Friday, 16 November 2012 | 25 comments
Around here there’s been a lot of cooking but not much posting; funny how that happens. I want to talk Thanksgiving with you all, but it’ll have to wait until tomorrow or Monday. Until then, I thought I’d check in with a few photos of what my November’s been like. There have been an unusual amount of turkey encounters to report. 1) Wild: I woke up one damp morning to this enormous flock (21! 21 wild turkeys!) making orp-orp noises in our front yard. 2) Domesticated: I cooked a bird for a project I’m working on; I’ll tell you about it soon.Detritus after Sandy power outages: burnt down candles, oil lamps, dead laptop, abandoned banjo. A praying mantis that we watched grow up through the spring and summer clung to our window screen for a week, her swan song before the first hard frost. I cooked a giant pot of soup (this one) over a fire (unfortunately out of necessity rather than romance; our stove/oven broke AGAIN, I don’t want to talk about it). We had good people over to eat it. We took a whirlwind Midwest roadtrip where the only photos I took were blurry self-timer portraits in a Michigan vineyard. And I baked this cake, except with vanilla sour cream frosting, on an afternoon with exceptionally pretty light.
Can you believe we’re heading into the holidays? Things have been a little distracting for me—I’m starting a new job in December—but I want to be here more often. So, see you soon.
Friday, 14 September 2012 | 28 comments
“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. » Read more «
Monday, 6 February 2012 | 64 comments
I take pleasure in the spareness of this season: the quiet, the grey light, the bare branches. It’s been such a mild winter so far that whenever we get a rare dusting of snow, I find myself walking around in the woods for hours.All the silence and sparseness are a bit misleading, though. I think about the secrets under the quiet white veil; the life that is there, dormant, waiting to wake up; the soil that’s teeming, always, with all kinds of micro-critters. Nature is like this, I think. She enjoys vibrance hidden beneath humble exteriors. Like seeds.And jewel-bright grapefruit. » Read more «
Friday, 5 August 2011 | 7 comments
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. » Read more «
Friday, 29 April 2011 | 8 comments
I had my recipe picked out. I was all ready to make it and tell you about my new love affair with the BBC Food website, which, unlike other big recipe aggregation sites was actually useful, well-organized, and really original because of its British flair.
Several of their recipes hadn’t failed me yet, so when I got home from the market toting my first-of-the-season rhubarb, I pulled up BBC Food and found (under the ‘Afternoon Tea’ section for spring, no less) a recipe for warm ginger cake with poached rhubarb. I was sold. I blindly gathered all the ingredients, glossed over the instructions, and got to work, visions of a soft, gingery cake with sweet-tart rhubarb syrup drizzled over the top dancing in my head.
Something occurred to me as I mixed, though. There were a lot of eggs in this batter. And not much flour. And (reading the directions, now) what the heck is a “pudding basin”?
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