Double-edged sword

It occurred to me, following the potimarron post, that I have a kitchen tip:
This is a grapefruit knife. It is, as you may know, serrated along both edges, and curved at the tip, which makes it easy to cut the wedges out of your half-grapefruit.
That’s not my tip.
I use my grapefruit knife to deseed squash – works a treat! Just halve your squash and insert the blade into the flesh and saw around the seed/pulp pocket. For a squash with a small pocket, like a butternut or potimarron, you should be able to get the whole pocket in one go, and pop it out intact.
You can use a similar technique with larger squash, like pumpkins, working in sections.

Recent acquisition #1: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

In the past week, three new and exciting things have found their way into my kitchen: a book, a machine, and an ingredient.
The first of these is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. I am a Jamie fan. Although I’ve never watched any of his television shows (I think I caught ten minutes of one), I have eaten at his Italian restaurant three times, and loved the experience – Not just the food, but the ambience, the great balance between old-school cookery and high-tech gadgetry, and one of the best Pimm’s & lemonade I’ve ever tasted. (Of course, I do object to the title The Naked Chef. There is no nudity – it’s a crock-tease.)
I also like his philosophy, and how he puts his money where his mouth is. He believes that low income is not an excuse for bad food; nor is no time, no skill, no experience, and so on. He goes to schools in the UK and teaches the children about nutrition, and teaches the cooking staff how to make better, more nutritious food on the same budget.
One of the best meals I had at the restaurant was his Penne Arrabiata, which I’ve mentioned before. I liked it so much that I went and found it online, and from there, discovered some of his other recipes, many of which are from his book Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, which supplements his television show of the same name.

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Recent acquisition #2: the Ferrari of breadmakers

Before we bought our first breadmaker, we hemmed and hawed, because (a) breadmakers are not cheap, (b) they are large and take up a lot of space, and (c) we weren’t convinced that we’d use it. After all, we’ve all come home with a fancy new kitchen appliance, like a juicer or yoghurt maker, used it once or twice, and then relegated it to some underused corner of the kitchen, resenting the space it occupies as it gathers dust.
We have now owned at least five breadmakers.
We make bread often. Dr. T uses the machine to make the dough for his awesome pizzas. I make our hamburger buns from dough made in the machine.
So when our old reliable breadmaker finally stopped being so reliable, I did some research into the best bang for one’s buck, breadmaker-wise. Based on consumer reviews, I found Zojirushi, a brand I had never heard of before, and fell in love.

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Recent acquisition #3: It’s a what?

Our lovely friend Darie is visiting from Switzerland, and she brought me a new ingredient (the fact that Darie knew that bringing me something to cook with would be well received is one of the things that makes her so lovely).
She brought me a potimarron.
I knew it was a squash, at least! The name ‘potimarron’ apparently is a portmanteau derived from the European French word for pumpkin, ‘potiron,’ and ‘marron,’ which means chestnut.
I used it in an Indian ratatouille (recipe from the Moosewood collection, naturally) that also features eggplant and orange juice, flavoured with coriander and cumin. The recipe calls for zucchini or yellow squash, and I have made it more than once with my favourite squash, butternut. The potimarron was an interesting switch – I didn’t peel it, as per Darie’s instructions, but the peel was tender and unresistant. The flesh was slightly nutty, and definitely reminiscent of pumpkin, so clearly the potimarron is well-named.