Showing posts from October, 2008

Considering Convenience:
My Favorite Kitchen Tools

Last night I had supper atop a glade in the middle of the Missouri Ozarks. The October evening was unseasonably warm, the sun hanging low above the surrounding oaks and cedars, the dog splashing in the creek at the bottom of the hollow. (That’d be the ‘holler’ if I lived in Mizz-ur-ra, not Mizz-ur-ee.) Over a small Indian fire, we cooked buffalo steaks, toasted whole-grain rolls, and roasted apples, all speared onto V-necked dogwood shoots and balanced over the embers by a heat-reflecting stone. Twas some feast.Twas some feast, yes, but one of considerable incongruity too, given that the buffalo and the rolls came from Whole Foods – but then were cooked entirely without benefit of modern convenience save a sharp knife and stick matches.It just goes to show, technology isn’t a necessity, it’s a convenience – which isn’t to say that we all don’t rely on these conveniences, that they don’t make our lives easier, even better.Here are ten conveniences that make my life in the kitchen better…

No-Knead English Muffin Bread

Are you a "yeast-a-phobic" cook? A Kitchen Parade reader shares her recipe for English Muffin Bread to banish all your fears.
"I absolutely love this recipe and have made it four or five times." ~ Jasmine
"I made it with half whole wheat flour and half white flour. YUM!! ... Nice texture and flavor." ~ Shannon
"... so freakin good that I plan to make this weekly. ... final product is so tender and moist." ~ Mary
"An artisan loaf at the store will run you between $3-$4, but you can make it at home for less than a dollar." ~ Budget Bytes
Crestwood reader Carole Splater has a message for what she calls "yeast-a-phobic" cooks. “It’s almost a sin that my English Muffin Bread is so easy. We love it, our guests love it, everybody loves it.” And I love it too, ever since Carole e-mailed her recipe last fall.No bread machine, no stand mixer, no kneading. Just a few ingredients, 15 minutes of attention and two hours later, …

Chicken with Creamy Apple Cider Gravy

A one-skillet chicken supper, full-flavored chicken thighs cradled in a creamy gravy made with apple cider. Plus I share my favorite technique for pulling all the flavor from chicken skins without adding all the calories. It's brilliant if I may say so myself! Republished in 2012, one of my favorite fall recipes, simple, savory, satisfying. When we lose an old friend, we know the expressions of grief: we cry, we console, we deliver casseroles. But how should an old tree be mourned? Often, the gravestump remains, raw, harsh, ugly.
A Good Oak, 1892 – 2008
Here lie the roots of an old friend, an oak that shaded our lives in summer, dropped acorns for the squirrels, shed leaves to rake, cut craggly patterns into winter skies.

Gone but not Forgotten.

When I visit my family home in the north woods of Minnesota, I visit the trees, too. There’s the clump in whose V the neighbor girls crafted doll beds of crimson poppy petals. There’s the birch where family photographs were taken, recording n…