Wednesday, 19 October 2011 | 11 comments

Film, of late

I am generally too shy to share any film photos I take here. I’m in love with film, but I’m not very experienced. I just got a few rolls developed from this summer, though, and I quite like a few of them. It’s fun how the lag time between snapping and developing on film can mean that you might be getting images a season later.

Monday, 17 October 2011 | 9 comments

Pushing the envelope: Autumn vegetables en papillote with sage brown butter

Right now is that golden time of year where we’re all completely excited about winter squash and root vegetables and other things that signal autumn. I’ve been cooking long enough to know that this will inevitably wear off when it’s actually cold, and we’ll all be a little sad and tired of things that turn taupe or brown or burnt orange when roasted or mashed. But despite that knowledge, I’m not immune to the guiles of autumn vegetables.In fact, this is my dining room table after coming back from the market recently. I am so not immune to rhapsodizing about squash that that big basket you see was actually full of other things, and I had to walk home with a sweet potato, a butternut squash, and two enormous turnips under one arm. Embarrassing. It’s a bit disconcerting, being revealed to the public as someone who cradles turnips on her way home. People stop you on the street (I am not making this up), asking what they are and if they taste like potatoes. If I were the kind of girl who carried, oh, I don’t know, a bouquet of sunflowers as I walked on Saturday morning, people would smile, perhaps, at the lovely picture I made in the early fall sunlight. But, no. I’ve always been more the grubby turnip-toting type. » Click to read more

Thursday, 6 October 2011 | 10 comments

Poires au poivre (Peppered pears)

As I get older, I find I’m trading the bold for the subtle, in terms of taste. When I first realized this, I felt boring. I picked up a patterned skirt in a store the other day, admired it; loved it, even; and considered buying it. In the end, it was a little sad, but I put that splashy skirt back on the rack, knowing I’d get more mileage out of something solid-black. This shift translates into food and drink, too. Where I used to love hop-bomb beers, I now seek out well-balanced, layered brews. In food, it’s no longer enough for a dessert to be sweet—I want it to be a sweet that’s worth my time. Something to think on.I’m starting to learn, though, that my growing emphasis on subtlety can be an asset. Everyone notices those sunrises where the sky is awash with fuschia or electric orange, but when I head out the door in the morning, I find myself meditating on the rich, individual colors that, a few years ago, just seemed like everyday, muted morning hues: dove grey, cashmere pink, and pale, Wedgwood blue. Aesthetically, I seek beauty that causes pause. In the kitchen, I crave food that engages the senses. In conversation, I want slow, spreading smiles. It’s the opposite of boring: it’s trading in the immediately stimulating for the steady burn. » Click to read more

Sunday, 2 October 2011 | 50 comments

Collard cobbler with cornmeal biscuits

As a gardener, this time of year is just plain nice. My autumn garden has barely been put into the ground, so there’s no real stress involved yet. But there are still fruits coming in; you just have to be alert enough to pick them—-a few errant cherry tomatoes, some dried bean pods lingering, and one stubborn yellow squash vine that is convinced it’s still July. The dark horse winner of my garden this year has been collard greens (the variety is “Champion”, so perhaps I should have expected that?).I’ve been eating these collards for awhile now, but they just keep on coming as I harvest them. There are only so many ways to eat greens, you know? » Click to read more

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