St. Patrick's Day isn't the only green thing on Kate's mind as she waxes poetic about a common salad ingredient: arugula. Plus embryonic eggs for gourmets and more Spring recipes with an Easter bent. And don't miss the preview of her new book about Stubb's Bar-B-Q.
by Kate Heyhoe
Oh, goody! Spring is here and we're growing it, plucking it, and cooking it up with glee. Hot off the presses comes my newest release: The Stubb's Bar-B-Q Cookbook, with recipes and lore from C.B. Stubblefield, the West Texas King of Barbecue and the Blues. We also take a fresh look at what modern Irish cooking is really all about. From Easter and seder feasts to peppery arugula salads, spring menus are blooming.
Whether you buy it at the market or grow your own, arugula is a sophisticated green that rocks. The good news: Even cooks with black thumbs can grow arugula. No joking. It grows like a weed, just about anywhere. Before people actually cultivated arugula, they foraged it, like Mediterranean bush tucker.
Arugula (also known as rocket, roquette, and rugola) is technically an herb and can be cooked, but it's mainly eaten raw as a vibrant, peppery green in salads and mesclun mixes. It's similar to watercress in flavor, resembles radish leaves in shape and size, and is related to both. In fact, it's a member of the noble brassica family of cruciferous vegetables (along with mustard, broccoli and cauliflower).
If you love arugula as much as I do, sow some seeds in any reasonable soil, from pots to window boxes to open turf, in partial to full sun. I accidentally spilled seeds in my lawn, and now a patch of arugula leaves blankets a cozy corner, to our delight. No attention necessary, just some water now and then (rain and dew seem to be enough, at least right now). My arugula even survived last winter's freezes, but Texas' peak summer sun can be a problem. Tender leaves turn tough, and the hotter the weather, the hotter the flavor; not bad, but strong enough to favor mellowing by cooking.
Arugula sprouts quickly, and if you're ultra-hip, you'll pepper your most cherished dishes with darling arugula microgreens. Pluck larger leaves for salads, and do like the Italians: pile a mountain of balsamic-laced arugula on a rustic cheese pizza, with Parmesan shavings. You can eat the dainty white flowers, or let them seed and reproduce at will (like in your lawn). To keep your salad bowl brimming from spring to fall, toss some seeds in new soil every two to three weeks.
Trivia: Arugula, believed to be an aphrodisiac, was banned from monastic gardens.
Speaking of green....with recipes for green potato pancakes, lamb, Mussels in Garlic and Guinness, and an old-fashioned Irish Stew, our St. Patrick's Day Handbook goes way beyond Corned Beef and Cabbage. Feeling festive? Throw an Irish Ale and Stout Party, and raise a glass to our collection of Irish Toasts.
His Austin restaurant is a barbecue shrine. His bottled sauce is the best you can buy. Now, with this book, you can re-create the flavors of Stubb's legendary barbecue in your own backyard. Inside, you'll find recipes for Stubb's signature specialties—brisket, ribs, pulled pork, chicken, and turkey—along with a generous helping of starters, sides, and desserts. Best of all, you'll discover how Stubb put "love and happiness" into every dish—and how you can too. Don't wait for summer: Fire up your grills now and let the feasting begin! The Stubb's Bar-B-Q Cookbook, by Kate Heyhoe
It may be March, but Easter and Passover are just around the corner. From homemade chocolate and dyed eggs, to ham, lamb, seder and Easter meals, and from bunny cakes to European breads, you'll find fresh inspiration at The Easter and Passover Handbook.
Who knew that undeveloped eggs were such a delicacy? Apparently this is no secret to anyone raised on a farm. According to the New York Times, chef Dan Barber discovered in Italy that eggs harvested from hens destined for the stewpot have a creamy, irresistible flavor. He's crazy about them in tagliatelle and other dishes. He says his customers at Blue Hill in Greenwich Village find the term "immature" more palatable than "embryonic" eggs (unborn and unlaid are other terms). The shell-less eggs are harvested when the hen is slaughtered, and range from small marbles to nearly normal in size, sans the albumin. Barber's hoping it doesn't become a trendy thing, but when the Times spotlights a new idea, I expect it will soon hatch in chic shacks coast to coast.
Topic: Shopping at Big-Box Stores, like Costco, Sam's Club and Wal-Mart
Do you buy groceries at big-box stores? Tell us what you like, don't like and what you make with your big-box buys.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created March 2007
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