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Did you know that, according to the Southern Rockland Co. Center for Wheatberry Studies, 99.99% of all Americans are not getting their recommended daily allowance of wheatberries? And according to the Wheatberry Institute at the State University of New York at Pulldata Myasse, just one serving of wheatberries a day can lead to higher levels of energy, youthful high-spiritedness and increased sexytude? Not to mention their effect on bowel regularity. So, as part of my work for the National Association for the Advancement of Wheatberry Consumption, I am dedicating the following blog post to the delicious fruit of the wheat tree, the wheatberry.

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Ever had a garlic spear? No? Well, what’s keepin’ ya? The immature head of elephant garlic, they have a mild, sweet garlic flavor when roasted or grilled. I hear they’re great sauteed as well. Anything you can do with asparagus, you can do with the spear. Serve them alongside grilled meat or fish! Toss them in pasta! Pull them off the grill and nom them up one at a time until you have to figure out another side dish for the rest of your guests!

Here’s what I did!

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Marinated Grilled Eggplant

Grill eggplant. Add balsamic vinaigrette. Save $9.00.

Not very long ago, while cleaning out my refrigerator, I noticed that some damn fool had bought  a bag of carrots when clearly we already had enough carrots for our purposes. Coincidentally, I  also noticed that I had developed quite the taste for pickled carrot products, most notably that sweet carrot and diakon pickle that sometimes comes with grilled salmon I order from Republic on a Saturday at work, but also the spicy Giardiniera pickles that I had paid $9.00 for a tub of at my local farmers market during a moment of temporary insanity. In fact, I soon came to the realization that I was developing quite the expensive pickled carrot habit, and considering the embarrassment of carrots on display in my crisper, I was going to have to bite the bullet and learn how to pickle.

“TO THE INTERNET!”  I thought, as that is what I think whenever I need to obtain any knowledge on pretty much any subject (what did we do back in the olden days?) and Googled me up a handful of carrot pickling recipes. Rather than follow any of these recipes, like a sensible person might do, I decided instead to just get a general gist of various ways one might pickle a carrot and then just wing it. Read the rest of this entry »


“Christmas! Coleslaw!” Emo Phillips used to say, back the in the eighties, when comedy was dominated by awkward, high-voiced man-children in ill-fitting suits, back before sullen teenagers with too much eyeliner and a cutting habit  hijacked the word “emo” for their own nefarious purposes and ruined it for the older generation, much like their spiritual brethren, the homosexuals, did with the word “gay” decades earlier.


Emo Phillips

Emo Phillips

Emo Phillips has faded into obscurity since the heady days of Punky Brewster, the California Raisins and zany secretary of state Alexander “I’m in charge!” Haig, but thankfully coleslaw is as popular as ever. But like so many other things in the United States, supermarket coleslaw is a) disgusting and b) way too sugary,  so I find it much more satisfying to make my own. In fact, if you bring this coleslaw to your next barbecue, you’ll be more popular than Pee Wee Herman in a biker bar. Now that I think of it, you might want to bring some tequila as well.

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Sweet potato home fries 1

Sweet potatoes: Everyone says they’re a superfood.  They’re high in fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese, and they can also help stabilize your blood sugar  – and probably do your taxes, wash your windows, and  tell the busybody in the cube next to you at work to mind her own business and not wear so much perfume and maybe enough with the cat stories, already.

But did you know that they’re also delicious?  I mean, not if you crap them all up Thanksgiving-style with brown sugar and marshmallows.  I mean if you really do them up properly, bearing in mind that they are already sweet.  Unless you plan to serve them as dessert, there is no reason to make them sweeter.  Instead, you want to bring out the existing sweetness with a spicy, salty, savory counterpoint that will make them super indeed.

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Oh, sure you do.  You’ve probably just only had them boiled, and maybe covered in Cheez Whiz because your mom was trying to trick you into forgetting that they’re vegetables.  (Not that melted Cheez Whiz doesn’t have its place.)

The thing with vegetables is that just about all of them can be vastly improved with a toss of olive oil, some basic seasonings, and a roast at a high temperature until caramelized.  If there are any vegetables you think you don’t like, I encourage you to give them another whirl with this technique.  Even if they are tiny Belgian cabbages.

I prefer to start with small sprouts, as they tend to be younger and less bitter.  The diameter of this average representative is about one and three-quarters inches (that translates to “not very large” for our metric system friends).

Sprouts 1

Quarter them all.  Nobody escapes my mighty 8″ Wüsthof!  Then, toss them in a large bowl with a glug apiece of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a hefty pinch apiece of kosher salt and red pepper flakes. Read the rest of this entry »

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