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
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
September 1st, 2012 / comments
I’m an impulsive cook, often inspired by the contents of my fridge and pantry.
Being a shareholder in the Community Supported Agriculture offered by Fable Farm in Barnard has meant that there has been even more inspiration in my kitchen. This week’s share included cherry tomatoes, squash and onions – the perfect combination for a summer quiche.
Sometimes inspiration in the kitchen isn’t enough. There were only a couple of eggs in the fridge and I didn’t have any cream or Swiss cheese and I had used the last ready-to-bake piecrust for a plum tart earlier in the week. Rather than drive to the grocery store for the missing ingredients, I improvised and made a vegetable tart with what I had. Unfortunately, when I lifted the lid of the ceramic pot that I keep flour in, I saw that I had forgotten to buy flour. … read more