Cold-fermented pizza dough


Super Bowl Week!

(If you hate football, please allow just one or two more mentions of it this week, really, it’s all this city is thinking about. Then I promise to never mention it again, at least until next January, when, back to our normal state of cold, gray days, I am desperate for anything of note appearing in the winter schedule, even if it is hosted back in a hip, steamy city like Miami.)

I’m somewhat partial to chili at Super Bowl Sundays — of course with jazzed-up cornbread as a side. I like a beef and black bean chili, and my friends Alex & Sonja over at A Couple Cooks have a vegetarian version today that sounds hearty and full of flavor, if meat-free is your gig.

But I recently saw a tweet saying that this coming Sunday is the biggest day for pizza sales in the entire year. So apparently, some people like pizza to accompany their commercial-watching the game.

I’ve posted a pizza crust recipe before, but a few months ago switched over to a cold-fermented version after a recommendation from a friend. There are a few reasons I made the switch:

  • I make the dough on Monday, and it sits in the fridge until ready to roll on Saturday. This saves me time on a day usually reserved for squeezing as many kid-free errands as humanly possible.
  • Long-fermenting builds flavor. It also could inhibit phytates in the flour (things that make grains hard to digest).
  • The original recipe makes 6 smallish pizzas, but instead I roll out 4 larger ones. We use two the night we bake, and I par-bake the other two to stick in the freezer. This way I only make pizza dough every other week (my family eats pizza every Saturday, makes for easy menu-planning).


So if pizza is on your menu this weekend, you can make your dough today or tomorrow and it’ll be ready by the weekend (to note: the recipe at a minimum requires an overnight ferment, it just won’t have the flavor of a full five days’ dough).

And, since for me it’s not really about the football, let’s all gather next Monday and vote for our favorite commercial (I’ve got great hopes for the new VW / Star Wars spot, and can only hope they’ve not set our expectations too high…)



My crust doesn’t get blackened and quite as puffy as the original — my kids would freak, and I pick my battles. The method for achieving that is interesting though, so if you’re going for artisanal, check the original recipe for instructions. I par-bake my crusts before topping, because I still feel it’s the best way to avoid the soggies. But do what you’re used to, it should work either way.

Note that on the day of baking, your crust will need 2 hours to rise at room temperature before shaping.

Recipe: Cold-ferment pizza dough

: adapted closely from this recipe at Serious Eats

makes (4) 11″ crusts


  • 15 oz (about 3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 5 oz (about 1 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp kosher sea salt (or 2 tsp fine salt)
  • 3/4 tsp instant yeast (or 1 tsp active dry)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 12 liquid oz filtered water


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flours, salt, and yeast. Add the honey and pour the water over. Knead on low speed just until the dough comes together. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Knead on low for another 10 minutes. By the end, the dough should be smooth and elastic, cleaning the bowl. If dough is too dry or sticky, add water or flour, 1 Tbsp at a time.
  3. On a floured surface, divide the dough into 2 pieces (a bench scraper or knife will cut easily through dough). Place each piece in a gallon-sized zipper bag, and seal (leave a little air inside). Place in refrigerator for at least one night, preferably 5 days.
  4. After fermentation, remove dough — divide each piece into 2 more pieces (4 total), and knead into balls. Coat 4 small bowls with oil, place a ball into each, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 475° with pizza stone placed on a rack in the middle of the oven.
  6. Using your hands, press and shape each piece dough into a circle (it helps to lift the dough by the edges, and turn it so the weight pulls the dough down). If dough is too tough, cover and let rest for another 10 minutes while you work on other pieces. You can also roll out the dough, but it will be tougher.
  7. One at a time, place each shaped dough onto a piece of parchment paper, and slide onto the hot stone using a peel or inverted cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 4 minutes, or until puffy. Remove from oven, and either top with your choice of toppings (return to oven for another 5-7 minutes), or let cool completely, wrap tightly, and freeze for future use (allow to thaw before topping).

Copyright © Katy Carter, 2011.



