Last night, I pulled up my tomato plants. The growing season is winding down as the autumn chill creeps in. That chill coupled with the East Coast deluge a few weeks back mostly put an end to tomato season and peppers will follow shortly. And while greens, squash, and roots are all abundant, for the first time in months, my fridge holds a manageable amount of produce. It’s nice to have a little calm. [Read more…]
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Brian is the chicken master in the house. He’s been roasting it since his stint at a rotisserie chicken place in high school. He makes a mean barbecued chicken. And his devotion to perfect fried chicken is fanatical with everything – prep, how the tools are laid out, cooking time, oil amounts, seasonings. It’s all down to a science. Truly, I married well. But one thing he’s never done much of is baked chicken. But this week, as we use the restrictions of the Tabasco 10 Ingredient Challenge to push our creativity, we decided to break with tradition and try an oven fried chicken recipe. [Read more…]
I’ve had soup on my mind for a while. A few weeks back, I made and froze a batch of rich vegetable stock (made with the first yellow onions of the season from our CSA). Since then, I’ve been plotting. Though hot soups aren’t typical summer fare, there are plenty of great soup ingredients out there right now – young fennel bulbs, leeks, potatoes – and so I’ve abandoned tradition. To give things a more summery feel than a typical potato-leek soup, I’ve tweaked my standard recipe and riced the potatoes for a silky texture, added sliced fennel bulb and a big squeeze of lemon, and used milk instead of cream. Leek-y, light, and lemony, this soup’s good enough to make August soup lovers out of us all. [Read more…]
I was up late last night making a batch of nectarine rosemary jam. Earlier, I’d been out to a local low-spray orchard with a friend, and we came back with boxes of seconds for preserving. Though plenty sweet and flavorful, the seconds were between 50 and 75 percent cheaper than their unblemished cousins, making it far too easy to buy an amount of nectarines and peaches that can only be described as totally crazy (somewhere around a bushel and a half).
Please, send canning jars my way – I’m all out. [Read more…]
Watching the calendar turn over into August has been a huge relief. Summer has me feeling a little lost. Perhaps the chaos outside – tangled vines upon vines and teeming wildlife – can’t help but creep in. Last night, I found myself imagining sipping a mug of tea on a cold, gray January day in a nearly silent house. And there’s the truth of the matter – it’s not the weather or the bugs or even the summer that’s getting to me, it’s the lack of quiet. There’s no time to collect my thoughts or reflect. [Read more…]
High summer is a scattered time. We’re getting work done, but in the gaps – late nights or early mornings, with days spent at the park or pool, on the road, in a plane, or wandering just about anywhere. It’s how it should be. [Read more…]
All last week, we held our breath.
We waited and watched – refresh, refresh, refresh. Though quiet anticipation was an ever-present undercurrent, the surface was all chaos. Strong storms barreled in from the midwest nearly every evening. Our house, apparently, thought it a good time to have a meltdown, and a broken sink, bathtub, and faucet meant that our landlord spent the evenings repairing things. Perhaps taking cues from the house, our girls were in a state. (And only now, as I write this, do I realize that all that conflicting energy sent them to the brink. In the moment, I wondered if they were tired or bored with summer, sick of each other, and on and on. But of course, we were a bit of a mess, things were in disarray, and they responded accordingly.)
Then, on Tuesday of this week, the good news came. [Read more…]
Last night, around nine in the evening, a tiny prop plane touched down on the runway in Charlottesville. We’d taken off in Charlotte, swinging east around a big storm. As we cleared the towering thunderheads, a magnificent pink and orange sunset set up over the Blue Ridge mountains. In New York, it was the sight of the massive city rising straight out of the water that would bring me the feeling of homecoming. But, as Brian and I became disenchanted with NYC, that sight stopped bringing the same comfort. “Where is nature in all this?” I’d think as I took in all that concrete and glass from above. Now, whether flying or driving, it’s the sight of the Blue Ridge Mountains, stretching out just west of my small city, that lets me know I’m close to home. [Read more…]
In my mental rundown of the year, I always overlook May. It’s green and lush, the leaves have completely unfurled, the garden is shooting up, and storms pass through each evening, giving way to rainbows just before sunset or providing flickering light shows at bedtime. It’s a month filled with firsts, as we slowly remember how to wear sandals, shorts, and sunscreen. Less pleasantly, we pluck the first ticks from our heads and scratch the first mosquito bites. [Read more…]
When you’ve got a baby in the works, you start getting lots of advice. And horror stories. Parenthood begins to seem more like a constant state of terror than the joyous formation of a new little family. It’s frightening.