Posts tagged winter
Friday, March 16, 2012

za’atar roasted cauliflower

za'atar roasted cauliflower

This is what happens when you get an edited manuscript, while working on another book and planning a wedding all the while your wrist is in a brace for five weeks. You fall behind on work because typing with one hand takes more time. Crazy concept, right?

Writing, in and of itself, is an amazing, thrilling, scary, exhilirating process. Just not with one hand. Typing with one hand is just frustrating. You think of something great to say while you’re finishing sentence, and by the time you get to the end of that sentence, you can’t remember what you were thinking of. It’s a lot of spurts and stops, like going somewhere in a taxi in New York; suddenly the cabbie slams on the breaks and you’re hurled towards the windshield. And before you’ve had time to collect your breath (and your poor discombobulated internal organs), the cabbie is hits the gas pedal and you’re thrown in the way back. Writing with one hand is a bit like that – spastic and not particularly efficient.

Continue reading za’atar roasted cauliflower.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

roasted parsnips

roasted parsnips with cumin and honey

Parsnips will never win a beauty prize. They’ll never even place runner-up. And sadly, all too often they get passed up for a prettier-looking vegetable. Root vegetables have it rough, I tell ya.

Even Andrew wrinkled his nose in disappointment after finding out that I was planning on roasting parsnips for supper. “Wasn’t there anything else at the farmers’ market,” he grumbled.

Well, actually, no there wasn’t much more at my local market a few weeks ago, nor has the situation improved much last week. Which is why I kicked off my bimonthly “The Farm Stand” column over at Prospect Heights Patch, with something as homely and humble as a parsnip.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

pelmeni

pelmeni

I’m worried that by writing about pelmeni, the famed Russian meat-filled dumplings with a cult following, I might inadvertently open the Pelmeni Pandora’s box and pandemonium will ensue. This is a dish that elicits passionate responses as there are just as many different persuasions on how to make pelmeni and how to eat them as there are Russians, probably more. And while the gist might be the same, the nuances, the proportions – will vary vastly. Whether or not you put garlic in your filling can become a central argument point of the evening. And believe me, it’ll turn into a very long evening, indeed. As far as my personal experience goes, every Russian family I’ve ever met (and I’ve met many given my background) equipped with a recipe will lay claims to making not only the best pelmeni, but also the most authentic. Authenticity is huge with Russians. The number of times I’ve heard at a dinner table, “That’s not a real [],” – I’ve officially lost count. To prevent another heated debate, I’d like to tell you, right off the bat, that this is just my family’s version. And, as expected, I like my version the best. But that’s entirely a matter of opinion.

If given the opportunity, I could wax poetic about pelmeni – I’d like to write it little haikus about how delicious they are, how they make a night of no-time-cook-dinner into a veritable feast. But then I’d be writing poems and totally forget to give you the recipe. So you’d be looking at pictures of pelmeni and how to make them without actually know how to bring this bounty to your own table.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

rice pudding with coconut milk

spoon!

I realize that rice pudding isn’t about to win the sexiest dessert award anytime soon. It’s dull in color, lumpy in texture, and offers no enticing shape. It’s a lump of gooey rice sitting in your bowl quietly awaiting its fate. If there was a pageant for dessert, rice pudding would lose the swimsuit and the evening gown sections of the competition. It doesn’t sparkle or wow with its looks.

unsweetened soy milk light coconut milk

But it would nail the questions category, and when asked what issue is important to its cause, the rice pudding would surely rise to the occasion. It is, without question, my favorite winter dessert, snack, comfort treat. I eat it warm after dinner, with the steam rising from the bowl; I sneak spoonfuls of it at night, cold, straight from the fridge; I could build a lunch around it with some sliced pears and bananas and a steaming cup of Ceylon tea. I could easily write odes to rice pudding, and I might as well have done so just now.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

tuscan kale salad with pecorino

Raw Tuscan Kale Salad with Pecorino

Were I not so bleary-eyed yesterday, I might be able to express my glee about this salad. But I slept poorly, woke up early, and skipped my morning coffee and sat at my desk all day without so much as a drop of caffeine. This morning treated me to a migraine and I decided to work from home where I can be in a dark and quiet room. But this salad is a revelation (it’s basically a kale Caesar salad if you think about it), and it’s going to be on regular rotation this winter. I’ve already made it three times in the span of ten days. I would have made more, but I ran out of lacinato kale. Not to worry, more is coming this week and I plan on making loads more of this come Thursday night for our book club dinner, which I’m hosting this time. But as for you, you must make it as soon as you possibly can. It’s not at all time-consuming and you’ll be amazed that you might start craving a salad this time of year. I can’t implore you enough – go now!

lacinato kale

Right around this time of year, I face the perennial problem of how to eat more greens while most everything I see at the farmers’ market is brown. I think because it’s been so bitterly cold outside (six degrees out yesterday morning!) I’m turned off by traditional salads with crunchy lettuce and the usual out-of-season salad accouterments – the last thing I want on my place something cold. I want greens that’s chewy, almost meaty, with a strong, nutty bite and a toothsome quality. Give me something I can sink my teeth into!

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

cauliflower soup with parmesan and harissa

cauliflower soup

Maybe I got a little ahead of myself. I had intended for us to be fully unpacked and settled in five days. I thought, if we apply ourselves, we can get it all done in no time, like magic. But settling into a place doesn’t work that way. For one, you discover you need things. Things like shelves and shelf dividers and wall-mounting hooks. Things that help you organize, and if anyone from the Container Store executive team is reading this, we could really use one of your stores in our hood. Of course, the downside to that would mean that I would never, and I mean never, leave it – and Andrew have to explain to people that his girlfriend got lost somewhere between the Elfa shelving units and the kitchen stackables. It would be a sad tale of love and loss. I’d quickly become a cautionary tale, or an urban legend – or both!

Secondly, in the process of unpacking, you discover that there are things you no longer need, things you want to give away, things you want to sell. And so these things, until you find a proper place for them, sit in the middle of you living room/bedroom/hallway shamelessly staring at you as if to say, “You, you who no longer wants me, how could you do this to me? How could you just discard me?” Such is the state of things at the apartment.

Continue reading cauliflower soup with parmesan and harissa.