Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Stars - Black and White Wednesday # 110


For Cinzia's Black and White Wednesday #110.  This is the last BWW until January.  Details can be found here for future participation and host opportunities. ~

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mangosteens - Black and White Wednesday


For Priya of Humpty Dumpty Kitchen, hosting BWW #108 for Cinzia of CindystarThe rules of weekly play are very easy.  With the new year starting soon, there are also plenty of weeks to choose for hosting this fun and pressure-free event.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cauliflower Roasted in Mustard Oil and Seeds for Weekend Herb Blogging # 409

Mustard Oil and Seed-Roasted Cauliflower

When I was growing up, the vegetables from the brassica family were typically served in cold-clime months with an "R" in them, not unlike the rules of oyster consumption.  But instead of the shimmery and quivery delicate shellfish, we dined on sulfurous bruisers like cabbage, broccoli, and turnips. Cauliflower was also frequently on the menu, and always boiled before a heavy slathering of cheese sauce. Kids will eat anything drowning in cheese, and I was no exception.

These days, I like cheese no less, but enjoy enhancing, rather than hiding, star ingredients. While I can't admit that I prepare anything more robust a vegetable than cabbage as cole slaw during the warm weather, I do fire up the oven September through April, as one would throw another log in the hearth.

With its own sharp flavor, mustard is a great complement to the robust vegetables that are among the most healthy.  Although ground mustards with vinegar and salt are a given, don't overlook the coin-gold oil nor tiny, dark-brown seeds found in Indian grocers.  As chance would have it, mustard is also a member of the same plant family. It seems the brassica doesn't fall far from the branch.

Raw Cauliflower Curds in Mustard Oil

Cauliflower Roasted in Mustard Oil and Seeds - My own recipe

Serves 3-4 as a side dish or snack


1 large head fresh cauliflower, washed, leaves removed
1/3 cup mustard oil
2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
Freshly ground black pepper (Tellicherry is a vibrant variety of peppercorn.)


Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cut tough stem end and core from cauliflower, and discard.  Break or cut the curds into smaller pieces (florets).  Pour mustard oil into very large bowl.  Add florets, mixing them thoroughly in the oil to cover them evenly.  

Spread florets on a large baking sheet, letting excess oil drip back into bowl. Reserve the oil.

Place baking sheet in middle of oven.  Roast for 20 minutes, then turn florets with tongs, and roast for another 20 minutes.  Pierce fork through stems.  They should yield easily to pressure without being mushy.  If not, roast for another 5 minutes. Turn off oven and remove backing sheet.

In a large wok or frying pan, preferably with non-stick finish, heat the reserved oil with the mustard seeds over medium heat.  Place splatter guard over wok or pan.  Watch and listen careful until seeds start to burst and sputter.  Add roasted florets and pan fry until browned and crusty, turning frequently with tongs.  Avert your face from tempering seeds; their trajectory is as fast as wide as buckshot. 

Remove florets to serving platter.  Generously cover with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Serve immediately while still hot. --

Mustard Oil and Seed-Roasted Cauliflower

This recipe is for Carla of Un'Arbenello di Basilico, guest hosting Weekend Herb Blogging # 409 for Haalo of Cook Almost AnythingBrii of Briig is Home is the administrator for WHB - The Italian Edition.  WHB was originally founded by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Black and White Wednesday Gallery #102

Welcome to Black and White Wednesday Gallery #102, the weekly presentation of culinary photography presided over by Cinzia of Cindystar.  Many thanks to Ci for the opportunity to host this old friend of an event ~ and equal thanks to the food aficionados who shared their beautiful interpretations for all of us to enjoy.

The guidelines for BWW, whether as a host or contributor can be found here.  Although most hosting is booked well in advance due to the enduring popularity of the event, there is always a slot here and there for veteran and newcomer alike.

In the coming days, I will be visiting each of your blogs to formally leave comments. In the meantime, Lynne of Cafe Lynnylu is hosting The Halloween Special Gallery #103.

See you soon!





Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Petite Pumpkins - Black and White Wednesday #100

White Pumpkins

For the cosmopolitan yet rustically stylish Lake Garda resident, Cinzia of Cindystar, this is my contribution to her celebratory 100th gallery of Black and White Wednesday, a weekly culinary event for those who enjoy the bare beauty of black and white images of everything food.

As the originator of this gallery, I have always been blown away by the talent and enthusiasm that my creative idea provoked.  As a devotee of black and white photography, it's been very gratifying that my own love of the medium resonated with so many others, as much of a minority as we are.  If I only had myself to please without regard to clients, I would exclusively shoot in or process into mono.

That said, when it was time to move on, I carefully considered who would be a good match as mistress for BWW.  Ci came early to mind, and I have never regretted her stewardship to keep the standard flying.

It's very easy to participate and/or host BWW.  Ci's details here share the what, when, and who.   If week of October 23 is still free, I plan on re-upping as host.

We shall see, as we shall see Ci's gallery on her blog tomorrow. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cherry Tomatoes - Black and White Wednesday #97


For salad, for sauce, for Simona's Black and White Wednesday #97.

BWW is a weekly photography event featuring all that is culinary without the color.  Ci's page on Cindystar has the details on how to join and/or host this easy and fun gallery. 

Simona, this week's host, will present the latest collection tomorrow.  Stayed tuned over at Briciole.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vegan Grilled Tofu Massaman Curry with Baby Blue Potatoes


A kinder, gentler Thai curry, the Muslim-influenced Massaman is my favorite style of all the coconut milk simmering stews.  There is a subtle, earthy undertone of chiles, spices, and herbs, like the smolder of wet leaves under an autumn fire. It warms without scorching, yet comforts without coddling.

Traditionally prepared with beef or chicken for the observant, the golden pools of sauce nap and lap at slabs of grilled, firm tofu, for those who observe other dietary guidelines. The happy and infrequent find of blue potatoes, no bigger than a thumb tip, provide an oily, musky flavor after a quick pan roasting in coconut oil.

Although this is not a particularly quick meal, it is the slow and steady fire that makes it worth the wait.

Vegan Grilled Tofu Massaman Curry with Baby Blue Potatoes - My own recipe

Servings:  3-4 small-but-filling portions


1 block extra-firm tofu
3 tablespoons culinary-grade coconut oil plus 1 tablespoon for grilling tofu and eggplant
1/2 pound whole new blue potatoes, washed, any tiny blemishes nicked off with tip of sharp knife

1 6-8 inch baby eggplant, sliced into coins of 1/3-inch thick, skins on
1 medium yellow onion, sliced into half moons
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 shallots, sliced into rings
1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
2-3 tablespoons prepared Massaman Curry paste (I used Maesri Brand; this is not a sponsored post)

Pulp of 3 very ripe tomatoes
Handful fresh cilantro leaves
Handful crushed, roasted peanuts
Handful bean sprouts

1 cup Thai jasmine rice, uncooked (prepared according to package directions)


Extract water from tofu by wrapping in two layers of paper toweling, then place on cutting board.  Weight tofu down with heavy skillet (cast iron works best) occasionally adjusting the skillet's position as tofu flattens (1 hour).  Slice into rectangles, then optional flat squares.

While tofu is flattening, heat 3 tablespoons coconut oil in large skillet over low heat.  It will thin and shimmer in seconds.  Add potatoes, shaking pan to coat them on all sides with oil.  Increase heat to low-medium, and cover skillet.  Steam-roast potatoes, occasionally shaking them for even heating and to prevent sticking, until they are just fork tender with shriveled skins.  Remove from skillet; set aside in bowl, covered to keep warm. 

Reduce heat to low.  Add onion, pepper, mushrooms, and shallots to skillet.  Stir fry until tender and lightly browned (about 8 minutes).  Add vegetables to bowl of potatoes.

Swirl additional tablespoon oil into skillet.  In batches, brown tofu and eggplant on both sides.  Return all reserved, cooked vegetables to skillet.

