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Quick Winter Hit

January 22, 2011

It’s cold. Deb is making soup. I’m staying inside, menu planning with my crock pot and blogging while it sits happily, with no other purpose than to feed me.

I’m making “gumbo” (I have no shrimp, so it gets air quotes) today, then I’m going to make a big pot of chili tomorrow. I also think I’ll make black bean hummus (since I soaked beans in it last week). Sorry, I did not mean for this to be a crock pot blog.

I also have lots of high carbon footprint fruit, since I was feeling a bit of scurvy the other day. Apples? Strawberries? Clementines? Sure, why not. I’ll become a locavore NEXT year.

What’s keeping your house warm while you burrow deeper into the couch?



How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my Crockpot

January 9, 2011

I know what you’re thinking, if you’re reading this at all. They go away with no notice, and they come back with this? Hey man, the internet’s free. You don’t like our content creation schedule, you can go read one of a million other food blogs.

Unless you know us. Then you’re trapped.

So shortly before the holidays, I acquired a slow-cooker. It is a beast of a thing – not the twelve-inch footprint with the country kitchen style I remember from my youth, but this bad boy, in the five quart model.

The Beast

Look at this thing!

Acquiring the device has made me think a bit, not so similar to Hillary’s slow-cooker musing on the nature of aging, but more about the types of things one would cook in it.

I made chili. That wasn’t hard. (Though I did learn that you really want to sear your meat before having it sit for 6 hours.)

I made a Cajun-inspired chicken stew. It warmed me up.

But then I realized I had only used the massive appliance on Sundays. Sundays when I was home, watching football, able to spring to the rescue if the DeLonghi masterminds had accidentally installed a fuse that didn’t agree with the 70s era electrical in my apartment. It was time to let something cook all day.

So I made a Moroccan inspired chicken, chickpea, and tomato stew. I made up a recipe after some googling, both for the stew and some Ras al-Hanout. I seared the chicken, thickened the sauce (I did learn from those early experiences), threw everything in the pot and stuck it in the refrigerator. Then, the next morning before work, I put it on low, and … I went to work.

I even worked late that night! And you know what? The house didn’t burn down! (This is a real concern of mine.) Perhaps I can work full days and still feed myself healthy meals with more than one food group represented. Hillary, you were right. Surprisingly, this thing does make you more mature!

why I will never hire a bartender for a house party

December 8, 2010


We interrupt your regularly scheduled Hillary-silence for this rant on yet another fake-trend NYT article. (Lest you think I exaggerate, check out Slate’s series on these.)

I’m not sure why this article on how hiring a bartender for your parties is a sign of being a grown-up hit so close to home, although I suspect it might have something to do with the fact that all graduate students live as though they’re perpetually nineteen. (Present company included.) It did irritate me enough, however, that I feel compelled to list all the reasons why it is a stupid idea to a) do this and b) use it as some sort of maturity barometer.

1) Mixing your own drinks is fun and gives you street cred

2) Bartenders are really effing expensive and you can probably bribe a friend to do it for a pan of brownies

3) Actual quote from the article:

“In my opinion, if you don’t have a bartender at your party, you’re a loser,” said Dustin Terry, who lives a floor below Ms. Argiro and said his job was to get models and Saudi royalty into hot clubs. “The bartender brings class and sophistication.”

“If you can’t afford to hire a bartender,” he added, “you shouldn’t be having a party.”

I’m never going to be able to afford to be a real adult with my own apartment, anyway, but if I ever get there, I’m going to have a party and mix all the damn drinks myself.


Master Class

November 30, 2010

I might be the only person who understands the title reference – Master Class is a movie based on a play about a fictionalized master class, where trained opera singers would sing and get critiqued by, well, masters. In the movie/play, the diva teacher is Maria Callas. She does not take kindly to the young singers in training.

The cooking class/demonstration I attended tonight was absolutely NOTHING like that. It was held by my all-time favorite Top Chef, Carla Hall.

Amazing chef and teacher

The demo was just rocking. Carla, if possible, has more personality in real life than she did on TV. She is super tall and poised and has more presence than anyone I’ve ever seen before. But she was personable and down-to-earth. She talked to everyone, and made each of us feel super special just for being near her.  Although she doesn’t drink, she had her business partner do wine pairings for each of the (delicious) courses and he was super knowledgeable and the wines were great.

And the food? I’m surprised she gave us the recipes. She made a delicious roasted pumpkin soup (I’ll be making it), a mushroom lasagna (I and a friend who I went with hate mushrooms and we basically licked our plates), braised pork belly with wilted collards and brussels sprouts leaves (I would make those greens this moment if I had collards in my fridge, that’s how good they are), and banana pudding. Which I love. And she gave me a second tasting portion. (Thanks to Twitter. Boo on everyone who ever said social media wasn’t good for the world!)

But aside from being delicious, the food was accessible. She was great about sharing what mistakes she’d made, what ingredients we could sub, how we could make these recipes on our own. We walked into the room as Carla fans, we left full, happy, and in love.

Also, Top Chef All-Stars starts tomorrow night on Bravo. I know who I’m rooting for!


Happy Thanksgiving from Sturgeon HQ

November 25, 2010

Hi all!

Thanks for all your reading especially as we’ve all been too swamped to post lately. Whether you’re making homemade boozy cranberry sauce or Daniel Chang’s Crack Pie (which I’ll post about after we eat it), may your Thanksgiving be delicious and heartwarming.

an age of electricity

November 9, 2010

So I have to admit, I haven’t written a lot recently. But I have somewhat of an excuse: I moved a couple weekends ago, and my new kitchen has *gasp* AN ELECTRIC RANGE.

All I know is, I don’t know how to cook on it properly, if I ever did. Things heat differently and to date unpredictably, and the science I halfway remember suggests to me that there’s some kind of conduction thing going on between the stove coil and the underside of the pan that doesn’t happen with a gas flame. So, while I’ve written about kitchen fail before, there’s the kind where you learn something for next time, and then there’s the kind where you just are kind of flummoxed and need to calm down a little bit and get in a few more trials before you can expect one without an error at the end.

So I haven’t stopped cooking, but right now it’s nothing to write home about.

A Halloween Quick Hit

October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Enjoy that one day a year when even foodies are allowed to admit their love for the corn-syrup laden, cheap chocolate formed brilliance of Kit Kats and Milky Ways. Or my favorites, Reese’s.

And in the original spirit of the holiday, here’s something really scary… American closed-mindedness to the outside world and its customs and foodways.

A Houston-based food writer decided to see what we thought of foreign diets and what people in those countries said they eat often, and compared the two. It’s mostly frightening.

Wonderful use of the Venn Diagram, I must say.