Thursday, 8 September 2011 | 19 comments

Sweet corn polenta with tomato-basil vinaigrette

It’s a pretty egregious omission on my part that we find ourselves in late summer and I have yet to feature sweet corn here. Luckily, I find myself in possession of some (Thanks, Del!), so we’ll remedy that quickly. As the granddaughter of a Midwestern farmer with an enormous family, my childhood summers are full of corn memories. In the summer, we’d be shooed out to the porch to shuck mountains of sweet corn. Picture five-gallon buckets full of corn shucks and silk and detritus. it was a lot of corn. And we weren’t the first generation to be corn-fed, either. We grew up on stories of our parents battling it out in corn-eating contests. We ate corn all year ’round, canned by my grandma in big quart-jars, and brought up from the cellar all winter. To this day, I still don’t like canned corn from the store, because nothing tastes like the kind of corn that was literally picked, sliced off the cob, and canned in the same day. » Click to read more

Sunday, 21 August 2011 | 9 comments

Collards on toast at tend

My friend Meghan tells me I’m unfit for survival, because I love all things bitter and astringent (her rationale being that through history, a bitter taste has signalled poison, and that we have evolved to dislike that taste accordingly as a survival mechanism). Black coffee, tannic wine, vinegars, and chocolate with a high cacao to sugar ratio—these are among my pantry staples.Bitter greens are no exception. Luckily for me, kale, chard, lettuces, and other bitter greens are something I can grow myself in my small city backyard. My garden is putting out some wonderful ruffly-edged collards right now (yes, they survived the slug-pocalypse). The fantastically talented artist/blogger/letterpress-er/gardener Heather Smith Jones, one of the ladies behind the collaborative blog tend, recently asked me to contribute a guest post. With these collards coming in, I thought I’d chat a bit about the realities and rewards of growing things in a tiny city garden. You’ll find the recipe, along with more photos and thoughts, over there. (And so much thanks to Heather and all the ladies of tend–I’m honored they thought to include me in their week of guest posters.)

Friday, 5 August 2011 | 7 comments

Cherry buckwheat clafoutis

I’m away from DC right now, traveling for work in Mozambique. It feels strange—something of a betrayal—to be writing here, when the Yellow House has become so much about a concrete space, its modest garden, the seasons that whirl around it, and the people who make it home. By contrast, I’m in a cool, tidy hotel with far too much room for one visitor. I worry that my green tomatoes have turned red with no one to harvest them. I fret that a neighbor will email my landlady to complain about our unkempt front garden. I’m happy, though, that I brought along the pictures of this little brown cake. » Click to read more

Tuesday, 12 July 2011 | 5 comments

Summer squash & basil frittata

I grew up in the kind of family who knew that, come summer, you better have an arsenal of recipes at hand for using up squash. Louise and I were packed off for a few weeks each year to my grandma and grandpa’s farm in Indiana, and I have vivid memories of heading off on August Sundays loaded down with a brown paper bag of zucchini in each arm for some unsuspecting church-goer. In retrospect, it was a brilliant idea: make little kids give it away, and no one can turn down the ‘gift’.

This frittata isn’t going to win any beauty contests—and with a hungry Louise waiting to dig in, I didn’t spend time trying to gussy it up for photos—but it’s a nice alternative to exploiting innocent children to use up your influx of squash. Grating summer squash renders it simple to incorporate into a variety of recipes, and I often stir sautéed squash into risottos and pasta sauces. The yellow squash in this frittata lends some nutty heft to one of my favorite easy meals, and goat cheese and basil dress it up for brunch or dinner.

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Friday, 3 June 2011 | 4 comments

Herbed buckwheat crêpes

I should start this off by admitting that I’m not a “crêpe person”. You know who you are, crêpe people. Crêpes were your favorite street food in France, and you’re already a little annoyed with me for calling a buckwheat crêpe a crêpe at all, because everyone knows that in France, buckwheat crêpes are called galettes. (I myself, despite David Lebovitz‘s best efforts to educate me, did not know until after I had already made these.)

So, I’m sorry in advance, devoted crêpe people. I didn’t even really set out to make these crêpes very purposefully. Instead, they were the result of having too much of several ingredients–eggs, milk, and a lot of herbs.

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