- ANGELIC = divine
- COMMEMORATE = remember
- ETHEREAL = heavenly
- ESSENCE = spirit, nature
- QUOTIDIAN = daily
- HONE = sharpen
- LOATHE = hate
France is known for its cheese. For Americans — us ugly American, francophile wannabees — we like the idea of IMMERSING ourselves in foreign culture, so you can imagine my excitement when presented with a cheese tray last night, after a marathon meal in Amboise. Following a dinner of GASTRONOMIC delights, including white asparagus and pig’s trotter, the garçon arrived with an attractive platter of cheese. He explained our selection, the smell and taste of which ranged from funky to what the funk. We opted for both the standard — brie, goat’s cheese — and the unusual — garlic and beer aged cheese.
Of particular note, the beer aged cheese had subtle notes of ammonia, perfumed with the aftertaste of something INEXPLICABLY rotten. In an attempt towards cultural PREENING and self AGGRANDIZEMENT, I convinced myself that my palate could stomach, and even enjoy, such obviously disgusting food. Only after I had brushed my teeth that night and removed the smell RESIDING under my fingernails did I have a chance to determine that I’m happy with RUN-OF-THE-MILL, non-experimental, at times Wal-Mart produced and processed, cheese.
What is the funkiest thing you’ve ever tasted?
I’m heading off for a three-and-a-half week vacation to France, Berlin and Amsterdam, so last night, my dad prepared a French-themed dinner to prep our palettes for our upcoming PEREGRINATION. He made a delicious, broiled Icelandic salmon accompanied by a white sauce and vegetables. To bring out the French flavors, he sautéed a core group of flavors: celery, carrots and white onions, known as a “mirepoix,” and he built the dish from there. These ingredients are the holy trinity in French cuisine, because they combine perfectly together, INFUSE savory foods with flavor and add balance to soups, stocks, stews, meats and just about anything. Instead of using white onions, my dad OPTED for red and also added fennel and French sausage. Let’s just say that last night’s dinner got me so excited for France and the wonderful food that it has to offer!
Stay tuned for upcoming blogs and updates about my adventures exploring Europe.
Inspiration for recipes can come from anywhere, including movies, books, TV shows and life. While I was home 2 weeks ago, I watched Julie and Julia, a movie based off of a book by the same name. Julie cooked her way through the cookbook, Mastering The Art Of French Cooking, written by the most SPRIGHTLY of chefs, Julia Child. (You probably figured out that this idea influenced Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.) In one of my favorite scenes in the movie, Julia is served a sizzling fillet of Dover sole, which sparks her obsession with French food. I couldn’t help but want to make some wonderful Sole Meuniere for me and my family to enjoy. I followed Ina Garten’s recipe with a few of my own SLIGHT ALTERATIONS.
Ripe, a PAEAN to produce, is the product of a collaboration between an omnivore food writer and a pescaterian photographer. I had to spend a good amount of time with this book to figure out exactly how to characterize it. It’s a cookbook, but not really. It’s a photo essay, but not really. It’s a handbook of fun food facts and healthy eating ideas, but not really. Actually, it’s all of the above. It finally hit me that the book doesn’t neatly fit into any once category. It’s really a love poem celebrating the wonders of fruits and vegetables. The book has an unintended, extra added bonus for SATgourmet followers: some seriously good vocabulary.
In her introduction to the book, author Cheryl Sternman Rule declares that being a food marm is not her intention: most likely you already know the importance of healthy eating. Her mission is to help you find the joy and beauty of produce, experience flavorful dishes, and spark your imagination to create some recipes of your own.
The book is organized by color rather than season, which is unusual for a produce-focused cookbook. Sternman Rule features 76 fruits and vegetables in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, purple/blue and white (which physics students such as me will recognize as “Roy G. Biv”). Each one is introduced with chatty insights and observations by the author, followed by a recipe and a “simple uses” suggestion.
Most of the recipes are easy to prepare and range from fairly standard (Grilled Asparagus With Chopped Egg and Champagne Vinaigrette, Ginger Cashew Cauliflower, Peanut Strewn Purple Cabbage Slaw), to unique and different (Jicama with Peanut Sriracha Dip, Cremini Farro Hash with Poached Eggs, Persimmon Apple Radicchio Stacks). Photographer Paulette Phlipot’s painstakingly perfect images show REVERENCE for food. Have a look and I promise, the pictures will make your mouth water.
The most unique and possibly most useful aspect of the book is the “Simple Uses” suggestion that follows each recipe. The list of 3 practical uses and/or flavor ingredient combinations is meant to prod the inner chef out of your culinary comfort zone and help you get creative.
If food is your muse, this is your book.
“Ripe” is available nationwide in bookstores and through online booksellers.
Thanks to Cheryl Sternman Rule for the LITANY of SAT vocabulary in her book.
