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The Meatrix I'm not a vegetarian but I dislike factory farming and I support small, family farms.

 

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Paper Chef Latest - last call for ingredient nominations 
We now have a few more ingredients and tomorrow is the last day to get ingredient nominations in. Here's the current list...

Eggs, Vinegar, Sun-dried tomatoes, black fermented soy beans, Giblets,
Peanut butter, Apple cider, Daikon, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Crab,
Pork, Something you or a friend grew, White wine, Sour cream, Cheddar,
Mushroom, Ramen Noodles, Edible flowers, Vermouth, soda pop (any kind),
frog (legs), coconut milk, wattleseed, broad beans (anonymous - you are only allowed to nominate one - and for those outside the UK, broad beans are the same as fava beans), and barberries.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Paper Chef #21 Open For Nominations 
It is that time of the month again! Nominations for ingredients for the next Paper Chef are now open. As usual, one nomination per person and nominations should be at least arguably in good taste (both kinds).

To nominate, make your nomination in the comments below or email it to me. I will update the list periodically before Friday...

Rules for Paper Chef for those not in the know are here.

Ingredients carried over from past events (so no need to nominate them) are:

Eggs, Vinegar, Sun-dried tomatoes, black fermented soy beans, Giblets, Peanut butter, Apple cider, Daikon, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Crab, Pork, Something you or a friend grew, White wine, Sour cream, Cheddar, Mushroom, Ramen Noodles, Edible flowers, Vermouth, soda pop (any kind), frog (legs), and coconut milk.

Have at it!

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Paper Chef the early years 
As promised, here is the first of several quick Paper Chef retrospectives.

The very first Paper Chef was way back in 2004 - December 2004, but 2004 all the same. The first set of ingredients was:

Cilantro, Ginger, Almonds and Winter squash. I have lost comments from that time since I used an external commenting system but switched to Blogger's own when it became available.

The first event only had three entries besides myself who doesn't count. They were from a great trio: Sam at Becks 'n' Posh, Carolyn at 18thC Cuisine (still the blog for which I have most respect in terms of taking a great concept and sticking with it) and Viv at Seattle Bon Vivant (which has gone sadly quiet this summer). Viv eventually got the deciding nod from Alberto at Il Forno.

The second Paper Chef in January 2005 was a big step up from the first. We had the first of several entries from non-bloggers - this one from my brother. And - take note all ye who are worried about entering. My brother COOKED HIS DISH IN THE MICROWAVE! Ingredients were potatoes, savoy cabbage, chicken and lemon - a very straightforward combo.

We got 11 entrants! Including the first of very very many from Kevin, and from Daffy - a perennial entrant in the early days. Since we had not yet evolved to the current win one-judge one rules, Viv entered again. And the winner this time around was Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess.

By the third incarnation of the Paper Chef we wer moving on toward the eventual judging rules and the ingredient nomination rules had proved a success. Ingrdients this time were wheat flour, cinnamon, creme fraiche and oranges. Note that in the early days people were a little more staid in their nominations... We got 12 entries. (11 plus 1). And Sam won this time around.

By the way I deliberately left it clicky to find out who entered and who won - it's supposed to be participatory....


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Friday, August 18, 2006

Looking back - a Tomatilla! retrospective part one. 
Since it has been four years since I started Tomatilla! and it has even been three years since I started writing in earnest, here's a quick look back presented in several stages. The first post was on July 16th, 2002 and was about one of my favorite topics: roast chicken.

Then nothing happens until the middle of 2003 when I finally get going on what was my stock-in-trade for about a year - very rapid posts about what I cooked just as a reminder of things that worked really well. Here's an example.

And finally, we move on to one of my actually slightly interesting posts: the most totally awesome grilled tomatoes...

Upcoming retrospectives will cover tarka dahl and the Paper Chef and Lemon Cake and rice cooker risotto and baked fried chicken (which I made again last week and which was as good as ever).



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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Upcoming on Tomatilla! 
Now that I have managed to crowbar a tiny smidgen of time free for Tomatilla! again, I thought I'd try to make sure I got some of my little list of projects done by setting them down here as plans and then maybe I'll manage to do them.

First and foremost, the next Paper Chef starts in a couple of weeks on September 1st.

Next up after that is a comparison of La Cense grass-fed free range beef that the ranchers claim has a unique taste - along the lines of a terroir for beef - that we are going to compare directly to a local grass-fed range beef from Holding Angus - which we already know is really good. La Cense has been sending food bloggers test packages by mail and is hoping we write about it. I am keeping an open mind but was very impressed with their packing and shipping procedures. I realised that the beef was going to arrive on one of the 116-degree days we had recently. I knew it was likely nobody would be home. They weren't, but the beef was packed in styrofoam along with dry ice and was still frozen when we got to it a few hours later. Incidentally, the local beef is also sold frozen.

