Monday, March 31, 2014

The Mere Mortal's Guide to Fine Dining by Colleen Rush

Our March Kitchen Reader book is The Mere Mortal’s Guide to Fine Dining: From Salad Forks to Sommeliers, How to Eat and Drink in Style Without Fear of Faux Pas by Colleen Rush. It is a book in the style of "for Dummies" books, with info boxes, side bars, and simple language. It's highly readable and amusing, and will likely teach you something. It touches on wine, menus, styles of restaurants, and etiquette. But let me sum up the whole book in just three points.

In any fine dining situation, whether you want to avoid missteps or enjoy the best meal of your year, all you need to do is:

1. Be polite with the staff.
2. Ask questions when you want to know something. Do so politely.
3. Express your gratitude for their service with your words and a tip.

And if you want to become a regular in an upscale restaurant and get the perks a regular gets, just add:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mexican Tomato and Garlic Soup

Sometimes I feel as though I don't have a particularly innovative food item to share, but I just want to remind myself and others that it is OK to eat simply. This is one of those dishes that is stupendously easy. It feels strange to revel in its simplicity. But this soup is both simple and outstanding.

There were four of us eating on a plain, calm Saturday. We were just enjoying being together and having a good old chat. This soup and a salad were the lunch we sat down to together. And it fit perfectly into our ordinary day, while amazing all four of us with its richness of flavour. This soup's motto is "store cupboard staples turned to sunshine." It is made with ingredients you probably already have in the pantry and it will bring a warming dose of Mexican sun to the table.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Portrait With Your Favourite Food

I'm going to assume that since you read food blogs, you take pictures of food. Do you take pictures of yourself with food? Yes, all food lovers do, don't we? I certainly do!

These giant peaches were on the side of the road in Cromwall, New Zealand. We were travelling along the highway and I pulled over with a screech to take these pictures. My husband, Anthony, has learned to indulge these kinds of things!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Four Food People to Follow on Instagram

I love my Instagram feed because it's a mixture of photos from friends and photos from extremely talented photographers. Most of my feed is food-focused. Here are four of my favourite Instagram feeds. You should follow them too! (And please follow me as well, of course!)

Cheryl Sternman Rule: sternmanrule
Sternman Rule is the author of Ripe and the blogger at 5 Second Rule. Her photos are well composed and her captions are usually punny or ironic. She's down-to-earth and refreshing.

Going bowling.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Weekend Links #35

Weekend Links is a way of sharing all the engrossing things I see around the internet. I publish Weekend Links approximately every two weeks. As usual, I welcome your ideas and feedback.

food reading links:
--About food advertising and branding partnerships that target children (from Adventures in Local Food). Did you know that McDonald's recently had a computer game that to play you needed codes from Happy Meals? And it increased McDonald's overall American sales by 18%?
--"Are there really foods that we don’t like, or just foods that we haven’t liked yet?" A piece from the New York Times about coming to like foods you previously hated.

recipe links:
--Creamy and cheesy Brussels sprouts and shallot dip--an adaption of the classic spinach and artichoke pairing (from Minimalist Baker). A much improved adaption, in my mind.
--Noodles made from peelings of celeriac (from Mark's Daily Apple).
--Roasted cauliflower and parsnip hummus (from Summer Tomato). It's bean-free but includes miso and tahini.
--A grilled cheese sandwich, made with banana bread, brie, and chocolate squares (How Sweet It Is). Wowzers.
--I just leaned that it's cleaner (for your kitchen) to fry bacon with a little bit of water (from The Kitchn).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Carrot and Daikon Fritters

Daikon is also called Chinese radish. The one pictured here is medium sized; they can be as small as a carrot and as large as a baseball bat. If you see one at an Asian market or farmer's market, buy one that is shiny and medium sized or smaller.

Daikon taste a lot like red radishes. Their larger size make them ideal for cutting into batons or matchsticks or grating. (Peel them first.) They are a brilliant dipper for creamy cauliflower hummus. You can also use them as a salad ingredient, especially with a lemon- or vinegar-based dressing.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Why I Switched RSS Feed Readers from Feedly to Bloglovin'

Since the demise of Google Reader last year I have been testing out a number of RSS feed readers. After trying The Old Reader for only a couple of days, I switched to Feedly and decided to stick with it for a while. I liked that it was clean and good-looking. It's easy to organize. And there was a good import feature from Google Reader that meant all my feeds were pre-sorted as I like them. But there were two key things that Feedly doesn't have which has made me leave it in the end.

1. Feedly has a very poor search feature for those with free membership. For example, I was searching for "chicken" in my hundreds of food blogs and the search result is pictured below. I could click on the first two results but the rest were hidden. Instead there was a dialogue box saying, "There are more search results for chicken. Upgrade to Pro to see them all." I was mightily unimpressed.


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