Updating Tom and Jerry
Recipes History Updating Tom and Jerry

My mother owns a Tom & Jerry punch bowl and the accompanying traditional mugs (as seen here). All of these are pulled out for making Tom & Jerrys at Christmas, and for the rest of the year they hibernate quietly in cardboard boxes alongside the other festive holiday decor. In my (now quite fuzzy) childhood memories of the ’70s and early ’80s, the adults in my life were young and long-haired.

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Mom’s Homemade Pizza & The Joy of Memory-Making Meals
Recipes Mom’s Homemade Pizza & The Joy of Memory-Making Meals

Today’s post is an homage to the pizza that mom makes, but like many Americans, I grew up with a broad spectrum of different foods that were all called “pizza.” At the far end of the thin-crust spectrum, we see things like the cracker-thin Neapolitan-style pizzas, light on toppings and baked to bubbly, lightly blackened pies in ultra-hot wood or coal-fire ovens. On the other end, you see emphasis on crust thicknesses rising all the way to the casserole-like excess that is Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, which can be so overloaded, it’s like an entire meal in a single slice.

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Eureka! The German-Russian Plum Kuchen
Food history Recipes Eureka! The German-Russian Plum Kuchen

Following the paths of history leads to a lot of strange endpoints. A group of people ends up halfway across the world, replanted in a strange location, and you wonder, why is there a population of Koreans in Kazakhstan? To this and many other Central Asian mysteries, my friend from Kazakhstan shrugs and simply says, “Stalin.” Unsurprisingly, when I went to find out why the Dakotas of North America are full of a population that identifies as “Germans from Russia,” the answer is partly Stalin.

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Terrifyingly Tasty Treats for Halloween
Terrifyingly Tasty Treats for Halloween

The “halloweenies” you see here are adorable, but they really don’t even deserve a recipe. They’re just cocktail-size sausages artistically wrapped in thin slices of puff pastry with little black currant or peppercorn eyes… (some people use mustard dabs for eyes after they’re cooked). Bake in a moderately hot oven (375 F/190 C) about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Halloween really snuck up on me this year, and that never happens.

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Mission: The Ice Cream Smorewich
Recipes Mission: The Ice Cream Smorewich

As the last big weekend for summer grilling approaches, what’s America’s ultimate summer dessert? The ice cream sandwich? The s’more? I had a thought this week… why not combine the two? Behold: The Ice Cream S’morewich! I’ve done a bit of (very tasty, very chocolaty) experimentation, and I’m here to tell you, there is a fast and easy way, and then there’s also the hero’s path: the longer (but rewarding) way.

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Garden of Eve Farm Trip I: Farming Farmstands and CSA Sales
Garden of Eve Farm Trip I: Farming Farmstands and CSA Sales

Having been a CSA member for many years, it’s my great shame that I’ve only just visited the source of my delicious veggies. Thankfully, now I’ve been there and back, returning with armfuls of fun things to share. But first, a little context: Garden of Eve Farm spreads out across 120 acres on Long Island near the Long Island Sound. They farm a variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers and honey, and they supply a farmstand, as well as farmers market sales and CSA shares that are delivered to New York City and Long Island.

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Old World vs New World: a Ricotta Comparison
Old World vs New World: a Ricotta Comparison

I was up at Coach Farm with some of my coworkers in Upstate New York last Friday. In the days since, I’ve been trying to wrangle all the video clips together into a watchable form. Thus far, I’ve got a quick video that illustrates how they’re doing a brand-new product: ricotta cheese. If you’re a cheese person, you already know that ricotta is a classically useful product for cheesemakers because it’s made with the cast-offs of the cheesemaking process: the whey.

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My Inaugural (Cheese) Ball
My Inaugural (Cheese) Ball

Like a lot of folks, I’ll be catching some of the inauguration festivities tomorrow — all from the comfort of the cozy indoors, thankfully. I shudder to think of all those chilly folks out there on the frigid capital mall… My coworkers and I are having a little soiree over lunchtime to munch on snacks while we view the swearing in and the inaugural address. Our first idea for a food theme was red, white and blue foods.

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Day 23: Christmas Gumbo
Recipes Day 23: Christmas Gumbo

*This post marks Day 23 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. In my neighborhood, ‘tis the season of the big carp slaughter. Apparently it’s traditional for Polish folks to eat fresh carp for Christmas (part of the traditional “fish on holy days” tradition, no doubt) so the fishes are currently swimming about in cold-water pools waiting to be chopped up for dinners across the ‘hood. Likewise, in Italy, southern folks celebrate the feast of the seven fishes over the holidays.

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Day 21: A Festive Frybread
Recipes History Day 21: A Festive Frybread

*This post marks Day 21 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. Since today marks the first day of Hanukkah (as well as the shortest day of the year), I thought it’d be appropriate to commemorate the miracle of the oil with a frybread recipe… a treat for anyone, really. It’s interesting to note that just about any culture that eats bread has its own version of frybread. The classic Donut. Southern Hushpuppies.

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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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