Connect with us

Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Thanks, it’s giving

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly Sunday column

Published

on

Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects…

WASHINGTON – I have several recipes along with some excellent photos for you this week. But first, please stay with me through these long and digressive paragraphs because they are full of interesting factoids that I just learned about Thanksgiving and the traditions with which it is associated. 

Evidence suggests that settlers in Plymouth colony did, in fact, share a meal with the Wampanoag people in what is now southeastern Massachusetts in late 1621. Historians believe the meat on which they feasted was deer, along with ducks or geese.

No turkey for the “first Thanksgiving,” but the bird nevertheless became a staple menu item for the holiday by the turn of the 19th century. Likewise for the December holiday, a phenomenon that is widely attributed to Charles Dickens’s publication of “A Christmas Carol” in 1843. 

Fast forward to 1947. In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Europe was roiled by food shortages. Endeavoring to beef up our supply to aid these countries, which were on the brink of famine, President Harry S. Truman gently asked the American people to forego eating poultry on Thursdays – a request that he delivered with the first ever televised address by a sitting president. 

President Truman receives a turkey from Sen. Olin Johnston of South Carolina in the Oval Office
(Photo Credit: Harry S Truman Presidential Library & Museum)

It was met with a big middle finger. 

(No surprise, right? I mean, during a pandemic that killed a million people in this country, when public health officials urged Americans to wear protective face coverings and avoid indoor gatherings, some responded by plotting to kidnap the governor of Michigan for a show trial and extrajudicial murder.)

Okay, so in 1947, Americans were tired after years of wartime food rations. Plus, that year Christmas as well as New Year’s Day fell on a Thursday, too. (Thanksgiving is always the last Thursday in November, per an 1863 proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln.)

So strong was the backlash that the Truman administration made peace by fully embracing the Thanksgiving turkey and formalizing the longstanding White House tradition of accepting the bird as an annual holiday gift. 

Many presidents chose not to eat their turkeys.

Just three days before his 1963 assassination in Dallas, President John F. Kennedy was gifted a bird wearing a sign that read, “Good Eating Mr. President.” Fortunately for the turkey, which weighed a whopping 55 pounds, Kennedy reportedly said he would “let this one grow” upon returning her to the farm.   

Nearly two decades later, facing questions over whether he would pardon Oliver North for his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, President Ronald Reagan deflected with a joke about instead “pardoning” the Thanksgiving turkey that was gifted to him, thus formalizing a silly presidential tradition. 

It is in keeping with these White House stories that I chose to forego turkey this year. I did, however, spend all day cooking, which is something I thoroughly enjoyed despite my husband’s photo of me looking less than enthusiastic. 

See links below if you’d like to make any of the dishes pictured here. They were all fantastic.

Photo by Dan Balinovic
Photo by Dan Balinovic
Photo by Dan Balinovic
Photo by Dan Balinovic
Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Rustic apple pie

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

Published

on

Photo by Christopher Kane

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – This week has been hectic after the massive Thanksgiving dinner and of course the endless parade of leftovers. So a break for everyone and here’s a recipe adapted from Melissa Clark’s Double Apple Pie via NYT Cooking:

Photo by Christopher Kane
  1. In a food processor, pulse 2.5 cups all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Add 20 tablespoons cold unsalted butter and pulse. Add ¼ cup ice water and then one tablespoon at a time until you’ve added ½ cup, pulsing after each addition
  2. Gather dough into a ball. Remove a third of the dough and form into a disk. Form remaining dough into a disk. Cover both tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour
  3. Roll out larger disk into a circle and transfer to a 9” pie plate. Crimp edges and prick bottom with a fork. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes or longer 
  4. Heat oven to 400° F. Line pie plate with foil and add pie weights (or dried beans or dried rice). Bake for 15 minutes, remove weights, and bake another 5 minutes 
  5. Toss together 3 pounds apples – cored, peeled, and thinly sliced – with ½ cup white granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca, 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, a pinch of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons apple butter. Transfer apple mixture to crust
  6. Roll out second dough disk. Transfer to top your pie plate. Cut to vent, brush with milk, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar 
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350°, and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes longer 
  8. Cool, cut, serve
Continue Reading

Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Thanksgiving 2023 & cranberry upside down cake

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

Published

on

The Balinovic clan at Thanksgiving dinner. (Photo by Dan Balinovic)

