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
September 14th, 2012 / Comments
Tomato Sandwiches by Don & Charles
When I was at Fable Farm picking up our CSA share, I got a basket full of cherry tomatoes that Charles and our friend Don used to make a plate full of amazing tomato sandwiches with just a smear of mayo and an artful sprinkling of fresh dill. The pile of zucchini there reminded me of the first time I made pickles with my cousin Sis and her mother, Aunt Ann, who we called Antenna. It was a hot, sticky day in late August and they invited me to the cool cellar to help.
There were baskets of pickling cucumbers, bunches of fresh dill, dill seeds, garlic, jugs of vinegar, boxes of mason jars, rubber rings and lids, enough supplies for a small factory. The cellar was primitive, with two large laundry sinks and two gas burners that were used exclusively for pickling or canning.
I was the cucumber-sorter, a perfect job for a hot day. I stood on an up-turned box, up to my elbows in cold water. Cucumbers floated in cold water in the deep sinks. … read more
August 16th, 2012 / comments
I’m not complaining about abundance but I’ve had to develop tactics to deal with the wealth of vegetables and herbs in our CSA share.
I reduced the volume of lettuce by half by coring and washing it before I put it in the fridge. After I removed the core, I separated the leaves and put them into the sink filled with cold water. After swishing the lettuce around, I let it rest in the water long enough for the dirt and sand sink to the bottom and the lettuce to absorb bit of water. I lifted it out of the water, spun it dry in a salad spinner, wrapped the leaves in a tea towel and put it into a plastic bag that I pushed the air out of before sealing. The lettuce was ready to be used in a salad or on a sandwich and lasted nearly a week.
When I have a small quantity of fresh basil, dill or parsley … read more
July 10th, 2012 / Comments
Our weekly CSA pick-up at Fable Farm is an opportunity to see friends and vegetables both old and new.
We look forward to sharing a pot luck meal with old friends like Shoshana and T and their daughters Tess and Devi, both discerning vegetarians, and new friends whose names I hope I’ll remember the next time I see them. … read more
January 17th, 2012 / comments
It’s been a long time coming but snow has arrived. The garden is white, the branches of the trees are accented with white. Winter has arrived and, in my mind, winter is soup season. I think a meal should have a balance of colors as well as a balance of flavors. Purple-red borscht topped with a scoop of sour cream and a sprinkle of dill leaves has that balance of color and flavor as does green split pea soup with sunny carrot dice cubes and pink cubes of ham. But, the snow reminded me of a Saturday lunch we shared last winter and I made a white dinner and to celebrate the arrival of the snow.
Last January, after our friends Kathy and Rick had spent weeks packing, snow shoveling, ice dam cursing, moving and unpacking, they invited us to lunch. We sat around the granite island in their new kitchen and savored, steamy bowls of cauliflower cheese soup. … 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