The Trenchermen

We eat other people’s food.

Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Butternut Squash Soup

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The fall is upon us. It’s time to eat squash.

In the spirit of the season, I made myself some butternut squash soup with pumpkin seeds pan-roasted in Lebanese olive oil, sea salt, and fresh black and cayenne pepper. The spot was hit.

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Written by trencherman

October 29, 2010 at 10:25 am

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The Peanut Butter & Jelly

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While most of the posts on this blog are about fancy food, either exotic in its own right or eaten in a faraway place, this one is about the simplest of foods: the PB&J.  There are few foods that so consistently fill me with joy.  (Watermelon with salt on a hot summer day; pomegranate seeds; fried pork dumplings.)

But with all the recent focus on elaborate or unexpected sandwiches on the NYMag list, I thought I’d take a minute to meditate on this wondrous creation.  The oily, creamy — or crunchy, if you prefer — sweetness of peanut butter (with no sugar added, of course) and the sugar rush of berry jelly on soft doughy bread.  I can’t believe I will ever grow tired of it.  Of course, I’m not alone in my love of this sandwich.  According to Wikipedia, “A 2002 survey showed the average American will have eaten 1,500 of these sandwiches before graduating from high school.”  Awesome.

I eat PB&J 2-3 times a week now.  Sometimes with coffee, which, as Jay has pointed out, heightens the experience.  I’m not a stickler for the proper ratio of PB to J, nor do I get caught up in the variations of J available out there.  My only rule is that the PB should have 2 or fewer ingredients.  That is just plain peanuts, maybe with a little salt.  But no sugar.  No JIF or SKIPPY or PETER PAN for me.  Nothing with partially hydrogenated oils to keep the oil from separating.

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Written by trencherman

July 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm

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Mexican Hot Dogs (August 2009)

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mexican.hotdogsThis will be a quick post about something we can hopefully elaborate on sometime soon. 

In July, my sister and her kids visited New York from Arizona for about a week.  During that time, I did my best to share with them some of the great food in New York, including a current New York favorite food, the banh mi.  My sister asked, half-seriously, if “Mexican” (or “Sonoran”) hot dogs would be the next big thing in New York.  Then, just over a month later, the New York Times ran an article about “Mexican” hot dogs — entitled “In Praise of the All-American Mexican Hot Dog.”  I was impressed by my sister’s prescience.

A few weeks ago, inspired by the article and my sister, we whipped up our own version of the “Mexican” hot dog on a Sunday evening.  We sliced and grilled the bacon-wrapped dogs, then piled them into a bun “pocket” filled melted cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and refried pinto beans with jalapeno.  After that, we covered them in a fresh mango and papaya salsa and guacamole.  They were really something special.  So good, in fact, that we’re thinking of opening our own food cart.

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September 24, 2009 at 10:57 am

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Cooking in Nova Scotia (July 2009)

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scallopsWhile in Nova Scotia, we cooked up a few good meals using great local ingredients.  Nothing too fancy, but really delicious meals with a local flavor.  One night, we made sauteed scallops with sugar snap peas, using local sea scallops (pronounced “scawl-ups” by the locals).  Borden, a local Nova Scotian, prepared breaded haddock fillets (prounounced “fill-its” by the locals).  And, on the side, we had fresh strawberries with basil soaked in brandy.  Not bad.

The next day, we roasted a pork shoulder in a giant pan filled with locally-made sauerkraut.  This is a local recipe, which my father picked up from the man who mows lawns in the neighborhood.  The pork, which is cooked for several hours at a low temperature in the sauerkraut, just falls off the bone.  In the last hour, we filled the pan with potatoes, carrots, and onions, which cooked in nicely.  Oh, so good!

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July 14, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Keralan Cuisine (Allepey, India)

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kerala1While in India in February 2009, we took a trip down South to Kerala (the “Hawaii of India”) for some rest and relaxation and to sleep on a houseboat in the famed backwaters.  It was much calmer than the rest of India and more beautiful (especially as the sun set over the backwaters), although the bugs were pretty nasty at night.

Kerala is known for its spicy seafood, so we were naturally excited to eat.  And we were not disappointed.  Some of the best food of our entire trip was the “home-cooked” food prepared on the houseboat by the chef who travelled with us.

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May 15, 2009 at 11:42 am

Tortilla Española

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tortillamexicoAlthough it’s been a while (read: at least two weeks) since I last ate a tortilla española (aka tortilla de patatas or Spanish omelette), I thought it was a fitting subject for my first post in a long time. I love these things. I remember the first one I ate, at a chain restaurant in Sevilla called Pan y Mas, I think. It was 1999 and it was awesome. That first tortilla was in sandwich form, with grilled peppers and mayonnaise. I think I ate about 10 of them in 12 days in Spain.

Nine years later, in the airport in Mexico City after 6 days of savory, varied, and gastrointestinally-devastating Mexican food, I ordered the tortilla española. It was a mediocre tortilla, cold, but it came to me with a smile and “hair” in the form of julienned carrots and a leaf of lettuce (see photo). It was like Mexico City’s sarcastic response to the fact that I ordered a Spanish dish for the last meal of my visit.

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January 13, 2009 at 12:27 am

Yorkshire Puddings with Rosemary

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Yorkshire PuddingsNothing completes a Thanksgiving meal like a treat from the UK.  Fortunately for us, we had Paul’s Yorkshire puddings with rosemary.  (The rosemary was his last-second improvisation.)  They were pretty special, if simple.  Soaked in turkey gravy, the puddings were the highlight of the holiday meal.

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December 4, 2008 at 4:01 pm

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