Long-cooking stock in your oven


I know, I’m a stock-pusher. I’ve made my arguments not once, but twice, about why everyone should make their own, and kiss those cans and boxes of re-hydrated powdered flavorings goodbye.

Bone broth is nothing short of magical. It’s the reason chicken soup got such a good rep — medicinal for just about every ailment. Got a cold or the flu? Warm yourself with broth. Got the stomach bug? My pediatrician just told me that the gut irritation from a bug can be healed completely in 48 hours if your diet is broth-heavy. Break your arm? Just checking to see if you’re paying attention (though I wouldn’t doubt it somehow helps that too).

The healing qualities of bone broth come from — duh — the bones. But you need to cook it for a long time — 12-24 hours — to get the maximum minerals and nutrients out of the bones and into the liquid. This was something I didn’t always know — and once I knew, I didn’t know how to accomplish.

Some people cook their stock in a crockpot, which is totally safe to leave on for 24 hours, and extremely energy-efficient. But my crockpot is only a 4-quart model, which means I’d likely only get 3 quarts of stock. If I’m going to make stock, I want to get at least double that amount, so I use my 8-quart stockpot (though I’m shopping for a 12-quartinsert tween-ish squeal here).

The trick was always how to cook the stock for long enough. I’m fine leaving the pot on the stove all day, but what about at night? My obsessive tendencies would go into overdrive if I tried to sleep with an open flame left burning on my stovetop. The simple answer? My oven.

Stock is best-cooked when it barely simmers — just a tiny bubble or two breaking the surface every now and again. If you bring a pot up to simmer on the stovetop, you can transfer it to a 200° oven, partially-covered, and let it cook overnight. Totally brilliant (and not, mind you, my idea).


Other things to consider while you gather the things in your kitchen necessary for stock-making (since I know you’re going to do it):

  • Feel like you never have the right veggies on-hand when you need them? In my mind, only 3 are necessary: celery, carrot, and onion. Put a ziplock bag in your freezer, and when you have ends and pieces from other recipes, throw them in the bag instead of the trash. Or, buy celery and cut up a few stalks to freeze specifically for stock-making. You can toss them frozen into the pot.
  • You can make stock from just about any type of bones (though I don’t recommend mixing them up). I most frequently use chicken, but have made beef and lamb stock after buying bones from the farmer’s market (usually $2-3 a pound). A good ratio to use is 1-2 quarts water for every pound of bones (the less water, the richer the stock).
  • Once your stock is strained and refrigerated, you can scrape off the top layer of fat and freeze in Tbsp portions (I use ice trays) for future use. Animal fats are good for high-heat cooking, and add flavor and richness to soups.
  • You can freeze your stock in ziplock bags, but I now prefer to use wide-mouth (NOT regular-mouth) quart mason jars. You can read more about freezing stock here.
  • I have yet to try this, but I’ve read recently that you can use bones for more than one batch of stock. I’d be more likely to do this with beef or lamb bones, since chicken bones seem truly spent after simmering 24 hours. Even more bang for your buck!
  • Letting the bones soak for a little while in water with apple cider vinegar helps draw out the calcium & nutrients.
  • If your stock, once cold, is gelatinous, you’ve made a killer batch. Congrats!
  • Stock will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. Freeze for longer storage.



Recipe: Long-cooking stock (bone broth)

: The recipe shows ranges of quantities because it depends on the amount of bones you have — thankfully it’s not an exact science!


