July harvest part 1: Oregano by Weezie

Posted on 07-20-10 · Tags: , , , ,

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The summertime chores ground me. To get the most out of the harvest I have to be in the rhythm of the earth; in tune with the seasons and the weather. It is something farmers know, but not us suburbanites. We normally do what we want when it suits us. To pick oregano when the bouquet is most fragrant, you have to do it just as it flowers. The peppermint needs to be picked in the early morning before the sun heats it and dries up its oil. If I don’t pick the blueberries when they just start turning blue the birds will enjoy every last one. If I don’t pick them when they are just ripe they will turn into hard kernels and drop off. These simple tasks, performed at the optimum time, keeps me in touch with the earth. It makes me feel connected to something bigger than myself.

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Fire roasted sweet potatoes by Anjuli

Posted on 01-15-10 · Tags: , , , , , ,

Cooking in da fire

I sit two feet to the left of our fire. It sputters and pops and burns and desires way too much wood due to its intense updraft (we’ve gone through a full carload – truck, seats, and all – of wood in one week). But it is fire and its flames lick high up towards the chimney. I’m sure all kivas were not created equal and this one definitely serves the decorative gods not the heat gods, but we love it and tend to it just the same. Its heat radiates just enough to touch the right side of my body and all the way up to my cheek. Sometimes I walk over to it and stick my butt out to get it a bit toasty before sitting back down.

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Cauliflower with Black Olives, Orange Pepper, Carrots and Walnuts by Weezie

Posted on 12-28-09 · Tags: , , , ,

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I sometimes realize how incredibly lucky we are that we all cook, not only cook but love to cook.

With all the holidays and a disaster or two thrown in, I have not had much time to write either on the blog to all of you or to work on our cookbook. I wanted an uninterrupted 3 hours or so with no other responsibilities so I could just dive in. Sometimes writing is like painting, it takes time to submerge yourself. That, in my experience, is when my writing starts to live and breath. Austin, Anjuli’s brother is back from Bulgaria. He is tall and lean and vegetarian. It is hard to keep him full. We all, including him, take turns.

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Chipotle Cranberry Date Chutney: “Don’t feed bears!” by Anjuli

Posted on 12-10-09 · Tags: , , , ,

Apple and cheddar pie
Apple Cheddar Pie

Generally on Thanksgiving the cranberry sauce is the odd man out. Either it’s guiltily shimmied out of a tin can and onto a small plate, homemade and then somewhat forgotten in the rush to get a first piece of pie, or just plain admired for its good looks against the turkey’s pale flesh. This year we decided to try something different. I had found this fabulous recipe for Cranberry-Date Chutney from One Hot Stove. I felt it needed a little smokiness and some citrus so we added a chipotle and some orange zest. The result was spectacular and unexpected. Not only was it a prize at the table, we’ve been using the leftovers ever since. It kept really well considering there’s no dairy or other highly perishable ingredients.

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Garlic mashed potatoes + peas with mint and cremini mushrooms by Anjuli

Posted on 11-27-08 · Tags: , ,

Thanksgiving

“One scoop of creamy mashed potatoes. Four peas.” On Thanksgiving mashed potatoes are my jam. Whipped to perfection, they are a creamy, buttery pile on your plate stuffed between turkey and another more colorful side, dripping with homemade gravy, and begging you to fork them first. My mother has always made them with garlic, whipped with butter (or ghee), and spiced with a hint of herb. Since I don’t eat turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing are Thanksgiving to me. And OH BOY, I don’t really miss that turkey one bit. Just drizzle me some of that gravy.

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Cornbread stuffing with chestnuts, cranberries and onions by Anjuli

Posted on 11-27-08 · Tags: , , ,

Thanksgiving

Stuffing is one of those things that you wish you made more than once a year, but then you get around to baking the cornbread a day early, assembling the ingredients, and baking it in the oven for an hour. You realize it’s become a lengthy task to keep you busy while the turkey is cooking. Well, thanks for that. The time we take to make stuffing these days has graduated it to my favorite Thanksgiving dish.

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Spicy Indian cauliflower with braised tomatoes by Anjuli

Posted on 11-04-08 · Tags: , ,

Spicy Indian cauliflower with braised tomatoes

This gem comes from one of my favorite Indian cookbooks, Yamuna Devi’s The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking. This book is a great intro to dals, breads, chutneys, vegetables, and desserts concentrated around South Indian cooking. The dish hits you with a little spice and also has a hint of sweet from the garam masala. The tomatoes are quite savory and add some acid and juice to the mix.

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Peppery green beans with sage and Parmigiano Reggiano by Anjuli

Posted on 10-19-08 · Tags: , , ,

Pepper green beans with sage and parmigiano reggiano

The spice of the pepper, savory crunchy sage, and nutty Reggiano make this the perfect side dish for a soup. The key, my mother learned, is that you need to take the sage leaves off and place them in a bowl, uncovered, so they remain crisp.

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Baked Acorn Squash by Anjuli

Posted on 09-30-08 · Tags: , ,

Baked Acorn Squash

These went fast, like within minutes. I’m picky about my squashes, but acorn squash has a soft, yammy texture and is not too sweet. Add in some fall spices, and it’s a savory dessert (before you have dessert, of course). The combination of sugars also caused some giggling and repeated reciting of Steve Brule. Yes, it has come to natural sugar highs. Maybe I’ve graduated from HFCS?

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Stuffed Peppers and onions by Anjuli

Posted on 09-29-08 · Tags: ,

Stuffed Peppers and Onions

It’s unofficially pepper month in my kitchen. After I roasted them over an open flame, the follow-up seemed obvious: baked. Baking a pepper opens up the sweetness and aroma, but without altering the taste. And stuffing a juicy red pepper with a cheesy, spicy concoction is my idea of a good time.

Even so, I can’t decide whether the peppers or onions taste better in this recipe. The onion is definitely the milder of the two, but there is something really satisfying about eating an Alium like a piece of roasted fruit. Generally these go down in a matter of bites. The key to this recipe is making sure the stuffing is cheesy and wet enough that it doesn’t burn or dry out, but not so wet that you miss the crispiness that forms on the top.

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