Rhubarb syrup is a lovely shade of soft pink, even though the rhubarb stalks from my garden were mostly green. … read more
May 22nd, 2013 / Comments 1
June 14th, 2012 / comments 2
October 19th, 2011 / comments 3
I’ve traveled to Brighton, a seaside town sixty miles south of London, to visit my son Matthew while his wife, Alison, is in Australia on a business trip. Weekday mornings we take the train to the university where Matthew is teaching and we work – he writes and I write. We meet for mid-morning tea, lunch and mid-afternoon tea before heading home. During, between and after meals, our conversations regularly turn to food.
Matthew and Alison have a “veg” box from Riverford Farm delivered every Thursday. The organic vegetables and fruit come in a reusable cardboard box and are accompanied by seasonal recipes and news from the farm. The “veg” box, augmented with a bit of meat or fish, milk, cheese and eggs and miscellaneous items like fresh ginger and hot peppers from the grocer at the train station, is the center of their healthy and sustainable diet. This week’s box had leeks, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, fennel, potatoes, onions and baby bok choy.
On Thursday, we had “veg” box stir-fry and bok choy with black beans for dinner. Here’s how Matthew did it: … read more
June 29th, 2011 / comments 9
After a warm welcome and brief introductions, the first question at most dinner parties is, “Red or white?” I rarely drink wine so my response is usually “Anything non-alcoholic would be fine.”
Often the choice is water, either still, fizzy or flavored, from a plastic bottle. Perhaps some of my non-alcoholic drink combinations will inspire you and at your next party you will ask your guests, “Red, white, spicy, fruity, sweet, minty, on the rocks or straight up?”
Ginger ale made by the glass has a bright flavor and the ginger zing can be adjusted to suit the sipper. Not only do I use ginger syrup to make ginger ale, I also use it instead of sugar or honey to add zip to hot or iced tea. A pitcher of lime/ginger fizz along with the bottles of reds and whites makes every guest feel well taken care of. Ginger and clove syrups keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. I have created labels for both that can be downloaded and printed by clicking here. I use the home brewers’ trick of using milk as the glue to stick the label to the bottle.Here’s how I make it: … read more
June 30th, 2010 / comments 3
In my childhood, wedges of ice-cold, pink watermelon, dotted with shiny, black seeds were the before-dark, Fourth of July Picnic dessert. When the fireflies appeared and the bonfire was glowing, we moved on to sticky, hot, sometimes burned, toasted marshmallows.
It was important to eat the watermelon before sunset because we needed to be able to see who could spit seeds the farthest. Even the grown-ups enjoyed the contest and so, spitting, limited to seeds at picnics, was exempt from the general prohibition against spitting.
The distance-spitting competition usually deteriorated into a melee of targeting siblings, rivals and unsuspecting pets.
Late in the afternoon, on July third, my dad would bring home a block of ice. He used an awe inspiring ice pick to break up the ice for the food cooler, the drink cooler and the metal tub that held the watermelon. For many years, I ate watermelon plain, not even dusted with salt. Watermelon juice dripped off my chin and down my arms. It was sweet, pink, crisp, cool organized water.
Watermelon is an inexpensive fruit that is loaded with Vitamins C and A and also a source of the anti-oxidant, lycopene. Historians believe that it originated in Africa, and today China is the world’s largest producer of watermelon. When I was traveling in Shanghai in the summer of 1985, the garbage collectors were on strike and watermelon rinds were piled high in empty lots across the city. There are more than a thousand varieties of watermelon ranging from under a pound softball size to gigantic fruits that weigh more than two hundred pounds. Watermelon flesh may be red, orange, yellow or white.
I still love watermelon even though it rarely has the necessary ammunition for a distance competition or even target practice. I have progressed from serving plain chunks of watermelon to serving it sliced and dusted with smoky herbs, and have used it in salads, salsas, and drinks. A sprinkle of seasoning and a squeeze of citrus made slices of watermelon sing. Here’s how I made Spicy Watermelon Slices, Watermelon Salsa and Watermelon Coolers: … read more
March 25th, 2010 / comments 4
This post, focusing on Blood Oranges, is the first in a series of Ingredient Posts. I welcome your thoughts on ingredients that you are curious about, love or hate, use frequently or have never tried.
The fields outside of Siracusa are filled with citrus groves. The distinctive dark green, round trees that grow in orderly rows were visible when my plane circled Mt. Etna. Some of trees are so full of uniformly yellow fruit that it is possible to identify them as lemon trees from the air. Although Arabs are creditedwith bringing lemons and bitter oranges to Sicily sweet oranges were brought to Sicily in the15th century by Portuguese crusaders.
I have been taking full advantage of the possibilities that fresh lemons and oranges in the market offer.
Today, I am celebrating the blood oranges that fill the market.
I eat a blood orange before my morning cappuccino, I drink blood orange juice at lunch.
Insalata Fantasia di Arance is what I order if I want a salad of blood orange segments simply dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper at dinner. It may be topped with onion, anchovy or olives but however it comes, it is delicious.
Freshly squeezed, pink, blood orange juice, with or without a splash of vodka, is toast worthy. Salute!
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