Welcome to Steamy Kitchen!

Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Favorites

lingonberryberriesdehydrator

foodtoenergyrideablecoolerplayandfreeze

saltedplumcocktailfarmcationRouxbe

This week’s Friday Favorites is from Jess Daniel, Steamy Kitchen’s intern! Next week, you’ll also get to meet La Fuji Mama – Rachael joins our team Steamy Kitchen too.

Also, have you notice the blog design change?!

A big thanks to Scott, my husband, for collaborating with me on the redesign of the site. Scott is actually a web developer/professional poker player (don’t ask about this strange profession combo – but he loves it and I think his poker face is sexy), but never had the time to fondle the back end of my….site. Until now, that is. When contemplating the site change earlier this month, I decided that I would rather pay my husband (no cash required) than a web dev freelancer (lots of moolah) or even trying to fiddle with code myself.

So I did what any wife would do…threaten to withhold his laundry! Yeah baby, it sure worked!

Enjoy our Friday Favorites this week! ~Jaden

Steamy Kitchen Friday Favorites

You know the drill, from left to right, top to bottom:

1) This week we harvested our first crop of lingonberries here on the farm! The tiny tart red berries are often used as a substitute for cranberries and they’re delicious in sauces, jams (like this one at Nami-Nami), baked up in fruit crisp, and made into juice or liqueur; but they’re also sweet enough to sprinkle fresh on top of salads and ice cream. The farmers got the idea to grow lingonberries from (where else?) IKEA. They saw the bright red jars of lingonberry jam on display and thought, “Well, if it grows in Sweden, it’ll probably grow in the Pacific Northwest!”

2) And then obviously, you’ve got your more traditional berries. Here on the island, bushes on every corner are dripping with blackberries, but how to store those fragile things so they don’t mold before you can gobble down your bounty? Generally, I’d advise you to gobble faster, or make jam, but one of my heros, Harold McGee, suggests an alternative approach to storing your fresh berries a little longer. His experiments with thermotherapy for berries kept the mold away for longer and didn’t really change the taste of the fruit. Thermotherapy isn’t the name for a fancy spa treatment, but just means giving the fruit a quick hot bath before storing.

3) Summer is schizophrenic here in the islands: sunny and scorching one day, foggy and spitting rain the next. That makes it tough to “sun-dry” stuff like the 140 lbs of tomatoes that came out of our greenhouses this week. So instead of calling it quits, we’ve invested in a food dehydrator, a simple little gadget that churns out tomatoes, jerky, and dried fruits for easy storage and snacking. Here’s a great article on choosing your ideal drier. I did some just-overripe tomatoes last night — the dehydrator turned them dry, sweet, and slightly chewy in just over 9 hours.

4) I consider the Bay Area in California my true home, so I’m always taking pride in its awesomeness, like the example of this Bay Area Utility that’s collecting food waste from over 2,000 local restaurants and turning it into energy. Food scraps to power your house? Ridiculously cool.

5) And maybe if you have some extra power leftover, what do do? Well, duh! Use it to charge your rideable cooler! Jaden first found this crazy thing on Switched.com’s list of summer gadgets. Apparently it’s sold by NY company, Hammacher Schlemmer. It can travel up to 14 MPH and for just $29.95 Canadian dollars, you can get a cushioned seat and backrest thrown in.

6) In other crazy food gadget news, fellow farm intern Lucy just picked up a play and freeze ice cream maker for $5 from our local thrift store. Yes, I’m jealous. She did promise to let me borrow it to try out some coconut milk ice cream. If I get hooked, I may very well follow this instructable and make my own ice cream maker from a hamster ball (unused of course) or maybe just stick with a method I used back in Cambodia.

7) This week Bittman wrote a column about salty lemonade. But dude, Bittman, any good Singaporean knows that the real ticket isn’t just salty lemon juice but ice cold lemon juice with salted plums! I got my hands on some of these babies while off-island at an Asian grocer and I’ve been soaking them in water and squeezing in a little lemon for a ridiculously refreshing summer sour drink. Apparently, salted plums also also make a mean shoju cocktail, but I haven’t tried it yet because drinking and sharp farm tools just don’t mix.

8) If all this talk of food and farming has got you itching for some good quality time on a haybale, maybe it’s time for you to take a farmcation. An article in Wednesday’s NYT Online featured the agritourism trend: folks taking their vacays on farms to learn more about where their food comes from. Let me just throw in a word that I’ve got an extra couch here on our farm in the San Juans and I’ll give Steamy Kitchen readers a discount! (Just kidding guys.)

