Improvised Life » food + cooking http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:00:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Ramp Season: Odes, Festivals and Recipes http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/04/18/ramp-season-ode-recipe/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/04/18/ramp-season-ode-recipe/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:31:38 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=40232

lauriesmithphoto.com

Every April, I start thinking about ramps, the first wild food to peek through the cold ground in early Spring, and the focus of equally wild festivals throughout the Appalachian mountains. For decades, I’d travel down to West Virginia to the Helvetia Ramp Supper to get a transformative blast of ramps, both raw and cooked. Here is one of the best descriptions I’ve heard of that first bite, by David Voodoon Noble, also known as The Ramp Moses: (more…)

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el Bulli’s Bullipedia: Mapping the Genome of Cuisine http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/04/16/elbullis-bullipedia-mapping-genome-cuisine/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/04/16/elbullis-bullipedia-mapping-genome-cuisine/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:00:55 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=39310 Since th legendary restaurant elBulli's closure three years ago, über-chef Ferran Adrià and his team at el Bulli Foundation have been working to convert the restaurant to a creativity think tank, with a online resource to helps you understand the inner-workings of food.]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/04/16/elbullis-bullipedia-mapping-genome-cuisine/feed/ 0 The Delishness and Connection of Collective Meals http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/04/11/collective-cooking-fun-connection-delish-food/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/04/11/collective-cooking-fun-connection-delish-food/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 08:16:32 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=39225

blog.williams-sonoma.com

Outerlands, a restaurant in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood, is known for its menu of seasonal food, rustic dishes and the strong sense of community created by the space. There, meals are a way for people to gather together, relax, and enjoy a shared experience.  Recently Williams-Sonoma Taste featured one of Outerland’s collective meals in which staff, family and friends cook together, making quick work of what otherwise might be a chore, all the while having time to talk and hang out. It is the opposite of “in-control entertaining” where everything is pretty much taken care of when the guests arrive. (more…)

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Ferran Adrià: Creativity Needs Rest http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/03/24/el-bulli-creativity-needs-rest/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/03/24/el-bulli-creativity-needs-rest/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 08:58:36 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=39284

Sally Schneider

Yesterday, we thought we had set our favorite Arabia tea cup down on the edge of the bathroom sink, only to hear it smash into the bathtub. Okay, we got the message, we thought: SLOW DOWN. We take small accidents like that as warnings that we are too distracted to be present.

But we got the REAL message the next morning while scanning websites for illuminating ideas, images, and info that would resonate with Improvised Life: CREATIVITY NEEDS REST.  (more…)

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Weekend Delight: Double Chocolate Rye Muffins http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/03/21/double-chocolate-rye-muffins/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/03/21/double-chocolate-rye-muffins/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 08:53:19 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=39238

greenkitchenstories.com

I was intrigued by the Double Chocolate Rye/spelt muffins touted on Green Kitchen. Chocolate and rye!!!. Rye flour in the U.S. is associated with heavy, gummy, serious breads––certainly not pastries. Doubters (Sally) warned that they could be “brown rocks,” or worse “Scandinavian cow pies” given the weightiness of the ingredients. But it seems that chocolate and rye** are a familiar and much loved taste combo in Denmark, especially for breakfast during the cool months. And Green Kitchen said they were delish, so I decided to try them. (more…)

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Stylish Coffee Cones + Our Own Coffee Rig http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/03/20/stylish-coffee-drippers-coffee-rig/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/03/20/stylish-coffee-drippers-coffee-rig/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 16:45:49 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=38964

Remodelista recently posted about a new trend: Artful Coffee Drippers. By “dripper”, they mean the funnel-shaped cone, lined with a paper filter, that sits on top of a coffee pot or cup and allows the brewing coffee to drip through. We use the method ourselves so were interested to see the 10 stylish itereations. Japanese designer Masanobu Ando’s pleated version, above, is like an austere scupture. Artist Elizabeth Benotti’s herringbone pattern Porcelain Drip Coffee Maker; $44 on Etsy, has great charm.

The only problem with most of the Remodelista coffee cones is they don’t allow for ways to keep the coffee hot. Once it hits the vessels, it will start to cool, unlike our own homely rig. (more…)

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The Wishbone Project’s First Crowdsourced Wishbones! http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/03/11/wishbone-projects-first-crowdsourced-wishbones/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/03/11/wishbone-projects-first-crowdsourced-wishbones/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 23:54:42 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=38811

Holton Rower

Artist Holton Rower just sent us an image of the first batch of wishbones he received via The Wishbone Project, Improvised Life’s campaign to crowdsource wishbones for a monumental artwork Holton plans to make out of this unusual art material. We’re thrilled! Reader B.C.E. saved a stash of wishbones from various chicken dinners and sent them to Holton. In return, he’s sending her a thank you gift.

