Author Archives: dave

Thanksgiving ski trip to Keystone

We spent Thanksgiving in Keystone, CO, this year with our friends the Duncavages. Although there wasn’t too much snow (there were only a couple runs on the mountain open, unfortunately), we still skied and enjoyed some hot tubbing. We also had a great Thanksgiving feast, complete with turkey, pies, cakes… you name it. We didn’t take many photos, but the ones we have are pretty good. The highlight was getting Margaret on skis. She was a great sport, and really caught on to it. Check out the video, its pretty great!

New Sourdough protocol

Norwich Sourdough
(adapted from Vermont Sourdough in Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman)

Yield: Four small round loaves)


  • Mix/autolyse: 35 minutes
  • First fermentation: 2.5 hours
  • Divide, bench rest, and shape: 20 minutes
  • Proof: 2.5 hours (or 1.5 hours, then retard for 2 – 16 hours)
  • Bake: 35 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 76F


  • 900 g white flour
  • 120 g whole rye flour
  • 600 g water at about 74F
  • 360 g mature 100% hydration sourdough starter (ie, 50/50 water and flour, make sure the starter is active!)
  • 23 g / 1 T salt


    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours, water, and starter on low speed until just combined, about one minute. I sprinkle the salt on top, but do not mix in, and proceed to the next step.
    2. Let the dough rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.
    3. Mixing on low or medium speed until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten development. This should only take about 3 or 4 minutes.
    4. Transfer the dough to an oiled container (preferably a low, wide one so the dough can be folded without removing it from the container).
    5. Ferment at room temperature (72F – 76F) for 2.5 hours, with folds at 50 and 100 minutes.
    6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into 4 equal pieces.
    7. Sprinkle the balls lightly with flour, cover loosely with plastic, and let rest for 15 minutes.
    8. Shape into batards or tight round loaves and let prove on parchment-lined baking sheet or a floured couche.
    9. Put the loaves into a large plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for 2 – 2.5 hours. Alternatively, the loaves can be proofed for about 1.5 hours at room temperature, then refrigerated for 2 – 16 hours and baked directly out of the refrigerator; this will yield a tangier bread with a lovely, blistered crust.
    10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 400F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now by placing a skillet or pan in the bottom of the oven.
    11. Transfer the proofed loaves onto a semolina-sprinkled peel or parchment (if not on a baking sheet already). Slash loaves as desired and put in oven.
    12. Bake for ~30 minutes, until the internal temperature is 202F.
    13. Cool on a wire rack. Don’t cut until the loaves are completely cool.

5 min artisan bread

680 g (3 cups) water
1 tablespoon yeast
2-3 teaspoons kosher salt
910 g (6.5 cups) flour

Mix and incubate at room temperature for 2 hours.

[optional] rest in fridge for up to two weeks

Shape into loaves and proof at room temperature for ~90 minutes

Bake at 450F for ~30 minutes or until internal temperature of the loaf is 203F

Amelia playing the violin

Here is Amelia playing the violin!!i=3086955982&k=bmtXNng

Wheat bread

740 g  water (at ~76 degrees)

2 t salt

100 g honey
4 t yeast
2 T oil
1 egg
1 T gluten flour
400  g white flour
800 g whole wheat flour
Add all ingredients, mix slowly until combined. Let rest for 15-30 min
Knead for 5-7 minutes until smooth
Turn out onto floured surface and knead a couple times, adding a but of flour if necessary.
45 min rise, punch down
45 min rise, make into 3 loaves ( use rolling pin to flatten into a rectangle and remove bubbles). Spray top lightly with oil and cover with plastic wrap
45 min proof
Bake at 350 for 35 min or until >200 F


2 cups flour

1 T baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cups milk

oven: 450


Cut shortening into dry ingredients. add milk and mix. Knead about 10 times, then roll out and cut into rounds. Place close together on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until brown.