9) Or if you’d rather just take a staycation and do something fun in your own home-sweet-home, perhaps try a class at Rouxbe Online Cooking School. Rachael of La Fuji Mama has told me its perfect for the stay-at-home mom. Although full access requires a paid membership, you can get a free trial month and everyday they feature a free lesson and all of the instructional video recipes, text recipes, tip and technique videos and community forums are free. I tried the video on lentils and (no pun intended) it was a little dry. But then I got to the video on gnocchi and woooooo-eeeee. You couldn’t peel me from the screen with a bench scraper.



23 Responses to “Friday Favorites”

  1. Divina — 8/28/09 @ 10:42 am

    I love Rouxbe too. It’s the best online cooking school in the world.

  2. Andrea — 8/28/09 @ 11:03 am

    You are so lucky to have a web developer in the family! Scott did a great job with the site.

  3. Fuji mama — 8/28/09 @ 11:23 am

    Scott, you did an amazing job!! Great Friday Faves Jess. I especially love all the commentary!

  4. Helen-Tartelette — 8/28/09 @ 11:51 am

    Love the design. Clear, fresh and sexy like the two of you.Great list of friday favs!

  5. kayenne — 8/28/09 @ 12:05 pm

    geez… that same ice cream maker ball here… brand new original, costs around USD 50-75!

    • jess — 8/28/09 @ 3:04 pm

      I know! This thrift store is DEFINITELY worth a visit if you find yourself nearabouts the San Juan Islands. Lucy also got an antique waffle maker, that awesome really thin kind for $10. Ridiculous. Half my wardrobe is now from that place.

  6. Great redesign – love the new clean look!

  7. Kamran Siddiqi — 8/28/09 @ 12:55 pm

    The blog is looking great! :D And great Friday Favorites, Jess!

  8. Steve — 8/28/09 @ 1:20 pm

    Very well done and thanks for the shout out. I don’t think lentils is the hottest lesson we’ve done but it’s still informative. Just so your readers know, all video step by step recipes are free without a premium membership. We are all about skill and technique however because once you learn those you don’t need a recipe.

    I know what you mean about the gnocchi, my five year old loves making gnocchi so that’s how easy it is and be sure to try the lemon sage sauce. It’s incredible.

    • jess — 8/28/09 @ 3:07 pm

      Hey Steve! Yes, the lentils lesson was super informative and the videos are all super-high quality. I love love the detail of it all, having coordinated a lot of online media production while working at Google, I can imagine how much work it takes to put together.

      I’ve promised myself to make that gnocchi next week. Our sage is going crazy in the garden, so I’ll be able to put it to good use.

  9. Jennifer — 8/28/09 @ 2:38 pm

    Those dehydrated tomatoes look just like sun-dried ones I bought in Italy a few years back (I canned them in olive oil with white wine and herbs and enjoyed for an entire year).

    I’m curious to know if that ice cream ball really works. I eye them every year but haven’y plunked down the $25. $5 at a thrift store on the other hand…

  10. TikiPundit — 8/28/09 @ 5:24 pm

    Let’s see, she’s a cook, photographer, blogger and writer who makes media appearances nationwide. He’s a professional poker player and web developer. I’m sorry, but only the government could create such lame covers for people — I bet they’re actually both secret agents!!

  11. ravenouscouple — 8/28/09 @ 11:47 pm

    you’re absolutely right, we Vietnamese also love salted plum and lemonade drinks, esp with sparkling soda..

  12. I love your new design!!! Have a nice weekend…

  13. keren brown — 8/29/09 @ 8:25 am

    that’s hot!

  14. Sharon — 8/29/09 @ 1:55 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks for the great Pan Roasted Chicken Caprese. Exactly what I was looking for! I even used my own homemade mozzarella and it was double-yum!

    The site looks lovely (although this is my first visit so I can’t compare to the previous).

    Thanks again!

  15. Cookin Canuck — 8/29/09 @ 6:15 pm

    Your site looks fantastic, Jaden! Well done to your poker-faced husband. Rouxbe is one of my favorite sites to visit (I also love that the Rouxbe crew is from my hometown of Vancouver).

  16. ThatsSoYummy — 8/30/09 @ 7:38 am

    The site looks great, you guys did an awesome job!

    I definitely agree on withholding the laundry great tactic ;-)

  17. Carole — 8/31/09 @ 5:36 am

    Love the new site design!

  18. Super cool design SK. I love the green.

  19. Lovely design!! And thank you so much for mentioning my lingonberry jam – I’m most flattered :)

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