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – Lessons learned from hosting my first Thanksgiving:

related
  • Narrow down the menu: Even after doing as much advance prep as possible, I tapped out after making turkey, three sides, three sauces/toppings, and a dessert – which means I had to scrap the apple cranberry goat cheese salad and the curried butternut squash soup 
  • I need to buy a serving tray, gravy boat, tablecloth + runner, napkins, and napkin rings
  • Delegate tasks to others: There was no reason why I had to be the one to also set the table while the straight people in my house were watching football 
  • Everyone needs something acidic at the table
  • Give the turkey an extra day in that buttermilk brine 
(Photo by Dan Balinovic)

Pictured are: 

Cranberry upside-down cake by Alice Waters: 

(Photo by Christopher Kane)
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Add ½ stick unsalted butter and ¾ cup light brown sugar to a 9” round cake pan
  3. Bake for ~7 minutes, stir, and continue baking for about 5 minutes, until sugar has just begun to caramelize
  4. Remove pan and allow to cool
  5. In a bowl, toss together 9 ounces fresh cranberries and ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice 
  6. Spread them in your cake pan, sprinkling with remaining orange juice 
  7. Separately, whisk together 1.5 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
  8. In a stand mixer, cream 1 stick butter and 1 cup white granulated sugar until pale, light, and fluffy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat in 2 egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed
  9. Add flour mixture alternatively with ½ cup whole milk, ending with dry ingredients. Scrape batter into another bowl and rinse out your stand mixer 
  10. Fit the mixer with your whisk attachment and whip 2-3 egg whites with ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar until it can hold a peak. Fold into your batter with a spatula, a third at a time
  11. Spoon batter into your cake pan and spread it evenly over your cranberries, baking until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cake plate

Continue Reading

Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Thanksgiving feast shopping & food prep

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

Published

on

The Eastern Market is a public market in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., housed in a 19th-century brick building. Eastern Market was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. (Photo by Christopher Kane)

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – Four days out, I thought I would give you a peek behind the curtain to see my Thanksgiving prep. Within reason, of course. I’m not showing you the inside of my pantry. That’s between me and God. 

I’m afraid you won’t find much by way of “do-ahead” advice, here. Cranberry sauce will keep in the fridge for a week and the base of Samin Nosrat’s green curry butternut squash soup (see: last week’s column) will, hopefully, be just as good thawed and reheated, but otherwise I’m doing all the work on Wednesday – Thursday. 

I also wanted to shout-out some of my favorite merchants at Eastern Market, where I’ve done the bulk of my shopping for ingredients: H30 Farm, Paik Produce, Agora Farms, Dunham’s Produce, and Knopps Farm.

Outdoor vendor stalls at the Eastern Market, Washington D.C. (Photo by Christopher Kane)

My guests are arriving on Wednesday, at which time I will go back to Eastern Market for more bread and fresh salad greens – and to visit my favorite protein purveyor, Canales Quality Meats, to pick up some skirt steak to cook that evening. 

Speaking of meat, as mentioned in last week’s column my turkey is arriving on Wednesday from D’Artagnan. 

I had a bit of buyer’s remorse after seeing how much cheaper the birds are at even upscale grocers like Wegman’s but was comforted by none other than ALISON ROMAN HERSELF. See our exchange below on her newsletter Q&A: 

And here, dear reader, is each item on my menu (minus the turkey and a cranberry-apple-goat cheese salad that I added just now): 

Fall vegetable ratatouille 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Toasted sage salsa verde 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Mashed potatoes with tons of butter & truffles from Provence

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Turkey gravy with browned butter

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Homemade cranberry sauce with honey, ginger, and orange zest 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Alison Roman’s buttered stuffing with celery and leeks

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Samin Nosrat’s green curry butternut squash soup

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Continue Reading

Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Curried butternut squash soup

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

Published

on

Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – My husband and I will be hosting Thanksgiving this year, which means I relinquished my control freak tendencies by agreeing to allow my guests to bring dessert. 

Unless it’s pumpkin pie. If I see a pumpkin pie on my table, it will be going in the trash where it belongs. 

Anyway, here is one of the dishes I will be serving: A butternut squash soup, which is brightened up with a Thai-inspired green curry, coconut milk, fish sauce, and a topping that’s a spin on miang kham, a crunchy snack full of peanuts, coconuts, and chilis. (Recipe courtesy of Samin Nosrat.) 

My reason for highlighting this dish? If you’re going to offer a soup for Thanksgiving, it had better have some texture, acidity, and color. You need something to offset your mashed potatoes and turkey. 

