Posted by: emilyewelty | November 6, 2012

Arroz a la Valenciana

Valencia Rice……Nicaragua ….page 211

We have now had over ten days off school due to Hurricane Sandy. While we were spared from direct damage, we have friends, colleagues and students who were not so lucky. We have been trying to aid in relief efforts wherever possible, by raising money, donating goods and also doing some processing of trauma with different people. It is very evident that proximity to suffering has its own heaviness, its own velocity in a sense. So I have tried to also take time to reflect and turn inwards.
This cooking blog began as a way for me to process the grief of losing my grandmother, my dearest friend in many senses. And while new losses have arisen for others, it never fails to surprise me how the wound reopens. In defiance of all rationality, the suddenness and unpredictability of Sandy has cycled me back around to this which seems to have established itself in my psyche as the original loss by which all others are measured.

So I return again to the kitchen. To the simple, directness of making food that nourishes my body and sustains me. In the midst of the confining cabin fever of days indoors, the recipe project has also provided something for Mateo and I to work on together. We don’t know how to clear drains, to rewire electricity, to clear asbestos. We do know how to chop vegetables, to simmer, to fry.

This was a dish I had been avoiding for some time. It requires getting half the pans in the house dirty, cooking two kinds of meat and six types of vegetables. It was exactly what I needed to do this evening.

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Posted by: emilyewelty | November 6, 2012

Nketia Fla

Nketia Fla

I am a big fan of cooking with peanuts and peanut sauces. This stew from Ghana was delicious! I was so eager to eat it that I ended up scalding my mouth by spooning it directly from the boiling pot….

Posted by: emilyewelty | November 1, 2012

Nearly perilous muffin “tin”

After not cooking anything from Extending the Table in weeks….or longer….I decided to make these muffins in this muffin gadget that I had never used before. Within minutes, an awful smell filled our apartment and all I could think was how incredibly obnoxious it would be to cause a house fire and pull hard-working first responders away from restoring NYC because I wanted to make muffins. Luckily the muffins were fine and apparently this muffin mold is just really stinky.

Posted by: emilyewelty | November 1, 2012

Quesadillas – El Salvador

Quesadillas - El Salvador

In a fit of post-storm euphoria (and an attempt to use up some of our Sandy dry goods supplies) I decided to cook and micro-blog. These turned out better than expected…I was a skeptic of the mix of savory and sweet but it was fine.

Posted by: emilyewelty | May 8, 2012

Milk beans and spices beginning with C

Maharagwe na Maziwa (Milk Beans) page 169…..Tanzania

I decided to cook and blog tonight to celebrate the fact that I am *almost* done grading exams!
I did the shopping at the local bodega and was bemoaning the prices of spices and congratulating myself on purchasing organic spices at a local place when I suddenly realized…I had purchased $10 (ten dollars people! This is a lot even for NYC!) cardamom and…the recipe called for coriander. So I went to ANOTHER bodega, bought coriander and discovered that this bodega had all the same spices but at MUCH better prices. Now I have to decide if I am going to be that girl that returns spices to a struggling family bodega and ask for a refund (clue: I’m not.)
This recipe has FOUR spices that start with C – Sesame Street should really look into this for a segment – cumin, coriander, curry powder and chili powder.
The recipe was very easy and we served it over rice. The only problem was that it was VERY spicy – almost unpleasantly so – I kept adding more milk to try and modulate the spice. In the end, I ended up drinking a glass of milk with dinner – gulping it actually – something that I haven’t really done since I was ten or so.
While the “milk” in the title of the recipe refers to the milk that is added to the simmering mixture, for me, the milk referred to the copious amounts of milk that I drank trying to cut the spice.

Posted by: emilyewelty | May 1, 2012

Extending the Table – never say die!

Gy Nam Daeng (Braised Chicken in Red Sauce)
Thailand
page 228

About once a month I will think about my Extending the Table experiment…..maybe the book will catch my eye from amid the ever-growing stacks of books around the apartment…or maybe I will see a fun ingredient in a bodega and think about cooking with it…and in these moments, I ask myself: am I still on this blogging and cooking adventure or is this over?
And then, just when I think that I might actually be done with this and that it is time to admit defeat, then a day like today comes along and I decide to crack the book open and keep at this.

I am at a funny moment in the semester – I have given one of my three exams and I finished grading that stack during a marathon bus trip over the weekend. But the semester is in no way over so it feels very strange not to be reading, lesson prepping or grading. So I don’t feel like I can actually breathe out and fully relax but there is no reason to be in such a state of readiness either. And so – I cook!

