Wednesday, March 5, 2008


At long last, triumph!

The Lord has recently been teaching me humility when it comes to my cooking. I've really taken pride in my culinary ability, but after a long period of failures and semi-failures in the kitchen, I've had three in a row that were total successes. Finally! I'm so excited.

First: White bean soup with Swiss Chard. An invention based on the fact that I wanted soup and had homemade chicken stock, canned cannellini beans (white Italian kidney beans), and a giant bunch of organic Swiss chard on hand. It turned out so luscious and satisfying, not to mention gorgeous.

Second: Russian black rye. I was honestly a bit worried about this one when it came out of the oven -- the crust hadn't set the way I hoped it would, and it felt very heavy! But I sliced into it while still warm, and it was so flavorful and delicious, with a perfect, even, dense texture. The recipe is one from an NPR story about a woman's relationship with her Russian husband's family and the delicious food she learned to make. I did make a couple of minor substitutions (cocoa powder instead of unsweetened chocolate) and omissions (shallot, cumin seed), but followed the recipe with some care otherwise -- a bit unusual for me.

Third: Whole wheat crackers. I'm obsessed with crunchy things (particularly crunchy, sour things... which reminds me that I have kosher dills in my fridge... be right back... mmmm). So I was surfing around for a good cracker recipe, and found these, a basic-but-tweakable cracker to which I added rosemary, garlic, black pepper, and hot Hungarian paprika, and used olive oil instead of vegetable oil. They turned out savory and snackable -- plus the fact that I chose every ingredient that went into them -- no scary hydrogenated oil, no weird, unpronounceable chemicals.

Whew! I was beginning to doubt myself there for a second!