Food

Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Food For Thought Happy Hour: You Had To Be There

Every Tom, Dick and Nancy!
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!

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Check It Out — Nancy Got Herself A Custom-Made Dining Table

Lumber from the Black Locust trees felled just blocks from her home. Stages of construction follow.
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." 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Growing Your Own Herbs: Cheap, Easy And Makes For Fun Drinks, Too

Nancy's outdoor herbs, from left: mints, chives, thyme and oregano (in the same box) and (far right) sage.
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. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed April 30, 2014

How To Cook Artichoke, Including The Stem

That's a nice lookin' choke.
Nancy Leson

Nancy Leson was so excited by the mammoth 'chokes she's been getting at the store these days that I was almost too embarrassed to admit that the only artichokes I've ever eaten have been those pickled hearts in the glass jars.  And that's even though we've been growing artichokes just for their blooms for years now. 

All that's ending this week. I'm going to get me some of those monster artichokes she talks about, and cook 'em using tips from Nancy.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Nancy's Whole Ham Cooked In Rye Dough, And Dick's Worth-The-Wait Roast Lamb

Nancy's husband, Mac, made this rye dough-wrapped Easter ham last year. The crust for this year's ham had a slightly different design (see video below).
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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The Salt
9:36 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Sichuan Pepper's Buzz May Reveal Secrets Of The Nervous System

It's the Sichuan peppercorn in dishes like spicy ma po tofu that makes your mouth buzz. Researchers wanted to know if that buzz is connected to the tingling you feel when your foot falls asleep.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 5:19 am

The Sichuan peppercorn is known to give some Chinese dishes a pleasant tingling feeling.

What's not so pleasant is that pins-and-needles feeling we get when our foot falls asleep — or when people who suffer from paresthesia experience constant tingling in their limbs.

Diana Bautista, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, wondered: Could these sensations be connected?

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Nancy Eats Paris, Including The Best Falafel In The World

E. Dehillerin, a restaurant supply shop that's been in business in Les Halles since 1820. Yes, she bought stuff!
Nancy Leson

Nancy shares highlights of her trip to Paris

Of all the places I haven't been to, Paris is the place I haven't been to the most.  But my Food for Thought co-conspirator Nancy Leson is just back from the City of Light and boy, did she eat.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed April 9, 2014

How To Be An Annoying Restaurant Patron

From Caddyshack: The chef reacts badly to Rodney Dangerfield's critique.
Caddyshack

Back in February, Nancy and I devoted a Food for Thought to annoying things restaurants do. It seems only fair that we now open the forum to restaurant workers about the annoying things customers do. 

Nancy and I have both worked in restaurants, so we had a few little items with which to scratch the surface of Annoying Customer Behavior.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed April 2, 2014

How To Slice A Whole Bunch Of Olives All At The Same Time

What Nancy calls mise en place for her Chicken Adobo. I just call it getting organized.
Nancy leson

Hanging out at Capitol Hill's La Bete Bistro enabled Nancy Leson to learn the closely-guarded secret of slicing multiple olives in one fell swipe using just two yogurt lids and a sharp knife. Continue on, dear reader, if you would like to know...

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Asparagus, Garlic and Scapes — Oh, My! 'Tis The Season Of Fresh Produce

We just can't figure out how those tulips got into our garlic bed, but there they are, poking their broader leaves up through the straw amongst the thinner but tastier garlic shoots.

Seeing them reminds me of the story in Charles MacKay's 19th century masterpiece, "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" about Holland's Tulipmania. It concerns a sailor who returns from years overseas, unaware of the astronomical prices tulips had reached during that insane bubble.  Mistaking a bulb worth thousands for an onion, he eats it.

In this week's Food for Thought, Nancy Leson and I heave big sighs of anticipation over the fresh produce to come — for me, my 45 garlic plants and their scapes, and for her, local fresh asparagus. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Cast Iron Vs. Non-Stick — And The Winnah Is...

A nice selection from the International Dutch Oven Society exhibition in Salt Lake City
Nancy Leson

Dick and Nancy debate the merits of non-stick vs cast iron cookware.

I admit it. For a while I was seduced by the slippery attraction of non-stick cookware. But what I noticed was that supermarket-cheap or fancy cookware-expensive, they all betrayed me in the end. I also noticed that while cast iron just keeps getting better and better, my non-stick just got worse. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Making Homemade Crackers The 'Easiest Thing In The World'

After: Pretty slick, huh? Hope that Brie is good n' gooey.
Nancy Leson

I love homemade food stuffs — things I might otherwise have to buy at a restaurant or a grocery store. But it’s never occurred to me to make my own crackers. Until now. 

The way my co-conspirator Nancy Leson tells it, "it's the easiest thing in the world.”

“For people like us who like to make homemade bread, pie crust, crackers are really, really easy,” she says.

Nancy asked Seattle chef Bruce Naftaly of the late Le Gourmand to share his recipe for his famous handmade crackers, which he makes with homegrown poppy seeds.  

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Food For Thought
5:01 am
Wed March 5, 2014

How To Make Your Own Crème Fraîche — And Why You Should

A jar of homemade créme fraîche.
Marisa McClellan Flickr

I freely admit that up to now, I hadn't really been sure what the stuff was or even how to say it. Let's get that out of the way right now: It's pronounced “kremm fresh.” So what is it? Think sour cream, only not so sour and, for my money, way better-tasting. 

“Crème fraîche is really a cultured cream, just like sour cream,” says Nancy Leson. “And you can put it on anything, from sweets to savories. You can put it on fruit, you can put it on dumplings.”

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed February 26, 2014

No Need To Presoak Beans For This Cheese Rind-Flavored Minestrone Recipe

Mmm...that blob at noon to 2 is a good n' chewy chunk of Parmesan rind.
Nancy Leson

My whole life I've been soaking dried beans overnight for use in the next day's soup or stew. At this late date, I've learned I've been wasting my time. 

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Youth Obesity
5:01 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Youth Obesity Drops in King County For The First Time In Years

FILE - Roxhill Elementary students dine on healthy entrees prepared by chef Tom Douglas' staff.
Charla Bear KPLU

After years of flat rates, obesity among adolescents significantly dropped in King County between 2010 and 2012. Public health authorities credit prevention efforts at school.

A handful of school districts in the county made a special effort to push fitness. Some had students track their own nutrition, others invested in top-notch physical education programs or healthier lunch options. Federal stimulus money paid for the Communities Putting Prevention to Work programs.

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