Saturday, 8 November 2014 | 43 comments

Bonfire night

“Moreover to light a fire is the instinctive and resistant act of man when, at the winter ingress, the curfew is sounded throughout Nature. It indicates a spontaneous, Promethean rebelliousness against the fiat that this recurrent season shall bring foul times, cold darkness, misery and death.”
—Thomas Hardy

It’s difficult to explain about the bonfires. It started five years ago, right about the time I returned from living in Tanzania, just a few months before I created this site. Most people know about Guy Fawkes Day from the movie V for Vendetta. If this is your only acquaintance with the day, you probably picture eerie masks and explosions.

If you don’t know anything about Guy Fawkes Day, here’s your primer: on November 5th, 1605, a group of Catholic extremists in England tried to blow up the House of Lords and kill King James I. They were thwarted, and a man named Guy Fawkes was arrested. People lit a bunch of bonfires to celebrate and hated on Catholics. Like everything in England from Henry VIII on, it was about Catholics versus Protestants. Bonfire Night (a.k.a. “Gunpowder Treason Night”) caught on.

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013 | 24 comments

Skillet-caramelized winter squash

At this time of year, there’s a late afternoon sun that streams in during a pretty hour or so before early dusk. » Click to read more

Thursday, 19 September 2013 | 38 comments

Baked delicata squash with cream & parmigiano

The weeds win out, this time of year. At some point we just start harvesting and stop weeding, and nature, which errs on the side of fecund around here, takes over. » Click to read more

Friday, 14 September 2012 | 31 comments

A simple pear pie + more pear recipes

“Welcome to my office,” Ben says as we climb out of the car. Neat rows of pear trees stretch their limbs out of the morning mist. It’s kind of obnoxious, actually—does he have to brag?—when you consider that my “office” is a cube with padded, circa-1981 salmon pink walls. Ben, by contrast, makes his living here:We grab a ladder and start picking. The crew has been through here once already and most of the harvest is in—they’ll use it to make pear wine, which they then send to a local distillery to make pear brandy—but there are some stragglers. These get sold in the tasting room. We get to take home the “ugly” pears, the ones with spots or lumps or hard patches where they were damaged by insects. For the next couple weeks, bins of the fruit take up residence in our house, and I start thinking of pear pie and pear bread and pear butter. » Click to read more

Friday, 4 November 2011 | 19 comments

Gypsy soup

Mollie Katzen’s “gypsy soup” caught my eye for its name and name alone. The word gypsy is so evocative of something rustic, hearty, romantic and a bit tragic. I didn’t even look at the ingredients list before I decided I would make it. (This impulsiveness will likely get me into trouble someday.) According to the recipe, gypsy soup can be varied by subbing in various green and orange vegetables for the ones listed. (Incidentally, if anyone knows why this is, let me know. I became really curious about gypsy soup and did some research, and can’t find anything.) I decided on an autumnal riff on gypsy soup: acorn squash provided the orange, and some great kales and mustards that are happily growing in the cool November weather brought the green. » Click to read more

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