New Maggie Pictures

We posted some new photos of Maggie (and the other kids too), including many that our expert photographer friend Jessica took (thanks, Jessica!) and some of Grandma Kat and Pop-pop Mike’s visit.!i=2049153502&k=XrRkDcz

Creamy polenta

6 cups water


1.5 cups coarse grain polenta

3 T butter

2 ounces parmasean cheese

  • Bring 1.5 teaspoon salt a water to a boil, then slowly whisk in polenta
  • Cover, reduce heat and cook on low heat until polenta is smooth, about 30 minutes
  • Stir in butter and 3/4 cups cheese

Margaret Jean Spencer!!i=1982898095&k=Hd74Ldw

A new addition to the Spencer family is finally here! Margaret Jean Spencer was born on July 23, at 8:26 am. She was a week overdue (and came only after many hours of induced labor), but she is healthy and doing well. She weighted 7 pounds 10 ounces and was 20 inches long. Amelia and Will have met her and have already been fighting over who gets to hold her. Lindsay is recovering and also doing well, although she is quite tired of course. Check back for more photos!


Hickory-smoked brisket with Southwestern barbecue sauce

Total time: 2 hours, plus 5 to 6 hours smoking time

Servings: 6 to 8

Note: This recipe calls for hickory chips and the use of a smoker, or a charcoal grill converted to a smoker. Hickory chips are available at many well-stocked markets as well as at barbecue supply stores. The barbecue sauce makes about 6 cups, more than is needed for this recipe. Any remaining sauce will keep up to 1 week, refrigerated.

Hickory-smoked brisket

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 (3- to 4-pound) beef brisket with a layer of fat no thicker than 1/2-inch

4 cups beer

2 cups water

Hickory chips, soaked

1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, onion powder, cumin and garlic powder. Rub the mix into the brisket and let sit at room temperature, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, prepare your smoker or grill to cook over low, indirect heat for several hours. Set up a drip pan underneath where the brisket will smoke, and fill with the beer and water. Shortly before cooking, adjust the heat as needed to maintain a temperature around 250 degrees and add hickory chips to start smoking.

3. Place the brisket (fat side up) in the prepared smoker and cook for 2 1/2 hours. Adjust the heat as needed (add several coals to either side of the grill as needed if using a kettle grill) to maintain the ambient temperature (around 250 degrees); replenish the chips as needed to keep smoking. Baste the brisket every 30 minutes or so to keep it moist.

4. After 2 1/2 hours, wrap the brisket (fat side up) tightly in foil and continue to cook over indirect low heat until the meat is fork-tender, 3 to 4 additional hours (time may vary depending on the heat of the smoker and size and thickness of the brisket).

5. Remove the brisket from heat and, still wrapped in foil, cover it with a layer of newspaper and kitchen towels to keep warm. Set aside, covered, for at least 1 hour before serving. While the brisket is resting, make the sauce.

Southwestern barbecue sauce and assembly

1 large onion, thinly sliced, top to bottom

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 jalapeños, seeded and diced

2 poblano or pasilla chiles, seeded and diced

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee

1 beer, preferably ale

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cups ketchup

1/4 cup maple syrup, preferably Grade B

1/4 cup molasses

1 tablespoon cumin

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon New Mexico chile powder

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Prepared smoked brisket

1. In a heavy-bottom 4-quart pot, combine the onion, garlic, jalapeños and chiles with the coffee and beer. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the tomato paste, ketchup, maple syrup, molasses, cumin, salt, chile powder and red wine vinegar and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and blend the sauce using an immersion blender or in stages in a stand blender, until fairly smooth. Set aside.

3. Remove the brisket from the foil and slice across the grain into thin strips, reserving any pooled juices and leftover bits. Stir these drippings into the barbecue sauce. Serve the brisket warm with the barbecue sauce on the side.

Each of 8 servings: 667 calories; 37 grams protein; 19 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 44 grams fat; 18 grams saturated fat; 161 mg. cholesterol; 1,077 mg. sodium.

Potato salad (Ina Garten)



  • 3 pounds small white potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion


Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in quarters or in half, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten. Add the celery and red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Amelia is six!!i=1829281989&k=Xkh4Mqk

Amelia turned six today. She had a nice party last weekend with her friends, aunt, uncle and cousins and grandparents. Today we went to Fitz’s for dinner and had chocolate pie for dessert. She said it was the “best day ever”!

