Category Archives: Adventures


By | Adventures, Cooking Outdoors, Obsessions, Sauces, Travels | No Comments

We just returned from a 12 day vacation in Argentina, so it seems only natural to be pondering chimichurri right now.  I suppose the place to start is to explain that, while I’m an admittedly obsessive cook, I’m not an especially obsessive food tourist. Before I travel I do a fair amount of research and make mental lists of the local foods I want to try, then I do my best to fit them into my trip. I rarely do it the other way around. In Argentina, chimichurri topped my “must try” list but I never sought out the “best” or most authentic samples. I didn’t organize afternoons of chopping or grilling with locals either, but that’s not going to stop me from forevermore making sweeping, “expert” generalizations about “real” chimichurri. I was served a few bowls of the stuff in the right country. I figure that counts for something. If you…

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Talk Less. Teach More

By | Adventures, Obsessions, Seasonal | No Comments

Five weeks ago I thought I’d dip my toe into a picturesque pond and now I’m in the belly of a whale. Just over a month ago, I sent an email to a new Facebook Friend introducing myself. I had seen his post that the Wine Country Culinary Institute in Walla Walla was looking for an adjunct professor for summer quarter. I have teaching experience. My summer work schedule was portable. Dad’s basement is always free, and his deck has an absolutely stunning view of the Blue Mountains. Why not? I would read, write, and do lots of creative recipe testing with the amazing local produce. Dad and I might go fly fishing on the rare weekend I didn’t make the 300 mile drive back home. You can see it, can’t you? The grassy bank and buttercups? The dragonflies and gently rippled waters? WHAMMO! Whale food. I’ve taught a lot…

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By | Adventures, Ingredients, Local, Obsessions, Sauces, Seasonal | No Comments

Why, oh why, would I want to eat a wild plant that stings? My skin is so sensitive that I get rashes after a night on hotel sheets. Why would I voluntarily wander in the woods, plucking leaves that are famous for causing painful welts? Because, I’ve always wanted to test my culinary mettle with nettle. Last year I was particularly motivated because I wanted to include a nettle pesto recipe in Mastering Sauces. Our friends, the magnificent Runnings, have several acres of wilderness and woods just half an hour away. Last year, my foraging adventure evolved into a feast and a pretty great party, so I invited myself over for a repeat performance. This year, instead of stressing about testing and logging recipes and the threat of serious allergic reaction, I was able to just have fun. Nettles are treated as “no big deal” by locavore cooks and herbalists….

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