Tuesday, 25 February 2014 | 20 comments

Frascatelli

Hi from our muddy homestead. Perhaps you’ve been spending the past week watching the Olympics, or snuggling up against the continuing winter weather. Me, I’ve been trying my hand at an obscure Italian pasta-dumpling thing that is named after a branch from a bush. To each their own, I suppose.
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Thursday, 9 August 2012 | 20 comments

Capellini with roasted eggplant & peppers

Our friends got married up in gorgeous Vermont last weekend. I picked bucketfuls of black-eyed susans and queen anne’s lace, jack-knifed off rocks into not one, but two swimming holes, sipped whiskey-with-ice, and crashed under a full moon.The happy couple invited folks to come several days early and help with prep, which was a nice way to save on cost and do-it-yourself and a good way for guests to get to know each other. By the time you’ve chopped vegetables next to someone for several hours, you feel like old friends when it comes time to party. (Also, the fact that there were so many of us coming early to help is a testament to how great these two are.) » Click to read more

Tuesday, 1 November 2011 | 4 comments

Pumpkin Day.

My friend Laura inaugurated a tradition last year when she held Pumpkin Day. It’s a simple idea. I bet you can figure out the point of her self-proclaimed holiday: pumpkins. The picking of, the scooping the goop out of, the cooking of, the baking of…all of it. When I say “Pumpkin Day,” many people mistakenly think that I am referring to Halloween. This is not the case. On Pumpkin Day, pumpkins are the main event, rather than the vehicle for mood lighting. It is a lot of pumpkin-ing. It may deserve an exclamation point (which I use very, very sparingly). Pumpkin Day! That’s better.I wasn’t able to be present at last year’s Pumpkin Day. Had I known the extent to which I’d be hearing about the homemade pumpkin pasta in the year that followed, I would have flown from Tanzania just to preempt the sadness that would set in whenever my friends started to reminisce about it. Fresh pasta. Filled with cheese and pumpkin. Tossed in sage butter. It is possibly worth the plane ticket.Luckily for me, Pumpkin Day rolled around this year too, with an even bigger group of friends and a similar pasta-making agenda. Pumpkin Day, although sort of silly-fun in some ways, is a brilliant idea in that it gathers a bunch of people to explore and enjoy one particular veggie or fruit. We don’t often get the chance to do this. It’s also one of those good ideas that’s so good it’s dangerous, as now I’m scheming on how to ensure there are Strawberry, Tomato, Fig, and Garlic Days in my future. In the end, I’m just really happy I have the type of folks in my life who think it’s worth an entire Saturday to sit around a table and get their hands dirty, together.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011 | 30 comments

Red cabbage two ways: Purple pesto + warm wheat berry salad

Poor cabbage. What’d it ever do to you? Yet except for maybe turnips or brussels sprouts (which don’t really count because they’re like mini-cabbages), cabbages are among the most hated of vegetables. Sure, it’s had a few moments. But mostly, I find myself attempting to stand up for my cruciferous friends, only to realize that no one is listening.

A few weeks ago, Ben, Chuck and a friend of ours were at a local hole-in-the-wall Salvadoran restaurant for lunch. They make a mean pupusa, but probably my favorite item from this place is what is relegated to a side dish (a garnish, really)–a vinegar-y cabbage slaw (? salad? I’m not sure what to call it) that’s topped with a swirl of chili sauce. It’s tangy and bright; cool and crisp. I have to try and keep myself from drinking the spicy dregs at the bottom of the humble paper tray that it’s served in.

As we sat down to eat that day, I ate that special slaw first. I was sorry when it was gone. Ben, probably noticing how morose I was, handed his to me, untouched. And in that moment I realized something: he must not like cabbage. How did I not know that?
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Saturday, 12 February 2011 | 6 comments

Peasant food: pasta e fagioli

cannellini

David Tanis famously opens his fantastic book, A Platter of Figs, by asking the question, “What makes a boy from Ohio,…raised on Tater Tots and Birds Eye, end up wanting to eat like a Greek peasant for breakfast, a French peasant for lunch, and a Moroccan peasant for dinner?”

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