Even on the busiest nights, we almost always serve up a family dinner –– in part because we believe in sitting down as a family and in part because it’s just easier to only cook once. It sounds so simple here on the screen, but in reality, finding a meal to suit the shifting tastes girls age 3 and 7 is not easy. Or at least, it wasn’t, until I realized the power of a good soup.
Like many of the best dishes, this one started with M.F.K. Fisher. I love the simple eating she advocates, and at the center of her frugal and delicious universe, is soup. read more »
Today is one of those days, one of those posts, where I have too much to say. It’s more than this delicate crumb-topped peach pie can bear, I think. So instead of a more involved tale, I’ll say that I’ve been enjoying the some much-needed peace after a few weeks of freelance craziness. My work life was upended just a bit recently. Right away there was scrambling and a slew of emails; happily, I now have a few exciting projects beginning to take shape. In the meantime, I’ve had some time to recharge. read more »
As the calendar ticked over to the unofficial start of fall and our pool closed up for the season, something unexpected and entirely unwelcome happened –– summer started. Suddenly it was hot and sticky. The cicadas which had been quiet returned with full voices. Summer storms cropped up. As someone who loves wool, overheats easily, and has hair with serious frizz potential, I take this late-onset summer very personally.
On the other hand, there are a few things I’ll miss about summer. As we get the first winter squash in our CSA share, I’m still clinging to all the summer ingredients poised to disappear at any moment. Among them, blackberries. read more »
Peak tomato season in Virginia means there are expansive flats of heirlooms at every market. It also means that there are plenty of cast-offs. And, as far as canning’s concerned, it’s cast-offs you should be after. It may take some asking around, but you can generally find someone to sell you dented, bruised, or otherwise compromised tomatoes at cut rate.
In search of tomato deals, last weekend we piled in the car and drove down to the town of Scottsville for country prices. read more »
I decided I’d only worry about the garden through July. After that, I let it all surrender to the squash bugs, at least one groundhog, a few squirrels, possibly a deer, and powdery mildew and blight of all manner. But even as they weather the onslaught, the tired-looking plants still spew fruit. Most of my outdoor plants have had a banner year, especially considering my gardening-in-Virginia track record. All the plants, except the fig. read more »
Our family has a range of feelings about mustard. Our younger daughter would be perfectly content to have a dinner of mustard and nothing else, while our older one won’t touch it. Brian could spend an hour browsing the mustard section of our local international food store. And I fall somewhere in the middle. But, a mustard-based barbecue sauce –– that’s something that brings us all together. The first time we a made it, it was because it was easy. The second time, it was because the first iteration was just shy of completely addictive. At its best, mustard-based barbecue sauce, also known as South Carolina-style sauce, gets some zip from mustard and is heightened by additions like apple cider vinegar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.
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