Musings about Food & the Politics of Food.

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My Goals for 2014 0

Posted on January 06, 2014 by Sahar

I’m a little late here, but a very happy 2014 to you all.

As we all have at this point in the year, there are a few goals that I’d like to accomplish, or at least try, in 2014.

1.  Really get my garden going.  2013 was a year of life and other things getting in the way so I couldn’t get too far into it.  I’d like to get my garden built, prepped, and planted so I can start harvesting in May or June.

2.  Post on this blog more often.  It’s good practice for me.  And, I would like more of you to read and enjoy what I write.

3.  Promote my blog.  That means for me to delve even further into the world of social media.  You know, join 2014.

4.  Continue to get better at my photography.  I think I’m rather good at it given the tools I’ve had.  I now have a great camera as well as a couple of workshops under my belt.  Plus, I’ve learned that white and natural are always the way to go.

5. Stretch my cooking abilities and challenge myself.  Like most cooks, I’m prone to fall into ruts from time to time.

6.  Bake more. Especially breads.  Even try gluten-free and vegan baking.  I also have plenty of sourdough starter, so have at it, Me.

7.  Take a few cake decorating classes.  Because I’ve always wanted to.

8.  Teach myself to make the following:

a) Corned Beef

b) Cured Salmon

c) perfect Rice Pudding

d) Mansaff (a Bedouin dish of lamb and yogurt; one of my favorites that I’ve never been able to master)

e) my grandmother’s pie crust

f) true barbecued Brisket

g) tempered chocolate

h) fresh veggie burgers

i) seitan (a meat substitute made with flour and wheat gluten)

j) pastrami

k) pita bread

l) a really good shrimp curry

m) and other things that I haven’t thought of yet



Have a lovely 2014!  Hope you all reach your goals.


See you all soon.




Points West – A Preface 1

Posted on August 28, 2012 by Sahar

My husband Steve & I  decided over the last couple of years that instead of giving each other gifts for our respective birthdays, we’ll take long weekend trips around Texas.  Because, well, we can.

For his birthday, we went to San Antonio.  Did a lot of the usual tourist stuff and some not so usual.

If you’re a tourist, you gotta go here. Casa del Rio. San Antonio.


It’s always festive at Mi Tierra. Great hangover brunch.


For my birthday weekend, we’ve decided we’re heading out to far West Texas.  Marfa and Big Bend. We’ve been there before for the Terlingua Chili Cook-Off (a highly recommended excursion).

Terlingua Chili Cook-Off. The Granddaddy of them all.

Just a few of the fine folks at the cook-off.


A glimpse at Terlingua Ghost Town


Like I’ve done with my trip to New York and New Jersey, I’ll be painstakingly documenting the sights and, yes, food, on this journey so I can share it when we return.


See y’all soon!

An Addendum to Ragú for Non-Pork Eaters 1

Posted on June 14, 2012 by Sahar

As I stated in my earlier post on Ragú alla Bolognese, this is a recipe that can be made with one type of meat or a mixture.  My recipe is 100% pork.

However, I do know there are some readers of mine who don’t eat pork for a variety of reasons.

You can substitute the ground pork for:

1.  Ground Beef (I recommend chuck, it will hold up better under the long braising process)

2.  Ground dark poultry (i.e. chicken or turkey thighs.  The flavor is better and the meat won’t dry like white meat will)

3. Ground veal (however, it is expensive and some have a moral aversion to using it)

4.  Ground or diced fowl (duck, primarily. Plus, a little crispy dick skin as a flavoring on the pasta is wonderful.)


As for the prosciutto, or as some recipes call for, pancetta (basically, Italian bacon), that can be substituted with either turkey bacon or beef “bacon”.  Now, both of these don’t necessarily come thick-sliced, so my recommendation is to cook either of these bacons with the vegetables rather than start them separately.  Otherwise, they could burn.

Another substitution is Italian Bresaola, spiced and air-dried beef.  It is saltier than prosciutto, so be careful when you add additional salt to the recipe.

If you can find it, duck prosciutto is another good alternative.


Now, for my Muslim readers.  A substitution for wine.  Now, you can just omit it all together if you prefer.  However, there are substitutions that can still give you the flavor component without the alcohol.  You can add extra broth if you want to keep the liquid amount consistent.  You can add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for the acidity and 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple juice for the sweetness.



Hope this helps!

¡Feliz Navidad! Tex-Mex Style. 1

Posted on December 25, 2011 by Sahar

A Merry Xmas to everyone.  Instead of the traditional dinner of turkey or goose this year, my husband Steve & I decided to go Tex-Mex. We figured, why not?  It’s one of the great Texas treats.  A decidedly guilty pleasure.

The ingredients:

Christmas dinner ingredients. The ultimate #2 Plate.


The end result.  Decadently yummy.

Finished Xmas Dinner.


And Sopapillas.

Sopapillas & Honey.


Needless to say, we’re very full.  And, I don’t have to cook for at least the next two days.  Happy Xmas indeed.


Almost forgot… 3

Posted on December 11, 2011 by Sahar

Almost forget to tell you.  To leave a comment, please click on the word bubble next to the blog header.

Hello world! 2

Posted on December 02, 2011 by admin

Welcome to my website and blog.  I hope we’ll all be happy together.

If you’ve read my bio, then you know I’m a (mostly) self-taught cook.  I never went to culinary school, but I have plenty of practice and real-world experience in the kitchen.  I have had the opportunity to work with great local as well as world-renowned chefs and cookbook authors.  I’ve learned lessons from each and every one of them.  Both good and bad.

I’ll really only post when I have something to say.  I’ll share my musings on food, the politics of food, food people, restaurants, cookbooks, recipe development, etc.

I won’t get into debates about who has the best cheeseburger, pork belly, wine list, etc..  Food is a very subjective thing.  Everyone has their opinion.  What I think is good may be sawdust for someone else.  Opposing opinions are fine; just don’t expect me to get into a fight about it.

Please give me feedback.  That’s how I learn.  If you feel the need to criticize, fine.  But, please do it constructively.  Any comments I deem to be rude or offensive will be removed and the poster runs the risk of being blocked.

I also like photography. So, expect lots of pictures.


Again, welcome.  I hope we can all have some fun together.




Fresh Sea Scallops. Borough Market, South Bank, London. June 2011.



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