Friday, December 28, 2012

Lettuce Eat More Greens

I am a notoriously terrible lettuce grower.  I don't know if I just always plant at the wrong time, if my soil isn't right for it, or if I'm just not holding my mouth right.  My lettuce always bolts before it even gets big enough for me to be willing to pluck a leaf to see how it tastes.  Until this winter.  In late fall I planted some mesclun mix in my greenhouse, just a small patch as a test.  I didn't expect much given my track record, but in the past few weeks some of the lettuce has grown to testable size without any sign of bolting!

And I have discovered something because of my success:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Best Thing About Jefferson Davis

All I've ever known about Jefferson Davis is that he was the president of the Confederate States of America.  Interesting, but for me, not particularly enthralling.  I'm not a huge history buff so I don't study into the lives of people that don't excite me.  However . . . the "Joy of Cooking" has a recipe for Jefferson Davis Pie that has interested me for quite some time, and a few years ago Joe noticed it and exclaimed that I should bake one some time.  Yesterday I made my first attempt.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Magic Potion

I hope none of you are suffering from what I've been suffering from the past 24 hours, but just in case, I want to pass on a little recipe that a dear friend passed on to me a few years ago.  Not only will it cure what ails ya, but it's delicious to boot!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Everything's Coming Up Roses

One of the best grocery store discoveries I've made in recent years is Rose Petal Spread

You can almost invariably find it at your local (or perhaps like me, not-so-local) Indo-Pak grocery store, and believe me it's worth the trip.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Split Beans

The other day I wanted to make some Kichari.  This wonderful Indian meal can be spelled almost as many ways as there are recipes for it, and there are almost as many recipes for it as there Indian households!  My own personal favorite recipe for Kichari does not quite follow any recipe I have found in a book, but rather is a mix and match of several different recipes.  The basic concept, as far as I can tell, is that it is a mixture of dals (split peas or beans) and rice cooked in plenty of water so that there is a nice broth preferably with a lot of flavor added in the form of spices and roasted seeds.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Calming Breakfast Soup

Oh, the joy of a winter garden!  It frosted pretty well last night but such happenings serve only to sweeten most of what remains in the garden.  There are daikon radishes, and turnips and in the greenhouse there are collard greens and kale at various stages of growth.  With this in mind this morning, and having read last night in  Masanobu Fukuoka's "One Straw Revolution" that daikon radishes have calming qualities, I decided we would start out our day calmly.  So I made a simple egg drop miso soup with fresh grated daikon added raw to the warm bowl of soup.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


This morning I awoke knowing that I absolutely HAD to make some space in the freezer.  I t was getting ready to overflow and there is talk of some up-and-coming hunts which, if successful, will require a bit of freezer space.  So, I pulled out a huge bag of cushaw squash chunks, not quite knowing what I'd use it for.  While it thawed, I decided to turn it into an unreasonable quantity of quick bread.  So I started grinding.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Going Through the Fall on a Soup With No Name

I love autumn.  I love the smell of the leaves and the look of the landscape when the sun is shining in below a thick layer of dark gray clouds.  I love the crispness in the air and the lighting of the first fires in the wood cookstove.  And I love soup.  I'm making soup almost every day right now.  Sometimes, I like to follow a recipe.  I'll make a special curried soup or what-have-you, but right now, with so much work going on around here, I'm just making it up as I go along.

First was a soup with rye berries and freshly shelled beans from the garden.  I threw in turnips and carrots from the garden as well. And some sauteed garlic and onions for good measure.  The next night it was tomato noodle soup with a lot of the final pickings from the waning tomato patch.  Tonight potato soup with curled dock (very nutritious greens that grow with no help from me at all).

Life just doesn't get much better.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Basil Cubes

Fall is coming and it's time to close down the herb garden.  Most of this year there was nothing happening there, so I got into the habit of not paying it any mind.  Eventually, though, the many plantings of basil seeds apparently took hold and now the space is packed with basils of every ilk!

Most years I am caught by frost before I remember that basil can't take even a mediocre frosting and in the morning I am greeted by dreary droopy black plants.  There have been years when I managed to get some sweet basil into the house and hanging from the rafters, but if I do this before we are ready to start up the woodstove, the fragrant bundles end up molding from within.  This year I am determined to not let this sumptuous bounty go to waste!

I believe that basil cubes may be the answer!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sweet Jesus!

Tonight the strangest thing happened to me.  I had just chopped up fresh onions and peppers from the garden and had them sizzling in the pan for a nice batch of refried beans.  I was beginning to cut up tomatoes for the finishing touches of the meal.  I turned around and what did I see?  The face of Jesus in my frying onions!

Look for yourself!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fish on a Stick (squash too!)

Even by the creek it was hot yesterday.  We languished, swam, and even napped for a couple of hours at a time.  The big treat of the day was fish on a stick.  This delectable delight is only available creekside (do not try this in your home kitchen)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beating the Heat

Temperatures are rising and the prospect of heating up the house by cooking meals is dim.  So this morning, while it was still cool enough, I made enough hot weather food to last a few days.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mango Fruit Sauce

Have some fruit hanging around that you don't know what to do with?  Boy do I have a plan for you!

A good fairy left two Atualfo mangoes and a huge fruit cup from Whole Foods when I was at work last week.

It didn't take me long to figure out what to do with them.  I started by seeding the mangoes and scraping the flesh off the peels into the blender.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Ultimate Comfort Food

Chocolate is an amazing comfort food.  Macaroni and cheese is another.  But in my household, the number one comfort food meal as a Middle Eastern dish called Mjedrah (pronounced: m-yed-rah or me-ay-drah alternately) It is an incredibly simple base of lentils and rice topped with a salad of infinite variation.  Here is last night's version.