Quote of the Week

“Walls turned sideways are bridges.”

Angela Davis

 

 

Curried Gratin

November 8th, 2016 No Comments

photo by David Cavagnaro Squash, potatoes, onions, coconut milk, herbs, chili and curry paste…that’s what I had so we’ll see where this goes.  It could be good.  This dish was an experiment on a chilly afternoon and though it probably dips into the ‘vague recipe’ territory, I think you can handle it.   A Gratin generally consists of root or firm vegetables with cream baked in a a shallow dish with a browned topping of breadcrumbs and/or cheese, or perhaps lately it’s morphing into just ‘something baked in a

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Kissel

November 1st, 2016 4 Comments

  An extraordinary project has been happening in our little town this year. Our resident English stone-guru Ted Wilson is building a dry-stone arch bridge with the help of Sean Smyth from Missoula, MT who travels around the country working on complex stone projects like this.  Dry-stone is an ancient building method that uses no mortar.  Dry-stone bridges have been built for centuries—the stones need a trapezoidal shape and a tight fit, then the arch holds its shape by only the pressure of the stones against each other.  Sound formidable

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Favorites October 2016

October 25th, 2016 3 Comments

  Last spring we visited Mike’s Meat Market in Eau Claire, Wisconsin for some of their legendary bacon and spent time admiring their mighty cleaver collection.  Maybe a bit gruesome if you’re not a chef…but you have to admit they tell a story of how we eat (apologies to the vegetarians).  The knives were high on the walls so it was hard to get a great photo, but you get the idea.     These are from the days when all blades were

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Squash Soup with Lemongrass and Corn

October 18th, 2016 2 Comments

  This is a full-flavored simple soup for a fall day, and especially great for the dreary chill that arrives in this part of the northern hemisphere as we shift into late October.  And it’s orange.  That should cheer up nearly anyone.     I roasted and froze corn in August and was happy to use it up in this soup.  Fresh corn would work well too—it might not have the roasty flavor but it would make a smoother puree than the

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Chicken Paprikash

October 11th, 2016 2 Comments

  Once in a while during my occasional extrovert phases I would love my hair to be this color of deep, rich, delicious, Carmine red.  I looked up the many shades of red to find the best name for this particular color of paprika and Carmine from the aluminium salt of carminic acid was the closest match.  This photo is of the sauce before the sour cream is added which gives it a lighter hue, then it becomes more like a Carnelian Red or Venetian Red.   You can also dye eggs

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Estonian Chévre Cheesecake

October 4th, 2016 1 Comment

  Judging from the cleaned and possibly licked-out ramekins we cleared from the tables at the end of the night I think this cheesecake may have been the favorite course of September’s Estonian Dinner.  Creamy with a hint of tang, it’s great with a fruit sauce or ‘kissel’.   These buddies are on the table waiting to be kisseled for the dessert course.  We sampled the ‘extra’ cheesecake earlier in the week, and though it was delicious by itself we also discovered

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Mushroom Caviar

September 27th, 2016 4 Comments

  Our monsoon rainfalls in the upper Midwest this summer have resulted in a bumper year for mushrooms….we take those silver linings whenever we can.  The Northeastern U.S. on the other hand has probably experienced a crummy year for the moisture-loving fungi, I believe the Midwest has squeezed every drop of Wetness out of the air and left none for them.  Sorry folks, we would truly love to send some of this excess precipitation your way.   Here we see a pile of adorable Oysters, Miniature Puffballs, Entaloma

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An Estonian Dinner

September 20th, 2016 6 Comments

  Every time my friend Dennis Larson hosts his Symra evening and dinner he chooses a different Scandinavian country or culture.  Other years have highlighted Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, the Sámi, the Vikings, the Faroe Islands and many more.  This year spilled into the northern Baltic country of Estonia with its strong Finnish, Swedish and Russian influences, and the fun began as we researched numerous foods and recipes.  He’s good at stretching my culinary boundaries.   The dinner was also on a full moon lunar eclipse

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Creamy Jalapeño Sauce

September 13th, 2016 No Comments

  Green and creamy-frothy on the tables of our favorite little Mexican restaurants, we have spent many a delicious moment speculating about the ingredients of this green condiment.  Emulsified oil, figured that out.  Some kind of chile, yep.  And beyond that we weren’t sure if there was lime, vinegar, mayonnaise or avocado…but just kept on eating regardless of the speculations. This is different than a tomatillo salsa verde which is also incredibly yummy but not as creamy.  Sometimes this sauce

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Cauliflower Tabouli

September 6th, 2016 No Comments

  We recently spent a number of days at the Solarium Hostel in Ft. Collins, Colorado.  A tropical indoor commons, large shared kitchen, yoga in the basement, a stream and bike path in their back yard…this was a great place to hang out and meet people from around the world while making your breakfast before touring the breweries, eating at the pay-what-you-can FoCo Cafe, or heading to the mountains.  They even have adorable bikes you can rent for touring this

