Recipes Pancakes: The Thick, The Thin & The Hearty

This week brings Shrove Tuesday, known to some as Mardi Gras and known to me as Pancake Day . While I grew up with the thick, pillowy pancakes that appear in diners and truckstops across the nation, J. was raised on a delicate, European-style pancake… something more along the lines of a crepe. I must admit, the discovery that not everyone ate the same kind of pancake was a bit of a shock to me.

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Recipes Smorgasbord: A Defense Against Doldrums

The stale, crusty edge of winter lingers forever, it seems. And while I know Shakespeare called April the “cruelest month,” I feel February is a strong contender for the title. What’s to be done with these days in which citrus season is closing and spring shoots and greens are still weeks away? I’ll throw in my vote for that greatest of Swedish traditions… and no, I don’t mean IKEA, I mean the Smorgasbord .

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Recipes CSA Madness & Eileen’s Crispy Greens

Riddle me this, reader… It’s never taken me more than 10 minutes to complete my annual Community Supported Agriculture program signup. So why did I just return from a CSA signup session that took TWO HOURS? What’s the sudden public obsession with local vegetables? Should I blame Michael Pollan? Mark Bittman? Alice Waters? The recession? The FDA peanut recall? All or none of the above? Maybe this is the year in which investments in financial markets feel more risky than investments farmers’ markets.

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Recipes Dangerously Spicy Chocolate-Chili Fudge 2.0

Rich, dark and spicy. Is there a homemade treat for Valentine’s Day that’s more thematically appropriate than my Dangerously Spicy Chocolate-Chili Fudge? I’m doubting it… especially now that I’ve gone through and improved the recipe. I whipped up the first version of this fudge two years ago, but I thought the texture was slightly less than perfect. It was just a bit too chewy . In this new & improved version, I’ve added more butter (which makes it creamier) and I’ve replaced the nutmeg with vanilla, which improves the overall flavor in a magical way.

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Recipes Chocolate Fondue the Lazy Way

Feeling rushed this week? Broke? Out of ideas for something special you might want to do for the Valentine’s Day holiday? Consider the Lazy Cook’s Chocolate Fondue , a recipe that’s easy, cheap, fun to do, a little out of the ordinary and supremely decadent — all at the same time. The nice thing about this recipe (other than the fact that it’s dead simple, cheap and reliably tasty) is that it’s so very flexible .

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Recipes Lemon-Ginger Fairy Cakes

I think I’ve mentioned before that J is an alien creature who often resembles a normal fellow but occasionally exposes his true color (green, naturally). One of his little oddities I discovered recently is a propensity to refer to cupcakes as “fairy cakes.” Though there’s a little friendly debate about what constitutes a proper fairy cake in the comments over at Becks & Posh and Cupcakes Take the Cake, the Wikipedia lumps cupcakes and fairy cakes together on the same page.

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Recipes How I Fell in Love with Brussels Sprouts

I grew up with Brussels Sprouts prejudice. My dad didn’t like ‘em. He’d only ever known the sprightly sprout under poor conditions — namely, my grandmother’s vicious habit of boiling veggies into submission. They were bitter and mushy at the same time. Wretched pale lumps. I didn’t blame him for loathing them, and with his opinionated introduction, I never even considered experimenting with sprouts. Later on, (much later, to my great dismay these days) I discovered the Brussels Sprout the way it was meant to be: roasted.

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Recipes A Wintery Short Rib Braise

I’m always thrilled to find something that’s so satisfying and nourishing, it becomes a new addition to the lineup of household favorites. That’s a rare occasion. But I think we have a winner, folks. This is a braise made up of beef short ribs, mushrooms and the hearty winter greens of your choice. There’s a little fuss involved in browning the short ribs before they head into the oven for a slow-cook, but it’s worth it for the rich flavor and falling-off-the-bone tenderness.

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Recipes Wild Rice Porridge 2.0

Last January, I posted my personal take on the Mahnomin Porridge that the groovy Minneapolis restaurant Hell’s Kitchen makes for their funky brunch menu. That recipe was pretty rich, and it takes a while to make, so it’s not exactly easy to produce on chilly midweek mornings. Thus, I’ve made a new version that’s more quick and flexible. The secret, as with many things, is planning ahead. If you cook the grains for this porridge in the evening (maybe do it while you’re making dinner), it’s easy to wake up all zombie-like the next day, scoop it into bowls and microwave for a quick and hearty whole-grain brekkie.

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Recipes Recession Proof: Rumsford’s Soup

If you read much food writing, you may have encountered writer MFK Fisher’s notes on thrifty cuisine. In her 1942 recession-proof tome, How to Cook a Wolf she wrote of an inexpensive, nutritious meat-grain subsistence loaf (writer Jeffrey Steingarten later taste-tested that very recipe in The Man Who Ate Everything). But far earlier than that, in the late 1700s, a remarkably multi-talented scientist/inventor named [Benjamin Thompson](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Thompson “Wikipedia”) (later known as Count von Rumford) was also interested in nutritious subsistence food, which led him to the creation of Rumford Soup.

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About Me

Miss Ginsu is a nom-nom-nom de plume of Leitha Matz, who worked at Tabla and FreshDirect in NYC, wrote about the food scene from 2004 to 2009 in Brooklyn and presently lives in Berlin. Occasionally seen on TV cooking segments, Leitha has also written for FreshDirect, contributed to Cee Cee Berlin, The Food52 Cookbook and has been interviewed/quoted in The Food Keeper as well as The Washington Times and Salon.

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