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Omavore’s new home

6 Mar

Omavore has a new look — and a new address. Please update your bookmarks and readers to



Omavore on Instagram

2 Mar

My newest obsession: Instagram. (I realize, everyone is obsessed with it.) Find me at SarahBakerHansen.

Some recent snaps: hot chocolate in my favorite vintage mug, vintage James Beard reading, vodka infusion at Taxi’s Bar and Grille, Lucky Buddha beer at Saigon, Amsterdam Falafel.

Vintage Style Icon: Natalie Joos

20 Feb

I cooked a huge tray of lasagna and a roasted chicken last night, but I forgot to take photos. So instead, on this dreary Monday, enjoy a helping of style, courtesy of Natalie Joos, one of my favorite vintage-loving fashionistas who is a casting agent for models in New York. Her blog, Tales of Endearment, is one of my favorites.

She takes models, designers, bloggers and friends on amazing vintage and thrift adventures and documents it along the way. What fun! I love how she mixes high and low, modern and vintage, menswear and girly pieces and tops it all off with fun nail polish, jazzy sunglasses, hats and fantastic shoes.

Enjoy (and we’ll be back to regularly scheduled food programming tomorrow.)

All images courtesy of Tales of Endearment.

Meat loaf

17 Feb

Meat loaf is sort of pedestrian. It’s sort of old-school and maybe a touch boring.

But I love it.

When I was growing up, meat loaf was one of my mom’s standard dinners, and also one of my favorites. In my meatless years, I made at least a couple of meat loaves with boca crumblers and seitan.

Last week it was so cold in Omaha, and one night, I just got the craving for a meatloaf, a side of mashed potatoes and a pile of green beans.

I turned to the New York Times, where I found an updated variation on meat loaf thanks to Florence Fabricant, and a Craig Claiborne classic recipe that’s worth a gander for his writing alone.

“There is almost no herb or spice that, used with discretion, would not marry handsomely with a meritorious meat loaf.”

Indeed. I studded mine with sauteed leeks and baby bella mushrooms and flavored it with lots of oregano and Italian seasonings. And next time, I’ll definitely make one of Claiborne’s sauces to accompany my meritorious meat loaf.

Thanksgiving week: Wine with Jesse Becker, MS

22 Nov

I met Master Sommelier Jesse Becker when he was working at Omaha’s Boiler Room restaurant. Not only does he know his stuff — he’s got the rare and prestigious professional certification awarded by The Court of Master Sommeliers — he’s a super nice guy. Now he’s living in San Francisco, where he runs Périphérique Wine Merchants with his wife, Beth. Jesse will be back on the floor at the Boiler Room on the evening of New Year’s Eve.

I asked Jesse via Twitter to share his Thanksgiving wine recommendations with Omavore readers, and he went above and beyond.

Jesse’s main tip: “Keep it fresh, keep it light and not too boozy.”

He chose two routes: American wine, which makes sense for a truly American holiday, and what he calls “perfect pairings.”

His pick for an American white wine is the 2010 Matthiasson white, a blend of Sauvignon blanc, Ribolla gialla, Semillon, and Friulano. ($35, pictured at left.) Matthaisson is a small family winery just outside of Yountville, in Northern California. The wine, he says, is “just delicious.”

For an American red, Jesse chose Doug Nalle’s low-alcohol Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma, California. “Doug’s 2009 Nalle Zinfandel ($36) is just 13.6% alcohol and has refreshing acidity and lots of nice strawberry fruit,” Jesse said.

Jesse’s “perfect pairing” wines for Thanksgiving are matched with the traditional menu. He chose two with a little more fruit, he said, because they can handle lots of different foods.

His perfect pairing white is a German Reisling that’s low in alcohol and has just a bit of sweetness.  The 2009 Karthauserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Kabinett ($23.99) is a crowd pleaser. “You can drink it all afternoon or evening,” he said. “It’s perfect for a long family meal, and its sweetness works with all the sweet dishes of a traditional Thansgiving meal including sweet potatoes and grandma’s Jell-O salad.”

