How To Revive the Heat in Your…Kitchen


Like my father, I’m a strong believer in not wasting food. But while he will eat 3-week-old lox, I’ll refuse to even eat a tomato that’s been refrigerated.

Along those lines, DAD GANSIE and I also never throw shit out. I feel so guilty about throwing out food that even if I know I won’t eat the leftovers, I let them sit in my fridge for 2 weeks instead of tossing them on the spot. It’s a habit I’ve been meaning to break (and one that 80 is really hoping dies soon.)

I do think, though, he’d be proud of my latest food-rescuing invention, which also uses up plenty of my cabinet inhabitants.

Okay, so at my local 6-aisle grocery store serrano chilies come in packages of 18 or so for under $2. I try to stick them in everything I eat, but after so many meals with my mouth on fire I let the chilies hide in the back of my fridge until gray hair starts growing over their skin. And then they find a home in the trash.

It was different this time. I remembered a trick my friend Tim told me about how he prolongs the lives of chilies: he’ll buy jarred chilies and when the chilies run out, he’ll buy the non-jarred package and stick them in that same salty solution.

Of course, I wanted to do one better and make my own preserving liquid.

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Americanized Injera


I hate sharing. I hate bartering. I hate compromising.

I want goat cheese, spinach, olives and sun-dried tomatoes on my pizza. I do not care that you hate olives. I do not want to split a plate of anchovies and roasted red peppers. Anchovies make me convulse. I want all of my garlic shrimp. You order your own.  I think you know where I’m going with this.

When did these “small plates” become so fucking popular. I don’t want a bite of this or a bite of that. I want an entire fucking steak and I want to eat it all myself. Screw tapas and mezze or any other dish where you have to invoke cloture to place an order. Enough of this sharing shit.

But then there’s Ethiopian.

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It Ain’t Just Southern


Editor’s Note: Westcoast and I (gansie!) have been making the rounds to all of the hott spots in DC this season. Of course I’m talking about the farmers’ markets. We’ve visited three locations (Silver Spring, H Street–with sightings of Belmontmedina and Mr. and Mrs. Joe Hoya–and Bloomingdale) and we have many left to scope out. Here’s Westcoast‘s most current inspiration from a market find. And please let us know where we should get our next seasonal fix.

You finally get something out of me…probably two years after gansie and I first discussed…so you know it must be tasty.

I chose okra (and wasn’t the first to do so here on ES).  I almost couldn’t help it.  Gansie and I were at the Bloomingdale Farmers Market, there was a lone section of okra staring at me. I hadn’t really done much work with it, and it seemed like a challenge.  When I picked it up I think gansie lost the ability to speak for a few seconds.

Okra is perhaps one of the most misunderstood vegetables (well, it’s a fruit, technically) around.  It is noted for its extremely slimy, gummy or mushy texture in food that is poorly prepared (read: if you are from the North, you probably think it is just one of those silly Southern things like deep fried pickles; if you are from the South, you ate fried okra at some point in your life with varying extreme reactions.)  It is native to Africa and if you check out its cross-section, it’s in the shape of a pentagon.

There’s only one dish I have ever had with okra that really made me see its potential: bhindi (okra) masala.  I scoured the internet for recipes, took a field trip to an Indian grocery (and nearly lost the liquid from my empty stomach as I saw a whole lamb, legs and all, being hacked up at the butcher) and ended up with something that was pretty phenomenal.

Intense recipe post jump –

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Feeling Good About Creaminess


I’ve only started liking yogurt in the last year, but now I can’t get enough: smoothies, dipssoups. I go to yogurt in a pinch because it adds flavor and consistency, yet can easily adapt to a multitude of culinary situations: it can be sweetened with fruit or it can turn spicy with curry.

And then it can turn into a sauce. Ish.

The PR folks for Lifeway Kefir emailed Endless Simmer about its “healthy, nourishing, drink/yogurt shake.” I had absolutely no idea what it was about, but decided to give it a try. I already know I can’t dig the supermarket yogurt, but figured trying this “staple in much of Europe ” would be fun. Who am I to deny free samples of something that could potentially be a new healthy addiction? (And PS, Maids, this is apparently a legit alternative for the lactards, “The cultures in Lifeway Kefir alleviate the unpleasant side effects that can be associated with milk consumption, even in people who are lactose intolerant.”)

