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Friday, September 21, 2012

apple butter with rum burnt sugar sauce and vanilla

apple butter with rum burnt sugar syrup and vanilla

This is not what I’d call a great picture of apple butter. Far from it. I hope you can forgive me – I’m a little pressed for time these days.

I’ve got about six whole meals to make and freeze this weekend. There’ll be veal ricotta meatballs (thank you, Marco Canora!), tamarind turkey meatballs (recipe soon!), a three-bean stew, some chili, chana masala, tomato sauce with onion and butter, and slow-cooked chicken soup. All will be made and frozen for early to mid-October.

Why October? Well, on October 2, I’m getting surgery on my wrist to remove a benign (but extremely painful) ganglion cyst, and won’t be able to cook for a couple of weeks. It’ll be interesting to type one-handed too. Who knows, maybe while wearing a cast, I’ll learn a few one-handed dishes while in the kitchen. If that happens, you’ll be the first ones to know about them—it’s a useful thing to know how to do. I refuse to surrender to the lure (and ease) of take-out as our only dinner option—I want to see if it can be easily done, and if so, maybe it’ll be helpful to someone reading this blog who might be anticipating surgery or a period of time when they won’t be able to cook. And, truthfully, after a hot, sticky summer when I lived on salads and smoothies, I’m itching to put my slow-cooker back to work. So while it would probably work in my favor to offer you more enticing pictures, I’m winging it this time.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

how to prepare fresh tomatoes for tomato sauce

how to prep your tomatoes for a sauce

I don’t know whether to rejoice that it’s September or to cry. On the one hand, it’s my favorite month. I don’t know what to get excited about the most: Apples! Sweaters! Bourbon! Things generously scented with cinnamon!

On the other hand, I’m frenetic as I try to get to the greenmarket every few days so that I can preserve whatever produce there’s left to savor. I carry my weight in plums and other remaining stone fruit, and try to eat it all before it goes bad. A few peaches may or may not have been unceremoniously tossed out – but let’s not blame anyone. But what concerns me now more than anything is tomatoes.

Continue reading how to prepare fresh tomatoes for tomato sauce.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

peach jam with apricots and black pepper

peach apricot jam with black pepper

There’s cooking and there’s cooking. What I mean by that is there is deliberate recipe development, whether you’re inspired by an idea or are trying to perfect a technique and make something already out there — better. There’s also cooking that requires you to put on your waste-nothing hat on, in an effort to rescue produce be it because it has lingered in your crisper or food bowl a bit too long, or because it has the shelf life of approximately a few hours before it fully disintegrates. Today, I’m writing about the latter. Next time, I’ll write about the former. I try to strive for balance.

I know I wrote last week that I’m going down the rabbithole of recipe writing for a few weeks, and was not going to be heard from, but I need to write because it clears my head.

But let’s get back to what really matters here. It’s summer, after all, and peak of amazing produce. Anyone else feel completely overwhelmed when they go to their local greenmarket? I want to buy it all, and often it feels like I do. I often buy too much. But I’m greedy and I don’t want to miss those little available-for-a-week-only opportunities. Gooseberries? I’ll take a pint! Red currants? Yes, please. Two weeks after we got married, I spied sour cherries at my local greenmarket, the very last of the season. I bought the remaining two pints, pitted them, and now they are sitting pretty in my freezer awaiting their fate.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

preserved meyer lemons

the humble beginnings of the preserved meyer lemons

You’d think I fell down a rabbit hole; I might as well have. This is what happens when you hand in one book to an editor, and without so much as taking a day to breathe, plunge into another one.

That’s right, I’m doing another book. I won’t yet go into it yet, but in time, I will divulge. It’s very exciting, I feel immensely fortunate and lucky to be involved in this project. And with each passing day, even though the pressure mounts, I feel luckier and luckier. To be doing this, however stressful the struggles are, is something I have been wanting to do for so long. Is it scary? Absolutely? Do I question my abilities about this every day? Yes. And do I worry about how financially sustainable my career choice will be? Yes. This isn’t an easy path, but it’s the one I love and have chosen.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

tomato jam

tomato jam

Depending on who you talk to, tomatoes are either gone already, will be gone tomorrow, next week, or by the end of September. That gives me little comfort. For one, if you love tomatoes as much as I do, you’re paralyzed with fear every time you go to the farmers’ market. Will some tomatoes remain, or will they be gone for good? It’s unfair that for a crop this glorious, this celebrated, we’re given but a few weeks’ time to truly make good use of it.

So far, I’ve been in luck. Ripe Romas, tiny grape and cherry tomatoes, heirlooms of all shapes and sizes have greeted me at farm stands. I know I’m on borrowed time, so each market trip, I lug home as many tomatoes as I can – our entire dining room table is covered with them. You might wonder where we eat dinner – well, so do we. And sadly, ripe market tomatoes have a limited shelf life – heavy, with delicate skin, some crack or bruise while en route home.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

peach jam with bourbon and vanilla

sealed - heard a pop!

Friends, there is, at once, much to tell and nothing to tell. August was a rough month – I’m hoping that September will be better. It has to be, to balance out the August mayhem.

I’m glad to leave August behind; a month like that leaves you feeling drained. A month like that – and I’m ready to leave the summer behind. And even though we just got back from a vacation, I could use another one right about now.

Truthfully, we had no business spending what we spent for the vacation. In the end, it turned into a slightly pricier affair than we’d intended. But looking back – it was well worth it. Who knows what will happen down the road. Mann traoch, Gott Lauch. This has been replaying in my head over and over. Try to live in the moment. Savor each day.

Continue reading peach jam with bourbon and vanilla.