February 2011 Archives

Sage/Parmesan Popcorn

| No Comments |

Sage/Parmesan Popcorn

If someone asks me my favorite food, I have trouble narrowing down all the different foods I love. But if we just looked at sheer lifetime total volume, popcorn is almost certainly the food I've eaten the most of. Sometimes I just eat a big bowl of popcorn for a meal. I love movie popcorn, microwave popcorn, stale popcorn... But I usually stick to just good popcorn popped in oil with salt. I've never been too much into flavors on my popcorn.

This summer at Lollapalooza we had a couple bags of Graham Elliot's Truffle/Parmesan Popcorn and that was pretty darn good. Truffle, though, is just on that edge where it doesn't seem like something I would keep in the kitchen. It seems too fancy of an ingredient. But then we were visiting my family in Austin and had the Sage/Parmesan Popcorn at the Alamo Drafthouse. Ho-lee. It's not an overwhelming flavor, but the smokiness of the sage and the bite of the cheese just make the popcorn that much more snackable.

And sage is totally obtainable at my local grocery store. I did some googling and the recipe is very simple:

Ingredients for Sage/Parmesan Popcorn

Finely chop a tablespoon or so of fresh sage (10 leaves or so) and grate a couple tablespoons worth of parmesan.

Make a batch of popcorn however you normally do that (I've got my hand-crank stovetop popcorn maker, (you can see it in the lower-right of the picture below) but you know, whatever). Put it in a bowl and salt and pepper it.

In a small saucepan (or the pan you just made popcorn in) melt a tablespoon or two of butter. Toss in the sage and cook it until the sage crisps up a bit. Drizzle the sage butter over the popcorn, add the parmesan and mix it all up.

Eat up!

Erica enjoying Sage/Parmesan Popcorn

Vegetable Boxes

| No Comments |

CSA Box Selection

One of the big changes of our cooking life this last year has been that we started to get a weekly vegetable box.

An idea that's been around since the 60s, but really came to American consciousness in the late 80s, is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). There are a lot of different models of CSA, but typically a group of people will become shareholders in a farm, contributing money and/or labor and then receiving some of the output of the farm. The benefits for the shareholder are a real sense of ownership and support of where your food comes from, and the food itself is most often organic and always fresh and seasonal. And both sides benefit because you've eliminated the middleman.

One problem with a direct CSA system is that you're subscribing to the output of one farm. And that means that even with a farm that practices polyculture that in the fall months you're going to get lots of turnips and rutabagas. Lots and lots.

So companies have stepped back in as middlemen in a CSA-esque system where they deal with multiple organic farms and deliver a variety of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. That's the kind of company we're dealing with, because we're lazy and like variety.

We're subscribers to Irv and Shelly's Fresh Picks (another Chicago choice is Farmer Tom's). For a set price, every week we get a box delivered to our house with a selection of whatever is in season. Well, during the spring, summer, and fall it's what's in season around here. They try to stay local, but in the winter they 'supplement' with food from outside the region.

Getting the box every week has really had an impact on our cooking life. The obvious benefit is that the vegetables are fresh. But just the fact that our fridge is always full of vegetables has kept us from going out as much as we used to--knowing that there's food waiting for us at home that will go to waste if we don't cook. And the fact that we don't get to choose* what's in the box has been great for getting us out of some of our cooking ruts. Getting, say, a bunch of sunchokes and having to figure out what to do with them. (Answer: roast them in plenty of olive oil!)

* We can add on extras--for example, we usually get a Red Hen Bakery baguette and we get blueberries when they're in season--and you can change your standing order on a few days notice.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2011 is the previous archive.

July 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.