In a small bowl, beat curry paste into coconut milk.  Pour over vegetables.  Increase heat just until mixture breaks into bubbles.  Simmer for 10 minutes heat through.  To prevent tofu from breakage, do not bring to furious boil.

Divide curry into bowls, topping with garnishes.  Serve immediately with bowls of rice on side.  Alternatively, you can pour entire curry over a platter of spread rice, serving it family style at table.  Leftovers can be gently heated and even more satisfying after a day's rest to meld the flavors.

This legume-rich recipe is for Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen hosting My Legume Love Affair 61 for Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen.

Aparna will have her round-up online soon.  Stay tuned on her blog for a lively and creative presentation of dishes designed around the versatility of healthy and delicious beans and their derivatives.  Aparna will also announce the two lucky winners of Sandeepa's recently published anecdotal volume of her regional Indian specialties, Bong Mom's Cookbook.

Been There, Done That ~

Mayasian Tofu Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce
Dubu Kimchi

Other Peoples' Eats ~

Caramelized Tofu Recipe - 101 Cookbooks
Shiitake Mushroom and Tofu Potstickers - The Kitchn
Spicy Vegan Peanut Butter Tofu with Sriracha Sauce - Kalyn's Kitchen

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Moravian Grist Mill - Black and White Wednesday #92


Mill Marker - The Inn at MillRace Pond, Hope, New Jersey

My contribution to Black and White Wednesday #92, hosted by Simona of Briciole.  Simona will have her gallery online tomorrow.  

Cinzia of Cindystar, where BWW has found a very good home, has all the details on participation as well as opportunities to host this nice-and-easy collection of culinary photos.

P.S. - After several weeks' absence, I will be returning to these posts on a regular basis to share special ingredients in a wide variety of recipes to appeal to most tastes.  My global curiosity has gotten the best of me again.  Look for early features on Japanese, Italian, Greek, and Southeast Asian cuisines.  Next post, come visit for a golden bowl of Grilled Tofu Massamum Curry with Baby Blue Pototoes. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Black and White Wednesday #91 - The Gallery

I am very pleased to present a pretty collection of Black and White culinary photographs for Black and White Wednesday #91.  Thanks to everyone who participated this week, and special thanks to Cinzia for permitting me to host my long-lost event. ; )

For details on joining, or to sign up for hosting, please see Cinzia's BWW page.  

Simona of Briciole will be hosting next week's gallery. ~

coco blanc







Bottles Behind the Bar

Bottles Behind the Bar - Black and White Wednesday #91

Behind the Bar

My contribution to BWW #91, hosted by me, the gallery for which will be online late tonight NY time.  Would that I could have posted earlier in week, but my Internet connection has been feeble for many days, perhaps a byproduct of the infernal heatwave plaguing the Northeastern United States, perhaps not.  In any case, here I am now.

Thanks to Cinzia of Cindystar, the current proprietress of Black and White Wednesday, for the opportunity to host this event.   Although I had a really good run as creator and administrator for this event, it delights me no end to finally have the time to not only join in, but to host.  Monochrome anything will always be close to this photographer's heart.  Anyone who participates in this event knows exactly what I mean. ; )

Many thanks for your beautiful contributions.  I will hop your blogs tomorrow to leave formal comments. 

Take Care Always.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fresh Croxetti Pasta with Black Olive, Basil and Pine Nut Oil

Croxetti ~ Thick

A Ligurian specialty dating back at least to the Middle Ages, croxetti (also known as corzetti or curzetti) are hand-stamped pasta coins imprinted with noble insignia, as well as an equally distinctive design on their reverse sides. 

Although fairly obscure in the marketplace where you can nonetheless find them dried in cello bags imported from Italy, they are rarely crafted fresh in the home kitchen.  This is hardly for lack of allure nor a perception that they are intimidatingly difficult to prepare, but the ever greater obscurity of tracking down the essential stamping tool* for without which croxetti would be plain, round discs of noodles.  While I am not one to snub the plain, there is something fascinating about the historical intrigues of the designs, not to mention how those textures get a good grip on the sauces that are ladled over them. 

