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New classes, new email newsletter, and a few mixed links

Pie

Summer’s starting to slip away at a somewhat alarming rate, putting a bit of pressure on the to-do list I set for myself a few months back. (Let it be noted that I am not very good at that whole “quiet, slow, relaxing summer” thing.) But: here I am! Getting things done! Here are two important things I’d like to pass along to you:

Registration is open for the rest of my summer classes. There are three classes offered in my home kitchen and my first class at the Madison Whole Foods Market (exciting!). I’m in talks with a few other venues to start teaching in the fall, so stay tuned!

I’ll soon be sending out the first edition of the Bowen Appétit email newsletter! Approximately each month, these emails will drop in your inbox with an updated class schedule, a fun recipe, special offers, kitchen tips, and more. Woo hoo! SIGN UP HERE

AND: The first 15 people who sign up for the email newsletter will receive a $5 discount on a future Bowen Appétit class (or a $10 discount on two registrations!).

Just a few other notes of interest:

If you’re as firmly embedded in picnic season as I am, you might find some fun ideas in the picnic post I wrote for The Kitchen Gallery’s blog.

We’re having one of our rare at-home weekends this summer, and just enjoyed a leisurely brunch of these waffles, perfect for when you didn’t plan for my all-time favorite overnight yeasted waffles.

It’s not really chocolate chip cookie season, but this is an incredible read.

I’m seriously behind on my plans to grill fruit for cocktails.

Homemade rhubarb liqueur

Rhubarb_liqueur2

My cooking in the summer becomes a lot more like assembling than really cooking. Assembling, and laying things on the grill, and tossing together vinaigrettes, and washing fruit to eat it straight out of the bowl. That’s one reason, among others, that I haven’t said much around here lately, but the important point here is to note that now I am here, with something that deserves your attention, especially as this long weekend approaches. (Not that you need a long weekend to make it – really, you need about five minutes.)

This recipe is a doozy, and boozy – a boozy doozy? – and if you’re a person, like me, who actually likes flavored alcohol when it tastes like flavors of actual, real-life ingredients, this one’s for you. Get yourself a couple of pounds of rhubarb, abundant at our markets these days and perhaps abundant in your yard, your neighbor’s yard, your grandmother’s yard, etc. etc., then submerge it in alcohol with a bit of sugar and orange and in a few weeks, you’ll be set for summer host gifts and picnic contributions and those evenings that require just one more sip of summer before heading to bed.

Read more

Summer licuados

Not sure what happened to spring, exactly. I suppose a late arrival doesn’t necessarily push back what comes next, but I had hoped we’d have a few more weeks between down jackets and tank tops.

That said, there’s plenty to look forward to here. We’ve grilled every night since we brought home our new grill, our home life seems to have shifted entirely to the porch, and yesterday at the market I bought a big, red, ripe tomato. A tomato! Three months ago, sick with Tundra Vision, I never thought I’d see this day again.

Memorial Day was a hot and heavy one, and I mean that in the least fun way possible, and in the hour or two before we really awake and had breakfast on the table, I blended a honeydew licuado to stave off hunger and defend against the heat. A licuado (also known as a “batido”) is a Latin American version of a smoothie, generally simpler than its northern counterpart with one or maybe two fruits, some milk (usually), and a small bit of ice and other flavorings. I’m not a big smoothie drinker, usually finding them a bit too acidic and on the wrong side of both beverage and meal (too heavy to be the former, too light to be the latter), but a licuado is a light, more refreshing alternative that is perfect for summer. They’re meant to be consumed immediately after blending, since they separate a bit as they sit, but they’re also meant to be an icy cold respite in very warm places, so it’s not difficult to get them down quickly.

Honeydew_licuado Read more

Why I do what I do, plus Gram’s oatmeal raisin cookies

Sorry for a bit of silence over the last week. You may have noticed there weren’t Weekend Links on Monday. I apologize for doing that without warning or explanation! Bare with me for a moment, and you’ll get both an explanation and a cookie.

Oatmeal_raisin_cookies3

Next week I’m speaking at Ignite Madison, a story-telling event where participants give a talk based on a theme (in this case, “All About Food”). I’m speaking about eating joyfully and overcoming fears about food and cooking, and in the process of putting together the talk I’ve been thinking a lot about why I do all of this – why I love teaching, and why I have this site, and why I’m so eager to let it all eat up my evenings and weekends and keep my kitchen a perpetual disaster zone. All of the food work I’ve been doing over the past four years has been pretty consuming, in both good and bad ways. I spend a lot of time happily planning classes and daydreaming about the little kitchen I eventually want to open, but I also spend a decent amount of time feeling a little tired, a little self-conscious, a little confused about the whole thing, and sometimes even a little defeated.  It’s hard trying to figure out what you want to do when you grow up, and sometimes it’s even more difficult figuring out how to make a stable living out of it. 

