Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Green Cuisine

My new article on the sustainability movement in culinary education came out today. This was a fun job from (local, sustainable) soup to (organic, homegrown) nuts.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Green Dreams

Ho hum, another year, another garden. A snowy day in late February feels like the perfect time to start planning.

This year I'm going to be strict about growing in complementary relationship to the farmer's market. In other words, if I can buy the produce locally and affordably (and organically, of course) then I'm better off supporting the farmers than growing it myself. That means crossing off several plants we've grown in the past: beans, peas, lettuce, kale, tomatoes, corn, squash... the list goes on.

Instead, I'd like to grow more of what we do well and use completely (garlic, herbs, rhubarb, and berries) with a couple unusual additions. I've written before about my desire to grow saffron crocus, and now we have concrete plans to put in the corms this summer. John still wants to grow hops for beer, but those will probably still wait a bit.

The big news is that we're seriously considering a beehive for the backyard. We have the great good fortune to have an experienced beekeeper, Perry Brandt, down the street who has offered to take me to visit his hives and help me get a feel for things. I have my eye on a top bar hive. If everything goes according to plan, in 2-3 years I'll be producing my own saffron honey. Who says I don't have a Martha Stewart complex?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Macadamia Chocolate Bliss

These cookies are more delicious than love itself. And given the protein in the nut butter, far more nourishing. Happy Valentine's Day, y'all.


2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla (yes, that is a whompload of vanilla)
1 cup macadamia nut butter (hazelnut also works well here)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
6 1/2 to 7 ounces dark chocolate, broken into small chunks (I whack up a couple bars of Scharffen Berger with a hammer--very satisfying!)


Put a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter cookie sheets. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In a separate bowl, beat together the nut butter, butter, and brown sugar. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and beat until thoroughly combined.

Stir the flour mixure into the nut butter mixture until well integrated. Add chocolate chunks and blend until evenly mixed. Using your hands, form balls of about 1 inch each, flatten slightly, and put on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 13-15 minutes or until just browned. Makes about 3 dozen.