For a perfect pairing red, Jesse likes Beaujolais. The 2010 Jean-Paul Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees Fleurie Beaujolais ($22.99, pictured at right) is another low alcohol wine with lots of crowd-pleasing fruit, he said. It’s what he’ll be drinking at his own Thanksgiving feast.

Images courtesy Matthiasson and

Q&A: Isa Chandra Moskowitz

15 Nov

I was thrilled to receive Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s newest vegan cookbook, Vegan Pie in the Sky, in the mail a few weeks ago. I’m not the most talented of bakers — in fact, I have more baking failures than successes under my belt — but Isa’s book makes me want to give it a new try. She makes it all sound so easy! She was kind enough to answer some of my questions about pie crust, her new book, baking in Nebraska and other stuff. See all that below.

Isa will be teaching a class on Vegan Holiday cooking at Whole Foods Omaha on Dec. 17. In the Omaha Creative Institute workshop, Isa will show cooks how to make a vegan holiday dinner that includes Latkes with applesauce, chickpea cutlets with mushroom gravy and gingerbread cookies. She’ll also show how to prepare seasonal veggies, like kale and squash. Click the link above for more information.

SBH: So baking is really intimidating for me, especially the idea of vegan baking and pies, but your new book makes it sound easy. Even after all my baking disasters, I want to make almost everything in your book. Tell me about your approach.

ICM: We just try to be as clear as possible in our recipes. I suppose rule number one is to follow the directions! Make sure you have all your ingredients out and all of your counters cleared. You’ll need plenty of elbow room. Carefully read through the directions first and then prepare the recipe. Pie crust is an art, so if it doesn’t come out perfect the first time, it will come out better the second time, and even better the third. But be patient, be passionate, and you’ll get there. It’s worth it!

SBH: I have a gluten-free mom and a gluten-free close friend. I love the idea of a nut crust. Any ideas for making any of the more traditional crusts GF?

ICM: This isn’t an incredibly creative answer, but any gluten-free mix with just a pinch of xanthan gum seemed to do the trick for me. Our one gluten-free crust in the book is an almond press-in crust, but that wouldn’t work as a buttery pastry crust.

SBH: I read on your blog that you’ve served the Maple Pecan Pie (pictured at right) to Nebraska farmers who loved it – I’m so curious to hear the whole story!

ICM: We’ve served pie at several bake sales in the area and it’s usually feedback we get from someone’s parents. “My dad eats steak 3 times a day and can’t live without half in half but he had NO IDEA your pie had tofu in it!”

SBH: If you were to recommend one or two of the pies/desserts in the book that vegans could bring to their holiday table and impress all the non-vegans what would those be?

ICM: I’d go traditional: The Voluptuous Pumpkin Pie for sure, the Cosmos Apple Pie with Olive Oil Crust and the Maple Pecan Pie.

SBH: Tell me more about the miracle that is cashew. I’ve read about cashew cream online and haven’t ever made it. What does it add to the recipes? Is it as simple to make as it sounds?

ICM: It most definitely is simple! Pureed cashews become thick and creamy, similar to heavy cream. It adds richness to many of our cheesecakes and mousses.

SBH: The book includes some really elegant desserts – the pear frangipane tart (pictured above) you featured on your blog is lovely and the salted chocolate caramel tart sounds divine as well. Do you think people are surprised that such beautiful and tasty-sounding desserts are also vegan?

ICM: I don’t know, if they are surprised, they shouldn’t be! So many ingredients in traditional baked goods are vegan, like chocolate, nuts, fruit and so on.

All images courtesy of The Post Punk Kitchen.

Chicken Adobo

27 Oct

My favorite cookbooks and food reading all come from the same place: Mark Bittman. I own at least four of his cookbooks and his iPad app. I loved his New York Times Minimalist column. Last night, I followed his directions to butcher a whole chicken in my kitchen, and then I used one of his favorite recipes, Chicken Adobo, to cook it.

The butchering of the chicken was clumsy, but I know I’ll get better at it. The recipe, though, is flawless. It’s enough for at least two meals, and the chicken came out moist, crispy and deeply flavored.