I love food, life, learning, travel and reading. I have and will again plan trips around food as well as historic sights.

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  • Location: Calgary
  • Favorite foods: Cannot begin to fathom picking favorites. But I do love pickles!
  • Last bite on earth: Depends on my mood and hunger level.

Latest Comments

Colombian Chicken Stew With Potatoes, Tomato, and Onion

One of the few recipes that I'm not enchanted with. It's mild and comforting flavor is okay but nothing special. The onions and tomatoes did not really break down into a sauce as promised, and the chicken is chickeny in flavor but sad textured. I have a large pot of leftovers left as no one really liked it, and will have to salvage the chicken somehow. The potatoes were good, but not good enough to waste a chicken on. A far better single chicken recipe is David Lebovitz' chicken with caramelized shallots.

3 Ways to Brew Better Coffee at Home for Under $75

My solution was to buy a 30.00 Aeropress. Seems to work.

If you could have one cooking item...

I've had a few gadget fantasies fulfilled, but I remain longing for a Vitamix blender, thermapen, and a pressure cooker/canner.

quinoa prep?

I also don't rise, and cook like rice. After it's cooked, try it drizzled with a bit of soy sauce, ponzu sauce, hot chili oil, and a hint of sesame oil. It's like a bowl of comfort food. Quinoa can stand up to strong flavors.

Punishable proceedures

Canned peas. Look like blah, taste like vomit.

Do you have food allergies?

@korovka - I'm just like you - as a kid I was allergic to everything - milk, strawberries, actually all berries, etc. and outgrew them all by ten or so.


I too have a glut of recipes. But some standouts are - coq au vin and choucroute garnie from Jeffrey Steingarden, brisket from Ruhlman, raspberry buttermilk cake from smitten kitchen, gumbo, and any burger from Kenji.

Having said that, I have crossed off many items from bucket list too - world's best chili from Kenji, most of the breads from Reinhart, this amazing beef daube from a Russian site, the best homemade pickles ever, homemade ricotta, etc etc.

Kenji's Recipes

And carnitas, can't forget the carnitas. We riff on those all the time.

Kenji's Recipes

I've made the world's best chili a few times, but there are tons of recipes I haven't tried yet.

Do I need pickle rehab?

I have pickles listed as a fave in my very profile. I have been known to drink brine from pickle jars. I live on sauerkraut, pickles, olives, etc. I am very happy with my homemade pickles, but alas they are not done in any manner deemed 'safe' by current standards. (They are made via an old Ukranian recipe that leaves them part pickled part fermented. Not what the canning guidelines recommend.) On bad days I've been known to sip apple cider vinegar seasoned with a bit of salt, for consolation. Your dinner sounds lovely to me.

Do You Wish Your Vodka Had More Flavor?

Vodka is best with no flavor, as it can be a textural beverage. Try chilling a quality 'tasteless' vodka until it's syrupy and thick, and serve with small dishes of strongly flavored foods as it would be in Russia or Finland or any northern country. The thick, cold liquid is intended to spread an internal heat through the body, and the neutral flavor goes with everything. For best results try it after a day of skiing or shoveling snow, followed by a hot shower. It will all be clear then.

What's your mushroom of choice?

I too haven't met a mushroom I don't love, but if I had to pick one on pain of death or something, it would be fresh porcinis.

Your last meal

Mine would be a day of eating all the stuff I haven't really tried yet. Basically, I'd scroll through my favorite blogs and serious eats reviews, pick a ginormous compilation of the best of the best (from dumplings to burgers to noodles to whatever), and basically gorge like a foie gras goose all day long.

Duck Fat Recipes

Seconding potatoes roasted in duck fat, sprinkled with smoked paprika. Add a spoonful to any greens, any sauteed veggies too.

Espro Press: For Better Tasting French Press Coffee

I love my Aeropress with a loving love, and can't bring myself to try anything else, especially more expensive.

Food for Change: 5 Groups Doing Great Work

Isn't Seattle also starting an edible park too? That sounds like an idea every city should have.

Quinoa - The super food

I love quinoa too! Try it cooked and drizzled with soy sauce, ponzu sauce, chili garlic oil and sliced avocado (and/or nori strips). I came across a similar recipe on a blog and fell in love.

The Nasty Bits: Octopus

What Kenji said. I'll eat lots, but there seems to be a cruelty component there that strikes me as odd. Like the live eel dishes that I could never eat.

Buckwheat (NOT the weird kid from Little Rascals...)

Many foods in Russia are that simple, but many are not wonderful to a western palate. There are a few recipes that cross over well, but many dishes are incomprehensible to outsiders (i.e. salted herring salad, kvass, etc). Do try the buckwheat though, that recipe should be pretty good, especially with plenty of butter. :)

Buckwheat (NOT the weird kid from Little Rascals...)

I was born in Russia and grew up eating buckwheat weekly. Here is a quintessential recipe for a buckwheat side dish. Cook roasted buckwheat only, it should be a dark brown color. Unroasted it will be gluey and flavorless.

Cook it like stovetop rice - about 1.5 times water to grain ratio, with a good tsp + of salt. Once it's done, add a good dollop of butter (at least 3tbsp, you can't use too much), cover the pot with a towel and let it steam for ten-fifteen minutes. The steam fluffs the grains.

While buckwheat is resting, caramelize a couple of onions over high heat in butter. You can also sautee mushrooms and onions together. You're gong for bold flavors and dark colors here. Serve on top of buckwheat or add sour cream off the heat for a gravy.

This would be an amazing side dish with meatloaf and such. It's also good with a bit of soy sauce and chili oil, although this is very un-traditional.

Joe Alternatives: A Cup of Hot Brown, Hold the Coffee

I was reading a memoir of a pioneer woman settling Canada in the 1800's. She recalls hearing that fall harvested dandelion roots make a good coffee substitute, so she dug up a bunch, cut them up into bean sized pieces, roasted them, and made a fine cup of coffee. She described the flavor as better than the cheap coffee beans available to them at the time. I have yet to repeat this experience, but kind of want to.