Food for Thought

Nancy leson

It's my favorite time of year. The cukes are out at the Duris Cucumber Farm on River Road, just a little west of Puyallup. For years, I've been trying to convince my Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson to accompany me there. She finally did, and boy, was she glad.

Nancy Leson

Nancy Leson's just back from a trip to downstate Illinois where she ate not wisely but too well. Besides the extra avoirdupois, she also brought back the rust bucket pictured above. It came from the estate of her husband Mac's aunt. Can you guess what it is?

Dick Stein

Nancy Leson thought I was repeating an urban legend when I told her that diners have swallowed bristles from metal grill brushes along with their steaks.  But then I showed her this story about their dangers , and she admitted in an email I will save forever, "You were right — as always, Stein."  

And it's happened not just in Seattle, but all over the country.

Nancy Leson

Nancy Leson's got a brand new bag, and it's full of bees.

In a recent Seattle Times piece about backyard beekeeping, she expressed interest in keeping bees in her backyard. In this week's "Food for Thought" I suggested that she leave them where they always were — in her bonnet. Ms. Leson begged to differ.

Nancy Leson

I'm a recent though enthusiastic consumer of banh mi and a longtime fan of Andrea Nguyen's superb cookbooks. Her newest, "The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches," was just released.

That subtitle is no overstatement. If you're unfamiliar with banh mi (bunn mee) Viet sub sandwiches, it's time to try one. And what better way to get started than to make your own with the easy-to-follow instructions in Andrea's handbook. 

Stein

I know, I know. It's no concern of mine what other people do with their money in a supermarket.

But for the life of me, I cannot understand how bottled iced tea got to be such a popular item. How could something in a bottle on a shelf possibly be better than what you can get started at home in 10 seconds? One thing I do know — it sure ain't cheaper. And it's not exactly hard to make. You don't even have to boil it.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

"Stein, do you cook much fish?" Nancy Leson asked me.

To get a rise out of her, I answered, "No, never!" 

The Gilbert and Sullivan fan that I am, I was hoping she'd sing her reply as: "What neverrrrr?" To which I could have answered, "Well...hardly ever."

Instead I just got, "Oh, c'mon, really?"

Nancy Leson

Trigger warning for the gluten-hysterical: This segment contains multiple and appreciative references.

Eaters, I am scandalized! Nancy Leson has slammed out a batch of made-from-scratch bagels in just one hour — that's one hour from the mixer to out of the oven.  

I haven't tried them; I've just seen the pictures, but I must admit that they at least look good. Here's how she did it.

Dick Stein

When I bragged to my Food for Thought partner Nancy Leson that I'd attempted to make halva, I was absolutely gobsmacked to learn that she doesn't like the sesame candy. 

Even though my homemade version was less than — OK, a lot less than — perfect, I've always taken it for granted that everybody in the world loves the stuff. After all, it's been around in one form or another for at least three thousand years.

Nancy Leson

Nancy Leson recently traveled to Philadelphia for her cousin’s wedding, and she taunted me with emailed photos of some of the great deli chow she enjoyed.

She also raved about the teensy lamb chops her cousin served. 

“They were just perfect. I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t rubber chicken,” Nancy said. “But the thing I really want to tell you about is the open-faced pastrami reuben I had at the Chit Chat Diner in Hackensack, New Jersey.”

Aaron Hushagen

In this second installment of highlights from our Food for Thought Happy Hour event, we turn to Tom Douglas and his "cheap" green onion pancakes.

The Seattle chef's quickie version of the Chinese favorite starts with "cheap flour tortillas" which are painted with egg mixed with a little sesame oil, then sprinkled with minced green onions and sesame seeds. Fold, press down — or as Douglas says," Stand on it" — and give it a quick fry. 

Aaron Hushagen

If you were one of many who joined Nancy Leson and me for our Food for Thought Happy Hour last week, you know what a blast we all had.

But if you just couldn't make it, here's a recap for you with sound and pictures.

Everyone, especially us, had a ball at the event which featured Seattle chefs Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita, the chef in the hat, Thierry Rauturau of Luc and now Loulay, and Large Seattle chef Tom Douglas of, well, pretty much every where else.  All were introduced to the music of Eric "Two Scoops" Moore and his combo. 

And what eating we did!

Nancy Leson

When my Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson first met her husband-to-be, Mac, she helped him pick out a dining room table. If she had known that eventually she'd be moving in, she says, "I might have picked something different." 

Nancy Leson

I have a close relationship with the herbs I grow. And unlike some of my previous relationships, herbs actually seem to thrive on neglect. I never do much for them other than snip the blossoms when they bolt and once in a while throw a little water on them. And yet they keep coming back. Nancy Leson reports the same results. 

Nancy Leson

How's this for a switch: rye on ham.

It used to be a vague childhood memory for Nancy Leson's husband, Mac. 

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