Food for Thought

Nancy Leson

It's not the three cookbooks pictured above, though Nancy really loves them and recommends them swooningly and from a great height.  Nope, this is an enjoyable DIY project.  Click "Listen" and all will be revealed.  Now let's talk about saffron,

Nancy Leson

Sure,  I love to play the philistine in my encounters with Nancy Leson on Food for Thought but it's time to reveal that I have been Velveeta-free for almost four years.   One more year and I get my pin. 

Meantime, I've been enjoying some of the wonderful locally made stuff and so has Nancy.   We had a lot of fun on this one.  Hear all about it with a click on the audio gizmo under the
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You go nuts all day long with the cooking and the cleaning and the worrying and the will  this or won't that and did I remember to and does the house look and will they even show up  and what was I thinking when I decided to do this they could have had their lousy corn flake stuffed pork chops and gone the hell home by now... and waitasecond is that cat-box I smell? 

Or you could be like my Food for Thought pal,  Seattle Times food writer  Nancy Leson.

Clean as you cook

Nov 14, 2012
Nancy Leson

Pro chefs have their kitchen grunts to handle the cleanup but we home cooks have to do it ourselves.  And the way to do it is as you go.  I think the clean-up is as much a part of the cooking process as the mixing and chopping, the slaughtering of the ox, all that kind of stuff.

Every good home cook has had the dream of opening his or her own restaurant.  But we've also heard the dire warning: "90% of restaurants fail in the first year of operation."   It isn't true.

Stein / The Corporation for Refrigerated Saxophones

In this week's culinary adventure Nancy Leson and I chat about our canning projects.  Balsamic jams for her and preserved lemons for me.   Preserved lemons give a powerful jolt of flavor. 


Yes, there actually was a Granny Smith.  That's her right above.  But she was not (gasp) an American.

Stein / Set design by C. Degroot

Nancy Leson is back in the saddle again. After months spent in lady-of-leisure mode (I can just hear her outraged snort) Nance is back  doing a weekly column for The Times. In this week's FfT she talks about her new job and about a Pink Door recipe for squid she gave her own twist to.


This week's Food for Thought is part two of our chat with Andrea Nguyen, author of the terrific new cookbook Asian Tofu, hence the dreadful pun above. Nancy and I usually get a fair number of comments to our Food for Thoughts post. But last week's Part One brought this response.  So it's time to walk on the wild side.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

I blame the hippies. If it weren't for concoctions like Tofu Chili Surprise and other abominations maybe so many Americans wouldn't turn up their noses at tofu. I've always believed that the only legitimate context for the stuff is in Asian cooking.  

In Andrea Nguyen's terrific new cookbook, Asian Tofu, that's right where she puts it. Full disclosure:

Definitely the BP in my case but I'm a confirmed Luddite, anyway.   I can be accused of malfeasance right at home by my wife.  I don't need to go to the supermarket to hear it from a snooty machine.

Nancy Leson

Of course there will be no feast to find unless you put one in.  The feast my Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson likes to store is her Sri Lankan Beef Curry.  The picture above shows the results, and it looks pretty good to me.  Why don't we all give it a try?  Here's  the recipe.

Even for some of our favorite activities the first time is not necessarily the best time.  Restaurants are no exception.  Especially when you stop to think about how much there is to go wrong.

It's a bacon renaissance. The stuff's in everything from milkshakes to chocolate to bourbon whiskey. Just Google "new uses for bacon" and you'll see. There are innumerable sites devoted to all things bacon. Including one called Mr. Bacon Pants, a concept with some intriguing possibilities. 

And now in the interest of full disclosure, I confess:

Nate McCarthy / Wereteens of Edmonds

Nancy's pretty let down about this. Not so much that she can't bring her own but that she won't get to watch the dogs others bring.  In Seattle dogs are allowed at some farmers markets and banned at others.  

Here's a list: Farmers markets in Washington make their own rules.

