Monday, 29 June 2015 | 7 comments

Black raspberry coffee cake

Wild berries are pretty incredible. Most berries are resource-intensive to farm commercially, so we’re used to an expensive product from the supermarket that’s only kind of okay, taste-wise. Then, all of a sudden, nature says, “Here they are: they’re free, they taste more interesting, you didn’t have to work for them, and they are available in great quantity, for one week only. Go!” It’s a little overwhelming and makes you want to drop everything and eat some berries. This may be why yesterday evening, I found Ben in the backyard ostensibly working (he had a wheelbarrow with him, after all), when he was actually taking handfuls of wineberries to the face.

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Monday, 15 June 2015 | 8 comments

An omelette to feed a few, with Zuni pickled onions & greens

Oh, early summer. Nothing in the garden but greens and radishes and potential. There are some strawberries and rhubarb kicking around the markets, definitely exciting, but not really dinner. Some bolting arugula and peas and zucchini blossoms. But we’re still waiting for the onslaught.

It’s warming up here, but it’s not unbearable yet. June in Virginia is a slow slide from spring into a green, thick humidity that practically vibrates. We’re still getting some breezy, non-swampy days, though. Even though all the magazines are telling us that it’s GRILL TIME NOW, I’m still cooking inside quite a bit, cleaning out pantry and freezer.

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Wednesday, 3 June 2015 | 24 comments

Strawberry sorbet is easier to make than a grocery store

I’m on the board of directors of a local start-up food co-op. We live in a small, rural, not-very-densely populated community. We have no grocery store.

Despite some recent efforts on our town to lure in commercial activity, the big chain stores just won’t come here. When they plug our income and population numbers into their algorithm, they don’t project that our area could make them the profit that they need. We’re not talking fancy, high-end grocery stores here: my town can’t even seal the deal on a Kroger.

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Wednesday, 20 May 2015 | 23 comments

Skillet greens & beans with anchovy breadcrumbs

I am a big fan of my annual greens garden. Greens are easy. They come early in the season. Reward-to-risk ratio is high. This year, I direct seeded a mix of lettuces, kale, and mustard greens into a bed close to the kitchen. They come up fast and thick, and by the time we got back from our honeymoon in Maine (!), it was time to start harvesting.

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Monday, 27 April 2015 | 27 comments

A simple rye bread for toasting

To say that our budget is a little tight right now is an understatement. More accurately, and perhaps more in the parlance of our modern era, we have enacted austerity measures. I am a reasonably thrifty person, but if you buy a house and throw a large wedding within the span of three months and aren’t broke, well, you probably aren’t doing it right. (Right?! Please comfort me.)


Being a person who cooks can be empowering during times like these, not only because cooking can be more pocketbook friendly than eating out, but because you likely already have some pantry staples and freezer something-or-others stowed away that you are only going to cook if necessity calls for it. You know what I’m talking about: the brick of leftover lentil stew that you froze in 2013 with good intentions, but looks so unappetizingly brown that you don’t really have the stomach to defrost it. Or the buckwheat groats that you bought because you have an Eastern European friend who claims that kasha varnishkes is somehow actually delicious (still open to being convinced; still have not cooked it). Canned water chestnuts (seemed like a good idea?). Ten pounds of dark rye flour (long story). That sort of thing. And so the gauntlet has been thrown: no grocery shopping unless absolutely necessary. Use what we have on hand.

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