  • 3-6 pounds bones (use any of one type: chicken, beef, lamb — if possible use some with meat still attached, and some with joints)
  • 2-4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 1-2 ribs celery, with tops, chopped into 2″ lengths
  • 1-2 carrots, unpeeled & scrubbed, chopped into 2″ lengths
  • 1-2 onions, unpeeled & quartered
  • 1-2 bay leaves (optional)
  • a few sprigs fresh parsley (optional)
  • 4-10 quarts filtered water (1-2 quarts per pound of bones)


  1. In a large stockpot or dutch oven, combine the bones, vinegar, and water to cover. Let sit 20 minutes.
  2. Add the vegetables & herbs to the pot, and enough water to cover (only fill to within an inch of the rim).
  3. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop. Skim foam as it rises to the top (discard).
  4. Meantime, preheat oven to 200°.
  5. Once stock is simmering, transfer to oven and cook, partially-covered, 18-24 hours (set a baking time if necessary so oven doesn’t auto-shut-off). It’s fine to transfer the pot back to the stovetop at any point in cooking.
  6. Once done, strain the stock into 1-2 large bowls. Cool over an ice bath, and strain again into quart-sized canning jars (if freezing, only fill within 1 inch of the top to allow for liquid expansion).

Copyright © Katy Carter, 2011.



The Hip Girl is coming!

So in case you haven’t heard, the Superbowl is in two weeks, and Indianapolis will be hosting it for the first time ever.

Needless to say, the town is in a bit of a tizzy. For some reason, my impression of our beloved town during this process is one of a small-town grandmother tidying up her house in preparation to meet her grandson’s flashy new fiancee. It’s kind of adorable.

Adorable, of course, until late next week, when I won’t be able to leave my house for the bumper-to-bumper stretch limos everywhere.

Until then, though, there is a lot of fun stuff going on in a city that usually shuts down for the month of February. While most sports fans are gearing up for the Super Bowl Village, the wannabe femivore in me is most excited about the arrival today of Kate Payne, author of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking — the witty and approachable how-to book that acts as a resource for everything from beginner gardening to non-toxic stain removal to preserving the farmer’s market bounty, and all on a budget. In short, it’s the book I wish I had written, and likely would have, if I’d ever learned all that stuff and thought to write it down.

She’s also a proponent of thrifting. Which obviously means we were twins separated at birth (nevermind the fact I’m 10 years her senior).

Kate was brought to town by my friend Suzanne, founder of the Indy Food Swappers, and all-around sharp, funny and delightful person. She brain-child-birthed the idea of a Super Swap — a food swap in conjunction with the Super Bowl — and since Kate helped establish the Food Swap Network, a site that offers community and shared information with other food swappers around the country, she seemed the ultimate guest.

So if you’re in Indianapolis, and interested in food, crafts, etc. on a budget, you should check out the events page for the week. The party starts tonight with an online chat with the author at 8pm on the Indy Star website, and the rest of the week includes canning/craft demos galore and a television appearance. This all leads up to the big day Saturday: the Super Swap, with informative sessions by local gardening and food-swapping gurus during the hours before the magic happens.

The events are being hosted at a variety of venues all over the city — and I believe most if not all are free. The actual Food Swap on Saturday is free, but a reservation is required, and spaces are limited. If you come, please introduce yourself — I’m new to swapping, and could use some moral support (I’ll be the one who is late, frantic-looking, and offering a measly spread on my section of the table).

Oh, and speaking of food, and the Super Bowl: my friend Erin, of the blog Indy Restaurant Scene, has compiled a great list of local restaurants to visit if you’re in town (or just downtown) for the game and related festivities. I couldn’t have written a better guide if I’d tried — Erin knows her restaurants, and gives objective and honest reviews. She has done our city’s guests a great favor — with her guide we’re one step closer to being ready to welcome all the flash.

Now, if they could just keep that Farmer’s-Almanac-predicted ice storm away, we should be ready to get the party started. If not, at least the Giants and Patriots are used to it. Dress warm, Tom and Eli.





Cornbread 101


For most of my single-adult years, my pantry was readily stocked with just three items: breakfast cereal, a Betty Crocker pasta salad in a box, and Jiffy corn muffin mix.

I’m guessing that if someone made up a batch of Jiffy muffins and presented them to me warm, with a pat of melting margarine (those were my pre-butter days as well), I would take a bite and be transported back to a little apartment in the Belhaven neighborhood of Jackson, Mississippi. My ad-agency-working, Dave-Matthews-listening, hot-summer-hating life would flash before my eyes in film-reel fashion. And then I’d swallow that bite, and think with a start, wait, this is not cornbread. I’d be back to present-day in a flash, wondering how a thing as sweet as cake ended up representing a bread that, in some circles, contains no sugar at all.

