Lots of Things Happening in December, and We’re Also Cooking with Herbs!
First, December is time for A Menu for Hope, a food blogger fundraiser to support the UN World Food Program. I’m hosting for the mid-U.S. region again this year, so contact me if you’d like to offer a prize. You can get more details about A Menu for Hope 2007 at Chez Pim.
Also happening in December is the Food Blog Awards. You only only have until December 5 at midnight to make nominations if you’d like to give a nod to your faves, so head over to the Well Fed Network and nominate your favorite food blogs.
Now, back to Weekend Herb Blogging #111. As usual a lot of fantastic cooks have been using interesting ingredients and sending recipes to share with all of you. This time there are some really unusual things on the menu, so let’s start talking about them.
Jerry from Jerry’s Thoughts, Musings, and Rants is really longing for breakfast in bed, but it is not to be, so he gets busy and makes Ham and Asparagus Fritatta. I love the sound of Gruyere cheese in this, one of my very favorite types of cheese.
Arfi from HomeMadeS discovers bamboo shoots growing by a river, which remind her of a dish her mother used to make. After some consultation, she creates Bamboo Shoots and Banana Bud Curry, made in the Tagalan style of Indonesian cooking. Be sure to take a look at these interesting ingredients.
An entry from Pepy of The Art and Science of Food reminded me of why I love Weekend Herb Blogging, since she wrote about bilimbi, a fruit I’ve never heard of before. You can follow that link to Wikipedia if you also don’t know what this tropical fruit is, but then be sure to visit Pepy to see her dish of Bilimbi and Cumi Tumis Aceh, which also uses another very interesting ingredients.
At Kalyn’s Kitchen I was in a bit of a cabbage mood this week, and Asian Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds and Peanuts seemed like a great way to have a crunchy salad with cabbage that’s pretty nutritious and tasty too. I love sesame seeds, and was surprised to realize I’d never written about them before for Weekend Herb Blogging.
I’m a huge fan of white bean chili, and Pam at Sidewalk Shoes has created a Slow-Cooker White Chili that sounds just wonderful. The dish has dried beans, garlic, onions, jalapenos, and oregano, but I think Pam would agree with me that even though I’m filing it under beans, it wouldn’t be the same without the cilantro.
Terry at Blue Kitchen is also making white chili, but his version is White Chile with More Spice than Fire. The chili is seasoned with garlic, ginger, bay leaves, cumin, and oregano, and then garnished with tomatoes, green onions, and lots of chopped cilantro for a finish that makes me smile.
I always love to see what Burcu is cooking at Almost Turkish Recipes, and usually it’s something that looks great to me. This week she has used some Sujuk, a type of middle eastern beef sausage, and made Black-Eyed Peas with Sujuk. There’s parsley and tomatoes in there, but I’ve made an executive decision and filed this one with the beans!
File (Sassafras leaves)
She may kill me for this, but before I tell you about what she’s been cooking I want to say Happy Birthday (today!) to Sher from What Did You Eat! (And not only do Sher and I have our birthdays just six days apart, but we are the same age, so we’ve agreed that we really should be celebrating together!) Ok, got distracted there, but wait until you see Sher’s fabulous contribution of Shrimp and Crab File Seafood Gumbo. File leaves are used to flavor and thicken the gumbo, and this is a Cajun dish which never contains okra. This is a dish that Sher grew up making, and when you read her post it will be easy to see why this is her very favorite meal.
Strata of My Bay Area Garden always has something interesting growing in her garden. Today my own garden is buried deep under the snow, while Strata is growing greens hydroponically, things like Tsa Tsoi and Forenschluss Speckled Lettuce. Check it out, you will be impressed and possibly a bit envious if your garden is also under the snow.
A delightful sounding soup made from topinambour or Jerusalem artichoke was sent by Ronell from My French Kitchen. I was so happy to see a photo of Jerusalem artichokes, which I haven’t had before, and the Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with shallots, sweet potatoes, boquet garnic, and just a touch of cream and lemon sounds wonderful.
