Each summer, I fill my freezer and pantry shelves with jam and pickles and applesauce and roasted tomatoes and pesto and all the tastes of summer that I think I’ll need to make it through the Seattle winter. And each year, right about this time, I either start wondering where it all went or wondering how we’re ever going to get through it all. This year it’s the latter.
So here we are: the chickens are laying again, green rows are peeking up in the garden, and although even the rhubarb is a few weeks off, all signs indicate that spring will come again. Which means that it’s time to be working through our winter stores.It was in that spirit that I hauled the last of our apple harvest out from the back of the fridge today. Last fall we borrowed two dehydrators from a friend and dried a few gallons of apples that lasted, oh, right until whenever the girls found them. They loved them. So today when the counter was piled high with apples and I started talking sauce, an intense lobbying campaign was launched from around the height of my bellybutton. Who could resist?
I like my friend Knox for lots of reasons, one of which is that everything he cooks (and bakes, and preserves) is divine and he always shares his recipes. He always has good ideas, and several projects up his sleeve at once, so you won’t be surprised to learn that among his many accomplishments, Knox is the granddaddy of Soup Swap. (What, you haven’t held a soup swap yet this year? It’s not too late! The rules are here.)
And I think it was at Knox’s first soup swap, more than a decade ago, that he made us The Best Tomato Sauce for the first time. There were lots of us, and lots of frozen soup, packed into Knox’s tiny house, and in characteristic fashion he breezily served steaming bowls of pasta to all of us crowded onto the couch and floor and standing in every corner and doorway. The sauce was incredible. I squeezed after him into the arms-width kitchen and wrote down his instructions on a now-battered-and-stained recipe card.Continue reading →
It’s unfortunate that we’re not supposed to eat sugar anymore, because at this time of year I’m zesting citrus like mad and there’s nothing like a little (or a lot of) sugar to tame the delectable bitterness of orange and lemon peels. Think marmalade, think lemon-olive oil cake, think whole wheat quick bread with orange zest and brown sugar. Need more ideas? I loved this recent post from Food In Jars.This isn’t a recipe so much as a good idea: before the next time you peel or juice a (washed, organic) lemon or orange, scrub off the zest with a microplane first. Zest the fruit directly into a bowl to catch every drop of oil and essence from the peel. Add sugar. For this batch I added 1/2 c. granulated sugar to the zest of one orange and half a lemon. Mash it around to help the sugar absorb the flavor of the zest, then leave the bowl uncovered at room temperature for a day or two, stirring occasionally, until the zest is completely dry. Transfer to a sealed jar for storage. Continue reading →
If your house is anything like mine, your floor is littered with hearts and stickers, confetti and sparkles, the uncontainable detritus of the month-long operation that consumes our home at this time every year: making Valentines. The glue! The glitter! The little girls cutting hearts and hearts and hearts and hearts, and the thousands of tiny scraps of paper that float to every corner of the floor! The never-ending sweeping….
I mostly try to just smile and nod, enjoying the spectacle and vaguely hoping that we’ll manage to reclaim the table in time for dinner each night. As you probably know, I prefer to make my own messes in the kitchen.
There’s a new category of food in our house these days that I like to call “decadent vegan.” Regular vegan food, as everyone knows, is steamed quinoa with shredded carrots and a squeeze of lemon, but decadent vegan food is different. It’s this creamy, hearty pasta, and my first experiment with deep-frying and that addictive roasted squash salad that we’re still making every chance we get. In truth, a lot of recipes on this site fall into the decadent vegan category, but for some reason I hadn’t thought of them that way before. This year, I’m making a conscious effort to cook more vegan meals. Decadent, delicious vegan meals.
What are your favorite recipes or ideas that fall into the decadent vegan category? Please share!
If you keep a jar of caramelized onions in the fridge, as I’ve been doing lately, this recipe can be prepared in the time your pasta takes to cook. And if you don’t keep a jar of caramelized onions in the fridge, I encourage you to start. Continue reading →
Well, hello! Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we? As I recall, we were enjoying lots of good food and the people we love and life in general, and then I went on a very long vacation. I hope you did too, or that you stayed home and snuggled your family and drank hot chocolate, and that either way you’ve had a restful and happy end of one year and beginning of the next.
So happy new year! I wish you a year of good health and simple pleasures.And what, after all, is as healthy and simple as an egg? I think of the egg as a secret weapon in my kitchen: it cooks in seconds, it’s cheap and filling, it makes leftovers into a meal. And I owe another debt of gratitude to the egg: it’s the thing that got me started writing this blog a year ago today, in an effort to branch out from my cooking regimen of scrambled eggs and scrambled eggs. I’ve managed to diversify a bit this year, it’s true, but there’s still always room for a good egg in my kitchen.
Boiling an egg is an economical preparation: the shell holds it tidily, no added fat is required, and you needn’t even exert your wrist with whisking. You only need water, a pot, a few minutes of patience and, preferably, a pinch of salt at the end. You can leave the yolks soft to smear over toast or cook them through to creamy perfection for a composed salad. Continue reading →