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Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Of Books on Baguettes

I was chatting idly with my best friend the other day, and as usual, we ended up talking about books and food (this is doubtless a big reason why we are friends in the first place). Sometimes it's one, sometimes it's the other, but in this particular case, it was both of them combined.

"I love book clubs," he said.

"Oh, me, too," I agreed. "A bunch of people sitting around, preferably with a glass of wine in hand, talking about books. What could be better?"

"But there has to be food," he insisted. "There always has to be food at any kind of party. So what food would you serve that would be as stimulating, nourishing, and satisfying to a group of people with different tastes, as whatever book you all had gotten together to read?"

The query instantly made me fantasize about my very own perfect book club party.

It would be on a hot summer's day, cooling down then with just enough of a breeze to wake up the curiosity of the readers involved in the discussion. And the talk itself would be held under some trees in a shady meadow, around five in the evening. There would be wine for those who wanted it — red, white, and a lot of my favorite rosé. There would be sparkling water, with lemon and lime slices, for those who wanted that. There would be discreet little bowls of olives and roasted nuts and cloves of pickled garlic, for those who wanted a bit of a lagniappe before supper.

Recipes from The Kinfolk Table: Citrus Lentil Salad and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Kinfolk Table

In today's second blog celebrating the release of The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings, I'd like to share two of the most popular recipes imagined up by members of the Kinfolk team.

The process of curating this cookbook was quite simple: we wanted to showcase the personal recipes of friends from around the world, allowing our readers into the kitchens of the people close to us. Focusing on like-minded cohorts from Portland, Brooklyn, Copenhagen, and the English countryside, we spent afternoons in their homes with cameras, notepads, and aprons, replicating the memories of the past to reinvent for our readers.

Our small team and the spider web of connections that branch out from it may not be professional chefs, but they are passionate hosts. Most of the time, these gatherings are spontaneous, unfussy, and informal, put together on the whim of a good conversation and the contents of a pantry. While the food is often delicious, the meaning of the exchanges doesn't exist in cups of flour, but instead in some other immeasurable notion.

These two recipes for Citrus Lentil Salad and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies can be thrown together using staple ...

My Summer Dinner, Part Five: Little Rhubarb Cobblers

A warm dessert is often a good idea for a summer night. It can get chilly at the end of the evening, and you might have to run into the house to find cardigans or scarves for your guests (well, maybe only for the ladies).

Make sure you have preheated the oven just before you start to finish off the main dish. You can make these cobblers up front and keep them in the fridge just until you pop them in the oven. Do this when you go back out to the garden to enjoy the Italian chicken with your guests.


This will come in handy when you're all caught up in a huge discussion at the dinner table and you've totally forgotten that the dessert is burning in the oven!

Learn! It happened to me too often.

This is one of my favorite desserts. And maybe just because it contains rhubarb! If you don't like rhubarb or you can't get your hands on it, use peaches, pineapple, or pears instead. Decrease the amount of sugar, though, when you prebake the fruit — rhubarb is far more sour.

Serve the little rhubarb cobblers with sour cream, whipped cream, or ice cream: I leave that part up to you.

That's it! A summer dinner party is so simple, isn't it? Easy as pie... eh, cobblers.

My Summer Dinner, Part Four: Italian Chicken Stew

When you're entertaining, it's always a good idea to have everything prepared up front so you can stay at the table with your friends instead of running frantically in and out of the kitchen.

Make this dish just before your guests arrive so you can turn off the heat after having cocktails. Leave the lid on the pot whilst enjoying your starter; a Dutch oven will stay hot and keep the dish warm.

Serve with anything you want — rice, pasta, polenta (grilled?), couscous. But a loaf of crispy sourdough bread might just be perfect, too!

Everyone I know loves this simple dish. If you want to make it vegetarian, just leave out the chicken and add more mushrooms. If you can't find chanterelles, don't worry: any mushroom will work.

The fun part of cooking is to be easy on yourself. Don't stress out!

Pour your gang a chilled light red wine and ENJOY! We'll talk about dessert tomorrow.

My Summer Dinner, Part Three: Yummy Salad

Okay — your guests are getting hungry now. Time to move to the garden table. The sun is going down slowly, you've set the table, and you're turning all your lanterns on.

I suggest you make this Yummy Salad, with everything I like in it. The recipe is for about four people, but feel free to double it if you have more friends at your table.

It's sweet and savory at the same time, with lentils (my favorite legume in the world — make sure you get those tiny green ones from France called "du Puy") and Roquefort, a stinky but noble French sheep cheese that has so much depth to its taste (if you think it's too strong, replace it with Stilton or Gorgonzola).

And, again, the recipe is terribly easy. It's summer, so why the fuss?


