my summer vacationing has left my home pantry in need of restocking.
Makes a scant 1 cup / 95 grams
1/4 cup / 26 grams ground cardamom
1/4 cup / 34 grams ground cinnamon
1/4 cup / 18 grams ground ginger
1 tablespoon / 9 grams ground cloves
1 whole nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tablespoon / 8 grams freshly ground black pepper
Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk well to combine. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in a cool dry place for up to two months. Shake well before using.
We don’t eat out very often, and that surprises many people I know. They figure since I’m a food editor and recipe developer, I dine out frequently. I often use Virginia’s terrible two’s as an excuse, but really my mind works overtime, calculating the cost of a restaurant meal compared to what I could make it for at home.
That’s not to say that we don’t go out to eat. It just means when we do, it’s with careful thought and intention. I don’t need a four-star restaurant to be wowed or inspired. I just need reliably good food and service.
It turns out sometimes the most simple items on a plate leave the most lasting impression too. Enough to make you want to run home and recreate it, as I did with this salted molasses butter I had recently when out with friends for a birthday celebration.
It’s essentially a compound butter, and made with just three ingredients—two of which I guarantee you have in the pantry. And if you don’t already keep molasses on hand, then consider yet another reason you need it (this French Onion Soup is the other).
I love compound butters for their ease in preparation and ability to add layers of flavors with little effort. Dara just so happened to post about them on her blog Cookin’ Canuck too, which lit the fire under my butt to share this recipe with you I created for Cuisinart. In all honestly, it’s so easy to make, I told my friend Maggy it seems silly to even call it a recipe.
I’ll send you on your way to my Cuisinart blog to get the details on the ingredients and ratios, but in case you don’t have a food processor, I wanted to assure you this butter can easily be made with a whisk and a bowl too. Just make sure the butter is ultra soft—enough so that you can use your finger to swipe off a chunk. Then add the ingredients to a deep bowl and whisk until well mixed, like below.
Get the recipe for the salted molasses butter at my Cuisinart blog.
New at In Jennie’s Kitchen: homemade whole grain mustard.
Finding a way to navigate life in these ever-changing times can be paralyzing. The advent of technology and explosion of 24/7 media means we have more information at our disposal than we can ever really hope to digest.
A simple trip to the supermarket requires the stealth research of a journalist, armed with credible sources.
But what is credible in this day and age, since news—be it in print, online or television is not objective? You know where someone stands immediately whether they watch Fox News or CNN, reads the New York Post or New York Times.
The best advice I can offer is to take a moment and consider the effect our collective purchasing power has on what makes it to supermarket shelves. Perhaps if we truly pondered the big picture—the world beyond our borders, the planet we are leaving to our children, then there would be only one real convenient way of eating.
I find my curiosity piqued as my eyes wander over the ingredients strewn across the conveyor belt just ahead of my own items. Is it fair to cast judgement based solely on one’s grocery purchases? I know deep down the answer is no. Food is a complicated ingredient in all of our lives. The decision of what to buy is often compromised by budget and time available.
I sometimes question if I’m over-thinking my own approach to feeding my family. Then as I peruse labels, I realize cooking from scratch is the only way I can peacefully co-exist with the planet.
This article from NPR’s Public Radio Kitchen is a glimpse of what is inherently wrong with today’s food system. Then I read this piece in the New York Time’s and it reminded me I’m not alone in my struggles with decisions when it comes to politics of the plate. I find myself raising many of the same questions as Yoon does in her article.
As those moments creep into my daily life, I stop myself and take a long, deep breath. Rather than feel overcome with helplessness, I retreat to the kitchen and go on with life the only way I know how.
Purists may want to take a seat. I’ve done a lot of tampering with this seemingly classic Italian dish.
Some of the changes were from necessity, and others pure whim. I’ve made a pork version of this a few times, the sweetness of the marsala wine being a natural compliment to the flavors of the pork from Flying Pigs Farm. Yes, you read correctly—I used marsala wine in this bolognese sauce, casting aside the requisite red wine.
The last month has brought two big changes to my cooking habits. Meat, while it was always eaten in moderation has been pretty non-existent, save for the occasional bacon I make for the kids. In its place, beans have been given their proper due. Not using bacon has pushed me to look for flavors in unexpected places. My kale, white & ravioli soup proved to be a very fulfilling meal without my usual tendency to boost it with bacon.
It’s just about mid-January, and while I’m not exactly in a root vegetable rutt yet, I couldn’t help think about all the summer salads that are months away for us farmers’ market shoppers here in the northeast. I had no intention of even making a salad, but after spying some blood oranges at the little market I inhabit a few times a week, I soon found myself picking up some organic baby arugula too.