Since this was my inaugural attempt at homemade pasta, I didn't possess particular confidence in my ability to finesse a recipe.  So much was my uncertainty that I second guessed what the results of my first batch were supposed to be, putting them aside to prepare another round of rounds, rolling them slightly thicker.  While the egg-dense flavor and tooth of the later were hearty and comforting in the way that spätzle is, it was the thin, fragile, and translucent disks that were transcendent when shimmering in a slick of olive oil infused with basil and garlic, studded with bits of cured black olives and toasted pine nuts.

The choice is yours, of course, but you could always flip a coin.

*Ancient Roman-Designed Croxetti Stamp from Fante's. (This post was not sponsored.)

Fresh Croxetti Pasta with Black Olive, Basil and Pine Nut Oil - My own recipe using a basic egg-to-flour ratio for the pasta.

Serves 2 generously as main course.

Ingredients for Pasta

1 cup 00 Italian flour or bleached all-purpose flour (I used the later)
2 large eggs, room temperature


Mound the flour on a clean, smooth counter of at least 4 square feet.  Indent the center of the mound with the bottom of your measuring cup to create a well.  Make the well wide enough so that two eggs can share the space without topping the sides of the well. 

Crack eggs into well.  With a fork, beat the eggs until they are fairly well smooth without yolk streaks.  Incrementally draw some flour from the bottom inner edges of the well into the beaten egg.  Work quickly with a light touch.  Do not worry if some of the egg runs away.  Simply toss a bit of flour over it and draw it back in.  Once most of the wet is absorbed, begin tossing the mixture with your fingertips until it comes together in a ragged, elastic ball.  Depending on size of eggs and humidity, you may need slightly more or less flour.  If the dough is too sticky, draw in more flour; if it dries quickly, do not incorporate the last of the flour.  When erring, it is better the dough be slightly moister than drier for easier rolling.  

Lightly flour your working surface, kneading dough for about 8 minutes or until it is very smooth.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest for at least an hour.  Do not refrigerate.

Clean your work surface of bits of flour and dough before lightly flouring it again. Ensure your rolling pin is dusted with flour. Turn dough out on surface and carefully roll and press-stretch the mass away from you for a few passes.  Do not be zealous; you must take your time and not over stretch.  Quarter turn the rolled dough in either direction (maintaining that direction throughout) and continue to roll and turn until you are back at your beginning point.  Carefully tuck your relaxed hands (palms downward) underneath dough to lift it off surface and let it gently stretch just a bit. (You can do this without tearing it if you only lift it enough so that gravity will work for you rather than against.)  Lay it back on surface and resume rolling-stretching-lifting technique until the dough is approximately 1/16 inch thick.  If the dough sticks to itself or the rolling pin, gently pull it off, pressing with fingertips to patch it, then lightly flour again.  If you prefer thicker croxetti, roll to 1/8 inch thick.  Here is a primer in traditionally hand rolling pasta.  If you are using a crank roller, please consult its manual for best method.

To cut and stamp your croxetti, this tutorial will provide you with most of the steps.  N.B. - You must either flour each dough disk or each stamp element before every single stamping, particularly if your dough is moister.  This will prevent frustrating sticking.

You can either cook the pasta immediately after stamping (5 minutes in boiling water) or allow it to dry for at least 4 hours on a flat surface. Be aware that they will slightly curl or buckle as they dry.  Boil pasta an extra 1-2 minutes if using dry.

Black Olive, Basil and Pine Nut Oil - My own recipe

1/3 cup strong virgin olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
Handful fresh chopped basil
Handful pine nuts
1 teaspoon dry white wine
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Grated Parmesan


In a small bowl mix oil, garlic, and basil.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, toss pine nuts until they are lightly toasted.  Turn heat off to cool pan slightly for a few minutes.  Add oil mixture (it will sizzle).  Resume heat to low and gently warm.  Add wine (it will also sizzle, but not spatter), then stir in red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Pour oil over just-drained hot pasta and serve immediately with grated Parmesan on the side.

