Cornerstone Cooking: Crunchy Black Bean Tacos

We love us a good blog-to-book success story (hellooooooo, agents — what ver happened to Friday Fuck-Ups, the novel?) So I was excited to get my copy of Cornerstone Cooking, the new cookbook from Nick Evans, sometimes ES contributor and the man behind Macheesmo.

Of course, leave it to a blogger to come up with the first cookbook I’ve seen in eons that is actually useful. The concept behind Cornerstone is one we can get behind: “learn to love your leftovers.” In each of his eight chapters, Nick offers up one “Cornerstone recipe” — the simple things that you should just know how to make perfectly (roast chicken, spicy black beans, grilled flank steak, baked potatoes, marinara sauce, lentils, homemade bread and vanilla ice cream). Then for each one, he gives you about a dozen more directions for how to use that cornerstone dish up over the course of a week. For example, how to turn those spicy black beans into black bean burgers, black bean soup, huevos rancheros, black bean salad, and our favorite — fried tacos!

Check out Cornerstone Cooking on Amazon, or keep reading for the recipe.

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When “I Do” Is Delicious: Food Bloggers’ Weddings

It’s that time of year again when all of your hard-earned vacation days are spent traveling around the world for other people’s weddings. But if you’re lucky enough to be friends with a food blogger, well then that $600 flight to South Dakota just might be worth it.

These days no one expects good food at weddings. I know to fill up on cheese, crackers and something sparkling during the cocktail hour because who knows how much of the dinner (besides that pumpernickel roll with butter, and my boyfriend’s pad of butter) will be worth consuming.

From a wedding reception I expect:

  • Free booze (with the bar open the whole night, not closed during the speeches, like I’ve unfortunately encountered before);
  • A first dance by the couple (or bride-father/groom-mother/bride-brother) that will make me tear up;
  • And some kick ass music. Plus, I want to see the bride dance to either Single Ladies or Like a Virgin/Like a Prayer. Something wonderfully inappropriate.

Okay, sorry. I have too many opinions from attending too many weddings. As you can see, though, I no longer even expect to eat something fantastic. But that was because I’ve never been invited to a food blogger’s wedding. Check out these drool-worthy feasts from true food lovers.

Five Delicious Food Bloggers’ Weddings

Orangette: Molly Wizenberg and Brandon Pettit

Menu highlights

  • Quartered apricots wrapped in prosciutto and grilled, served on thin toasts with herbed chevre (above)
  • Housemade fingerling potato chips with rosemary lemonade
  • Alderwood-smoked sockeye salmon with nectarine-serrano salsa or fresh herbs

(Photo and full menu: Orangette)

The Bitten Word: Clay Dunn and Zachary Patton

Menu highlights:

  • Soup shots, featuring sweet pea with Thai basil, roasted corn and mushroom with homemade bacon (above)
  • 36-hour smoked pulled pork BBQ sandwiches with homemade pickle and slaw
  • Ratatouille spoons with lime-poached shrimp

(Photo and full menu: The Bitten Word)

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Open Thread: Thanksgiving Eats

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Good god. Thanksgiving is a week away and I’ve yet to come up with some fresh ideas. Dad Gansie will take care of the bird, but I need to thrill our guests with sides.

Here are some recipes I’ve spied and might try. Please add in your favorites or new recipes you’re giving a spin around the stove this year.

Thanksgiving 2010 – Tryouts

Beet Carpaccio
Would make for a fab presentation.
[NYT/Minimalist]

Carrot, Olive and Feta Salad
Feta!
[Make It Naked]

Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake
I needed one egg dish in there.
[Smitten Kitchen]

Fried Brussel Sprouts
At least one dish wouldn’t use butter.
[The Food in my Beard]

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The Second Life of Corn Chowder

I don’t know why I had such a limited view of corn usage. Corn = grilled corn on the cob. That’s all. But then I let it pop and brown in hot oil and butter and threw it in with kale and roasted tomatoes for a salad.

I bought another four ears but did not have a plan of attack. And then I saw a corn chowder recipe over at Macheesmo. I never made corn chowder before, and I’m pretty sure I hadn’t followed a recipe all summer, so as the unofficial end of warmth approached last week, I fell in line and replicated a proper summer soup.

With the leftovers, however, I refused to simply reheat. Instead, I recreated a hotter, fattier soup and a slightly soggy frittata.

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Corn Chowder Frittata

I think I botched this up, as I rushed to the broiler instead of letting the egg cook longer in the oven. I whipped one egg with hot sauce, salt and pepper. Then poured that over corn chowder leftovers, stirred it together and put the entire mixture into a pre-heated, buttered cast iron pan. Then I added sliced tomato to the top, with more salt and pepper and then slid it under the broiler. And waited and waited and waited. The mixture browned nicely on the top, but remained slightly soggy in the middle. I think cooking this in the oven for 15-20 minutes and then finishing in the oven, with a late addition of crumbled feta on top, would have worked better.

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Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Egg?

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Now that I work from home my morning routine is different. Instead of springing out of bed, having waited for the last of the possible “snoozes,” I now roll over, shut my alarm off and open my email. Right there in bed, with the ease of my newly updated (software version 4.0.2) iPhone.

First I check my work email to make sure nothing insane has happened, then my personal email. I receive a few blog posts directly to my email (otherwise I’m really terrible at keeping up with other food blogs that I enjoy). One of these is from Macheesmo.

Yesterday Nick wrote a thoughtful piece on the recent egg recall. As eggs’ number one fan, I knew this sort of danger was coming. But also as eggs’ fan, I know to buy my yolky treats straight from farmers. Farmers (thank you Truck Patch) that raise chickens as chickens should be raised, not cramped in an immoral amount of space and fed, well, I can’t be sure, but it’s not natural.

While most egg buyers tucked their sunny side up desires away, I, instead, dreamed of how I would use eggs in my lunch that very day.

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Blogger Boggle: Favorite After School Snack

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Editors’ Note: Blogger Boggle is the new ES interview series. You know, it’s hard thinking of snarky commentary every day, so we’ve opened up the labor pool to our fellow food bloggers.

This week we’re reminiscing about our favorite after school snacks.

Banana with peanut butter & chocolate chips. Hot damn that was a great combo. Runner up: Ants on a log (celery with peanut butter & raisins)  Apparently I liked snacks that were “playful.” No “Doritos” or something generic for me— it’s all about Moms who take the time to prepare the fun stuff.

—Jon Eick, So Good

Back in High School I used to make this sandwich that I just called “The Egg Sandwich.”  There was only one egg on it, but it also had like 4 or 5 slices of cheap American cheese, and I buttered both sides of the bread.  Delicious.  Then I would go play soccer for two hours. These days I’ve substituted the sandwich with beer and the soccer with watching my cat chase a laser pointer.

—Nick, Macheesmo

I grew up in Macon, Ga. so you have to excuse me and since I’m fucking old, I date myself with a really cold bottle of Coke (glass with the name of the bottling company on the bottom) with M&M’s added til they would make the coke fizz over the top … and then drink it fast and eat the candy …

—Michael Birchenall, FOODSERVICE MONTHLY’S Sauce on the Side

Back in the day, a simple sandwich would do me fine… as I got older, it got more complicated.  I think now when I get home from school, I just rummage in the fridge and at most, fry an egg to slap on top of rice and/or leftover veggies and I’m good… wait, that’s not a snack is it?  (ummm, this is probably the part where someone jumps in and yells “This is why you’re fat!” right?)

—Yvo Sin, Feisty Foodie

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