Nancy Leson

Well, Nancy has fun. Sometimes I get a little freaked when hemmed in by a farmers' market crowd. You know –  potato panic. Arugula anxiety. 

But my Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson loves s nothing better than immersing herself in the mob of happy food grazers at farmer's markets in the Seattle area.

Stein / Stein Software and Garlic Management Associates

I read my first Yelp restaurant review this past weekend and I'm pretty sure it'll be my last. So many of the posts were so whiny that they weren't even as amusing as those really dumb Netflix Member Reviews.

You know the ones ...

Nancy Leson

My Food for Thought Co-conspirator Nancy Leson, previously a happy land lubber, was recently cajoled into a trip to Mexico on one of those giant cruise ships.  The good news?  The tales of heroic eating you've heard are true.  The not so good news?  

Huffington Post

"How could I  not have known about this?"  My Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson echoed the very words I had thought when I discovered the Spiral Cut hot-dog.   It's not only cool,  it's so easy to do. 


If you've never had them the idea of cold noodles might not sound too appetizing.  But just take a look at that recipe up there. Why do you think it's so ragged and stained? From multiple uses, that's how. 

I've had it memorized for years but I thought it would be fun to break it out once more so you could see. Click through all the photos and then keep reading – because I've got some good tips for you on how to make it.


Over the years I've received numerous emails from listeners who rhapsodize over the Beef on Weck sandwich of upstate New York . Last week's "favorite foods of memory"  installment brought yet another mention so I decided I'd make my own. Step one was finding out exactly what a Beef on Weck is.

When recipes go wrong

May 23, 2012
The health care blog

Don't blame yourself. It is absolutely not your  fault. After all, you could never make a mistake. Could you?

Nancy Leson

My Food for Thought co-conspirator Nancy Leson has been tormenting me with pics of all the great food she's been scarfing on the east coast.   What lovely schadenfreude I enjoyed upon  learning that the sandwich pictured above was awful.  The bummer was the bread.

Give peas a chance!

May 9, 2012

I'm planting mine – the ones  pictured above – this very weekend. Actually they're Chinese-style Snow Peas.  My wife, the L&T Cheryl DeGroot refuses to eat the little round ones. 

Which is too bad because besides being delicious and versatile peas are really good for you.


Full disclosure: I don't know whether or not they fry their pizzas in Micronesia. I just wanted a rhyming headline and I liked "Micronesia" better than "Spinal Anesthesia."* Who wouldn't? 

Anyway, they have  been deep-frying pizzas in Europe.  Now the fad has moved stateside.

Nancy Leson

One of the most common flash points of domestic bickering is the optimum method for loading a dishwasher.

And now I'm admitting to my wife, the  Lovely & Talented Cheryl DeGroot, right here on the World Wide Web that I was  – arghhh!  wrong and she was  – gackkk!!... right.  But only about the dishwasher.  I think I've been right about everything else.  For years.  Anyway...

Dine alone and love it

Apr 18, 2012
Cheryl DeGroot

I do. In fact I was pretty surprised to learn that many people are uncomfortable when dining alone in public. I can't imagine why. I enjoy unaccompanied ingestion for lots of reasons.

Nancy Leson

When you ask your dinner host "What should I bring?" and the answer is " dessert" what do you make?

Justin Steyer

KPLU jazz host Paige Hansen did.   Here's how it went down.

Paige told me she was filling up when the guy at the next pump over asked her if she'd like to buy some meat.  And she did.  A lot.  Since she survived to tell the tale I guess she got away with it okay.  In fact she said she and her husband had just eaten one of the steaks the night before "... and it was great."

Nancy Leson

In this week's Food for Thought, Nancy talks about her chicken pot pie recipe and I pile in with an abbreviated list of the things I think  I make the best of. We also recruited KPLU newsies Paula Wissel and Erin Hennessey along with production maven Nick Morrison to brag on what  their significant others say are their culinary triumphs.  

Click where it says "Listen" to hear all about it.