And finally, I have promised myself that I would do two quick retrospectives. The first is a quick look back over the first 20 Paper Chef's with highlights. The second is a look back at my favorite posts of the past four years since I passed that milestone a few months back without noticing.


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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Paper Chef 20 Winner Announced 
Stephen completed his talk in record time and the new Paper Chef #20 winner is announced!

Although we have two official categories (and as many other categories as the judge wants to assign), in fact only one entrant nominated themsleves in a category so that part didn't work out. We'll try again next time. Paper Chef 21 will start the first Friday of September - which is September 1st! Not long at all!!!

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Paper Chef 20 Roundup 
Although the tunrout was a little low - thanks undoubtedly to my recent lack of attention - the quality was as usual really, really high.

Before I go any further, I really, really need to thank Kevin who not only kept Paper Chef going but did it with panache and flair. Everyone who reads this needs to go visit his site and prefereably encourage everyone you know in his area to check out his personal chef services.

The ingredients this time around were:

Cherries, peaches, any herb that is new to you and finally something spicy hot in honor (or to laugh in the face of) global warming.

This is actually one of our tamest set of ingredients and at least one person I know passed on taking part because they were bored by the ingredients. Oh well.

Also, this is the first of the newly revamped Paper Chef, which means that we have two categories - Paper Chef Haute and Paper Chef Home. Plus Stephen, our esteemed judge, is welcome to add categories to those two.

On to the entries.

First one in was Ilva of Lucullian Delights, who entered a whole menu. The first course was called "Crostini With Pecorino Sardo, Nepitella And 'Chutney' Made With Peaches And Cherries." Next was a delicious and slightly architectural "Rice Timbale With Prawns In Hot Peach And Cherry Salsa." And finally, to round out the meal, "Semolina Mousse With Ginger And Chili Marinated Peaches And Cherries." Somehow she had time to do this before heading off on a trip.

The second entry was Emma at the Laughing Gastronome, who made us a Peach Salsa. In common with several entrants from Australia and New Zealand, some of the summer fruit ingredients were a bit of a challenge. She noticed the new categories and chose to enter it in the 'Home' category, but don't let that fool you. There are some pretty amazing ingredients and a great twist on the use of cherries.

The third entrant is a new one to me. Bookman OldStyle, clearly something of a typography nerd, of the aptly named Veggie Friendly, made a chutney, a cherry and dried peach chutney. I was impressed in part because he explains right up front that he's not a big fan of chutneys. Check the site out by the way - I love the vegitarian friendliness rating for restaurant reviews.

Then Kymm of 'But my kids won't eat it' made us baked lavender peaches with dried cherry and ginger biscotti and in the process discovered a love for biscotti that she didn't know she had - or is it just that hers were so very very good?

Chopper Dave and Mrs D over at Belly Timber are just about to move (back?) to Portland. We'll miss the pictures of the islands and anticipate the breakout cooking that will be done with easier access to more ingredients. They too came up with a whole menu. "Spicy Braised Short Ribs with Dueling Gastriques," "Chile Rellenos with Stone Fruit Salsa," and "Tandoori Style Chicken Wings with Stone Fruit Chutney."

Last, but absolutely not least is the 2-minute Noodle Cook of My Home Kitchen. Noodle Cook always wows us with presentation and also really loves to showcase native Australian ingredients which gives all the rest of us a little taste of the exotic. And he also makes us a full dinner using some low temperature cooking techniques all to make "Moroccan Spiced Beef with Fruit Sauce and Polenta."

UPDATE!

Of course there are some more...

Thog, at the cleverly named PhooD (go see why!) made a delicious sounding Tea-smoked peach and lamb on potato pancakes. I think he (or she) is also from Australia, making this a majority Southern Hemisphere event for the first time. My evidence for this wild guess is that Tasmanian mountain pepper was just lying around in the kitchen...

Jennifer at Weekly Dish made a fantastic and beautiful tart - a Stone Fruit Tart with Lemon Verbena Cream and Chipotle-Basalmic Glaze. And she has an excuse - a real one - that she contacted me and warned me she would turn an entry in late. And then I didn't follow up and check - so shame on me...

OK, it is over to Stephen of 'Stephen Cooks' to do the judging.


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Monday, August 07, 2006

Anymore for Paper Chef 20? 
So far I have four entries - that's a tad low, so I am hoping there are a few shy people out there or a few stragglers to round out and up the numbers. Let me know! email to owenl1998 at yahoo dot com or comment here.
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Friday, August 04, 2006

Quick Tip Of The Hat To Creativity 
One of the things I love about food blogging is the creativity and fun that shines through. I mean what other online or blogging group has as much fun as the food blogging community does with EotMEoTE? For my own contribution, see this little parody.

