Sunday, November 6

Pumpkin, not just for pies

Roasted pumpkin from our CSA got the gourmet treatment, accompanied by bacon, sage and almonds. It basically made a sauce for the penne pasta.

Wednesday, November 2

Crock pot : stock pot

veggies + water + heat + time

Sunday, April 3

two foods to bring to a picnic

Friday, January 28

was a brave soul, the person who first ate an oyster.

Sunday, February 28


In my experience, heavy cream is an ingredient that you can't buy in the exact amount needed for any recipe. Its kind of like how hot dogs come in packs of ten while the buns are sold in packs of eight. A sinister conspiracy to be sure.

So, what to do with that leftover HC other than wait for it to smell funky and pitch it. One day, while Skaggs was spinning the food dharma, he casually mentioned that its really easy to make butter at home. All you need to do is put HC in the bowl of your stand mixer, use the whisk attachment and then let 'er rip until the HC has separated into butter and butter milk. And it literally was that easy.

I usually start the mixer on a low setting and then gradually increase. Not sure that it matters, but it seems like the right thing to do. Its really fun (for me) to watch the cream pass through its various stages, until it starts to slosh around in the bowl, signifying the butter separating from the milk. After that, press it into a bowl or mold, squeezing out any excess milk. I like to put it in the fridge to dry out more before covering. Then bake up some bread and eat that butter.

Wednesday, January 13

Diner Off II: Grease stain in the membrane

Another Tuesday in the Old North Columbus (ONC) kitchen amphitheatre, and we decided to crack the shell on our long-awaited follow-up to the "Diner Off" episode, where we battled Chef Awesome's "Brown-eye Opener" to a draw with the "Broke Yolk." I still crave both dishes, but sadly, don't have any idea how they were made.

So, for posterity and future breakfast needs, we got this one down in bits and bytes. In the red corner -- weighing in at somewhere near a quarter ton -- the challengers: Stursa, Chuck, Kevin and Croke. And in the blue corner -- wielding a wooden, slotted spoon and a chunk of pork side -- the undisputed champion: Skaggs, a.k.a. Chef-at-Large, a.k.a. Chef Awesome.

The battle commenced with both sides making their initial preparations: slicing, dicing, mincing, and shredding. Skaggs tossed thick slices of sweet potato into the oven, while Stursa fought for position on the stove top; flipping and scraping shredded potato in a wok. Brown that hash! After crisping, the potato was spooned into pie plates and smashed into a crust. Skaggs calmly sliced his homemade bacon, looking like a man with all the time in the world.

Into one crust: broccoli florets, four slices of partially cooked bacon, sharp cheddar cheese and a thin layer of hiccup sauce. The remaining empty space was filled with four eggs, mixed with heavy cream and lemon zest. The other crust also received the bacon treatment, along with pineapple to compliment the dairy-free mixture of eggs and coconut milk, and spiced with a little cinnamon and habanero. Now it was time to bake. In 30 to 40 minutes, we would have "Quiche my Hash."

About this time, we were beginning to wonder what Skaggs was doing. So far he had browned his sweet potato, cooked the homemade bacon and concocted an ominous looking sauce. It would be delicious, no doubt, but it didn't look like much. We thought maybe we had gotten the best of Skaggs this time, until he raised the heat the pot of coffee sitting over the back burner. In front of it was the sauce - made from a mystical southwestern spice, bacon fat, flour, a few spoonfuls of coffee, and at least half of a bottle of Tabasco sauce. It would later be described as "coffee-buffalo sauce." The coffee was a rolling boil. "What could this be?" Then Skaggs grabbed a carton of eggs practically out of thin air, and all was clear. He cracked two into a vortex of hot coffee and gently turned the now-poaching eggs before cradling them into their sweet potato cribs. Stacked with bacon and drizzled with sauce, it was perfect. Checkmate!

Our provocatively-named breakfast pie had been topped by...are you ready?..."Rosemary's Babies." Why the name? Was it a tribute to the egg as a universal symbol of life? The importance of sweet potatoes in a pre-natal diet? The deliciousness of bacon? Skaggs wouldn't say, but the sprig of Rosemary he ignited on the burner had something to do with it.