I know, the Jiffy box is really cute and almost demands nostalgia. But it ain’t cornbread.

So what is cornbread? The answer is likely the center of heated debates, as the contents and cooking method of the baked good are as varied as the families that crumble it over their black-eyed peas (though that action could be offensive to some).

Using The Joy of Cooking and a few other cooking tomes, I’ve outlined some guidelines in defining the bread made of corn:

  1. Like so many other things in America, cornbread is often divided by the Mason-Dixon line.
    Northern cornbread is softer and cakier in texture than its Southern counterpart. This effect is achieved by using a mixture of cornmeal and all-purpose flour (sometimes a one-to-one ratio), extra eggs, and a mixture of milk and buttermilk. In addition, the Yankee bread is often sweeter, with some recipes calling for up to a quarter cup of sweetener (a bit Jiffy-esque if you ask me, not that there’s anything wrong with that).
    Southern cornbread is heartier in texture, and dries up in a (ahem) New York minute — perfect for the aforementioned crumbling. The reason is that traditional recipes call for only cornmeal — no flour at all — sometimes only one egg, and all buttermilk. Also frequent in Southern varieties is the complete omission of sweetener.
  2. You can add just about anything you want to cornbread, and it will likely taste good.
    This is, of course, within reason. And assumes you’re not going for a traditional Southern variety. But everything from herbs to cheeses to peppers to berries can be thrown into the mix to add unique texture and flavor to your bread. Use common sense with ratios — maybe a cup of cheese or berries, a tablespoon or so of fresh herbs.
  3. The flavor and texture of cornbread can vary greatly depending on the vessel used for cooking.
    This is my favorite part. Have you tried before to make cornbread with crunchy, fried-like edges, only to find them falling short? The trick is using a preheated cast iron skillet with hot fat. I still occasionally make cornbread, especially a cakey version, in a buttered glass pan. But when you’re going for those crunchy edges, cast iron is the only way to go (directions in this recipe).
  4. Lastly, while sugar is not necessary in cornbread, FAT is.
    Don’t skimp, or your flavor and texture will suffer (many recipes call for just a tablespoon, I prefer a little more). I like a mixture of butter and home-rendered lard in mine — the lard helps with those delectable crunchy edges (is it obvious I like them?).

I’ve previously posted a recipe for bacon-cheddar cornbread (the photo will look familiar). If you’re interested in experimenting to customize for your preferences, use the following ratio guidelines for one batch:

  • 1 3/4 to 2 cups of grain (all cornmeal, or a mix of cornmeal and flour, up to 1:1 ratio)
  • 1-4 Tbsp sugar or honey (mix into wet ingredients)
  • 2 tsp leavening agents (1 tsp each of baking powder & baking soda, or mostly baking powder if using sweet milk)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 – 2 cups buttermilk, yogurt, or a mixture of sweet milk and buttermilk
  • up to 1 cup of add-ins, such as chili peppers, corn kernels, grated cheese, bacon, raisins, or blueberries.
  • 1-3 Tbsp fat (butter or lard)

Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and mix just until batter forms. Melt lard in preheated skillet or butter in the microwave or stovetop (butter will burn at high temps), stir into batter. Bake 425° for about 25 minutes.

Funny, how a thing can be limitless in version, yet so simple in concept. And, funny (read: sad) that you would have had a hard time convincing my twenty-four-year-old self that no Jiffy mix is required.


Lessons in fasting


I’ve never really deprived myself of anything edible. Sure, there were the few months in 2006 I went dairy-free while nursing my son, and there was that odd, brief bout with vegetarianism during my sophomore year of college (I thought it would impress the hipster guys, and help me lose that freshman 20 — boy, was I wrong on both). But other than those times, I’ve historically been an everything-in-moderation kind of girl (within legal limits, I’m still a goody-two-shoes at heart).

