Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Buttermilk sherbet warning

I love buttermilk. Biscuits need buttermilk; so do pancakes. Mashed potatoes taste better (and are lower-fat) with buttermilk. Buttermilk pannacotta can be made in minutes, but with some fruit on top, looks and tastes snazzy. Buttermilk ice cream is the very best thing to put on peach pie.

And then there's buttermilk sherbet.

I make buttermilk sherbet more than any other dessert. I often have buttermilk left over in the fridge, and the sherbet comes together in minutes. I just add enough sugar (sometimes honey) to make the buttermilk sweet-tart, then add a little something, and in the ice cream maker it goes. Ten minutes later I have a nice little dessert, low in fat, not too high in sugar, with a little protein and calcium to keep it from being totally nutritionally reprehensible. This is one of the only desserts I ever make just for myself; usually, dessert is a company phenomenon.

Now, that "little something" I add is fruit-based, but it changes with what I have in the house, from a tiny dash of lemon juice to a mess of pureed fruit. I have successfully made blackberry-buttermilk sherbet, lemon-buttermilk sherbet, lime-buttermilk sherbet, raspberry-buttermilk sherbet, peach-buttermilk sherbet and blueberry-buttermilk sherbet. Last night I made pink grapefruit-buttermilk sherbet, and I just want to share this advice with you: don't. Grapefruit-buttermilk sherbet is bad and weird. Just. Don't.

This has been a public service announcement.

Friday, February 16, 2007

New issue

The new issue of NewEnglandGrown is up. This month, we're talking about herbs.

I love this

Stephen Colbert's very own ice cream! I think Ben and Jerry's should name ice creams after all my big liberal/political crushes: Patrick Fitzgerald's Hunka-Hunka-Burning Justice (Caramel ice cream with chunks of chocolate), Russ FeinGold-en Honey Crunch ( Honey ice cream with graham cracker crunch), and General Clark's "International Respect" Swirl (Nutella swirl in hazelnut ice cream, of course).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Overheard in Cambridge

I overheard some Harvard students talking about Michael Pollan's article in the NYT Magazine last week.

"It was pretty good. The basic idea was that nutrition is really complex and we don't know as much as we can, so you shouldeat based on humanity's accumulated knowledge about food you find in traditional cuisines, instead of just eating whatever nutritionists say you should this week. So, eat real food, like what your grandparents ate. You know, don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food, like Powerbars or Oreos or yogurt."

Yogurt. Cracked me up.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A little something

I haven't been writing a lot here, because the website has been tkaing a lot of time, and because I haven't been cooking really exciting things. No big projects, so fancy meals. Just simple, straightforward meals. I made liver this weekend for the first time, but I just cooked it with bacon and onions, nothing unexpected. Who wants to hear about that?

Well, I do. At least, I do when I'm reading other peoples' blogs. I love to hear what people really eat, day to day. What did you have for lunch, for dinner? I want to know. I want to know where you get your groceries, what you splurge on, and where you pinch pennies, what your fall-back meals are and what's in your pantry and what big-brand foods do you still eat all the time even though you're not really a big-brand-eatin' kind of person (Grape-Nuts). But I never feel like I have enough to say unless I can offer up something different. Isn't it always that way? We want greatness from ourselves, but love other people if they just smile at us.

So, here's what I had for lunch: lentil salad. This is a good salad, simple and tasty enough to eat three days in a row. I used to make it all the time, but then I stopped because the boyfriend doesn't like feta, and feta is key to this salad. Then I realized that feta is only key for me - he likes really plain food. So I made a batch and removed his portion before I added the feta.

I don't measure for this. I don't even know how many cupes of lentils I used, because I made the lentils for a side dish on Saturday night, just boiled firm-tender with some mushrooms over. The next day I mixed the leftover lentils with chopped red pepper, parsley and feta cheese, and dressed it all with a combination of lemon juice, olive oil, pepper, salt and a spoonful of tomato paste. Of course, you can skip the red pepper, or use green, or add red onion or chopped sundried tomatoes,or cucumbers or regular tomatoes or scallions. The basic requirements are lentils (not overcooked), parsley (the salad will taste dull without it), feta, and enough salt and pepper in the dressing to really give it some flavor. Though you could substitute vinegar for the lemon juice, I wouldn't recommend it - the bright citrus serves as a good counterpoint to the earthy lentils. But you can skip the tomato paste if you wish, particularly if you do add some tomatoes, dried or not, to the salad.