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September 28, 2016
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Relish Every Day

In a pickle

Summer is full of conundrums. Pool or lake? Grill or chill? Hike or hammock? Among the biggest is how to eat all the season’s bounty while also saving it for the future. The answer is preserving, of course, and among the easiest methods is pickling.  Read more

Taking sides

There are two schools of thought when it comes to side dishes. One contends that the main course is the star, bestowing a kind of benign neglect upon its accompaniments. The other deems those savory satellites, when properly prepared, to be worthy of a meal on their own. You will find me firmly in the second camp, lavishing my attention—as both cook and eater—on a satisfying lineup of vegetables. At a steakhouse, I’m known for skipping the rib eye in favor of the grilled asparagus, creamed spinach and sweet-potato fries.  Read more

On ramps

The growing interest in eating local has earned wild edibles a well deserved new popularity. Few foods better represent terroir, that characteristic flavor of the region, than something plucked directly from the forests and fields. This goes a long way to explain the near hysteria that erupts every year when ramps emerge from the earth. Suddenly, no foodie’s Instagram feed is complete without several shots of these highly seasonal native plants.  Read more

Green giant

Are you willing to go farther afield to nourish yourself? Foraging is a wonderful way to get outside, connect to the land and discover nature’s abundance. One of the very first wild plants to emerge in spring—and one of the most commonly found in nearby meadows, parks and fields—is the nettle. It’s covered in stingers, as anyone who has ever tried to pick it without wearing gloves well knows. But, like most prickly characters, with a little understanding and the proper care, it reveals its better qualities.  Read more

Whey of life

There is something magical about the transformation of milk into cheese. As Clifton Fadiman once mused, “Cheese is milk’s leap toward immortality.” We many not all be equipped with the necessary time, bacteria and expertise to make a sophisticated product like Parmesan, for example, but whipping up a batch of fresh cheese turns out to be quite easy and rewarding.  Read more

Happy endings

Although I generally advocate a healthy and sensible approach to eating, I firmly believe that into every life a little sweet must fall—especially during the holidays! But I try not to lose my head entirely, since loading up on sugar and empty carbs for weeks on end is a sure way to wind up feeling naughty and not nice. I find it’s best to have some pragmatic treats on hand that can shield me from the peppermint bark and pecan rolls that materialize at every turn. When it’s time to celebrate, no one wants to feel deprived, but there are ways to feel virtuous without compromising on pleasure.  Read more

Taking sides

With the big day looming, no doubt you’re giving some thought to what will grace your Thanksgiving table. Who am I kidding? You’re probably going to make the exact same menu as last year (and the year before), because culinary traditions tend to become deeply entrenched. There’s comfort in your grandmother’s stuffing recipe, your mother’s cranberry sauce, your uncle’s famous apple pie. But how will you make your mark on the holiday? New traditions have to start somewhere. So maybe this is the year you get a little creative.  Read more

Down to the bone

Don’t you love it when something that has been around for millennia—fasting! kale!—suddenly becomes a trend? So it was that 2015 became the year of bone broth, despite the fact that this rich soup has probably been providing essential nourishment since the Stone Age. Think of it as the original comfort food. The benefits being touted range from clear skin to increased energy, and anyone who has ever enjoyed homemade chicken soup understands its restorative powers.  Read more

I say tomato

Known as “love apple” when it was first introduced to Europe—most likely because of its alleged aphrodisiac qualities—the current name for this New World fruit derives from the Aztec xitomatl, meaning “plump thing with a navel.” The tomato, from its voluptuous contours to its sweetly fragrant juices, is rife with sensuality. Gorge on them while you can; many heirloom varieties are still abundant in kitchen gardens and at local farmers’ markets.  Read more

Up in my grill

Nothing says summer like firing up the barbeque, though all this rain is threatening to put a crimp in our grilling. But inclement weather could never stop me from making my favorite Thai-style grilled chicken. (Full disclosure: My husband is usually the one standing over the coals.) The inspiration comes from a much splattered copy of “Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia,” by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford. It’s a seminal work filled with highly authentic regional dishes carefully collected mainly from home cooks.  Read more

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