Tonight’s recipe was fairly straight forward – saute some chicken, prepare a mixture and then braise. I must admit that I was new to braising and needed a text-consult with my sister as well as some googling. As I was sautéing, I started thinking about pedagogy and about the differences between the way that I teach different things. In a sense, this recipe called for two different methods of cooking – the fast intense heat of sautéing and the slow soaking of flavor in braising. And this reminded me of the different ways that I teach different materials – there are times that I think I try to shock students with a radicially new concept or an example that is intended to momentarily stun them. (And admittedly this goes both ways – sometimes in the course of a class discussion, I am stunned by the freshness of their insights – one of the joys of teaching!) But other times, the material requires the long slow marinating – the long thought which can’t be tweeted or summarized or voted upon.
So – this evening – I liked the idea that the dish called for both of these things. I am still new to teaching and trying to figure out how to balance between the intense searing heat and the slow marinate – I think the really gifted teachers can easily flow between the two and seamlessly switch gears in the moment. I am still learning.

Posted by: emilyewelty | December 13, 2011

Jubilation!

You might be wondering in shock at the fact that I am in fact blogging again! Yes, dear reader, we have reached that rare moment in the life of the professor where one is suspended in that sweet, wonderful time in which all of the papers have been graded but the final exams have not yet been submitted….a time in which anything feels possible and one starts commiting to all sorts of wonderful schemes and pipe dreams that no person in their right mind would attempt in the midst of the hectic 60+ hour weeks that are the quid pro quo…a person might plan a new book project….or contemplate a trip to Century 21 to battle maruading hordes of fashionistas…or cook and blog something from Extending the Table. (I did a bit of math the other day and realized that unless I start cooking and blogging more regularly, I will be 95 or older by the time I finish this project.)
So with no further ado –
Doro Wat (Ethiopia)…..page 221
Three and 3/4 stars (an average of our three diners tonight!)
Two of my very most favorite people in the world are currently in my apartment (my sous chef Mateo and my dear friend Thera) and we began brainstorming about dinner tonight – a consensus emerged (actually with very little discussion as no one had many strong opinions which is rare for 2 of the 3 of us) that tonight would be an Ethiopian experiment.
Overall this turned out very nicely – the funny (and very NYCesque) aspect of this meal was that while we decided that we had the energy to make the doro wat, we did not have the energy to make injera or shiro wat. So we ordered that from our local Ethiopian restaurant. On the way to pick it up, the sous chef ran into Kristen Schaal – I am very grateful that he returned home as I would have tried to follow her for the next hour or so and see if I could somehow become friends with her. (Dear Kristen, if you are a reader of this blog (haha) and a fan of Mennonite cooking, we should become friends.)
Cooking this involved purchasing several new spices and did allow the sous-chef and I to use some of our Occupy Wall Street protest skills to do “spice checks” rather than mic checks.

I actually did remember to take a photo but the crazy new WordPress format does not seem to welcome my photo…will keep trying.

Posted by: emilyewelty | August 24, 2011

Julian Serrano vs. Me

Gazpacho (Spain) page 79
As I believe I have previously noted, I have very strong feelings about the temperature of my food. I like hot things to be quite hot and cold things to be quite cold. Tepid is not a word that I generally use to describe my preferred food temperature (or most of my opinions for that matter).
I also am not very experimental with my food temperature preferences – I like cold things to be cold and hot things to be hot. I think you can probably see where this is going with gazpacho…
Still, I like to be “in the know” about new trends in popular culture even though I often find it difficult to keep up with most things (we don’t have a television and my radio is permanently on NPR thus I have largely given up on being in the know about TV or music…) So far as I can tell, the experimental/modernist/molecular/deconstructed cuisine is becoming “a thing”. Yes, dear readers, perhaps many of you will think that I am a latecomer to the game and this is not a new trend, but it is still new to me. I WANT to like it. I want to be the kind of person who likes it.
However – given the fact that I find it hard to cope with gazpacho’s coldness, I probably am not going to be deconstructing much in this Brooklyn kitchen anytime soon.
Last week, the sous-chef and I were in Vegas and we went to Julian Serrano’s tapas restaurant which was outstanding. We decided to order an “egg potato and morcilla”….we weren’t sure what this meant exactly as the description said “potato foam, sauteed mushrooms and manchego air”. Yes, that’s right manchego AIR. It was amazing. I am still not really clear which part of it was manchego air but on the whole, it was fantastic.
This positive Spanish dining experience warmed (poor word choice) to the idea of making gazpacho. Yes, I realize that I am not Julian Serrano but I thought perhaps I was on a roll of enjoying Spanish cooking and slightly strange cooking. The sous-chef wisely bought some manchego cheese for us to eat with it and we made a big show of waving it before our faces and inhaling manchego air. On the whole, the gazpacho was ok – it wasn’t really cold enough for my liking and I think I used too much garlic but it was ok. Perhaps it just needed more manchego air?
Julian Serrano: 1
Emily Welty: 0
I suppose this is why he is the chef in residence at the Bellagio and I am blogging my way through a Mennonite cookbook. Let’s see which of us can design a better peace and justice studies program though, eh?

