Tuesday, 11 June 2013 | 34 comments

With a pile of greens: Tortilla española

Maybe you’ve heard of Ruth Stout, who is quickly rising to the top of my Ideal Dinner Party Guest List (posthumously, sadly). She smashed saloon windows with Carrie Nation during temperance, and then went on to become a garden guru in the ’60s and ’70s. I’m reading her book called “Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy, and the Indolent”. (If nothing else: such an appealing title!) Stout champions a way of gardening that essentially has one tenet: mulch the heck out of everything with straw, organic matter, newspaper, and forget about the rest. No weeding, and the organic matter of the mulch is supposed to occupy pests just as much as much as your plants themselves. The end. How she manages to fill up a book with this information, I’m not sure, but she does, and she’s lovable and eccentric and I enjoy every minute of it. It comes as no surprise, I suppose, that this woman was known to garden in the nude (as if I could like her more). » Click to read more

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 | 32 comments

A galette of winter greens

i. It is garden-planning season around here. We went a little crazy poring over seed catalogues and, in the recent thaw we had, are doing some initial digging around to make new beds. This year, I will have a bed just for my lettuces and leafy greens, which are some of my favorite things to grow. This is because they’re easy, except where slugs are involved, and because I get to have that kindergarten-wonder moment almost every day when I go out to the garden or Ben brings in lettuce for a salad. Our friend Connie likes to say that this part of the year is best for gardeners: no drought, no pests, no weeds, no deer. And in your mind, the garden is always beautiful and successful. (I believe the subtext there is, “So enjoy it while you can.”) » Click to read more

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 | 23 comments

East Africa-inspired samosas

It’s been awhile since I’ve been back to east Africa. It’s a place that once wholly captured me. I thought I would never come back. Last night, instead of packing, I found myself sorting through my photos from a few years ago to give you a taste (if you’ve never been to Kenya or Tanzania or Uganda)–of how diverse and gorgeous it is.

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Monday, 23 April 2012 | 60 comments

Beer blini

I’ve been on a memoir kick. My extended commute gives me ample time to read, and without realizing it, books by extraordinary women have floated to the top of the pile. First, it was Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet (any other Wrinkle in Time fans out there?); then, Tina Fey’s Bossypants (I cannot get over how fiercely funny and smart this book was); and most recently, Julia Child’s My Life in France.I don’t know about you, but when I picture Julia Child, I picture either the dual tomes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, or a tall-but-hunched-over, older lady on PBS. I’ve always understood that she’s legendary, and even perhaps understood why, but never did I imagine I’d be so captivated by a recounting of her life. » Click to read more

Tuesday, 3 January 2012 | 7 comments

Goat cheese toasts with yellow split pea spread

Happy New Year! At midnight, a big group of friends ran with us outside, around the new house, banging pots and pans with wooden spoons, and whooping and hollering. It felt good. I can only hope your 2012 was rung in as exuberantly. I’m hanging out over with Kelsey of the blog Happyolks with a recipe for goat cheese toasts with yellow split pea spread this week, with some thoughts about gathering. Go check it out, if you’re so inclined.

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