November 28th, 2013 / Comments
A gathering for a holiday or a family celebration that centers on a meal provides the perfect opportunity for a food fight.
I don’t mean the kind that involves a cream pie in the face, champagne sprayed around the table or peas slingshot across the room. I mean friendly, family disagreements about the best cranberry sauce. Should dessert be apple or pumpkin pie? Are creamed onions or a green bean casserole mandatory? Will there be chestnuts in the stuffing? Most picture perfect holiday meals exist only in magazines and movies, with a group of strangers presented as family, dressed by stylists, sitting at a perfectly decorated holiday table. Real holiday meals are an opportunity to share a favorite recipe and no one will complain that the second version of cranberry sauce has spoiled the symmetry of the table.
My favorite cranberry relish was inspired by a recipe from my friend Lynda. I added a chili pepper when I made it last year. Here’s how I did it: … read more
February 2nd, 2013 / Comments
The snow is lovely, the air is crisp, very crisp and carrots have replaced the fresh, local leafy green vegetables that fill my fridge in the warmer months. The golden glow of the fire in the woodstove matched the warm orange of the carrot soup and carrot falafel that I made last week.
The Moors brought carrots, cousin of both Queen Anne’s lace and parsnips, to Europe from Asia in the 10th century. With more natural sugar than any other vegetable except beets, carrots are rich in carotene, which improves night vision, and are renowned as an anti-wrinkle agent.
According to some food historians, carrots originated in Afghanistan, which was enough of a reason to make falafel with carrots as the primary ingredient. Tahini sauce added a taste of the Middle East to our dinner. Here’s how I did it: … read more
January 11th, 2012 / Comments
It’s not to late to make a New Year’s resolution. Rather than resolving to go to the gym three times a week, or to sort out the extra clothes at the back of my closet, or to re-read at least one classic before the daffodils appear; I have resolved to have an empty fridge when it’s time to travel to Italy in March.
(I wanted to share my most recent painting, Rainbow Carrots, even though carrots have nothing to do with this post. )
The first step is to dispose of all of the half-filled jars of mystery sauces that have accumulated since we returned from Italy last spring. The second, and perhaps more difficult part is resisting the jars of exotic sauces at the market. I will make do with only three jars of sauce, mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise. The mustard is grainy Dijon mustard, the ketchup is what remains of the homemade ketchup I made as a Christmas gift for Charles, and I will make mayo as we need it. … read more
December 14th, 2011 / comments
When I was a child, one of my jobs was to refill the large, red plastic tomato with ketchup. My sister and I squeezed that tomato to squirt ketchup on French fried potatoes, grilled American cheese sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs and scrambled eggs. When I moved to Washington, DC, I wanted to be sophisticated and cosmopolitan. I listened to classical music, read the articles as well as the cartoons in the New Yorker and banished ketchup from my kitchen. … read more
September 21st, 2011 / Comments
On September 26th, I’ll be celebrating John Chapman’s birthday with a bowl of apple sauce, a smear of apple jelly and a dollop of apple butter on toast. He was a barefoot itinerant arborist who wore a tin pot instead of a hat. I met this gentle man between the covers of a Golden Book when I was six, you probably know him as Johnny Appleseed.
When the sweet aroma of apples cooking to make applesauce and jelly as inspiration and a chance meeting with an overloaded apple tree, Charles gathered loads of apples. Here’s how I made a batch of apple butter: … read more
July 14th, 2011 / comments
Watercolor painting by Carol Egbert
Saturday, white puffy clouds danced across the cobalt blue sky, the grass was freshly mowed and my Kindle was giving me that ‘come hither’ look. It was a day to make one of my favorite (nearly) no-cook, (almost) zero effort dinners. This dinner has four steps:
- Determine menu
- See what’s in the pantry and fridge
- Go to market for what isn’t
- Pull dinner together
Charles and I decided to split the tasks. I decided we would have roasted chicken with pink ginger sauce, sesame noodles and a nectarine salad. I found soy sauce, cayenne pepper, vinegar, canola oil, garlic, honey, sesame seeds and sesame oil in the pantry and mayonnaise, sour cream, catsup and pickled ginger in the fridge. Charles went to the market to get a rotisserie cooked chicken, a box of pasta, scallions, fresh ginger and some nectarines. I got lost in my book and snoozed a bit.
When I woke up, I put a large pot of water on the stove over medium heat. In less than half an hour after Charles returned from the market, we sat down to an Asian inspired summer dinner. Here’s how we did it:
… read more