I’ve never written many details on this diet I’m doing — mainly because I don’t want to bore you with the minutia of my dietary challenges. But to give a brief description of how the GAPS diet works: it is very similar to other diets out there (such as South Beach) in that it starts out with an extremely limited spectrum of allowable foods, then phases more foods in over the course of a few weeks to a few months. When I started GAPS back in October, I jumped to the last phase, or the full GAPS diet. I saw many recommendations for doing it this way —  it is too overwhelming mentally and physically to go from eating a full (albeit whole, natural) American diet to the intro diet. So I’ve been on full GAPS for over two months, with some cheating (I still drank wine, still occasionally had a gluten-free cracker or bowl of rice).

Last Friday was my day to start the intro. It was Friday the 13th, which seemed appropriate — he intro phase of the diet should last about 30 days, and consists of eating mostly homemade bone broth (almost a quart a day!) and homemade soups made with non-starchy vegetables, meats, and fish. Slowly over the course of 6 stages I will introduce fermented foods, cultured dairy (homemade yogurt), and nuts.

The past four days have felt like a lifetime.

I don’t know how many of you have fasted, or cleansed, or in other ways severely limited your diet. But truly, you begin to see the world in a new way.

I’m not claiming a spiritual experience, though I can clearly see how fasting creates an ideal environment for, shall we say, focusing.

Some things I’ve learned and/or experienced over the past 96 hours:

  1. Die-off” is real. And it totally blows (unless you are a fan of nausea and flu symptoms).
  2. Anyone who makes the statement, “I love soup — I could eat it every meal,” has obviously never had to eat soup at every meal.
  3. Once you have eaten soup for every meal, you feel as though you’d trade a limb for something crunchy.
  4. Since crunchy can’t happen, you will settle for boiled hamburgers. Which you eat ravenously, as though they were the most delicious dish you’ve ever eaten.
  5. At some point during fasting, you might start to imagine that you are a cast member on Survivor, back when it was good, circa 2002.
  6. Since, to your imaginary dismay, you have still not been voted off the flippin’ island, you decide there’s nothing to be done but eat more soup.
  7. When you put new ingredients in the soup, like fish instead of chicken, you become irrationally pleased with the result, like you now deserve to be the next contestant on Top Chef.
  8. Leaving Survivor behind, your new fantasy involves being the fourth sister on Little House. I mean, they were starving most winters, right? If they had an onion to boil in water for dinner, they were thrilled. That’s the mindset I’m seeking.
  9. When on a diet like this, it’s best to just keep a salt shaker in your pocket.
  10. Remember when I complained about starting the full GAPS diet? Right. Well, let’s just say that my tune has changed. I am counting the days until I can be back on that diet, it feels like I will have limitless options in just 26 days. Grains? Who needs them. I would kill right now for a giant bowl of dried fruit and nuts.

So, yeah, it’s been hard — but don’t go worrying about my going over a proverbial ledge. I have other friends here who are doing the diet as well, and there is a growing online community of people diving into the intro together to offer support.

And, in some ways, I just have to laugh. I’ve said on more than one occasion that I can give up most anything, that my willpower is strong — but that the day someone tells me I have to give up red wine or coffee? That is the day I will continue to live in blissful denial. It looks as though I’m eating those words, as we are often led to do.

But I’ll be honest here. It feels really weird to say it, and I’ve heard similar things from fasters (is that what you’d call a person who fasts?) and always thought they were delusional — but for me, I think it’s been a really good thing to do. Fasting in this way is resetting my taste buds to appreciate and be satisfied by natural sugars, and even giving me new cravings for healthy foods that I previously struggled with liking (such as fermented vegetables). I feel like I’m learning even more about how to make delicious foods from very limited ingredients, learning how to savor common flavors like never before. It feels like I just cleaned out a room in my house, down to the walls — and my job is to rebuild it, seeing all of my things anew.

Of course, it also helps to know that someday (date TBD), I will have that coffee and red wine again. And they will likely taste better than ever before.