Thanksgiving is my Super Bowl. It’s weeks away, but I’ve already pre-ordered my bird from D’Artagnan and finalized my menu, which will include the following along with the soup:

  • Samin Nosrat’s 48-hour buttermilk brine roast turkey
  • Turkey gravy
  • Fall vegetable ratatouille with toasted sage salsa verde 
  • Mashed potatoes with tons of butter 
  • Homemade cranberry sauce with orange zest 
  • Alison Roman’s buttered stuffing with celery and leeks 

…and now, for the soup: 

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Heat oven to 300° F
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons coconut oil in a Dutch oven 
  3. Add 3-6 diced shallots, depending on their size, a 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced, and a stalk of lemongrass, cut into 3-inch pieces
  4. Season with salt and cook for about 18 minutes 
  5. Add 2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½ to 1-inch cubes
  6. Add 2 cans coconut milk, 6-8 tablespoons green curry paste, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, and 3 cups stock
  7. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cooking for 25 mintues
  8. In a medium mixing bowl, combine ¾ cup shelled peanuts, roughly chopped, ¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 8 small dried chilis, thinly sliced, 1 tablespoon neutral oil, 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass, and 1 teaspoon sugar
  9. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet in an even layer, and bake for 18-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes after the first 10. Be careful not to burn. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside
  10. Remove lemongrass stalks from your Dutch oven. Use an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor to puree your soup until totally smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings

Serve with crunchy topping and garnish with Thai basil

Continue Reading

Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Espresso martinis (They’re baaaaaaack)

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

Published

on

Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – Everyone is ordering them. And you know what? They’re delicious. Be a basic bitch. Embrace it. Serve them at your party. Sometimes foods and drinks are trendy and popular for a reason.

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Chill martini glass in the freezer for at least a half hour. Wet the rim and then dunk it into
    a container of turbinado sugar
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine a handful of ice and one ounce each of vodka, Baileys
    Irish Cream, and Kahlúa
  3. Add 2 ounces of espresso, brought to room temperature
  4. Shake well and pour into glass
Continue Reading

Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Mixed berry cobbler

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

Published

on

Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – Unlike crisps and crumbles, cobblers have a biscuit-style topping covering the cooked fruit. Arranged in this fashion, the dessert allegedly looks like a cobbled road, hence the name. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Recipe from Scott Campbell, adapted by Florence Fabricant, New York Times Cooking, and then by me: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and butter a 9 X 13 baking dish
  2. In a food processor, briefly whirl 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons baking powder, and a teaspoon salt. Dice 2 sticks unsalted butter and pulse it until mixture becomes uniformly crumbly. In a measuring cup, mix a quarter cup white granulated sugar with one cup half-and-half until dissolved. Pour into the food processor and pulse until just combined. Do not overmix
  3. Scoop the dough into eight mounds on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with an additional 1-2 tablespoons of sugar, and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned
  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine 1.5 cups brown sugar with 3 12-ounce containers of berries. I used a 2:1 ratio of strawberries to blackberries. Spread evenly in your baking dish
  5. Slide each biscuit topping off your parchment, and place on the berries, spacing them evenly

Bake for another 30 minutes, allow to cool for 30 minutes, and serve with mint and vanilla ice cream

Continue Reading

Food

Kane’s Cuisine: David Tanis’s saffron ginger pears à la mode

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

Published

on

Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – It’s peak pear season, my friends. Unfortunately, the bag of bartletts from your local Whole Foods or farmer’s market may nevertheless be disappointing. 

In “Salt Fat Acid Heat” (which, by the way, is a must-read), chef and food writer Samin Nosrat includes the following passage from John McPhee’s 1966 book “Oranges.”

“Ground fruit – the orange that one can reach and pick from the ground – is not as sweet as fruit that grows high on the tree. Outside fruit is sweeter than inside fruit. Oranges grown on the south side of a tree are sweeter than oranges grown on the east or west side, and oranges grown on the north side are the least sweet of the lot.

“Beyond this, there are differentiations of quality inside a single orange. Individual segments vary from one another in their content of acid and sugar … When [orange pickers] eat an orange … they eat the [sweeter] blossom half and throw the rest of the orange away.”

“These kinds of natural variations mean you can’t know whether your orange is as acidic, ripe, or sweet as the one the recipe tester used in some distant kitchen,” Nosrat writes. Her message here is for home cooks to “taste as you go” and “trust your instincts” rather than follow a formula that may not work as well for you as it did for someone else. 

My purpose, however, is to share a fantastic recipe for less-than-stellar pears. Because let’s be honest: in rare cases, the fruit can be delicious, but most of the time they suck. (In this respect they are unlike other produce, including oranges.) 