Holton is now that many wishbones closer (more…)

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DIY Succulent and Cacti Cupcakes http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/03/10/diy-succulent-cacti-cupcakes/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/03/10/diy-succulent-cacti-cupcakes/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 20:01:10 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=38670

alanajonesmann.com

We’re usually not crazy about cupcakes with colored frostings but find ourselves totally charmed by the succulent and cacti cupcakes Alana Jones-Mann created, a happy relief from the usual flower motifs.  She shows you how you can do it yourself in her great tutorial.   (more…)

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Pantry Improv: Spaghetti with Garlic, Hot Pepper, Parsley, and… http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/02/28/pantry-improv-spaghetti-garlic-anchovies-parsley/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/02/28/pantry-improv-spaghetti-garlic-anchovies-parsley/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 07:24:02 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=37678

Maria Robledo

Despite having been a food writer, there are times when my fridge is practically bare — pitiful, really: the result of working too long and too hard. My strategy for those times is to keep my larder stocked with long-keeping staples that I can transmute easily into something delicious, satisfying and sustaining. (more…)

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The Baked Apple Improvisations http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/02/21/the-baked-apple-improvisations/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/02/21/the-baked-apple-improvisations/#comments Fri, 21 Feb 2014 09:54:27 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=37893

Maria Robledo

Maria Robledo’s Instagram of baked apples reminded me of my favorite baked apple recipe that I had at a dinner party one evening. They had an intense apple flavor brought out by modest ingredients: red current jelly, lemon juice and a little butter. Because the apples had been cored all the way through and covered during the cooking, the apples are tender to the point of collapsing, a state made charming by the addition of a dollop of crème fraiche,

Those Rosey Baked Apples were the start of many baked apple riffs, including Baked Apple Sorbet and Smashed Baked Apples with Brulleed Marshmallows, below. And there are lots of options for improvising on the basic recipe. (more…)

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A Chocolate Valentine’s Cake as Easy as Making a Brownie http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/02/13/chocolate-valentines-cake-easy-making-brownie/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/02/13/chocolate-valentines-cake-easy-making-brownie/#comments Thu, 13 Feb 2014 21:00:39 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=38080

Maria Robledo

With the difficult weather, you may find your self on-the-hook for a Valentine’s gift for tomorrow. If you’ve got the basic makings in your pantry for brownies, I recommend my tried-and-true Essential Chocolate Cake for Improvising recipe. It’s as easy to make as a brownie, with a good deal more bang for the buck, AND there are endless ways to improvise on its essential formula, adding in all sorts of unexpected flavorings to delight your beloved. Here’s a recent testimonial that says it all: (more…)

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Weekend Treat: Chocolate Malted Pudding http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/02/07/chocolate-malted-pudding/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/02/07/chocolate-malted-pudding/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 09:37:01 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=37903

Maria Robledo

This intense chocolate pudding is a guaranteed hit at dinner parties; guests revel in the unexpectedness of a classic kid’s dessert in a grownup setting. I make it with both semisweet chocolate AND cocoa powder, fortified by vanilla, for intense chocolate flavor. Malted milk powder builds in an additional layer of richness and surprise; the pudding tastes like a malted milk ball. It couldn’t be easier to make, and gives a big bang for the buck.

Leave out the malted milk, and you have an essential chocolate pudding that can be flavored in endless ways; (more…)

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Ellen Silverman’s Video Ode to Soft Boiled Eggs with a How-To http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/02/04/ellen-silvermans-ode-soft-boiled-eggs-hacked-egg-cups/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/02/04/ellen-silvermans-ode-soft-boiled-eggs-hacked-egg-cups/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 21:00:18 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=37666

(Video links HERE and HERE.)  Recently, photographer Ellen Silverman borrowed the Laboratory to shoot Girl + Egg, her whimsical 1-minute video of…just that. Although Ellen brought a variety of egg cups she had bought or borrowed, she ended up using one we’d hacked (the hack is THAT good.)

The video gives a nice glimpse of the Laboratory’s kitchen in action, (more…)

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Chocolate as Resistance + The Spirituality of Chocolate http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/02/04/chocolate-resistance-spirituality-chocolate/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/02/04/chocolate-resistance-spirituality-chocolate/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 09:11:01 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=37743

(Video link HERE.) Susan Dworski alerted us to this beautiful little video about the culture of chocolate in Mexico. It will give you a view of the origins of the delicious sweet we love to eat, unaware how the making of it can be an act of resistance and spirituality, as is true with many endangered foods. In 4 minutes, we got (more…)

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