Plantain Bread & The Wonder of Quick Loaves
Plantain Bread & The Wonder of Quick Loaves

For some reason, I especially love recipes that turn old or ugly fruit and vegetables from trash to treasure. It’s almost like getting something for free. Rubbery zucchini? Zucchini Bread! Black, squishy bananas? Banana Bread! Dented Eggplant? Make Baba Ganoush! Bruised apples or strawberries? Perfect for a quick fruit sauce. When we had two soft, black plantains that were surplus to requirements for our Cuban dinner, I assumed they’d be a good addition to a quick bread, and I was more than thrilled with the result.

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Smoked Chops & Apple-Kissed Kraut

I had grand plans for a gorgeous autumnal Choucroute Garni, but life interfered (I’m certain you’re well aware of know how life tends to do that) and I realized that a long-cooking dish in the Dutch oven simply wouldn’t do. Food needed to appear on the table STAT. Luckily, a deconstructed Choucroute Garni happens to make for one of the quickest meals out there. And a darn tasty one at that.

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Food Quote Friday: Christine Rhein

“Imagine if we could hear bread rising, dew forming, the budding of raspberries, the tear of a cocoon, a minnow’s pulse, our own cells growing, dying.” Christine Rhein from “Tuning”

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Autumn Cravings: A Pumpkin-Spice Breakfast Bread
Autumn Cravings: A Pumpkin-Spice Breakfast Bread

Call it squash seduction. Call it the autumnal chill. I don’t know what you want to call it, but the pumpkins in the farmers’ market have been calling to me. Of course, I’ve been too lazy (or maybe just too busy) as of late to turn one of those tempting orange gourds into a pie. Luckily, I’m told that few palates can actually discern the difference between fresh-made pumpkin puree and the pumpkin puree that’s conveniently canned.

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Recipes Not the Lunchlady’s Goulash

At the tender age of six or seven, I had a clear moment of decision in the school lunchroom. As most epiphanies are, this revelation was heartfelt and simple. Though I’d traditionally devoured nearly anything that crossed my path — poisonous or not — I discovered a newfound hatred for goulash. Little did I know that the bland hamburger-macaroni combo they’d scooped onto my plastic tray and billed as goulash was actually a low-rent impostor.

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The Ginger Fizz: Vote. Drink. Hope for the Best.
The Ginger Fizz: Vote. Drink. Hope for the Best.

I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but in a tense time of great anticipation for the American people, this Election Day brings long lines at the polling places, a huge throng of first-time voters (noobs) and the need for a great autumnal cocktail. Because whether you’re happy with the outcome of the poll returns or not, I think we’re all going to need a drink. I’m not going to go with red drinks or blue drinks here, because 1.

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Recipes What’s For Dinner? Autumnal Arugula-Apple Saute

On Monday night, I cooked a turkey breast roast. With some roasted Brussels Sprouts and pan gravy, it was a fine dinner. I cubed the rest of the roast, and this week I’ve been using up the cubes in various ways. The turkey-black bean burrito on a whole-wheat tortilla. The turkey cubes in my antipasti salad at lunch. Tonight’s meal might be my favorite of this week’s leftover turkey dishes. An Autumnal Arugula-Apple Sauté in just 15 minutes flat.

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Recipes Six Ideas for Beets: Put it Down on the Big Beet

I’m thinking they should have called beets “groundhogs” and called the animals something different. Why? Well, beets really are the swine of the vegetable world. Hogs and beets share big flavor, big character and you can utilize every little bit of both of these tasty foodstuffs… nose to tail, as they say. I’ll start at the top — though most folks don’t. Every time I go to my farmers’ market, I see people asking to have the tops chopped off their beets, and it just about breaks my heart.

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Recipes Demystifying Mussels

Here’s a mystery: Mussels are cheap, tasty, plentiful, fast-cooking, low in mercury, a lean source of protein and a good way to get your omega-3 fatty acids. Early humans were big on ‘em. With all that to their credit, you might think they’d go like gangbusters. You’d think those little black shellfish would be flying out of fishmongers’ shops, so to speak. But no. You’d be wrong. Home cooks tend to shy away from cooking mussels.

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Recession-Proof Recipes: Apple-Bacon Chowder

As economic worries become yet worse and more frightening, what could be a better Recession-Proof Recipe this week than a soothing mug of chowder? Comforting, delicious, endlessly flexible and — oh yes! quite economical — chowder is there for you when your 401k looks sad and wilted. We talked about Classic Manhattan and New England Chowder last January, but now that the season of summer corn is on the wane and the season of autumnal apples is on the rise, it seems appropriate to think about a combination of apples, corn and smoky bacon.

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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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