So, pick up some pears while they’re in season, with the knowledge that even if they are hard, dry, mealy textured, and insipidly flavored, you can transform them into a delicious dessert with a poach in this saffron ginger syrup. Cooking is amazing, right? 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Recipe from David Tanis, New York Times Cooking: 

  1. Peel 6 Bartlett, D’Anjou, or Comice pears, slightly underripe, leaving stems intact
  2. In a small (~10-inch) skillet, add 2 cups dry white wine, 1 cup granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon crumbled saffron, and 2 thick slices of fresh ginger. Stir and bring to a boil
  3. Add pears, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes. Turn the pears occasionally if they are not fully submerged
  4. Allow to cool and refrigerate the pears with their syrup overnight or for up to several days
  5. Remove the fruit and simmer the syrup down to a thick glaze, about 15 minutes on medium-high heat*
  6. Pour over pears to serve with vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche

*Author’s note: I did not set a timer and was not watching closely, so my syrup reduced to the point that it essentially turned into a hard sticky caramel stuck to the bottom of my pan. So pay close attention! 

Unlike with oranges, however, pears are often so bad they’re practically inedible. And good ones are rare.

Continue Reading

Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Samin Nosrat’s buttermilk-brined roast chicken

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

Published

on

Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – I have made so many roast chickens. This version is simply as good as it gets. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Remove wingtips of 3.5-4.5-pound whole chicken using kitchen shears. Season bird generously with kosher salt and allow to rest for 30 minutes 
  2. Stir 2 tablespoons kosher salt into 2 cups buttermilk to dissolve. Transfer chicken to gallon-sized resealable plastic bag and pour in the buttermilk. Seal, working to expel as much air as possible for maximum marinading
  3. Refrigerate for 24 hours or longer, turning the bag periodically 
  4. Pull chicken out to allow to come to room temperature about 1-2 hours before you plan to cook it
  5. Wipe away as much buttermilk as you can and tie the legs with butcher’s twine. Heat oven to 425° F
  6. Put chicken in a cast iron skillet or shallow roasting pan, with the legs facing the bottom right corner of your oven and the breasts pointing toward the center 
  7. Roast for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 400° F, and continue roasting for 10 minutes 
  8. Optional: As your chicken cooks, cut an onion into wedges and peel a handful of carrots. Toss them in a bowl with 3 tablespoons olive oil and season generously with salt. Scatter them around the chicken in your skillet
  9. Rotate skillet so the chicken legs are facing the back right corner of your oven. Cook for another 30 minutes, tenting with foil if it starts to get too brown
Photo by Dan Balinovic

Continue Reading

Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Chili (Chris’s version)

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

Published

on

Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – My husband requested chili today. This version is relatively straightforward – very spicy and deeply savory. 

The tangy-creamy crème fraiche, acidic lime wedges, soft avocado, and fresh cilantro provide some needed balance to the dish, so you really don’t want to sleep on the garnishes, here. 

You might even have everything you need without having to do a grocery run. And you will certainly have enough lunches for the week should you decide to meal prep with chili. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Brown 1 pound each of ground turkey and ground pork in a Dutch oven over medium heat with 4 tablespoons EVOO. Season with kosher salt and black pepper
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat from pot and set aside. Add 2 onions, diced, cooking for a few minutes. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Stir in 2 cans beer, 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, 1 cup strong black coffee, and 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  3. Add 1.5 tablespoons monosodium glutamate (MSG) (optional but encouraged), along with 2 teaspoons fish sauce. Season with kosher salt and black pepper
  4. Stir in ½ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons hot sauce, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 2 chili peppers, diced, 3 tablespoons cumin, 1 tablespoon coriander, 2 teaspoons cayenne, 2 cans red kidney beans, and 2 cans small red beans
  5. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally 
  6. Add 1 can cannellini beans and continue cooking, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. Season with kosher salt and black pepper

Serve with crème fraiche, and garnish with lime wedges, avocado, and cilantro

Continue Reading

Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Alison Roman’s ‘The Stew’

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

Published

on

Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent snarks his way through another delicious weekly recipe while dishing tea on other subjects

WASHINGTON – One cold November night in 2020, I saw Alison Roman’s recipe for this spiced chickpea stew and thought “with all these five-star reviews, it’s gotta be pretty good.” 

My cooking journey began with this stew. Yours can, too. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add 1 onion, diced, 4 cloves garlic, smashed, and about 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes
  2. Add 1.5 teaspoons ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes. Remove 1 cup and set aside for garnish 
  3. Crush about half the remaining chickpeas, slightly, with a wooden spoon. Add 2 cups full fat coconut milk, along with 2 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper 
  4. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cooking for about 30 minutes or until reduced to your liking 
  5. Add 1 bunch Swiss chard, cooking to wilt for another 3 minutes

Divide among bowls and garnish with mint leaves. Serve with crème fraiche and pita bread

Continue Reading

Popular