This post was linked up to Simple Lives Thursday.


Honey (a persuasive argument)


I’ve been going through a lot of honey lately. We’ve always used it for random things — our granola is partially sweetened with honey, and I use it in bread-making. My kids love it on their sandwiches and toast, and there’s nothing better for sweetening herbal tea in winter. But since I started the GAPS diet, it’s the only sweetener I can have (outside of the natural sugars found in most fresh and dried fruits) — so our consumption has doubled.

Honey is a classic example of the expression, you get what you pay for. Last fall, honey made headlines when it was discovered that large portions of the stock on US grocery shelves was likely obtained illegally from China — and could be contaminated with lead and antibiotics, or laced with artificial fillers. It’s apparently difficult to regulate the sources of large honey producers, which makes it easy for the honey cartel (only mildly tongue-in-cheek) to get away with selling a contaminated product & labeling it as pure.

Since it’s virtually impossible to know the source of honey on the shelves, why not play it safe and buy local honey straight from a farmer (or local grocer who can vouch for them)?

I’ll pretend I’m back in high school debate class and outline some points of my persuasive argument:

  • Local honey is actually honey. From actual bees.
  • Local honey can possibly help combat seasonal allergies. The medical evidence on this is sketchy (though people swear by it), but you can at least be assured that fake honey from China won’t help them at all, and might make them worse.
  • Local honey tastes better. If you prefer mild honey, go for clover (if clover isn’t produced in your locale, your health food store likely sells a regional version).
  • You can usually only buy raw (unpasteurized) honey locally/regionally. Raw honey has retained beneficial enzymes to aid in digestion — a thin layer spread on bread actually starts the digestive process for you.
  • Buying local honey helps keep a farmer in business. Those bees are helpful to your environment in ways more than simple production.

The cheapest way to buy it is in bulk — I buy it by the gallon ($35-$40, or around $5/pint) and even once split a 5-gallon bucket with friends ($3.50/pint). But if you don’t use it quickly enough, you could be faced with that ultimate frustration: a big batch of crystallized honey. I wrote a post last year that included a remedy for that problem, but since that process can be risky (I cracked two mason jars and lost 2 quarts of honey), prevention is the way to go.

Honey crystallizes fastest when stored at temperatures between 55° and 63°F — and in my kitchen in winter, the temps easily go down to that range at night. Last winter, I was voicing my frustrations to my honey farmer, and he suggested I freeze it. Freezing honey preserves its enzymes, protects it from crystallization, and is easy to do with a little extra space in your freezer.


The honey doesn’t freeze into a solid block — it more has the consistency of hardened taffy. When I buy a gallon, I immediately divide it into four quart canning jars, letting every last bit drip from the container. One quart jar stays out for use, the rest go in the freezer.

I’m feeling pretty good about my persuasive argument at this point (it helps that I don’t type “um,” — whereas if I was saying all this in person I would have uttered the word no less than 200 times). If you have a plastic honey bear in your pantry, perhaps labelled with the words “Great Value” (and really, who among us hasn’t?), have I convinced you to give a finger to the cartel and try local?

If so, I’ll be forwarding your answer to my high school debate coach. She should probably know that, though it took 20 years, her efforts were not in vain.


This post was linked up to Simple Lives Thursday.

In case you need another way to eat kale


I mean, speaking of trends. Kale has been up there for quite a while — and I’m totally ok with that, since it’s my favorite green. Sturdy, not very bitter, can even be crunchy, and takes well to acid, like balsamic vinegar.

We most often eat it sautéed, and of course there’s the occasional baking sheet of kale chips that I scarf all by my lonesome. But there are many ways to enjoy it raw* as well — in smoothies, juiced, and in salads. Because it’s such a hearty green, it takes well to strong flavors, and works best when softened with a little olive oil or salt. I fell in love last fall with a kale and grapefruit salad, but just last week turned my affection to a new raw salad full of texture and sweet/salty flavors. An excellent January lunch.