Gazpacho by Emily


Potato foam and manchego air by Julian

Posted by: emilyewelty | August 14, 2011

Watermelon Showdown

Hwa Che (Simple Watermelon Dessert) Korea…..page 299

We leave for vacation tomorrow but since I have restarted work on the Extending the Table experiment, I feel like I need to make a little progress in the kitchen. Honestly, this recipe is so basic, I hardly think it merits inclusion in a cookbook. You cut up watermelon, you sprinkle some sugar, you eat. This seems akin to a recipe for drinking water and listing the directions as finding a cup and turning on the faucet.

There’s just one problem. I hate watermelon. Actually, it’s more complicated than that – I like watermelon-flavored things but not actually watermelon. Jolly Ranchers = yes,  watermelon slice = no. (By the way, I looked up the ingredients of watermelon flavored Jolly Ranchers and was disappointed that they do not include ANY watermelon. I guess that’s not so surprising really…In the process of my research, I discovered a recipe for a watermelon martini – now that might be the way to start enjoying watermelon more!)

The challenge begins...

I know this seems bizarre but it is one of the things that has resulted in this recipe being left incomplete. However, it must be addressed and I have taught myself to like foods in the past – I converted myself into a tomato connisseur my sophomore year of college. I find myself thinking about that watermelon martini again….

Luckily, the sous-chef is a fan of watermelon and we decided to have a watermelon showdown.  Lately the sous-chef and I have been travelling around New York City sampling artisanal popsicles so we decided to see what we could do with watermelon. We divided the watermelon piece that I purchased and both of us got to work. I prepared this oh-so-complicated recipe and the sous-chef made watermelon popsicles and we tried both.

The Hwa Che entry

And then I started thinking….I was pretty clear from bites one and two that I was not loving the Hwa Che and it seemed very un-Mennonite to waste food. So I decided to innovate….if by innovate you mean turn to the Cocktails 101 book we got for Christmas and break out the martini glasses. And suddenly, I think I could really get into watermelon!

The popsicle entry.

A new scheme unfolds.

The CLEAR winner.

Posted by: emilyewelty | August 9, 2011

Re-extending the Table

The long blog hiatus is over and the relaunch of the Extending the Table Blog is here.

Here’s what you’ve missed since the last episode of cooking….or…

How to take a hiatus from one’s blog:

1) Take the last two months of finishing a phd….

2) Combine vigorously with packing up and leaving one home….

3) Add in another new city, another new apartment, another new kitchen..

4) Take a deep breath and add a new full-time job.

5) Defend one’s PhD while juggling steps 3 and 4

6) Endlessly internally debate how much of an online presence one’s new job allows

7) Garnish with continuing food allergies.

But…..I also bring you:

Recipe for Continuing a Project

1) Start with a summer in which you have time to breathe, think and take stock of your surroundings

2) Liberally mix in a good dose of guilt everytime you catch sight of your beloved Extending the Table cookbook

3) Simmer in a broth of “I am not a quitter, I finish what I start”

4) Gently saute in getting-used-to-new-place and possibly like though not necessarily love New York

5) Garnish with a new dose of enthusiasm, curiousity and sense of adventure.

So, cooking friends, I have returned to both the cooking and the writing about cooking. I can’t promise that I am going to do this as regularly as before but I really want to finish this project!

I wasn’t sure exactly where to begin again – at this point many of the most delicious-sounding recipes have been done. In fact, many of the remaining recipes have been left because they either

a) contain a difficult ingredient to procure (please remember that I am a purist about these things)

b) sound like they might take up ALOT of time…(that’s right 5 hours to rise Bannock, I am looking at you)

or

c) frankly sound kind of disgusting…(poor kim chee – I promise I will try)

Being that it is currently summer in Brooklyn and the latest ongoing challenge that the sous-chef and I have set for ourselves is living without air conditioning, I decided that the first new phase of Extending the Table will consist entirely of the recipes that don’t require cooking or heating up the apartment. So, I went through the whole book and any time I saw the words: pre-heat, boil, simmer, saute, scald, carmelize, etc. I turned the page.

That has left a rather odd list, primarily consisting of yogurt-based recipes and/or condiments.   Not sure yet what I plan to do regarding the latter but it just so happens that I have been eating ALOT of yogurt lately so I decided to plan around those. We happen to live a few blocks from what has to be THE most incredible frozen yogurt place on the planet – no kidding – it really is MIND-blowing yogurt. I confess that I actually went there twice in one day until I decided that I was skating dangerously close to the addiction line.

Since I had already gone to aforementioned fro-yo place for lunch, I decided to go for a yogurt-based recipe for dessert tonight:

Kela Raita (Banana Yogurt Salad)  India,   page 118

Ok, ok…I KNOW I picked an easy one to start with but I just didn’t think I could cope with something too difficult – I needed an easy win!

This was beyond easy – I used Activia yogurt (another of my favorite foods) combined with bananas, lemon and shredded coconut. It was delicious. And we are off on a new start!

This photo gives the odd impression that life in Brooklyn is all in black and white! Not so....actually very colorful here!

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