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A Press Democrat Blog

Proximal Kitchen

Cooking locally, with really sharp knives

3 Ingredients, 30 Minutes: Hawaiian Sausage, Eggs & Rice

When I was much younger, and still living with hippies, my best friend moved to Hawai’i. For a child, growing up on a commune can feel a lot like quarantine – albeit with more space, and dirtier – so losing my friend was a big deal. But whatever the logical link between our Mendocino commune and my friend’s new home in the cane fields (it still eludes me), it meant that we would visit, and for that I’m thankful: I still remember the feeling of gravelly black sand between my toes, the thrill of getting caught in a sudden tropical shower, and the snot-like sensation of eating poi.… Read More »

30 Minutes, 3 Ingredients, 1 Dinner

Sometimes, it’s fun to see how much we can do, with how little. I could list the underlying moral imperatives – saving money and time would presumably occupy the penthouse suite – but in the main, I just think it’s plain fun, a sort of Sudoku with pots and pans. Case in point: How do you feed 3 persnickety kids, using just 3 ingredients, in only 30 minutes? Why 3, 3, and 30? 3 kids, because I get my wife… Read More »

Sunny Eggs, Crispy Polenta & Creamy Mushrooms

sunny-side up eggs, crispy polenta cake, creamy sauteed mushroomsThe culinary leaders of the free world – and on this the kitchens of both Republican and Democratic White Houses agree, so who am I to argue – particularly enjoy pairing their big, rich Chards with either corn or scallops. I know this because, as I explained in yesterday’s post, one of my favorite vintners of kick-ass Chard supplies the very same wine that I buy to the White House Ombudsman. … Read More »

What Obama and Bush both know about wine

Chicken/egg, TV/commercial, show-me-yours/I’ll-show-you-mine; which came first, the food or the wine? In our house, such questions carry weight, a seriousness you might consider more properly reserved for electrocardiograms, or matters of national security. The thing of it is, in wine country, the ordinal structure of food vis-a-vis wine matters, not least because you’ll neither be fed nor drunk until we’ve settled the matter. To wit, a wine that my wife adores and that Presidents Obama and Bush Jr uniquely agree upon, because it’s been spilled on the official tablecloths of Republican and Democratic White Houses alike…
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Another 3-Ingredient Dinner (Stovetop Rib Eye w/ Mac-n-Cheese & Onion Marmalade)

rib eye, mac-n-cheese, onion marmaladeA clear violation of the spirit if not the letter of The Rules for cooking with just three ingredients, using leftovers like this, but one of the principal advantages of blogging, and self-imposed rules generally, lies rooted in the simple fact that one may ultimately do whatever one wishes. Of course, your readers may kvetch, and they’d have a point, but that’s part of the game; the most important bit, as ever, remains the food.
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Cooking For Kids with Just Three Ingredients

Polenta, Raclette, and Crispy Ham
About a month ago, lacking my hoped-for, fleeting, and frustratingly oft-absent daily quotient of inspiration and incisiveness, I decided to try something new and, I admit, sort of gimmicky: I decided to find out out how many distinct, complete dishes I could compose using just three ingredients. And, importantly for our household, nowhere does the fewer-ingredients/simpler-technique approach bear sweeter fruit than in response to my frustration of cooking for kids.
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Tomatoes Are Berries, Strawberries Are Not

Strawberry-Tomato Salad w/ Balsamic ReductionArmed with strawberries of such high sugar content, I wanted something with a bit of bite to provide ballast to the dish: Green Zebra heirlooom tomatoes, with higher acidity and more tartness than most of their heirloom cousins, would balance the flavor profile and a splash of color at the same time. Now, strawberries and tomatoes may or may not sound odd to you – they are both fruits, after all – but the what makes the match particularly interesting is that the tomato is a berry, while the strawberry is not…… Read More »