Here are a few examples:
Summer is almost here! As a way of USHERING in my favorite season, I decided to experiment with simple cupcake batter in attempt to create tie-dye cupcakes. Of course, homemade cupcake batter and frosting are a better choice than the store-bought versions I OPTED for, if you’re not pressed for time. Either way, have fun mixing colors and letting your inner-kid come out! They scream 70’s and all hippies will surely RESONATE with their psychedelic flare.
Happy almost summer,
Handmade Mother’s Day gifts are a great way to MAINTAIN tradition while adding a personal touch that says, “I love you sooooooo much, Mom!” My mother has a collection of cards I made for her every year while I was in lower and middle school, so this year I went with homemade candy.
Ginger candy is a sweet treat that can be prepared in advance and stored until the big day, which this year, is Sunday, May 13th. It’s easy to make and offers all of the health benefits of ginger. Ginger contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and is an ancient treatment for many MALADIES, including digestive problems, nausea, and cramps.
Here’s a very simple recipe for ginger candy that Mom will enjoy and appreciate:
Fun facts about Mother’s Day:
Ginger candy tastes great and is good for you… not too many sweets can claim that!
The recently published Zuppe features 50 soup recipes prepared by members of the Rome Sustainable Food Project, a mess hall serving the community of artists at the American Academy in Rome. As a diehard Italophile, I was predisposed to love this book, and I wasn’t disappointed. Author Mona Talbott, a Chez Panisse and Alice Waters disciple, is a frugal foodie who proves (with grace and style) that healthy, tasty, economical meals can be prepared on a shoestring budget. She crowd sources the recipes from her staff and local food PURVEYORS, and demonstrates that institutional dining doesn’t have to be institutional.
Starting with the fall, and following the academic year, the book is divided by season, insuring that the freshest produce forms the daily cuisine. The soups are HALE and hearty, using very basic ingredients that are readily available. The recipes are designed to serve either 4 – 6 or 6 – 8 and are offered in both American and European weight systems (ounces and liters, pounds and kilos).
The recipes appear to be relatively simple, so I asked my Mom, who is severely cooking-challenged, to try two of the recipes. Even though we are ENSCONCED in spring, I chose two of the winter recipes, which seemed appropriate because it’s still cold in New England. My Mom prepared the “cauliflower soup” and the “lentil and carrot soup” during my long weekend home from school. She was stressed by less than exact directions, such as “a bunch of parsley.” How big is a bunch???
We served the soups with artisanal bread and salad. The meal didn’t disappoint but Mom complained that the recipes were DECEPTIVELY simple.
The proceeds from sales of Zuppe support the Rome Sustainable Food Project, a very worthy cause. I love that the cover is faux-distressed to suggest that the book is a hand me down from Grandma. Soup is a staple meal for year round cooking, which makes Zuppe an INDISPENSABLE addition to your cookbook collection.
As an all-things-Italian lover, AKA Italophile, my entire family, AKA the Freiman-Mendel CLAN, is ACCUSTOMED to eating dishes I prepare containing basil, tomatoes and bread. Spicy Margarita Bruschetta is an AMALGAMATION of these three basic Italian tastes, with just one revision: I replaced the basil with red pepper flakes to add a spicy kick!
On my hunt to find another creative vocabulary book, I came across Words That Make a Difference: and how to use them in a masterly way, written by Robert Greenman. Words That Make A Difference offers yet another way to ATTAIN a great vocabulary through context. The book features hundreds of words that were used in passages from the RENOWNED newspaper, The New York Times. The book also includes a vocab list at the beginning and offers an easy tool at the end to clear up common linguistic mistakes, such as understanding the difference between “affect” and “effect.” There are about 400 pages of vocab words used in context, a sentence definition of that word and also how to sound it out. This book will keep you busy! Words That Make A Difference is a self-guide to learning words by reading passages that were written by vocabulary experts. It’s interesting and it makes learning fun.
SURREPTITIOUS suh ruhp TI shus: acting in a secret, stealthy way
“‘The video pirates would take portable video cameras into movie theaters and surreptitiously tape the feature films being shown,’ Ms. Pirro said. She said they would then return to their base of operations and, using hundreds of conventional videocassette recorders, mass-produce copies of the movie.”
Words That Make A Difference was published in 2000, so it can be considered a “classic.” For words that make a difference today, Erin McKean writes a column for the New York Times NEMESIS called, Week In Words, a field guide to unusual words in this week’s Wall Street Journal. Erin highlights vocab that is not likely to appear on standardized tests but is fun NEVERTHELESS.
Erin wrote this in the February 11, 2012 column:
The word mirliton comes from a French word for a kazoo-type flute, although the squash itself is often called a “christophene” in France. It is also pronounced as “mella-ton.”
April 25th is National Zucchini Bread Day… consider baking a mirliton bread to celebrate! Scarlott Paolicchi recently featured my Zucchini Brownies recipe and fun fact vocabulary from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. on her blog, www.FamilyFocusBlog.com. Brownies aren’t exactly bread…but close enough?