Not a full post today, but a bunch of odds and ends that I've been meaning to share.
Marmalading: That's what kept me out of trouble and away from insanity during our two-ish weeks of hibernation under an impenetrable and, apparently, unplowable 30 inches of snow. (Attention DC officials: occasionally, it snows here. Surprise! Buy another plow or two.) Fortunately, my fridge was chock-full of citrus you've never heard us, because Cathy went to Texas for a marathon series of cooking classes, and her trip coincided with Central Market's wonderful Citrus Festival, and she is a goddess and a wonderful friend and a crazy lover of citrus like yours truly. (I paid her in Barcelonian anchovies, yes). For most of last weekend, our home smelled like a heavenly mix of chartreuse hot cocoa (thank you Pam!) and boiling citrus peel. Not shabby. Not shabby at all.
Anyway, I'm here with a modest endorsement: Make marmalade. It may not come out perfect -- too chunky/thin/stiff/runny/sweet/bitter/you name it, I've seen it all -- but the process itself is rewarding, watching those hard, bitter peels turn translucent in water, seeing the seeds seep their pectin into the pot and thicken up your marmalade. I made two batches: one with Bergamot and Meyer lemon, the other with tiny candy-like Kishu mandarines and the best citrus ever, mandarinquats. The former smells like earl grey and flowers; the latter like pure sunshine. And you don't have to go to Texas to make this happen, people: last year's best batch made use of Minneola tangerines, which I bought at our local grocery. Make a pot of sunshine, why don't you. (Nigel Slater's excellent recipe here.)
Heidi, the broccoli whisperer: Three days in a row with nothing in the fridge made me desperate. I ran to TJ's, picked up the best-looking green things in the store (broccolini, 8 oz. for $2.49) and went shopping for a recipe online. Then I remembered that Heidi, of 101 Cookbooks, recently posted a recipe for Asian-inspired potato chowder, with broccoli and brown rice and a lovely-looking chunk chile paste and more. It's a typical Heidi recipe, with more than a few components and flourishes you'd never come up with on your own. This time, I put cynicism and stress aside, and actually made the soup. (While a 14-month-old ran circles around me, opening and closing her favorite tupperware in total toddler glee. It can be done!) The result? You guys, this soup is downright inspired. Yes, I made substitutions for what I had in the house: barley, the Ottolenghi sambal that's basically become a mother sauce around here, some lime zest for brightness, and royal coronas because they were cooked and in the fridge and seemed like they wouldn't hurt. It was healthier than anything I've made in eons, and we all three loved it. Whaaat. Yes, for real.
As if that's not enough, Heidi has a gazillion fantastic-looking recipes for broccoli on her site. Next up: the Broccoli Kimchi Soup, which we're going to eat this weekend, yessiree.
The Saveur 100: I think I forgot to renew my Saveur like three years ago, but honestly, food mags feel so stale to me these days that I haven't missed it. (Can someone please help me cancel F&W? Tried twice. It's actually impossible.) This isn't saying much, but I think Saveur is the best of the lot. I occasionally check their website for recipe inspiration, and when I did that yesterday, the Saveur 100 was all over the place, and I felt a momentary burst of joy because I used to love the Saveur 100, back when I actually read food mags. The Saveur 100 is a list of 100(ish?) things that the Saveur writers and editors are excited about for 2016. This year, Lior Lev Sarcarz (the spice-mixing savant of La Boite) made a "spice blend of now," which -- can I get credit for calling this before I saw it? -- contains Urfa Biber and nigella seeds and persian dried lime, of course. Looks delicious, though. They also have a whole list of hacks including some obvious ones (eat purslane, duh) and some rather genius ones (stick a packet of flaming wood chips in your oven, and you've got yourself a smoker). There's also a rundown of some useful and gorgeous tools. The whole list is worth a read. There's even a list of 16 dishes to make in 2016, and I'm making one right now. Well, actually, it's making itself. Fermented Raspberry Soda is happening on my counter. I'll report back in five days, when it's ready. Hooray!
Recipe next week, hopefully. Till then, make a pot of sunshine. Or some fizzy raspberry soda. xo - R