I love experimenting with recipes and so does Helen of News from My Kitchen. Recently she tried an interesting combination of ingredients to make Kiwi Beetroot Chocolate Cheese Coins, a type of little cookie which sounds quite intriguing.
What are the odds that two bloggers would write about Kohlrabi the same week; it must be a trend, don’t you think? At Farmgirl Fare Susan is answering her own question, What to Do with Purple Kohlrabi: Puree It! Be sure to check out the purple kohlrabi, especially if you haven’t seen this interesting plant.
Puy lentils are such a wonderfully versatile food, and at Vanielje Kitchen, she is using them as the main ingredient for a wonderful sounding salad. I love the sound of Autumn Puy Lentil salad with Feta and Sundried Tomatoes, so many of my favorite flavors!
Gay from A Scientist in the Kitchen is lucky to live in a place where there are lots of mangoes! She’s giving us some interesting mango facts this week, and a recipe for Green, Red, and Yellow Veggies with Mango-Mayo Dressing. I love the sound of a slightly spicy dressing with mango!
If you have mint in your freezer you can make mojitos all winter long, so says Gwen of Intoxicated Zodiac. The Hibiscus Water Mojito she’s making is especially for Taurus, but even if you’re not a Taurus, it sounds very tasty.
The discovery of a container of duck stock in the freezer has inspired Jeanne of Cook Sister to combine it with mushrooms and make Cream of Mushroom Soup with Truffle Oil. Although the duck stock made this soup special for sentimental reasons, Jeanne assures us you can make it with chicken stock if you don’t have any sentimental duck stock on hand.
Apparently I am not the only one who wants something fast for breakfast, because Sophie from Mostly Eating has been experimenting with ways to make porridge more quickly and also variations to add some interest. Wait until you see her latest one, Fig and Plum Porridge, definitely a winner. She has lots of other great ideas too, if you’re a lover of porridge (that’s oatmeal in the U.S.) don’t miss this post.
If you’re looking for an interesting idea for a homemade gift, consider the delightful sounding Vin d’ Oranges that Jennifer has made at Like to Cook. The combination of oranges, white wine, orange zest, sugar, and vodka hang out together to produce a delightful fruity liqueur.
I’m feeling rather jealous of Erin from The Skinny Gourmet who’s living for a while in Ghana, doesn’t that sound exciting. Erin is making the most of the local produce while she’s there and this time she’s prepared Papaya Faux-Custard with Pistachio, Honey, and Pomegranate, yum!
At Jugalbandai, Jai and Bee have some adorable little pattypan squash to play with in their kitchen. Of course, being such a creative team, they’ve come up with Pattypan Squash Pizza, a very innovative use of one of my favorite garden veggies!
A recent visit to Italy took Simona from Briciole to her hometown of Orvieto where there is a saying “Don’t let the peasants know how good cheese is with pears.” Simona says it’s a bit of a paradox, since it seems that everyone in Italy knows that Cheese and Pears or Formaggio con le Pere is a marriage made in heaven.
In Greece apparently vegetables that are cooked in tomato sauce until tender are called Yiachni, and Laurie from Tastes Like Home – Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska has made a tasty dish of Potatoes Yiachni in Tomato Onion Sauce. What caught my eye is that the potatoes are spiced up with Aleppo pepper, one of my very favorite ingredients!
Anna from Anna’s Cool Finds is always focused on healthy eating, so when she decided to use canned Campbell’s soup for a dish of Yukon Gold Potatoes with Cheesy Sauce, she wanted to see just what she was eating. Don’t miss Anna’s deconstructing the Campbell’s soup label, and see if the canned soup is more or less healthy than you would imagine.
Gretchen from Canela & Comino sends a very interesting recipe for Radicchio Salad, plus some amusing observations about a famous U.S. cooking icon. Turns out Gretchen’s own cooking skills aren’t too shabby, her version is better than the inspiring recipe.
Y at Lemonpi is remembering Adrienne Shelly, the writer and director of the movie Waitress who was murdered before knowing her movie had been successful. In the spirit of the movie and in memory of a talented woman, Y has created I’ll Miss You Adrienne Shelly Pie, a delicious sounding pie with strawberries. (Lovely movie if you have not seen it.)