So why do I keep doing it? Read more

Grilled mozzarella, prosciutto, and ramp pesto sandwiches

Update: I’ve received a few comments/emails/phone calls asking me what the heck ramps are. I should have known better, having recently migrated from the West Coast where ramps are basically nonexistent. For most of the rest of the country, though, the painfully-short three-week ramp season is a thing to anxiously await – because of both how incredibly delicious this rare, wild ingredient is and how it acts as a harbinger of warmer conditions. I haven’t experienced a day in the last two weeks where I haven’t heard someone talking or read someone writing about ramps, and restaurants around here are featuring them in everything possible. It’s somewhat surprising, then, how difficult of a time I had finding a good overview on the web. Here’s the best I could come up with, plus a history of their popularity here

I’m fairly new to this whole ramp thing – they didn’t really exist in Southern California – but I’m scrambling to do as much as I can with them during the short period of time they’re here. Last week I chopped some finely, sauteed them in butter, and folded them into some spätzle with a bit of pumpkin seed oil, which was very Austrian and very delicious. On Sunday, I sauteed them in olive oil, whirred them together with lemon and Parmesan, and spread it on sandwiches with some fresh mozzarella and a few slices of prosciutto, which were pressed and grilled in a skillet. A wonderful spring dinner, and one I want to remind myself about for when the time comes again next year.

Ramp_sandwich Read more

Weekend Links, May 5

Goats

Quick visit with my friends the goats, Madison zoo.

I’m excited to be speaking at the next Ignite Madison event on Wednesday, May 21. Food is the theme of the night, and I’ll be giving a talk about fear and eating joyfully. See more about the event and the rest of the line-up at the event’s Facebook page, and get tickets here!

I hadn’t made our staple granola in months, which is sort of strange, but realized I maybe needed to change things up a bit. Made a big batch of Molly’s lastest granola recipe yesterday, and I’m in love. Well-balanced, flavorful, and satisfyingly crisp. I used pepitas, poppy seeds, and flax seeds instead of nuts for me; almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts for Brett.

Snacks Quarterly – bringing together artists and other creative folk to talk about a favorite pastime. (Snacking, that is.)

How the Obamas are changing the White House’s own culture when it comes to health and nutrition.

So I declared a spaghettata.” Love this. (If only I was ever up that late.)

Data on what people actually order at Chipotle. (Almost 60% of orders are burrito bowls?!) Fascinating – I would love to see this type of data for all sorts of different restaurants!

Speaking of fast food, new data on which cities partake the most. (First thing learned: Do not move to Florida. Second thing learned: Madison, WHOA.)

Milking moose in Russia.

By day, nurse. By night, an Instagram sensation crafting hip hop references from leftovers. (via First We Feast)

David Tanis, making me miss our time in Vietnam. (I took a class at that same cooking school in Hoi An and made rice paper that same way, which reminds me I really need to do that again soon. In case you’re also longing for Vietnamese food, you can see my recap from last year here.)

And if you want something completely unrelated to food, Gabourey Sidibe’s speech from the Ms. Foundation Gala is absolutely fantastic. Go read it.

This week’s meal plan:

  • Grilled mozzarella, prosciutto, ramp pesto sandwiches on sourdough
  • Massaman curry with carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms, jasmine rice
  • Thawed venison stew (need to clean out our freezer!)
  • Braised chicken legs with tarragon, grapes, and bok choy (one of my favorite recipes from my time at Hipcooks)
  • Breakfasts: granola (see link above!)

Baked eggs + weekend links

It’s been a bit rough around here lately – at one point I was nursing two injuries and two forms of illness, all at the same time – and along with work and school and everything else, we haven’t been cooking as much as we normally do. I did make a really fantastic pizza last week – pesto, mozzarella, kale, chicken, and artichoke hearts on a whole wheat crust – and hopefully soon I’ll be posting here about that. But really, considering the doozy of a month we have ahead of us, don’t be surprised if there’s a bit of radio silence in these parts.

To get you by, some baked eggs:

Plated-egg Read more

Weekend Links, April 21

Easter

Easter centerpieces.

