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Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 | 1 comment

What’s for Dinner? Cicadas!

What’s for Dinner? Cicadas!

Warning: This post is not for the squeamish. I learned a new word recently: entomophagy, or the practice of eating insects, particularly by humans. Like me and my neighbor Jen, you probably got your fill of news stories about the arrival of the 17-year cicadas this spring. Maybe you also heard a few, like this NPR story, that included recipes. Jen and I were so fascinated by the cicadas and the phenomenon of entomophagy, which is cited as a way to improve global food security by the United Nations, that we decided to cook some cicadas ourselves. Since we haven’t seen any cicadas in Del Ray, Jen gathered some during her visit to Gainesville, where they were so loud she could hear them over traffic on the highway. On the way back, she wrote to me: “Two recipes look best to me — the tacos and the chocolate covered ones. Tacos because we’re having fish tacos tonight so I figure I could just make one with a cicada or two...

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Posted by on Jun 14, 2013 | 0 comments

Del Ray Food Swap, Spring 2013

Del Ray Food Swap, Spring 2013

Swapping homemade food, trading recipes and cooking techniques, getting to know neighbors — it’s all part of the Del Ray Food Swap, the community event we’ve been hosting for the past year. Despite hot and humid temps, the Spring Swap, held on June 1 at the Empty House Studio, was another fun-filled event and everyone went home with a basket ‘o plenty. If you’ve never been to a swap, the concept is simple: bring individually packaged and labeled food items and trade with others. The amount you bring is the amount you can trade. The sky’s the limit in terms of swapping items. We’ve seen canned items like jam and sauces, baked goods such as cakes and granola bars, things to mix into others (spices, salts, pesto and drink starters) and even fresh herbs and vegetables. We definitely saw some unique creations this time around — marshmallows, salad dressing, limoncello, a sampling of 20+ types of biscotti, homebrewed cider, just to name a few. Plants were also popular —...

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Posted by on Jun 10, 2013 | 2 comments

Crispy Rosemary Flatbread Crackers

Crispy Rosemary Flatbread Crackers

A Washington Post recipe for Rosemary Flatbread Crackers says “they couldn’t be easier.” So of course I wanted to try them as my swapping item to bring the Spring Del Ray Food Swap last week.  First, you harvest fresh rosemary and ideally enlist a small family member to pull the leaves from the stem. You’ll need about 2 T of coarsely chopped rosemary. Put a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 450. Stir 1 and 3/4 a cup of flour, 1 t of baking powder, 3/4 t of salt, and about 1 T of the rosemary together. In a well in the center, pour 1/2 cup of water and 1/3 cup of olive oil. Mine didn’t stay put in the well. Stir the water and oil into the flour gradually. Until you determine that the dough is “soft and shaggy.” On a floured work surface, knead the dough 4 or 5 times and then create a “soft, smooth ball.” Divide the dough...

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Posted by on May 27, 2013 | 3 comments

Freezer Jam: Making the Most of Strawberry Season

Freezer Jam: Making the Most of Strawberry Season

Friends have been talking about their visits to strawberry pick-your-own patches the past couple of weekends. We have a small patch at our own community garden, so I decided to harvest some ourselves to make a small batch of freezer jam before it’s too late. We only needed 1 and 2/3 a cup of crushed berries to make two 8 oz. jars of jam, which seems a fair “take” for our family from the community strawberry patch. In a few days, many more still-green strawberries will take their place, ready for pickin’. I washed the berries, removed the stems, and then cut away any damaged bits. Then, the girls took turns using the potato masher to smoosh the strawberries into the consistency they prefer in their jam – not too many chunks, according to Ana. In another bowl, we mixed this instant pectin and 2/3 a cup of sugar. We mixed the pectin and sugar in with the strawberries and stirred for 3 whole minutes. Then, I poured the...

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Posted by on May 21, 2013 | 0 comments

Snacking on Sesame Rice Balls

Snacking on Sesame Rice Balls

Ana, Nadja, and I thought we’d try something new for school lunches. It’s almost the end of the school year and we are really bored with the same, old same old. So, we tried a recipe for sesame balls that I first saw in one of my favorite cookbooks, Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair, and then read about again in the Washington Post recently. We played with the recipe though by adding some tasty ingredients in the middle of each. First, I cooked 2 cups of sweet brown rice and then another cup of sushi rice. Lair recommends using a pressure cooker to cook the rice to make it stickier but I don’t own one, so I boiled my rice. Her recipe only calls for sweet and brown rice and I figured the sushi rice might add some stickiness, which it did. Ana mixed the sushi rice in with the brown rice. Lari also has you toast your own sesame seeds but we happened to have a jar of store-bought...

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