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Showing posts from January, 2017

Pomegranate and Raspberry Chutney in In the Orchard, the Swallows // Cook Your Books

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And now for entry #2 in what appears to be a longform series. 

In this Cook Your Books series, I have chosen 15 books to read in 2017 based on somewhat arbitrarily chosen categories. My theory (bogus it might turn out to be) is that all 15 of these books will somehow connect to food. And I plan to write about that food. This second installment is a book with fewer than 150 pages. (Here's your second warning:  It turns out these entries on Cook Your Books are long ones. Time to settle in.)



In the Orchard, the Swallowsby Peter Hobbs appears on this list simply because of its length. My arbitrary category dictated a book with fewer than 150 pages, and a quick Google search for "Best Books under 150 Pages" launched this one to to the top of my possible books to read. 

And what a book it was.

The book opens with an unnamed narrator who has been thrust back into the world after having spent the last 15 years in a Pakistani prison. His crimes? The unblemished connection to Saba, th…

Roasted Tomato Bisque

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It's winter, and I want tomatoes. This always happens.

So what's a tomato-fiend to do? 

Coax the flavor out of winter tomatoes, that's what.



In Sarah Copeland's Feast, she presents a lovely mid-winter tomato soup (that, yes, would probably be even better if it were a late-summer soup) that guarantees satisfaction of any tomato craving. 

Roasting tomatoes puts your taste buds on full blast: think intense, sweet, and smoky. Think perfect for pairing with rosemary or paprika or thyme. Think the perfect tomato on steroids. 

Yes, yes, I hear you that one should roast tomatoes in the summer when they're at their peak. And I agree with you. But, even in the winter with mealy Romas or hefty greenhouse tomatoes, you're going to get good results. Now imagine roasting tomatoes alongside some sweet red bell peppers, hearty onions, and pungent garlic? 

People, we're talking full-on, umami heaven.




How about some tomato roasting tips?

Roast flesh-side down. This helps trap the pu…

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe

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Let's make a really tasty Tuesday-night dinner, shall we?

This one is happily simple, and definitely something you can whip up after a long day at work. While it does take a certain palate (so, you say you like chile peppers? Ha. Let's try them paired with the bitterness of rapini!), this comforting pasta dish satisfies during the winter months and you're hankering for some greens.



This dish a pretty traditional one from the Southern Italian region of Apulia (think: heel of the boot). There, this veggie goes by a whole host of names, including raab, rapini, friariélli, broccoletti di rapa, cime di rapa, and simply cima. 

Sure, there's a lot to make you think it's closely related to broccoli--what, with the color and the little flowering buds reminiscent of our favorite standby, broccoli. While they are both brassicas, that's where the family tree branches. This bitter green with serrated leaves is much more closely related to that pungent turnip than it is to broc…

Real Chai Made to Order

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It has been dark and cold and rainy here lately.  In other words, it has been perfect. 

And when it is perfectly dark and perfectly cold and perfectly rainy, what's the best thing to do? Make a hot beverage and curl up with a good book.

So I turned to David Tanis, whom I adore, and I made my own chai. Come with me on a journey far, far away, will you? A journey to the exotic land of Eugene, Oregon circa 1997.

I was a 22-year-old graduate student on a vacation to see a dear friend whom I had met while abroad. She was (is!) funny, urbane, and left-coast. She looked like Rachel from Friends. At a time when everyone wanted to look like Rachel from Friends. (Let's face it: we all still  want to look like Rachel from Friends.) She could drink a pint and she could dance well into the early morning. She was game for adventures at Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland, and she dragged my tipsy butt home from bars in Edinburgh. She hiked with me through bogs in Connemara (and we complained t…

Vanilla Citrus Marmalade (Liberally Adapted from Marisa McClellan's Three Citrus Marmalade)

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I love a good challenge and the husband loves a good marmalade.  This is a match made in heaven.


Marisa McClellan from Food in Jars has set forth a Mastery Challenge, and I could not resist. Her intention? Get as many people as possible canning and preserving and get them feeling confident about it. And so, for the next year, she set forth this calendar:

January – MarmaladeFebruary – Salt PreservingMarch – JellyApril – Quick PicklesMay – Cold Pack PreservingJune – JamJuly – Hot Pack PreservingAugust – Low Temperature PasteurizationSeptember – Fruit ButterOctober – Drying and Dehydration OR Pressure CanningNovember – FermentationDecember – Fruit PastesAren't you excited? I know I am.

While I am growing in confidence with fermentation, see here, I still feel like a novice in all other categories. And while I have been trying to up my canning game (see here, here, here, and here), I definitely could use some gentle direction, hand-holding, and from time to time some no-nonsense guidance…

Classic Frisée Salad (Salade Lyonnaise)

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This one is a no brainer. Especially if you have vowed to eat healthy this winter.  (Yes, we're calling this healthy. It's salad. Go away.)

Let's face it, the combination of bacon and eggs is almost always the answer to life's questions. Cobb Salad, Spaghetti Carbonara, and (let's face it) Egg McMuffins. All divine. All bacon and eggs. Coincidence? Nope. But this one, at least, can claim to be a smidgen healthier than all of those. 



But if we follow the narrative that France brings us the best in (or at least the foundation of) the gastronomical world (a narrative espoused by many of my own culinary heroes, including Alice Waters), then we need turn only to Salade Lyonnaise, or a classic frisée salad with poached eggs and salty lardons. I say, let's follow that narrative. 

With its creamy, tangy, smoky, and umami-based flavors, this little salad(e) hits all the right spots. Let's break it down, shall we?

Egg--you have to have the perfect poached egg.  And it do…

Blueberry Multigrain Pancakes in The Snow Child // Cook Your Books

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Here we go... entry #1.

In this  Cook Your Books series, I have chosen 15 books to read in 2017 based on somewhat arbitrarily chosen categories. My theory (bogus it might turn out to be) is that all 15 of these books will somehow connect to food. And I plan to write about that food. This first installment is a book inspired by a fairy tale. 



The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey is a dark treasure of a book. 

Set in a harsh 1920s Alaska this book tells the story of two forty-something Pennsylvanians (Mabel and Jack) who have chosen to homestead. They are not young pioneers ready to forge their ways in the rough and tumble world of Sarah Palin. Instead, they are world-weary adults who have come to a darkened Alaska Territory for some quiet. 

In a novel that lusciously describes snow, cold, darkness, and silence, Ivey writes a love letter to Alaska, to magic, to possibility. But also to independence, (dare I say) feminism, community, and communion. And I loved it.

And while I somewhat arbitrarily cho…