Perhaps one of the more interesting, creative and exciting things about being a cook is when one thing leads to another and before you know it, almost by accident, you have created something really delicious. Something out of nothing, or nearly nothing. It can begin with an idea, of course, a whispered question in the back of your head (I wonder if… ? Or how would it taste if…?)
Or sometimes it's that an unexpected ingredient has landed in your lap, which is exactly what happened to me yesterday when I ran next door to deliver something to my neighbor and she showed me the magical secret of her autumnal porch decoration.
Lately we've been waxing poetic about hot toddies, camping cocktails and slow cooking batches of comfort food. It's not typical that I would break out the slow cooker for happy hour, but cocktails can also be a go-to for comfort — especially when you make a big batch, heat it up and invite some pals over to drink with you.
I am totally intrigued by the California Common beer style, a.k.a. "steam beer." It seems like the forgotten step-child of our whole craft beer renaissance — which is surprising since the style really has so much potential. If you need evidence, look no further than this Imperial Black Steam from Narragansett. Despite its imperial status and our automatic assumption that "black" equals "bitter," this steam beer is soft as silk and drinks like a beer with half its ABV. It also makes the perfect transition beer as we move from the hoppy beers of summer into the darker beers of the cold months ahead.
It's rare for a specialty food shop to really blow you away—especially in Brooklyn. We're (blissfully) saturated with fine food stores here. It's not tricky to find a spot with a well-curated selection of well-crafted cheeses, cured meats, honeys, chocolate, and the like. And so when one shop stands out from the rest, it's all the more special.
I did some perusing the other day at Campbell Cheese & Grocery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And blow me away it most certainly did. A few times over. I only wish it were located just a bit closer to my apartment.
Kathy Hester is a self-proclaimed member of Slow Cookers Anonymous. Over the years she has owned somewhere around 30 to 35 slow cookers and has written three slow cooker books. Her area of expertise is vegan slow cooking but the five essentials for slow cooking that she shares with us today apply to all diets, so no one will miss out on these helpful tips. This woman really knows her way around a slow cooker!