July 26, 2010

In Which Much Cooking Is Done

It's the time of year. All sorts of fresh produce from our CSA and our own garden, which is flourishing under the excellent management of this eater's better half (that doesn't sound quite right, but I presume you get the gist!).

There's been quite a bit of zucchini involved, which is good, because we've had a lot to use.

First there was the zucchini linguini. If you, like me, will be making this for just a few people, when adjusting the recipe, don't skimp on the zucchini. Like spinach, it loses a good bit of its volume while it cooks, so don't be stingy with it. Or with the tarragon and pepper.

I put some zucchini from our garden (as well as a cucumber, which was off-recipe but a welcome addition) into this salsa verde of sorts for my very own birthday dinner. Careful with the salt on the first pass and, if you wish, leave it a little chunky, which I did and really enjoyed. While making it, you may also run into problems with the blender because of a lack of liquid. Just add a tablespoon of water if your blender is having a hard time.

Of the recent cooking escapades, my favorite came on Saturday: pork tacos. The recipe came from a food blog, The Whole Kitchen, which got it from Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday, which I really need to get. I'd been desperate to find an excuse to use a nicely sized pork shoulder from Heilman's Hogwash Farm in Sarver, Pa. (which, unfortunately, does not have a Web site, but you can find them at the Farmer's @ Firehouse market in the summer as well as through Slowfood Pittsburgh's Laptop Butcher).

The tacos were excellent. The achiote paste offers some unique flavors. In addition to the pickled onions, I also put some crumbled cotija cheese as well. Any sort of lettuce or salsa, etc., would do these tacos a disservice. Keep it simple.

July 22, 2010

Gotta Glut 'o Veg from the CSA, Garden?

Mark Bittman has a suggestion for you...

I plan on making this very soon, but am thinking I might add a layer of bread crumbs and Parmesan about halfway up, also include some red onion, maybe something with a little heat. One suspects there are a thousand permutations...

July 19, 2010

Thanks for the invite. I'll Pass...

I've been a terrible, bad, inconsiderate food blogger. There's been so much noteworthy food news: national level policy news, like the FDA delving into the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed on factory farms, and local news, like PASA's upcoming grass-fed beef cook off in Latrobe and Franktuary going mobile with a lunch truck in the Strip District. (Follow these grass-fed hot dog maestros on Twitter to find out where they'll be next!).

But what finally roused me from my blogging stupor? An email from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announcing a bottle signing for Skinnygirl margarita, with "only 100 calories." Skinnygirl margarita is brought to you by... Bethanny Frankel, one of those "housewives" from Bravo's embarrassing "Housewife of...." series.

If you go to Skinnygirl Web site -- you'll have to find it yourself, I refuse to link to such tripe -- you'll also see an add for Bethanny's new reality show, "Bethanny Getting Married." Which makes one wonder why she was on a "Housewives" show if she wasn't actually... a housewife?

Even if you're on a diet or something, trying to become a "skinnygirl," do yourself a favor and enjoy a real margarita: a fairly good tequila (that does not include Cuervo "gold"), some lime juice, triple sec or cointreau, and maybe some simple syrup. Over ice or in a shaker, in a salt-rimmed glass if you like that kinda thing.

Just don't drink too many, take it easy on the chips and guac, and get some regular exercise. You'll be much better off.