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
October 12th, 2012 / Comments
Is it just me, or has planning the menu for a dinner party become more complicated than coordinating colors and patterns for a crazy quilt?
In the 20th century, creating the menu for a dinner part was as simple as choosing a main dish, usually meat or chicken; a vegetable, anything green; something to pour sauce or gravy on, either potatoes, rice or noodles; and, something sweet to finish – a pie, a cake or something chocolate. Alas, those days are gone. … read more
September 26th, 2012 / Comments
Fall has arrived. The chlorophyll is fading and revealing the warm shades of yellow, orange and red and the cool evenings make a fire in the woodstove welcome.
As tomato season ends, winter squash season begins.
Pumpkins, like all winter squash, grow in the summer and are harvested when the fruit and seeds have matured fully and the skin has hardened into a tough rind. Summer squash is in the market all winter and winter squash is available in the late summer, fall and winter. … 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
April 11th, 2012 / comments
Romanesco is in the market.
Some call it broccoli, others call it cauliflower and there are those who call it broccoflower.
I call it gorgeous.
Individual curds, that’s what the florets are called, are smaller versions of the whole. Each curds is composed of even smaller versions of itself. In mathematical terms, it is a logarithmic spiral or recursive helical arrangement of cones.
I steamed this tasty, mathematical delight until it was tender and then seasoned it with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Tonight we are having pasta with Romanesco and garlic. Wish you were here.
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