All the Spokane food-related stuff that I can't figure out how to wedge into my other blog.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wood Sorrel

I grew up munching on this wild green that grows all over the California bay area. We had it growing in our yard in San Jose, CA, where I lived until I was 8. On hot days, my friends and I would eat stalk after stalk. My mom called them "agrodolce," which is Italian for bitter sweets. Apparently they are common in Italy too.

Now I've come to know this wild green as Wood Sorrel. It is a tart and juicy little plant that's very thirst quenching. The leaves and flowers are edible as well. Oxalic acid (think rhubarb) makes it sour, and you wouldn't want to eat pounds of it because it would destroy your tooth enamel and might give you a gut ache.

Good in salads, on sandwiches, or make a soup with it. Otherwise, if you're on a ride this spring/summer, give it a try. Disclaimer: do some research and never eat something you cannot positively identify! I wouldn't want you to eat something toxic! A helpful, but not definitve guide from Landscape America.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

70th Annual Kosher Dinner

The dinner and apps:
Beef brisket, spiced apples, carrot tzimmes and potato knishes, dill pickles, pickled herring, 3 bean salad

The dessert: Apricot kuchen, chocolate rugelach


The talented acts, to entertain while you wait:

The Mavens, The Vogel Brothers, Sam Adams, Chutzpah! and more
The happy patrons:

Liza, Elissa, Beth
You cannot put on a benefit dinner for 70 years running without mastering the food, entertainment, and all the many event details. Even so, mastering the details does not have to mean a stellar event. I have been to similar events, but lacking the heart of the Kosher Dinner, these other events were real bores.

Temple Beth Shalom's Kosher Dinner is a fundraising event with heart and so much soul. The food is amazing, the entertainment makes you smile and tap your feet, and the volunteers can't wait to help and welcome you.

If you missed the dinner this year, a steal for $15, then make sure you go next year. Bring some friends and carpool (or ride your bike) to TBS for some Jewish soul food. If you'd like to learn more, TBS recommends

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Making our kitchen more useful

Over the years, I figured out that I need a lot of counter-mess space when I cook. And I like to have stuff close by. I hate rummaging through stacks of pots, pans, cooking sheets, whatever -- when I'm trying to cook. It can put me in a foul mood and makes cooking less fun.

But when we moved into our current house, I wasn't cooking much and didn't care a lot about the kitchen, other than to make sure it met some minimum counter space requirements and that it had a hood to vent smoke.

As for high-zoot kitchens, I don't really care about bling in the kitchen. But it would rule to have a bad ass BlueStar range and a more powerful hood that could actually suck up the smoke from a properly seared hunk of meat. We are definitely going to install a better hood, but I'm too cheap to spring for the high-zoot stove. For now.

Last weekend made a wonderful change to our little kitchen nook. Until recently, it was Maddie's desk and drawing area. Now it's a place for more counter space and a place to hang the pans that were stacked under cabinets and in our downstairs pantry.

My buddy, Glen, is a wizard with anything made of metal. He had this solid piece of steel rod in his shop. He welded a chunk of stainless chain to it, and voila! A bad-arse, no-nonsense pot rack. I dig it.

Under the table, there is space to store the big pots that were also previously downstairs.

Next, I'm going to angle for a little shelf space.

The new change is great. And super simple and cheap.

The desk/table thing we have is just the right size for a hunk of marble we had laying around and a big cutting board from my mom's stash. The marble is great for setting hot pans aside when we're in the thick of cooking. The cutting board is in a great spot: good light from the windows and out of the way of anyone else in the kitchen.