Quick cinnamon buns


Melted butter is used in both the filling and the dough and to grease the pan; it’s easiest to melt the total amount (8 tablespoons) at once and measure it out as you need it. The finished buns are best eaten warm, but they hold reasonably well for up to 2 hours.



  • 1tablespoon unsalted butter , melted, for pan
  • Cinnamon-Sugar Filling
  • 3/4cup dark brown sugar (packed, 5 1/4 ounces)
  • 1/4cup granulated sugar (1 3/4 ounces)
  • 2teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8teaspoon table salt
  • 1tablespoon unsalted butter , melted
  • Biscuit Dough
  • 2 1/2cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces), plus additional flour for work surface
  • 2tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/4cups buttermilk
  • 6tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • Icing
  • 2tablespoons cream cheese , softened
  • 2tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1cup confectioners’ sugar (4 ounces)


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Pour 1 tablespoon melted butter in 9-inch nonstick cake pan; brush to coat pan. Spray wire rack with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

  2. 2. To make cinnamon-sugar filling: Combine sugars, spices, and salt in small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and stir with fork or fingers until mixture resembles wet sand; set filling mixture aside.

  3. 3. To make biscuit dough: Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk and 2 tablespoons melted butter in measuring cup or small bowl. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until liquid is absorbed (dough will look very shaggy), about 30 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy.

  4. 4. Pat dough with hands into 12 by 9-inch rectangle. Following illustrations below, fill, roll, cut, and arrange buns in buttered cake pan. Brush with 2 tablespoons remaining melted butter. Bake until edges are golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. Use offset metal spatula to loosen buns from pan; without separating, slide buns out of pan onto greased cooling rack. Cool about 5 minutes before icing.

  5. 5. To make icing and finish buns: While buns are cooling, line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy cleanup); set rack with buns over baking sheet. Whisk cream cheese and buttermilk in large nonreactive bowl until thick and smooth (mixture will look like cottage cheese at first). Sift confectioners’ sugar over; whisk until smooth glaze forms, about 30 seconds. Spoon glaze evenly over buns; serve immediately.

Belly photos

Some belly photos, by popular request.!i=1771106227&k=gqK8xvv

Baby Number 3

We have some important news! Lindsay is expecting and due this Summer (July 15th). Everyone is very excited, especially Amelia and William. They both have their own ideas about names, gender, etc. (Will told Lindsay we should name the baby Lightning McQueen if its a boy.)

Here is a photo from the 20 week ultrasound. Thumbs up!!i=1728559478&k=svKQ5kF



Thai Chicken Soup

6-8 as an appetizer, 4 as a main course

If you want a soup with less fat, it is possible to substitute light coconut milk for one or both cans of regular coconut milk. Fresh lemon grass can be omitted, but the soup will lack some complexity. Don’t be tempted to use jarred or dried lemon grass-their flavor is characterless. If you want a spicier soup, add more red curry paste to taste. For a more substantial meal, serve the soup over 2 to 3 cups of cooked jasmine rice. The soup can be prepared through step 1 up to one day ahead of time and refrigerated, but it should be completed immediately before serving, as the chicken and mushrooms can easily overcook.


  • 1teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 3stalks lemon grass , tough outer leaves removed, bottom 5 inches halved lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
  • 3 large shallots , chopped
  • 8sprigs fresh cilantro leaves , chopped coarse
  • 3tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk , well-shaken
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2pound white mushrooms , cleaned, stems trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts , halved lengthwise and sliced on bias into 1/8-inch-thick pieces (see illustration below)
  • 3tablespoons fresh lime juice from 2 to 3 limes
  • 2teaspoons red curry paste (Thai)
  • Garnish
  • 1/2cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 serrano chiles , sliced thin
  • 2 scallions , sliced thin on bias
  • 1 lime , cut into wedges


  1. 1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until just shimmering. Add lemon grass, shallots, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon fish sauce; cook, stirring frequently, until just softened, 2 to 5 minutes (vegetables should not brown). Stir in chicken broth and 1 can coconut milk; bring to simmer over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until flavors have blended, 10 minutes. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer and discard solids in strainer. Rinse saucepan and return broth mixture to pan.
  2. 2. Return pan to medium-high heat. Stir remaining can coconut milk and sugar into broth mixture and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium, add mushrooms, and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove soup from heat.
  3. 3. Combine lime juice, curry paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce in small bowl; stir into soup. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro, chiles, and scallions. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Amelia and Will Skiing!

