Ketchup from my Vermont Kitchen

December 14th, 2011 / comments 3

tomato c egbert Ketchup from my Vermont KitchenWhen 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

Mushroom Pie – Recipe from the ’50s

November 10th, 2011 / Comments 1

V Mushroom 03 Mushroom Pie   Recipe from the 50s
Musroom pie 021 Mushroom Pie   Recipe from the 50s

Parsnip in Halloween Disguise

October 27th, 2011 / comments 8

Halloween is a holiday when imagination runs wild. Whether you are going to a party or a parade, this is the holiday to join the masquerade.

lynda oval 1 Parsnip in Halloween Disguise

The possibilities are endless – you can present yourself as a superhero or a world leader, a puppy or a princess, a vampire or a bunny rabbit.Halloween treats are everywhere, free when you call out “Trick or Treat” at the home of a friendly neighbor. … read more

Veg Box Dinner – Stir Fry and Bok Choy with Chinese Black Beans

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.

veg box Veg Box Dinner   Stir Fry and Bok Choy with Chinese Black BeansMatthew 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

Quinoa Salad – A Middle Eastern Dinner Salad

August 17th, 2011 / comments 2

Quinoa is the seed from a plant related to beets, spinach and tumbleweed. Who knew? Tumbleweed makes me think of Gene Autry singing ‘… rolling along with the tumbling, tumbleweed’, but quinoa originated in the Andes Mountains where it has been an important food for more than six thousand years.

A gluten free, complete protein it was called the ‘mother of all grains’.

With all of this to recommend it, I decided to add it to my pantry. My first quinoa creation was a resounding failure – a mushy mixture that tasted like wet laundry, (Actually, I have never eaten wet or dry laundry, but that’s the best description I can come up with). … read more

Caponata – A Sicilian Palate & A Painter’s Pallet

April 13th, 2011 / comments 7

I couldn’t ignore the colors of the fruits and vegetables piled high in boxes and baskets at the open-air market in Ortigia. I shopped as if I were in an art supply store choosing tubes of paint.

eggplant 01 Caponata   A Sicilian Palate & A Painters Pallet

Watercolor by Carol Egbert

I bought a deep violet eggplant,

pepper 01 Caponata   A Sicilian Palate & A Painters Pallet

Watercolor by Carol Egbert

a sweet pepper that was sap green on one side and cadmium orange on the other, white cippolini onions with forest green leaves, a bunch of celery with chartreuse leaves attached to leaf-green stems,

olives 01 Caponata   A Sicilian Palate & A Painters Pallet

Watercolor by Carol Egbert

blue-black olives cured in oil, a scoop of grey-green salt cured capers, six Windsor yellow lemons and two kilos of blood oranges.

I created an ad hoc still life as I unpacked the market bags and thought about what I would cook. The caponata I had eaten in Taormina earlier in the week came to mind. Considered a Sicilian classic, caponata, like pasta, couscous, oranges and lemons, was brought by the Arabs when they conquered Sicily in 827 AD. The Arabs, then called Saracens, also introduced sophisticated methods of irrigation that made vegetable farming possible. Making caponata, a salad of cooked vegetables with a sweet and sour sauce, is an opportunity to combine colorful vegetables and Mediterranean history. Here’s how I did it:

… read more

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