My Summer Dinner, Part One: The Cocktail

This week it's my turn!

So I will give you an illustrated recipe every day this week. They are some of my all-time summer favorites. We will work ourselves through a complete dinner party, starting off with the drinks today.

Well now, your guests have arrived, you've fixed your hair, you're wobbling on your new high heels, and it's warm outside. What will you serve? One of the best drinks I've ever had: the Spritzer. Easy as pie, so no fussy lists of ingredients.

Officially, the Spritzer is made with Aperol, but you can use Campari too. It's less sweet, but sometimes that's what you want.

If you feel creative, please add fruit: I like raspberries in it, parts of peach, tiny balls of melon, or slices of grapefruit. A slice of orange will work terribly well too. You can even add a twig of tarragon if you feel utterly fancy.

But without all of that fruit, it's still a perfect way to start your summer evening.

Two Fava Bean Dishes for Spring

Note: Makini Howell will talk about her journey and new book at Powell's City of Books on April 27 at 4 p.m.

Grains, grains, grains. I have fallen in love with grain bowls and it shows here. Faro and Israeli couscous combined make for a nutty, hearty, but somehow still light, dish. The grape almond dressing makes this dish an amazing accompaniment for anything you whip up for dinner, or it's simply great on its own. Feel free to mix and match any veggie you have in your fridge to make this a truly seasonal salad. The grown-up charred fava bean salad is everything late spring needs. It makes use of early plums and sweetens them up a bit on the gill. The fennel adds an aromatic flavor burst that is very unexpected — and of course the charred flavor and protein-packed beans make it simply delicious.

Miner's Lettuce and Fava Bean Bowl with Faro and Toasted Israeli Couscous

This tasty seasonal bridge salad is rich, nutty, and protein-packed.

Serves 2 to 4

2 cups shelled unpeeled fava beans (about 2 pounds whole pods)
½ cup Israeli couscous
½ cup uncooked ...

The Burnside Bramble

1.5 oz. House Spirits Aviation gin

.5 oz. Clear Creek Distillery loganberry liqueur

.5 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice

.5 oz. simple syrup

1-2 oz. IPA (your choice — I'm not going to tell a Portlander what beer to drink)

Shake the first four ingredients over ice and strain into a short tumbler filled with ice. Top with IPA to taste, and give it a good stir.

This cocktail, like Powell's, is seriously committed to Portland and offers something for everyone. I happen to think it's a lovely drink, light and fizzy, the perfect balance of tart, sweet, and bitter. But when I make it for friends, everybody wants to tinker with the ingredients, adding a little more fruit liqueur, dialing back the lemon juice, or adjusting the ratio of gin to beer.

So go ahead — customize it. Just as a certain enormous bookstore on Burnside caters to everyone's unique needs, this drink does, too. If you can't stand the thought of even an ounce or two of beer in your cocktail, use soda water instead. And if you're one of those beer aficionados ...

Smitten Kitchen’s Savory Pot Pies

Editor's Note: While we were thinking about Thanksgiving, we couldn't think of a more beloved authority than Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, whose new cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, is one of the titles we chose for our Holiday Gift Guide. Deb shared with us the following recipe, one of her favorites. Bon appétit!

Over the years, we've had a lot of dinner parties. I've made mussels and fries and red pepper soup; I've made meatballs and spaghetti repeatedly; brisket and noodles were on repeat until I got the kinks ironed out of the recipe in this chapter, and there was this one time when I decided to make nothing but delicate flatbreads for dinner. It was a terrible idea. Don't do this unless you want to spend three days making doughs and mincing vegetables, only to have everyone leave hungry.

I'm pretty sure if you asked my friends what the very best thing I've ever served them was, they'd still go on about chicken pot pies I made from an Ina Garten recipe all those years ago. People, it turns out, go berserk for comfort ...

Friday’s Flan Farewell

I'll wager that many of us could use a little extra sweetness to wrap up the events of this intense week. With Thanksgiving a few weeks away (on my blog, Vegan Latina, I'll be gathering together a few of my go-to recipes plus a few unconventional new favorites soon), the daily enjoyment of pumpkin sweets is practically a ritual. I've been making vegan flan for years, so practicing pumpkin vegan flan has been on my mind.

Practicing flan? Indeed. Both traditional and vegan flan radiate elegance and sophistication that clouds the simplicity behind the caramel curtain. Simmer an easy caramel and the flan; pour and chill for a few hours or overnight. But flan may require a little practice. Once you've done it a few times, however, it's so easy to prepare, it can be made while house guests are napping (as I made mine). Or you can get up a little early, simmer, and pour before leaving for work to have flan later that night.

This recipe can be made even richer by replacing a cup of almond milk with more coconut milk or made very light ...

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