We went to Utah with Mark, Faith, Spencer, and Jonathan Parts, The Grandparents and the Pantazis’ for a couple days of skiing over the holiday. As usual, we didn’t take as many videos as we should have… but here a few choice clips of the kids.

Pan-roasted broccoli

Serves 4

Avoid buying broccoli with stalks that have dry cracks or that bend easily or with florets that are yellow or brown. If your broccoli stalks are especially thick, split them in half lengthwise before slicing.

3tablespoons water
1/4teaspoon table salt
1/8teaspoon ground black pepper
2tablespoons vegetable oil
1 3/4pounds broccoli , florets cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, stems trimmed, peeled, and cut on bias into 1/4-inch-thick slices about 1 1/2 inches long (about 5 cups florets and 3/4 cup stems)


1. Stir water, salt, and pepper together in small bowl until salt dissolves; set aside. In 12-inch nonstick skillet with tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add broccoli stems in even layer and cook, without stirring, until browned on bottoms, about 2 minutes. Add florets to skillet and toss to combine; cook, without stirring, until bottoms of florets just begin to brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

2. Add water mixture and cover skillet; cook until broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until water has evaporated, broccoli stems are tender, and florets are tender-crisp, about 2 minutes more.

Griddle cheeseburgers with onions

We made these on a small griddle we put on our gas grill outside. I think the griddle is key because it allows the fat rendered from the burger to fry the outside, and it is very hot but unlike cooking over flame won’t ignite and char the burger. Very key. Now I want a bigger griddle. Of course one could do this inside as well, but it would make the kitchen smell greasy.

  • Loosely shape ~1/4 lb of ground beef into balls without over-working the meat. The original recipe says 30% fat, but burgers made with 16 or 20% (?) were good. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Slice some onions into very thin slices.
  • Heat a cast iron griddle until very hot (on the stove or the grill outside).
  • Place balls of meat on the griddle for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Use a stout spatula to smash the balls into patties ~1/3-1/2 inch thick and cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Gently press a handful of the thinly-sliced onions onto the burgers, then flip over so the onions are on the bottom. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Top with cheddar cheese, cover, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve on a tasty bun with your choice of condiments.

Rice puffer

Lindsay and the kids went to the Farm for a few days to visit Laura, Ian, Helen, Vera and Faye and one of the activities was to puff rice with a puffer that came from my Grandfather. It looked fun, sorry I missed it.

[Now updated with footage from Ian.]


Pie crust (optimized)

From the Pilsbury Cookbook, but optimized.


For a single-crust pie:

  • 1  1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 5/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3.25 oz shortening (the best is 2/3 butter and 1/3 lard)
  • 4-5 Tablespoons cold water


For a double-crust pie:


  • 2  1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1  1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6.5 oz shortening (the best is 2/3 butter and 1/3 lard)
  • 6-7 Tablespoons cold water

Combine flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut shortening into pieces and cut into flour mixture with a pastry blender or fingers until shortening is the size of small peas and is uniformly distributed throughout the flour. (Alternatively, you can cut the shortening into the flour with a few 1-second pulses in a Cuisinart food processor.) Add water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix with a fork until the dough starts to hold together but is still very crumbly. Do not knead or stir the dough excessively because it will result in a tough crust. Divide dough in half if making a double-crust pie and put each portion into plastic wrap. The dough will still be crumbly, but it can be molded into a round inside the plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. Roll the dough rounds out into a 10-inch circle either on a lightly floured surface or by placing the round between two pieces of wax paper.


For a a pre-baked, single-crust pie shell, place the crust in a pie plate, trim and flute the edges, and then put a piece of tin foil on the crust with pie weights or dry beans to hold the crust down while baking. Bake the crust at 450F for 10-15 minutes.


