Vagabond Cookbook

The best you ate on vacation? Make it at home tonight.

Image of Spanish tuna poke

Spanish Tuna Poke

After last year’s string of rants, everyone knows my thoughts on summer. This year’s no different. The sooner everyone trades their board shorts and bellinis for textbooks and tea, the better. Let’s leave it at that. A hot summer day plays tricks with your palate, though. I’ve never been one to shy away from a rich meal (hell, I’ve roasted turkeys in July with all the fixin’s). But, it’s been creeping into the 80s here in Seattle this week and the heat’s knocking me dead. Suddenly, pot after pot of Texas chili doesn’t sound so good. Even my old standbys — pizza, takeout Thai, gyros — are too heavy for sitting pantsless in front of the fan, binge-watching Stranger Things. So, I’ve done as the clichés commanded — I couldn’t handle the heat and I got out of the kitchen. Instead, I’m looking to the masters of off-the-cuff hot weather […]

Fig and prosciutto salad

The Rest of Summer #3: Salad days

It’s your mother’s fault, really. Remember dinners as a kid on a hot summer night? You happily munch hot dogs. Your father bites into a big, juicy burger. And your mom seethes with envy as she nibbles a dry lettuce leaf, calling it “salad”. “I’m watching my weight,” she moans. The real message rings out loud and clear: Salad is for girls and it sucks like Drusilla. Sunnydale would have been way better off if she did salads once in a while. This Tumblr says it all. Salads are food of the desperate (or deranged). They’re for rabbits and contestants on The Biggest Loser. They’re fine if you need to drop a few pounds fast, but no one actually wants to eat one (and certainly no men do). As Homer Simpson said: “Praise Odin! Finally, D, you say something I can get behind! Now, tell me about cheesesteaks!” Sorry to […]

Tropical coleslaw

The Rest of Summer #2: The Coleslaw Variations

Did coleslaw sick you out too? Growing up, I always thought the stuff brought Janet Jackson levels of nasty. Maybe it was me, but I suspect my revulsion lay in the tragic mess of “salad” dealt from the KFC drive-thru. Welcome to the Atrocity Exhibition. Sweet Jesus! It looks like someone ran a tennis ball through a wood chipper! And that’s the promo shot! Gak, Silly Putty, mutagen, ectoplasm — my childhood was full of wonderful green slime, but coleslaw had nothing to do with it. This green slime I can get behind. I thought all sorts of slaw disgusting until I first encountered the smoky siren’s song of pulled pork. There’s a reason coleslaw tops a pulled pork sandwich: the crunchy, tangy cabbage balances out the sweet and succulent meat, a near-perfect marriage of flavours like a big porky yin yang. (See also: The Rachel.) Since then, my slaw […]