If you’re ever at a loss for what to order at a coffee shop – especially if it’s because you’re in a different country or you’re not sure what all of the various drinks actually are – here are two resources: a coffee glossary and a guide to 31 different typical coffee drinks around the world. (There’s quite a few of my favorites on that last list – cortado, melange, and ca phe da, among others.)

National Geographic’s new food section is a pretty great source for cultural, environmental, and political news/thoughts about food.

A new campaign making a pledge for “open source seeds,” rallying against efforts to patent and thus regulate the distribution of seeds. (And the group is based here in Madison!)

Grilling season is upon us – an illustrated guide to filleting whole fish.

Beautiful photographs of meals from literature.

Honey, rum, lime. (What, no, I never put honey and lime in cocktails. No, not ever …)

This makes me even more excited to sometime buy the duck eggs we saw at the farmers’ market on Saturday (first! outdoor! market! of! the! year!).

Yep, I’d eat at these places.

The 25 most popular items at Trader Joe’s. (aka a list of cookies, cranberries, and pumpkin flavoring)

And speaking of Trader Joe’s, this one’s for all my LA friends – this fascinating article about the man who runs the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s parking lot. (You all know what I’m talking about.)

MRIs of 20 fruits and vegetables. Beautiful! See if you can guess them all.

Best rap lyrics about brunch.

Meal plan, post-Easter/end-of-semester edition:

  • Vegetable soup with garlic croutons, testing for my class next week
  • Mac and cheese with leftover Easter ham
  • Pizza with pesto, mozzarella, chicken, kale, and artichoke hearts
  • Lunches: leftover Easter dishes (ham, scalloped potatoes, cheese bread, green beans)
  • Dessert: leftover coconut tres leches cake
  • Breakfasts: leftover 8-grain cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing (these were amazing – definitely a post coming sometime) and yogurt, cereal

Gin gin mules on the porch

Today it’s a little difficult to look at these photos I took last week, since on both Monday and Tuesday mornings this week we woke up to a layer of snow on the ground. On Tuesday, it didn’t even melt before the day was over. It was a harsh reminder of how unsure we should be about the season ahead of us. But we wait, patiently, knowing that nothing is certain, trying to keep the faith that days will come again when everything will look like this:

Gin-gin-mules_2

Porch_drink Read more

Weekend Links, April 14

Porch_beers

First porch happy hour of the year!

Yesterday I posted one good thing to do with homemade ricotta – here’s another! I’m not sure why they specify store-bought ricotta, because the homemade stuff would work beautifully. And I love the comment at the bottom about using coconut milk or greek yogurt instead of cream … I’ll have to try that soon.

Oh, and here’s yet another idea. Simple, but perfect for spring.

London chefs divulge their guilty pleasure foods. (One of mine? Potato chip, peanut butter, and jelly sandwich on the softest white bread possible.)

Bartenders share their hangover prevention tips. (Mine? Water water water water water ibuprofen water.)

I’m really excited about David Lebovitz‘s new book, particularly because of this buckwheat madeleine recipe.

As many of you may know, I cannot pass up a good link about food and hip-hop. Funkmaster Flex’s hilarious instagram feed. I think “Nice! Who likes salads???” is my favorite.

Helpful, helpful. How to read a French wine label.

I love eggs in cocktails! Well, I love eggs almost anywhere, but in cocktails they are so interesting! The last one we made was basically a negroni shaken with an egg, and it was fantastic.

Six-Onion Pizza with white onions, leeks, shallots, red onions, scallions, and chives! I’m in.

If you hate looking at pictures of adorable newborn lambs, don’t click here. A lovely day-in-the-life series of photos from a farm in Nova Scotia.

And if you’re going to click on just one of these links this week, make it this one, a fascinating article that touches on the science of taste and flavor, how food corporations develop their products, and why there’s really only one ketchup, as far as most of America is concerned.

This week’s meal plan – we’re trying to keep things fairly easy and simple as the semester comes to a close over the next month, so our plans will be a little less involved than normal:

  • Last night – the maple-glazed pork belly we didn’t get to two weeks ago, with wild rice and roasted broccoli
  • Packaged Indian food (the lentil and eggplant options from Trader Joe’s are quite delicious) with packaged frozen parathas (we’re obsessed lately) and homemade raita
  • Mac and cheese with peas and tuna (a classic comfort food for both of us)
  • Lunches: ham sandwiches with homemade whole wheat sandwich bread, kale salads with white beans and coconut (recipe to come, or at least that’s the plan!)
  • Breakfasts: bran raisin muffins and banana bread with yogurt
  • Dessert: lemon curd tart (testing for an upcoming class)