For a double-crust pie, place the curst in a pie plate, trim the edges, fill as desired, then add the top crust. Seal the edges well, flute the edges, and then cut 2-4 2-inch slits in the crust. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes then at 350 until the pie is bubbly in the middle. (General baking conditions for most pies.)

Helen’s Chicago Cassoulet

The Cassoulet Helen made for us in Chicago.

NOTE: The recipe can be halved.

2 cups dried canellini or great northern beans, soaked overnight or quick-soaked
Pork shoulder or fresh ham cut into large chunks and trimmed
6-8 brats, cut in 3rds
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, in 1/2 inch pieces
1 TBS thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
2 TBS tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups broth
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
olive oil

In large dutch oven, brown pork in olive oil.  Remove from pan.  Add onions, celery, carrot, and saute until translucent over medium heat.  Add tomato paste, garlic, and thyme and saute for 3 minutes.  Add canned tomatoes, broth, wine, bay, salt and pepper, and stir until combined.  Add beans and meats.  Bring to simmer, then place in preheated 325 oven, uncovered, for 2 hours.

Increase oven to 375.  Combine bread crumbs with 2-3 TBS olive oil, sprinkle on top of cassoulet and return to oven for 1 hour.

Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

Edamame and Shiitake Mushroom Salad (Caroline Kinsman)

1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. each soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, white miso
1 med shallot
4 tbsp veg oil
3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
10 med shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1 head butter lettece, torn
2 cups baby beet greens or arugula
1 cup shelled, cooked edamame
4 green oinions (green part only), chopped
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1. Whirl orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, miso and shallot in blender. With blender running, pour in 3 tbsp veg oil and the sesame oil and whril 10 sec. Set vinaigrette aside.
2. Heat remaining vegetable oil in large fry pan over high heat. Add shitakes and salt and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are browned, about 3 min. Let cool
3. In a large bowl, gently toss lettuce and beet greens with 2 tbsp vinaigrette. Top with shiitakes, edamame, green onions, and sesame seeds. Serve remaining vinaigrette on side.


We have not been good about posting videos recently (although we DO have quite a bit of footage from our Fall adventures–I promise to make some videos soon!). Uncle/Brother-in-Law John made a really great video of our cider-making weekend in October from his video clips, check it out:

I promise we’ll get some of our videos up soon!

Roasted edamame salad

  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen shelled edamame, about 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels, about 2 ears of corn
  • 1/4 cup finely diced scallion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the edamame, corn, scallion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into a 13 by 9 metal pan and stir to combine. Place on the middle rack of the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, just until the edamame begins to brown. Remove from the oven and place in the refrigerator until completely cool, approximately 30 minutes.

Add the tomato, basil and vinegar to the edamame mixture and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Barbecue sauce

Makes 3 cups.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , minced
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes , with juice
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/4 cup orange juice from 1 medium orange


  1. Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until hot and shimmering (but not smoking). Add onion; sauté until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to lowest possible setting and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  2. Puree sauce, in batches if necessary, in blender or workbowl of food processor. Transfer to bowl or cover in airtight container. (Can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.)

Mojo sauce

Makes 1 cup.

The sauce can be made up to a day ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container. If chilled, let the sauce come to room temperature before serving.


4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice from 1 to 2 oranges
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Place minced garlic on cutting board and sprinkle with kosher salt. Using flat side of chef’s knife, drag garlic and salt back and forth across cutting board in small circular motions until garlic is ground into smooth paste.
  2. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic paste and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Remove pan from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients. Transfer to bowl and cool to room temperature. Whisk sauce to recombine before serving.

Spicy Rio Grande Barbecue sauce

Makes 2 – 2 1/2 cups.

For an even hotter sauce, add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion , chopped
4 medium cloves garlic , minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 medium lemon , juiced to yield 1/4 cup juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 (4-ounce) can green chiles , mild
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce


  1. Heat butter in a medium saucepan. Add onions and garlic; sauté until onions soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in next 7 ingredients; cook over medium heat to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and tomato sauce; bring to simmer. Simmer uncovered until sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Serve.


