Recipes Summer Delights: Chow Chow Chow!

I’m willing to admit it: I’m a northern girl with southern envy. Having grown up on a parade of cream of mushroom soup casseroles, I’ve since discovered some of the flavorful, everyday delights my southern brethren took for granted… things like red velvet cake, po-boys and one of the finest condiments to cross my palate: chow-chow. It’s my great loss that the only chow-chows I’d ever encountered were the dog breed and the dancing chow-chow-chow cats of 1970s-era TV advertising.

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Recipes Recession-Proof Espresso: Be Your Own Barista

I must say, I’m a little torn these days between supporting my local coffee shop and saving some money by making my own espresso drinks. They need the money. I need the money. I’ll probably just split the difference. I love the community that local, independent coffee shops provide, but having worked as a barista in college, I also know that the process of creating coffee drinks is easy (and yes!

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Dear Miss Ginsu: I Need A Brine for Pickling Green Beans
Recipes Dear Miss Ginsu: I Need A Brine for Pickling Green Beans

Dear Miss Ginsu, We have a huge bean harvest — got any recipes for pickled beans? Yours, — Swimming in ‘em Dear Swimmer, Oh, how I loove pickled green beans! They’re so very tasty. And texture-wise, I think I may even prefer them to pickled cucumbers. In fact, I hope there are still some CSA or farmers’ market beans on the way. Now if I can only keep from boiling and eating them straight away, I’m inspired to get some into jars.

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Blended Bacon Butter (& Friends)

One of the first techniques we learned in cooking school was for making compound butter. It’s essentially just butter that’s softened, blended with something flavorful, reformed and re-chilled for serving. Compound butters are so decadent and so easy — though they never fail to impress guests when you make the effort — and yet, they’re one of those delicious details I invariably forget about. Make them with bacon and anchovies for savory punch, or stick to the purity of herbs and lemon zest to keep the flavors light.

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The Cocktail Kit: Preserved Bourbon Cherries
Recipes The Cocktail Kit: Preserved Bourbon Cherries

In the last edition of the Cocktail Kit, we took another look at the joy of Homemade Bitters . This time, we’re looking at a seasonal cocktail delight that also has uses in number of impressive non-cocktail treats… the preserved cherry. I posted about maraschino cherries back in ‘05, gave a bit of history and offered up a DIY recipe, but I didn’t give enough thought to one of the dastardly details that surround the maraschino cherry saga…

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Recipes Make Your Own Mustard. And Mustard Vinaigrette!

I wonder if a meal’s entrées isn’t a bit like a family’s first child. Lots of attention. Lots of photos. Lots of fuss. Conversely, the condiments of a meal are more like the third or fourth children. They’re loved and cherished, of course, but they don’t get the same kind of special notice. It was close to 100°F today, so there was no cooking in our dinner plans. We ate a big dinner-sized salad made up of farmer’s market lettuce, cherry tomatoes, diced rotisserie chicken and pepperoncini slices dressed in a zippy mustard vinaigrette.

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Cockail Kit: The Sazerac and The Old-Fashioned
Recipes Cockail Kit: The Sazerac and The Old-Fashioned

It’s natural, expected even, for humans to swoon over autumn. Those crisp mornings followed by sweet, golden afternoons are bankable bliss. Likewise, the daffy days of springtime are an easy sell. Loving nothing more and nothing less than the temperatures between 45 and 85 °F, we hairless apes are among the most delicate of creatures, and summer and winter — the seasons of extremes — are the times that try our good will.

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Recipes Blueberry-Banana Pancakes: An Easy Everyday Pancake

In honor of miserably cold weather, the glories of a homespun breakfast and the last few days of Pancake Month, I got up a little early to make pancakes for myself today. Blueberry-Banana Wholegrain Pancakes, to be precise. Donuts can be tasty, but they tend to make me crash out with sugar shakes… and that’s not exactly setting myself up for success. The hot bowl of steel-cut oatmeal or my very own homemade granola are delicious — and very satisfying — ways to wake up, but that’s what I eat pretty much every day.

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Recipes Day 9: Introducing… Your Own Vinaigrette

*This post marks Day 9 of Miss Ginsu’s 2007 Advent Calendar. Around this time of year, waaay back in the early ’80s, actor Paul Newman and author A. E. Hotchner, were up to some culinary mischief in Newman’s basement… For several years, Paul Newman and his long-time friend, author A.E. Hotchner, were in the habit of giving bottles of their homemade salad dressing to friends as holiday gifts. They would mix up a batch in Newman’s basement and hand out old wine bottles filled with the dressing while Christmas caroling in their Westport, Connecticut, neighborhood.

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How to Make: Coffee Concentrate
How to How to Make: Coffee Concentrate

Q. How do you make coffee concentrate? A. Put it in a quiet, well-lit room with minimal distractions. I’m kidding obviously, but it’s kind of true. All you really need to make concentrated coffee is grounds, water and a little time. Iced coffee season is officially open, and it’s an occasion that fills me with a need to empower any ambitious folks who are willing to listen. For some reason, adding ice to one’s java tends to increase the asking price from a straight-up buck or so to $3 or more.

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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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