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Favorites August 2016

August 30th, 2016 4 Comments

    A few of my father’s photos from when he was learning the craft in the 1980’s.   The second picture is one of my favorites.  He was practicing moving the camera to match the subject so the background would be blurred…and it’s one great shot.  Yarrow and my sister are the two willing models. Part of our old farmhouse basement was modified into a darkroom for his long-lived hobby, it was a cool space for him to hide

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Orange Ginger Slaw

August 24th, 2016 2 Comments

  A colorful and tasty salad for your dinner, yes, but first I need to show you a large grey cat.               I’m thinking of making a t-shirt or a poster of these paws, they’re perfect.   Scott and I were devoted dog lovers and this big dork of a cat showed us there could be another way, transformed our hearts.  Scott’s collies rescued a starving wisp of a kitten fourteen years ago and

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Tulsi (Holy Basil)

August 16th, 2016 No Comments

  Tulsi, India’s Queen of Herbs, revered for centuries as a sacred plant and used both medicinally and in worship, is thriving right here in my garden.  Native to India it is traditionally grown in pots in every Indian home and I am just beginning to understand the devotion.  Tulsi is not known as the ‘elixir of life’ for naught.   Western medicine is finally studying this amazing herb for its health-promoting properties.  It contains eugenol (also in cloves), a compound

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Quick-Pickled Vegetable Salad and Brining Vegetables

August 9th, 2016 No Comments

  These little veggies were served at the Seed Savers Conference dinner and have now been in my refrigerator for over two weeks….and they still look and taste fantastic!  Once again I set myself up for the situation where I didn’t know exactly what I would be making (I kept the menu rather vague listing a ‘Carrot Vegetable Salad with Toasted Cumin”) but I knew it would involve lots of local vegetables and a light vinegar dressing, so I started

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In the Other Kind of Time

August 3rd, 2016 6 Comments

  Friends!   It’s August and many people in our neck of the woods are on their vacation trips before school begins.  Instead of recipes this week I say we take this time to enjoy some pictures and a poem recently shared with me by a friend.   Have fresh sweet corn and sliced tomatoes for supper, and take it easy.       These are photos of wood-fired pottery made by my cousin-by-marriage Jordan Taylor and taken when we visited family in northeastern Pennsylvania

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Kale Salad with Honeyed Shallots and Plums

July 26th, 2016 No Comments

  Another salad from Pascale Beale who I had the pleasure of meeting and experiencing her cooking class last fall.  This seemed like a good salad for the season as plums are beginning to roll in and at least some greens are holding their own.  Plums are one of my favorite fruits—their balance of toothsome tartness make them perfect for both sweet and savory moments.     From her beautiful book…   I used organic black plums in this version

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Carolina Gold Rice Grits Cakes

July 19th, 2016 No Comments

  All rice is not equal.   I have had creamy rice before, but this was another branch in the tree of amazing grains. People from Anson Mills in South Carolina were at the Seed Savers Exchange Annual Conference last weekend, and beforehand they offered to mail me their Carolina Gold Rice Grits if I would use it in the conference’s Saturday evening meal.  They sent ‘middlins’, or rice grits, which cook up in a similar manner to a creamy arborio rice.

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Broccomole

July 13th, 2016 2 Comments

  Last weekend we ventured up to the old haunts of Minneapolis to help my dear friend Julie JAO with an evening of speed painting performance in her studio.  Some of you may have seen her speed painting the signature stick figures but now she’s moved onto Celtic creatures….not exactly a simple choice for painting with abandon. These are a few from the evening, soon I can give you links to the live videos so you can watch them being born

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Lemon-zest Ade with Szechuan Pepper

July 5th, 2016 1 Comment

  In the Upper Midwest of this hemisphere we’ve had a lovely reprieve with mild temperatures this week, but the mercury will be rising soon and we know many of you south of us are scorching.  Time for a little refreshing break.  This is an easy lemonade utilizing the best part of the lemon—the oils in the peel.  Make a simple syrup and voilá, you have a concentrate for quick beverage assembly.     Adding Szechuan pepper to a drink….when

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Favorites June 2016

June 28th, 2016 No Comments

  Ah, late June—the season of the Willow Weavers! This year’s Willow Gathering focused on traditional basket work and hosted instructors Joe Hogan from Ireland, Katherine Lewis from Washington, Karen Tembreull from Michigan and Joanna Schanz from Iowa.  They led their participants through in-depth projects that left them famished for their lunches.  It’s amazing how much energy is required for this kind of concentration.      Joe brought them though the process of building a traditional lobster basket trap; they go

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