From Pacific Flavors

1 12-oz bunch spinach
2 green onions
2/3 lb. ground pork
2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1 egg
1 TBS soy sauce
1/4 tsp chinese chili sauce
1/2 tsp salt

24 won ton skins
cornstarch for dusting
2 TBS oil

1/2 cup stock
2 TBS sherry
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp chinese chili sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
2 tsp grated orange peel

Hot sauce

Made this once and it was good. The recipe could be customized in many ways. One could also use aged chiles (add some white vinegar and let ferment for 3-6 months).

  • About 12 red hot chiles (plus or minus the amount and variety depending on desired heat and color.)
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup vinegar (apple cider or distilled white)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

In a small nonreactive saucepan boil the chiles (if using fresh) and garlic in the vinegar until tender. Place in a blender with the salt and sugar and puree. Run through a metal sieve if necessary. Dilute this paste with more vinegar if desired.

    Steamed mussels with tomatoes and basil

    Serves 4.

    This recipe is adapted from Jim Peterson’s Fish and Shellfish (Morrow, 1996). Serve these tomato-bathed mussels over one pound of cooked, drained cappellini.


    1 cup white wine
    1/2 cup minced shallots
    4 medium cloves garlic , minced
    1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
    1 bay leaf
    4 pounds mussels , cleaned and debearded
    2 cups crushed tomatoes
    1/4 cup olive oil


    1. Bring wine, shallots, garlic, basil, and bay leaf to simmer in large pot; continue to simmer to blend flavors, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add mussels; cover and cook, stirring twice, until mussels open, 4 to 8 minutes, depending on pot and mussel size.
    2. Remove mussels from liquid, twist off and discard top shells, and put in large serving bowl. Meanwhile, add chopped tomatoes and olive oil and simmer until reduced to sauce consistency, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return mussels to reduced sauce. Serve.

    Crunchy pea salad

    Crunchy Pea Salad from the JL Seattle Classic Cookbook  Serves 6-8

    2-10 oz pkg green peas, thawed
    1/2 C chopped celery
    2 green onions chopped
    10 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
    1/3 C salted sunflower seeds or cashews

    1/2 C sour cream
    1/2 C mayo

    I usually just make a half of the dressing recipe.

    Mix together dressing.  Toss ingredients with dressing and serve.

    Maple glazed pork tenderloin

    Serves 6.

    This recipe will work with either natural pork or enhanced pork (injected with a salty solution). If your tenderloins are smaller than 1¼ pounds, reduce the cooking time in step 3 (and use an instant-read thermometer for best results). If the tenderloins don’t fit in the skillet initially, let their ends curve toward each other; the meat will eventually shrink as it cooks. Make sure to cook the tenderloins until they turn deep golden brown in step 2 or they will appear pale after glazing. We prefer grade B maple syrup in this recipe. (Don’t be tempted to substitute imitation maple syrup—it will be too sweet.) Be sure to pat off the cornstarch mixture thoroughly in step 1, as any excess will leave gummy spots on the tenderloins.


    3/4 cup maple syrup (see note)
    1/4 cup molasses , light or mild
    2 tablespoons bourbon or brandy
    1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    Pinch ground cloves
    Pinch cayenne pepper
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoon table salt
    2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    2 pork tenderloins (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each) (see note)
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard


    1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Stir ½ cup maple syrup, molasses, bourbon, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne together in 2-cup liquid measure; set aside. Whisk cornstarch, sugar, salt, and black pepper in small bowl until combined. Transfer cornstarch mixture to rimmed baking sheet. Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels, then roll in cornstarch mixture until evenly coated on all sides. Thoroughly pat off excess cornstarch mixture.
    2. Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Reduce heat to medium and place both tenderloins in skillet, leaving at least 1 inch in between. Cook until well browned on all sides, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer tenderloins to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.
    3. Pour off excess fat from skillet and return to medium heat. Add syrup mixture to skillet, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon, and cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 2 minutes. Transfer 2 tablespoons glaze to small bowl and set aside. Using remaining glaze, brush each tenderloin with approximately 1 tablespoon glaze. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloins registers 130 degrees, 12 to 20 minutes. Brush each tenderloin with another tablespoon glaze and continue to roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloins registers 135 to 140 degrees, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Remove tenderloins from oven and brush each with remaining glaze; let rest, uncovered, 10 minutes.
    4. While tenderloins rest, stir remaining ¼ cup maple syrup and mustard into reserved 2 tablespoons glaze. Brush each tenderloin with 1 tablespoon mustard glaze. Transfer meat to cutting board and slice into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Serve, passing extra mustard glaze at table.