It was one of those fridge clearing nights, especially because I received NINE bottles of Kefir (3 plain, 3 strawberry, 3 vanilla) and really needed to start experimenting. I wasn’t sure how milk-like it was going to be, so I had 80 (milk drinker) take the first sip. Upon the pour I knew he would hate it: Kefir is super thick and I could smell the tang from a foot above.

He grimaced. I gloated.

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Taco Bell HQ News: Heat Is Where It’s At


Americans don’t want spicy food.  Oh, they think they do, but they really don’t.  The want medium — “zesty” — but not really, truly hot.

That’s always been the conventional wisdom.  It’s said that, while there are always the daredevil diners who will pour the habanero sauce on anything, middle-America isn’t interested in being challenged with real heat.  In other words, most of us are wimps.

But could the conventional wisdom be going by the wayside?  Might the American palate be shifting in a way that opens up menus at national restaurant chains to items that deliver the goods in terms of a truly spicy meal?  That’s what the folks at Taco Bell are counting on with the recent expansion of the Volcano Menu.  Proven sales performance and an overall belief in changing culinary trends have them convinced they have a product that can sell well around the country with a genuinely spicy dish.

But could the heat be enough to impress me, the undisputed Endless Simmer king of chicken wings?

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When There’s Nothing Left to Do Besides Saucin’ It


As much as I’m like *oooomigawd I LOVE the farmers’ market* or whatever, and I totally do love it, it sometimes overwhelms my judgment.

I love it too much. It’s like a freaking social for me. I’ve become BFF with one of the vendors, Jaci, who always makes fun of her farmer family and talks shit about picking vegetables. She’d never been more grateful than when she found out she was allergic to bees and therefore couldn’t harvest the crops with her uncle and grandfather.

And then there’s the market director, Rebbie. She’s tall and beautiful and may or may not have magenta hair on any given Saturday. Plus she’s nice as shit.

I also run into my neighbors and now fellow ES bloggers, Maids and Bliz.

There’s Mike, who I met when I interviewed him about his group DC Homebrewers, who has since quit his job to work full time for Tree and Leaf Farms. He now bags my ever changing order of greens (it was a mix of kale this week) and I’m not so secretly jealous that he’s out composting during the day while I’m staring at a computer screen.

Anyway, I’m so distracted by my market friends, and of course all of the food, that I always over buy. In my fridge right now I have too many herbs and veggies to deal with: asparagus, kale, squash, shelled peas (holy crap all you do is pull this little cord and open up the shell and then eat the peas like candy—so delish), and then there’s this other purple thing that starts with a “K” but I can’t remember the name of it. I will thank Jaci for that impulse buy. And then there’s sage, garlic chives and garlic scapes. Good christ.

Now this is not a bad thing, of course. I just need to find new and exciting ways to digest all of these veggies, especially on nights that I don’t feel like full-out cooking.

Jessica Seinfeld-esque sneak attack post jump.

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And The Bible Told Me So


I’m just a tiny bit competitive. If BS is making asparagus soup, gansie must make some asparagus soup. Plus, it was my idea (see comments) in the first place.

So please, I welcome you on my asparagus soup making journey. It was a shit show.

Okay, so blah, blah, blah I don’t follow recipes. I made my own asparagus stock, according to Martha, and then sorta followed the BS endorsed recipe. Well, except for a few KEY ingredients.

The soup called for heavy cream and lemon. Like an ass, I thought I could sub yogurt for that combo: the yogurt could add a creaminess (heavy cream) and tartness (lemon.) Well, I made a boatload of soup and I guess the amount of yogurt I added in no way enhanced the flavor, nor the texture.

So then I added curry powder. And then ginger. And no luck. Still was fairly unflavorful. I think I used too much onion in comparison to the asparagus. I was PISTED. I mean, what asshole fucks up soup.

I checked out my fridge – longing to add depth to this vat of green liquid. I spotted red wine. An acid was desperately needed. But when I called out this almost revelation, the couch-dwelling 80P negged the idea. But then he suggested I consult the bible. The Flavor Bible, that is. It recommended red wine vinegar. I added a scant tablespoon and it automatically perked up the soup. I served it, but still lamented about its unsuccess.

Cue day two.

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