One of the best characteristics of this salad is its keeping power — while regular lettuces, once dressed, must be immediately consumed, kale can hold its own a couple of days. I’ve made a double recipe and kept it in a refrigerated glass container for easy lunches. Keep in mind that the kale, once massaged with salt, wilts a good bit — so start with more leaves than you think you need. Feel free to adjust additions to your liking — this recipe is made to customize!

Recipe: Raw Kale Salad with Currants

: adapted closely from a recipe in Feeding the Whole Family (made dairy free, reduced salt)


  • one (1/2-pound) bunch kale
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (toasted, or soaked/dehydrated)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup currants (can sub raisins)
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 2-4 Tbsp olive oil, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar


  1. Wash kale thoroughly, and remove leaves from tough stems. Chop leaves into thin ribbons.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the kale leaves with salt. Massage the leaves for a few minutes, until kale is wilted, softened a bit, and deep green in color.
  3. Add the seeds, onion, currants and apple. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over top, and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to two days (possibly longer).


* Some research shows that eating large amounts of raw cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cabbage, etc) contributes to the suppression of thyroid function, especially if you are low in iodine. If you have or are at risk for thyroid disease, you might limit your intake of these vegetables in raw form — you can read more here.



Eating trendy.


I seem to remember reading a Malcolm Gladwell book that touched on this topic, but it always confounds me how trends come to be. Fashion is one thing — I saw some tweets yesterday about the return of brightly-colored jeans to the mainstream fashion scene, and I can imagine that a Kardashian probably started wearing hot pink jeans sometime in 2009, and two years later they’ve trickled down to the racks at your local Target.

But food? Who is the Kardashian of the food world? How come, seemingly, out of nowhere, my twitter stream will be alight with chefs, bloggers, and restaurants touting the same star ingredient? Does Eric Ripert offer it up one night at Le Bernardin, and then months later every facet of food media is on the same bandwagon?

(And yes, I did just compare Eric Ripert to the Kardashians. Thus is the state of this dulled, microscopic facet of food media.)

So the latest trend I’ve noticed is cotechino. It would be so 2012, except that I noticed it back in November (I’m always a few weeks/years/decades behind on trends), and there was a reason it was trending: it is traditionally a holiday charcuterie. Before Thanksgiving I was offered a basket of goods from Creminelli Fine Meats, and one of the seasonal choices was their cotechino. It sounded interesting — something I’d not had before — an Italian salami that must be cooked before serving (as opposed to most salamis which are cured and ready to eat as sliced), spiced with clove and garlic. It arrived, and I followed the preparation directions by boiling the link in its plastic sleeve for 20 minutes, slicing into medallions, and serving it up at our community group’s holiday party. It was quite rich and mild, and I loved it.

And then I started seeing all these blog posts about it. And then after that, I went by my local amazing source for charcuterie, and they were also touting cotechino, which is apparently the hot pink jean of the holiday food world.

So of course I had to bring my other foot firmly onto the bandwagon. I ordered a half-pound, ready to grace our New Year’s Day good-luck table with a new form of pig.


My butcher that day told me how he’d prepare it, which was a little different than boiling in a plastic pouch: he said to slice it into medallions, sear it in hot oil, and then lay it on top of my black-eyed peas under the broiler, letting all the fat and juices seep into the beans. I did this, and while I found that most of the delectable fat ended up in my skillet rather than dripping onto my peas (perhaps I seared too long), it was still an amazingly delicious way to ring in 2012. A bit saltier than the Creminelli version, but cut into smaller pieces and stirred into the dish, it was a unique (and decidedly Italian) way to enjoy our traditional once-a-year meal.

So much so, I didn’t realize just how much it added until I ate leftovers for lunch the next day, sans-cotechino, which had been gobbled up on New Year’s Day. My black-eyed peas seemed dull and neutral in its absence — in want of seasoning, texture, and spice.

Not unlike my closet, which is (and will likely remain) void of brightly-colored jeans. Kardashian, schmardashian.

I suppose in the world of trends, I’ll do best to stick with food.