    Our new house in Brentwood, Missouri!

    Lindsay and I have been in St. Louis looking at houses, and after looking at many we think we’ve found one! Click the photo below for a photo tour.

    Its a 3 bedroom “ranch” house with a smaller but newer kitchen, relatively big bedrooms, a nice backyard, a porch, small garage, and a newly finished basement with a 4th bedroom and neat bathroom. We were pretty picky, and perhaps didn’t get the mansion we wanted, but its nice. Its actually very similar to our house in Seattle. Of course, there is still the inspection and all the other crap, but its a start. It’s located in Brentwood, MO, and is a 10 minute walk to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Target, and other shops, and about 15 minutes to the Metrolink train to the hospital where I will be working. I think there will be a good bike route to the hospital, too. See our map for the exact location and where Amelia will go to kindergarten (eventually)!

    Phad Thai (Bittman)

    4 ounces fettuccine-width rice stick noodles

    1/4 cup peanut oil

    1/4 cup tamarind paste

    1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)

    1/3 cup honey

    2 tablespoons rice vinegar

    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

    1/4 cup chopped scallions

    1 garlic clove, minced

    2 eggs

    1 small head Napa cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)

    1 cup mung bean sprouts

    1/2 pound peeled shrimp, pressed tofu or a combination

    1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    2 limes, quartered.

    1. Put noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let sit until noodles are just tender; check every 5 minutes or so to make sure they do not get too soft. Drain, drizzle with one tablespoon peanut oil to keep from sticking and set aside. Meanwhile, put tamarind paste, fish sauce, honey and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring just to a simmer. Stir in red pepper flakes and set aside.

    2. Put remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when oil shimmers, add scallions and garlic and cook for about a minute. Add eggs to pan; once they begin to set, scramble them until just done. Add cabbage and bean sprouts and continue to cook until cabbage begins to wilt, then add shrimp or tofu (or both).

    3. When shrimp begin to turn pink and tofu begins to brown, add drained noodles to pan along with sauce. Toss everything together to coat with tamarind sauce and combine well. When noodles are warmed through, serve, sprinkling each dish with peanuts and garnishing with cilantro and lime wedges.

    Yield: 4 servings.

    Update on our move to St. Louis, etc.

    I promised some details on our match to Wash U in St. Louis…sorry for taking so long. There isn’t too much to say at this point, but here is an update if you’re not in the loop.

    Even before March 18, we were fairly confident that we would be moving away from Seattle and so had been working on getting our house ready to sell. It went on the market on the afternoon of March 18th and we had an acceptable offer about 10 days after that. Since then we have been waiting, waiting, waiting for the buyers to do their due diligence.

    We have also been looking for a new place to live in the greater St. Louis area via the internet. Our preference would be to live in Webster Groves, a small community about 7 or 8 miles from the Wash U medical campus. It has many nice homes and really good schools. We have a list of about 10 houses that look nice and we will probably take a short trip there at the end of this month to check them out. Other places we will consider are Brentwood, Clayton, and University City. All of these would be a reasonable commute; I could easily drive (which is what most people do), or bike to the hospital (maybe 8 miles) or at least bike to the Metrolink train (0-3 miles, then a 15 minute train ride). Check out this map if you want to see where we are thinking of living and some of the critical necessities and attractions nearby and a couple of the houses on our list. We are also working on the moving logistics and have a Penske truck and a mover (we pack-they drive) reserved. We are not sure which would be better. If anyone feels compelled to take a trip to St. Louis, let us know and perhaps you can drive one of our cars (we’ll pay for your fuel!).

    In other news, Will is talking now and has several words. He is also running around like crazy and likes trucks, backhoes, excavators and anything that makes a lot of noise. Amelia is still a princess AND a ballerina (and informed us that she doesn’t even need ballerina lessons because she is already a ballerina). In other words, they continue to be very fun.