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August 31, 2014
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food

Recipes

As tender greens begin to come up at farms and in gardens, it’s smart to prepare yourself with a repertoire of dressings that do them justice. Though the smallest, juiciest lettuces call for little more than a light coating of olive oil and lemon juice, we’ll soon be inundated with firmer heads, curly endives, spicy arugula and succulent leaves of spinach. These substantial greens are fully capable of standing up to more robust textures and flavors and your palate will also welcome the exciting variety.

‘Here we come a-wassailing’

So what is wassailing really all about? For a bit of background (according to Readers Digest), “The Christmas spirit often made the rich a little more generous than usual, and bands of beggars and orphans used to dance their way through the snowy streets of England, offering to sing good cheer and to tell good fortune, if the householder would give them a drink from his wassail bowl or a penny or a pork pie or let them stand for a few minutes beside the warmth of his hearth.  Read more

The Great Pumpkin

Nature’s timing is flawless. As if on cue, the winter squash and pumpkins appear just as the onslaught of zucchini starts to ebb. And they’re here to stay, their stout curves and painterly colors a pleasure to behold throughout the winter. Every year I stock up on the many varieties grown by Alice and Neil Fitzgerald of River Brook Farm in Cochecton, NY including international heirlooms like the brilliant orange Hubbard, the voluptuous Musque de Provence and the charmingly bumpy Marina di Chioggia. These all have a dense, creamy flesh that is equally delicious roasted, fried (pumpkin tempura!) or stewed.  Read more

A dessert by any other name...

The choices for what to do with summer berries are endless. How to choose? Having some definitions might help to get you started. Most (though not all) of these are baked desserts. A number of them are quite old fashioned, but they are so simple that you might consider giving one or two a try.

Cobblers and Crumbles  Read more

Cooking real food from scratch; Avoiding ‘edible food-like substances’

I love farmers’ markets. Not a farmer myself, I nevertheless belong to an organization of farmers who practice sustainable agriculture. I support the blossoming food movement to Buy Fresh Buy Local and the local economies movement to shop locally because I believe that our global economic model is unsustainable based as it is on the unsustainable use of fossil fuel energy. I shop at farmers’ markets because they are a source of real food, which is pretty much the only food I want to eat anymore. For me, real food, grown locally is a starting point for sustainable living.  Read more

Food Traditions - Jewish

Some people don’t have warm and fuzzy feelings about the holidays. Some people aren’t religious. My father is the first one and I am the latter. Now that the holiday season is approaching, what am I to do? As a daughter of a dad who is from a Jewish family, a mom from a Unitarian Universalist family and I not identifying with either, when I just want to enjoy some of the traditional foods associated with Hanukah? Answer: create my own “holiday.”

And that’s exactly what I did.  Read more

Food Traditions - Italian

A smile comes to my face as I remember past Christmases spent with my Italian family. We were lucky to have everyone—my grandparents, aunts and uncles as well as cousins from both sides—come together for the joyous occasion of Christmas Eve.  Read more

Food Traditions - German

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I really look forward to baking Christmas cookies again. Here at our bakery when we make stollen* or other traditional German holiday specialties like macaroons, the sweet aroma takes me right back to my childhood and my great-grandmother’s kitchen.  Read more

Planning an Outdoor Dinner Party

It’s July, mid-summer: the lush green time of ease and plenty. The sun glints off the water as dusk approaches, that magic hour when the light bounces off the water’s surface. A breeze comes up as I put the finishing touches on the makeshift table placed on the grass in front of our house. This table, made elegant with a few simple touches, was cobbled together from sawhorses and old doors and covered with vintage linens. I set the four handblown cruets down the center of the table, each filled with flowers from the garden.  Read more

Confection Connections

N-E-S-T-L-E-S… Are you singing the jingle? If so, you’re old enough to recall reaching up to drop your small change on the counter of the general store to buy penny candies like Bit-O-Honeys, Mary Janes, Necco Wafers, candy buttons, wax soda bottles filled with flavored syrups and so on.  Read more