Sunday, August 29, 2010

Farmers Market Salad: Fresh Field Peas & Corn with Basil, Scallions and a Garlic Tarragon Aioli

Little bowl, big flavor
Believe it or not, until recently I had never  tasted a fresh field pea. Can you imagine? It's enough to make my Southern great grandma roll over in her grave.  But thanks to my local farmers market, that sad state of affairs has ended and I am now acquainted - and madly in love - with all things fresh pea. I could never choose between the earthy crowder pea and the nutty black eyed pea, so for this salad I used both.  You could use canned or dried peas, but if you can get your hands on fresh ones, by all means use them.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lavender, Cardamom & Cracked Black Pepper Drop Scones: International Incident Scones Party

International Scones Incident Party

When the theme for this month's International Incident Party was announced  - hosted as ever by the lovely Penny aka Jeroxie, along with August birthday babies Anh of  A food’s lover's journey and  Cherrie of Sweet Cherrie Pie - I must admit that at first I wasn't terribly inspired. Scones. What to do? Unlike many of my fellow party goers,  scones are not a cultural reference point for me. I didn't grow up enjoying scones at tea time.  I don't even know when "tea time" actually is.  I take coffee breaks and eat bagels.  Of course I wanted to make fun and creative scones, but I had no idea where to begin.

But then one day I was flipping channels on the TV, and I caught the end of a cooking show - I don't remember which one - about something called "drop scones." Hmmm. They looked like little pancakes. Ah, pancakes! Now that I can work with. Indeed,  a bit of research taught me that drop scones are also called Scottish pancakes. They differ from typical American breakfast pancakes in that they're smaller and not necessarily sweet, which I found appealing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Knives Down, Hands Up: I Judge an Iron Chef-Style Competition at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in D.C.

Secret Ingredients ...

Lightning fast prep work ...

Judging hijinks ... (from left: Josh Gibson, me, and Oren Molovinsky)
Anyone who has ever fantasized about trading places with Padma Lakshmi (guilty) or Tom Colicchio will understand how excited I was when I was invited to be a judge at a live chef-to-chef competition at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian's Living Earth Festival.  My excitement, I must confess, was tempered with a touch of tummy rumbling nervousness, as speaking in front of people is far from my favorite thing to do.  You see, just a couple of weeks prior to the Smithsonian competition,  I  sat in as a judge for another food competition in Baltimore for an Urbanite article, and I was a bit unnerved to have to speak into a microphone and make pronouncements about the dishes - right in front of the chefs.  Gulp.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Creamy Zucchini, Garlic & Chive Soup - or Zucchinicremesuppe - Austrian Style

Before I visited Vienna, the last thing I would have associated with the schnitzel-loving city was,  of all things, excellent  vegetable soups.  But in restaurant after restaurant, I had some of the best cream soups of my life, from karotten (carrot) to knoblauch (garlic) to brokkoli to zucchini.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Culinary Cocktails, Navajo Tacos, Macarons, and More: A Wrap Up of My First Four Urbanite Food & Drink Issues!

The Queen Bee Cocktail: Belvedere vodka, yuzu, elderflower syrup, and honey water .. mmmm
It's been a month since my weekly Web zine for the Urbanite launched, so I thought I'd do a little wrap up and show you why I have been so frazzled lately!