Articles from hbrody

  1. Food Mill Applesauce

    When Shakespeare summoned up “remembrance of things past,” he no doubt had loftier visions in mind than a bowl of applesauce. Well, that was his loss, but not mine. My younger days, when time seemed to proceed at a more measured pace, fall meant a heaping bowl full of just that- applesauce – freshly made steaming and fragrant.

    The scent of apples as they simmered on the stove, later to be complemented with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon peel, spread through the house beckoning my three...
  2. Chipotle Peppers The Culinary Lightening Bolt

    Mythologically, they are associated with lighting bolts. Astrologically, they fall under the awesome powers of Mars, the god of war. On the human level, they strike fear into the palates of mankind. They are chipotles - jalapeno peppers that have been ripened to a red color and smoked until they are brown. They can be found dried, pickled and, most often, in the international section of a supermarket, canned in a spicy Mexican  sauce.
    According to Dave DeWitt in his remarkably thorough book,...
  3. Dry Rub Marinades

    If the mosquito is the most ubiquitous phenomenon of the summer, surely the backyard barbecue runs a close second. And what the barbecue inevitably spawns is the marinade, that delectable emollient that at once soothes and enhances the fare of the evening. Most often a marinade consists of a moderately priced oil, an acid, such as wine or vinegar, and seasonings - a combination similar to a salad dressing. Food authorities preach that the acid tenderizes the meat, while the seasonings...
  4. Canola Oil

    Leave it to the Canadians to transform "industrial rapeseed oil" into one of the world's most prized cooking oils. How could oil one uses to make machinery hum possibly be made consumable? Well, after fifty years of plant breeding and research, what should appear but a highly regarded cooking oil under the more appealing name of canola oil. Under its new name, rapeseed oil has become the third most important plant-extracted cooking oil ranking only after palm and soybean, and surpassing...
  5. Making Home Brewed Vinegar

    In this day of wicked excess no self-respecting gourmand would be caught without a bottle - several bottles - of exotic vinegar from faraway lands, resplendent in chic bottles, some actually costing as much as vintage wines.
    Well, let's hear it for the humble home-brewed stuff, the kind that one might gather slowly and lovingly in a pantry. An old fashioned concept? You bet! Consider what Lydia Maria Child advised in The American Housewife back in 1828, "It is poor economy to buy vinegar by...
  6. Walnut Oil

    To quote this generation's purveyor of wisdom, the Internet, consider what Artpurveyors.com has to say about walnut oil: "Artists have been using walnut oil since the 5th century and found it to be superior to linseed oil because it yellows and cracks less while being easier to manipulate." Well, artists, forget cracking, yellowing, and manipulation, the cook's canvas is taste. The toasted nut flavor of walnut oil offers a new palate of flavor offerings that will ennoble many late summer...
  7. Maple Syrup Beyond Pancakes

    At this time of year, cooks should be scurrying about in search of recipes using maple syrup as a seasoning. True, this elixir of the sugar maple tree is available on market shelves year around, and true, one can always get a pancake syrup blend of maple and corn syrups but there is something about the real essence and the excitement that comes with tasting a seasonal first. The tapping of the sugar maple in the northern and central United States (from Maine to Minnesota) and in southeastern...
  8. The Only Reason For A Bee Is Honey

    Although it was in 1926 that A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh exclaimed "& the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey. And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it," humans for as many as 10,000 years have been wondering why a bee makes honey. No less a thinker than Aristotle seemed equally bemused and puzzled at the bee's handiwork. "One cannot well tell what is the substance (the bees) gather," he said, "nor the exact progress of their work." To metaphorically...
  9. Lemon Verbena

    No doubt about it. The rather bland looking lemon verbena, Aloysia triphylla, is not going to be stage center in those herb gardens where esthetics play a strong role, but the wise cook will most assuredly find a place for this homely child; it can work wonders as a flavor enhancer in dishes from desserts to entrees - even in iced drinks. Referred to as "a member of a select group of olfactory ambushers" by a well-known herbalist, one need only smell the scented leaf to understand its...
  10. Horseradish Beyond Roast Beef

    If you like horseradish - I mean really like horseradish - then everything that is remotely edible is fair game. For instance, with apple pie, and that's not apocryphal. At the annual horseradish festival in Collinsville, Illinois, horseradish is revered with the kind of passion one usually associates with baseball in the "glory days" at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field. The farmland around Collinsville produces ten million pounds of horseradish a year, and has been appropriately named by the town's...
  11. Citrus Zest Beauty Is Skin Deep

    For the many who insist that beauty is only skin deep, I ask those good souls to consider the lemon; with that citrus wonder, a most worthy part is the skin. More specifically, it is the skin's very outer most colored layer where the good cook looks for the supreme element; it's called the "zest" and what an appropriate title it is.
    Too often shoppers fail to heed what they are passing over as they forage for the plumpest juice lemon in the neighborhood market. While squeezing and massaging...
  12. Chives An Herb Gardens Distraction

    Garden designers relish chives. The straight tubular leaves offer a pleasing distraction from the more commonly seen flat-shaped garden foliage. To cooks, this member of the allium family is more than a pleasing distraction. It represents the linchpin in summer's seasoning repertoire. Its light onion flavor is milder than cousins onion and garlic. Uncooked, it is sweeter than cousins leeks, scallions, and shallots. Its clover-like lavender blooms stand up well in herbal bouquets and stand...
  13. Fennel Pollen Seasonings Newest Darling

    Have you ever noticed that California fruit trees seem to be among the most fertile in the country? Artificial insemination. That's the answer. Dust pollen on the trees, the bees do their thing, and crop sizes increase. Sugar Ranch in Visalia, CA owned by Rebb

    Firman is one of a handful of agricultural producers of pollen, and he can become downright lyrical about a trade that traces back to his grandmother's inspired efforts. It is believed that she was the world's first collector of...
  14. Sweet Bay Leaf History And Cooking Uses

    Perhaps no greater challenge confronts a chef addressing a skeptical audience than tempting the assembled to venture beyond their comfortable old reliable dishes - the kind they had been spoon-fed by mothers or grandmothers - and boldly delve into the new, the exotic, the untasted. A tomatillo, tomato, and spice salsa instead of the more familiar herb butter on a simple piece of broiled fish appeals to the curious looking for a new dimension to fish; hot red pepper preserves on a soft piece...
  15. Buttermilk A Recipes Homely Child

    Only a mother would see her homely child as beautiful and only a devotee could love a glass of buttermilk. Thick and lumpy often with bits of butter, it oozes down the sides of an empty glass leaving a grainy film behind. But don't go screaming off into the night. There's more to this homely child than meets the eye. Lurking beneath the blemishes of what most believe to be the dairy family's black sheep is a vibrant, nutritious, and superb flavoring agent.
    There is no doubt that its name is...
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