Olivia Dish

Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

My Scrappy Stock

In Cookbooks, Homemade on April 30, 2010 at 6:14 am
Zuni Cookbook

Serious about stock

I’ve always loved the story of Stone Soup, people adding a little of this, a little of that, and before you know it, you’ve got something delicious. Maybe the tea partying crowd would call it communism. I call it scrappy stock.

Most of my cooking life, I’d saved chicken backs and wings, then added carrot, onion and celery to make chicken stock.  A few years ago, I was reading Judy Rodgers Zuni Café Cookbook, and my ideas about stock came under challenge.

Rodgers advocated using not scraps, but a whole, fresh chicken (save the breasts). Yes, she acknowledged, it was extravagant. But she also writes, “ Chicken stock brewed mostly from bones, especially stockpiled, tired ones tastes dull to me and isn’t worth the trouble, or small expense.”

Who am I to argue with Judy Rodgers, I thought. I tried her method. It did produce a gorgeous golden chicken stock. No doubt about it. But it left me feeling guilty, wasteful, and food-snobby.

My friend Whit DeSpoon has an entirely different idea about stock.  His approach: the scrappier, the happier.

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Did He Say Wawa?

In Local Flavor, Pennsylvania on April 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Yes, that is what he said.

What kind of food will we find along the Pennsylvania Turnpike? My friend Blade Wellington and I were driving from Philadelphia to Wilkes Barre. It was late. We were hungry.

“Look, Quakertown, last food exit for 15 miles,” I said, pointing at the sign.  “Sounds like a good place for food.”

Blade agreed. He exited through the toll booth and after paying, asked the toll collector in his most gentile Southern accent, “Sir, can you recommend a place to get some food around here?”

“Well there’s quite a few places about four miles into town. Or you could go over here to wah-wah’s,” the man said, pointing over his shoulder with his thumb.

Wah-wah’s?  I chalked it up to regional accents.  We turned onto Fries Highway, which I took as a good omen, and started looking for Walter’s.

“I think he means this gas station,” Blade said, aiming our rental car toward a brightly lit complex.  And there on the sign was the name.

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Better Than Pancakes?

In Homemade, Local Flavor, South Carolina on April 17, 2010 at 8:06 am
Anson Mills Oatmeal

Anson Mills Oats!

Despite what my mother is always telling me, I do not think breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I don’t eat it from a sense of duty—but for delight! I love French toast, bacon, sausage, waffles, eggs, corned beef hash, toast and pancakes. Dear, dear pancakes.

Once upon a time, someone nicknamed me Short Stack, because I seemed incapable of ordering breakfast without a short stack on the side.

Lately, I seem incapable of imagining breakfast without oatmeal.  This morning I walked into my kitchen and chose to make oatmeal OVER pancakes.  What is going on?

Quite simply, Anson Mills stone cut oats.

These are not the rolled and steamed flat oats pimped by a Quaker.  These are more of the pinhead variety—but they cook quickly and taste toasty-nutty.

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A Farm in the City

In Fancy Farms, Local Flavor, South Carolina on April 6, 2010 at 1:53 pm
City Roots

Welcome to farming in town

You can build an asphalt plant in the neighborhood. But want to put in an organic farm? That requires an exception to the Columbia, SC zoning law.

City Roots pressed on (or should that be plowed ahead?) and now, less than a year later, is growing vegetables and developing a market for, among other things, darling delicious sunflower sprouts.

“Yeah, it’s cool that we’ve created a market for something that wasn’t there before,” Eric McClam says, as I rave about the sprouts.

Eric partnered with his dad to start City Roots.  He was pushing a hand plow when I arrived for my tour.  He showed me what was growing on their acres tucked in between warehouses–rows of garlic, broccoli, lettuces–bee hives over on one side. He picked a few early strawberries for me to taste.

Then we went to the greenhouse, where my beloved sunflower sprouts were popping out all over.

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