The theme of the elimination challenge in the most recent Top Chef was to create an adult version of childhood comfort food. The winning combo, created by Betty, was a variation of the classic pairing of cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich. Instead of just tomatoes, she added roasted red peppers to the soup, and instead of just cheese, she put grilled portobello mushrooms in the sandwich.

Yesterday's musings on the priciness of at least some organic produce reminded me of a very useful guide to pesticides on popular fruits and vegetables, published by the Environmental Working Group. I've listed it before in my Daily Links, but I'm repeating it here in case you missed it. It's a wallet-sized guide to the produce that has the most pesticides (so worth buying organic) down to the ones that have the least (so perhaps worth buying conventional.

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Regular readers of this site may wonder about the lack of recipes recently. Truth is, I haven't been doing much real cooking lately, as in taking out the pots and pans and turning on the heat. While summer here in Switzerland is quite tolerable due to cool mornings and evenings, during the day the temperature does reach the 30s celsius which isn't too nice since, as with most Swiss houses, we don't have air conditioning. Besides, even if you do have air conditioning or cool evenings, there are so many other things to do during the summer that cooking becomes a low priority, doesn't it?

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I am a week behind in posting this, but here we go. Day 20 of Masterchef brought us these ingredients:

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I wasn't too well prepared for the tartine edition (hosted by Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini) of Is My Blog Burning? (conceived by Alberto of Il Forno). I forgot to buy any special bread, so had to make do with regular toast bread and some pumpernickel.

I grew up in Japan, England and the U.S., so all the good and bad of the food culture of each country is part of my food vocabulary. While I like to try out new things as much as any enthusiastic cook. "comfort food" to me means things that I used to eat when I was little.

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