Croxetti ~ Thin and Dried

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Time to Entertain - Black and White Wednesday # 84


Time to Entertain

My contribution to Cinzia's Black and White Wednesday #84 hosted this week by Simona of Briciole.  Simona will have her culinary gallery online tomorrow, Wednesday, May 22.  Simona is accepting photographs until her clock strikes 12:00 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time.  Depending where you are in the world, there may still be time to join in.  For full details on how to participate and/or host future galleries, click through to Cinzia's page.  Ci would love to welcome you as hostess.  I think I'll drop her a line myself to sign up for another stint.  I've been out of the blog loop too long, and expect to drop back in more frequently as my professional and personal demands ebb and flow.

I hope you are very well, looking forward to the bounty of the summer and the conviviality of family and friends feasting at your tables.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Spring!

Hellebore - Also Known as Christmas or Lenten Rose 

 Be back soon with food and recipes! Hope you are all well!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Diner in the Dark - Black and White Wednesday # 78

Diner in the Dark

A local institution, The Colonial Diner is one of the last hold-outs for keeping the glow of neon going twenty-four hours a day.  With its concave stainless and enameled ceiling curved over vinyl, wine-colored upholstery and intricate tiling, it is a retro treat to stop in, even if only for a piece of pie and a cup of Joe.

This is my contribution to BWW #78, to be presented Wednesday, April 10, Indian time by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen.  Aparna, a very talented photographer with that elusive taste for black and white culinary shots, is guest hosting for Cinzia of Cindystar.  Ci is the stylish, relatively new hostess of this event whom I carefully vetted to assume the role vacated by me some months ago after my long run as creator.   It truly delights me that there are enough of us who appreciate the unique beauty of culinary shots stripped of their colors, an allusion to those same old times when food was, indeed, presented in but black and white photographs and illustrations. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Black and White Wednesday - Gallery #76

Welcome to Black and White Wednesday #76.  Many thanks for your diverse and delightful culinary images.  Even though I no longer preside over this event, and my participation has been spotty recently, I always find presenting this gallery a highly pleasurable pastime, one which I encourage you to consider.  It helps, of course, to have a thing for black and white. ; )  Cinzia of Cindystar has all the details on how you can join in.  I thank Ci for the opportunity to keep my hat in the ring, however irregularly. 

Haalo of  Cook Almost Anything - haalo AT cookalmostanything DOT com is currently hosting #77 and will have her gallery online Wednesday, Melbourne, Australia time. 

I will be stopping by all of your blogs tomorrow very soon to formally ooh and aah over each of your photographs.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy a little oohing and aahing yourselves.


Mmm...  π  - Elizabeth - blog from OUR Kitchen


Grapes - Meena - Encourage Spice


Mint-Infused Water - Rajani - My Kitchen Trials

Shades of Brown - Priya - The Humpty Dumpty Kitchen

Slices of Bianchetti Truffles - Claudia - Food with a View

Rose Hips - Sandra - Dolce Forno

Follow Me - Simona - Briciole


A Must Stop on Hwy 101 - Simona - Briciole

Spicy Sausage Breakfast Rolls - Lynne - Cafe Lynnylu

Oh, Oriental Cookies, How I Love Thee! - Rosa - Rosa's Yummy Yums

Borlotti Beans - Haalo - Cook Almost Anything

Pasca Rasucita - Cinzia - Cindystar

Pasca Rasucita 2 - Cinzia - Cindystar

Food Cart in Central Park - Usha - Thru My Lens 

Mystery Plant - Zorra - Kochtopf

Italian Easter Breads in Preparation - Tanusree - Ma Niche

Purslane - Bharati - Sizzling Indian Recipes

Fresh Peanuts and French Lentils - Bharati - Sizzling Indian Recipes


Holi - Shri - Tiffin Carrier Antic/que's!

Rose Chintz Teapot
Tea Roses - Susan - The Well-Seasoned Cook