But it doesn't stop or even begin there. Two examples of why I love food blogs and food blogging came my way today from two of my favorite food bloggers, Sam and Biggles. Sam took the latest EotMEoTE theme and ran amok with it. And Biggles just did his usual - a paean to bacon that is almost a poem.

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Paper Chef 20 Starts Now! 
The final ingredient list was:

Coffee, A spiky plant like cactus (nopales!) or nettles, Guava, Dragon Fruit, Turmeric, Andouille sausage, Berries, Eggs, Cherries, Vinegar, Sun-dried tomatoes, black fermented soy beans, Giblets, Peanut butter, Apple cider, Daikon, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Crab, Pork, Something you or a friend grew, White wine, Sour cream, Peaches, Cheddar, Mushroom, Ramen Noodles, A newly (re)discovered herb like purslane or Mexican Pipiche, Edible flowers, Vermouth, soda pop (any kind), frog (legs), and coconut milk.

And the three randomly chosen ingredients are a relatively straightforward and benign:

1. Cherries - dried, canned, preserved etc. all OK - and in a pinch any stone fruit except that.....
2. Peaches - as above....
3. Any newly (re)discovered herb like Purslane et al. - here I am going to interpret this to be any herb that is new to you. You could even go to the market and choose the fist thing you see that you have never used. Can be dried or fresh.

and the fourth topical ingredient?

4. In honor of global warming and heatwaves worldwide: something hot - spicy hot that is!

As usual, the rules such as they are mena that you should use the above four ingredients and any additional things you want as well. So I immediately can see meat dishes, desserts, salads, sauces and lots more. Cook somehting you devise using the ingredients and write it up on your blog - that's it.

Also as usual - feel free to substitute - just be prepared to justify your substitution, however lamely, in your write up. We are usually pretty lax about the deadlines but in this case our judge, Stephen, has asked that we be ready as soon as we can since he is under time pressure. If you are late then I'll go around and do a catch-all roundup and commentary to make sure you are included.

Full rules and regulations here.

The event starts now and please do your best to get a post up by Monday. Put a comment here with a link so we know about the entry. If you don't have a blog let me know and I'll put the entry up here. Technorati savvy people can tag with 'paperchef20'.


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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Last call for ingredient nominations! Paper Chef 20 starts tomorrow! 
Paper Chef 20 starts tomorrow. Please try to get entries in by Monday Noon PST - the judge this time, Stephen of Stephen Cooks, (as usual the winner last time) is under severe time pressure - as am I. I will do the roundup and help with judging if Stephen runs out of time. However, this is a relaxed event as always. See the new (very slightly modified) rules here.

I also want to acknowledge and give thanks publicly to Kevin at Seriously Good who held the whole Paper Chef event together when I had no time. He is a wonderful person, great food blogger and now has an impressive personal chef business. Please go check it out and send some business his way if you know anyone looking.


Current ingredient list is:


Coffee
A spiky plant like cactus (nopales!) or nettles
Guava
Dragon Fruit
Turmeric
Andouille sausage
Berries
Eggs
Cherries
Vinegar
Sun-dried tomatoes
black fermented soy beans
Giblets
Peanut butter
Apple cider
Daikon
Blueberries
Cantaloupe
Crab
Pork
Something you or a friend grew
White wine
Sour cream
Peaches
Cheddar
Mushroom
Ramen Noodles
A newly (re)discovered herb like purslane or Mexican Pipiche
Edible flowers
Vermouth


So, more nominations please!


I will announce the three random and one topical ingredient tomorrow at around Noon PST


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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Two more days for Paper Chef ingredient nominations 
The new (very slightly modified) rules are here. Current ingredient list is:

Coffee
A spiky plant like cactus (nopales!) or nettles
Guava
Dragon Fruit
Turmeric
Andouille sausage
Berries
Eggs
Cherries
Vinegar
Sun-dried tomatoes
black fermented soy beans
Giblets
Peanut butter
Apple cider
Daikon
Blueberries
Cantaloupe
Crab
Pork
Something you or a friend grew
White wine
Sour cream
Peaches
Cheddar
Mushroom
Ramen Noodles
A newly (re)discovered herb like purslane or Mexican Pipiche


So, more nominations please!


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Four Years Old! (Or is it three?) 
Technically speaking, Tomatilla! is a ripe four years old today. In Internet years that is something like 1000 years old! In reality, however, I only really started posting regularly in July of 2003, so you could also say it is about 3 years old (a relatively spring chicken-like 750 years or so in translation). According to Blogger's statistics, I have made 389 posts. And according to my rather casual but close to accurate statistics, I have posted 110 recipes.

I have also managed a few other worthwhile milestones, like publishing Digital Dish and starting the inimitable Paper Chef event, the 20th edition of which is starting this Friday!


So to celebrate, for the rest of the month I will occasionally post about the ten best past Tomatilla! entries. I will be using my own idiosyncratic methodology to determine which are the ten best...


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