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…]
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…]
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 heart, I’m a meanderer. During a quiet morning at home, if things are going well, I’m fully immersed in at least three tasks at once, wandering between each one as my interest shifts. In my art, I gravitate toward the endless possibilities of oil painting and fell hard for process-driven printmaking. I even made photography complicated, opting for handmade paper, pinhole cameras, and painted-on emulsion. [Read more…]
Until last Thursday, I had exactly four trophies to show for my time on earth. Runner-up and then winner of the school speech contest in fourth and fifth grade, and two from the Enid’s Apple Pie Contest, also runner-up and then winner, which I secured well into adulthood. But now, there’s a shiny orange Le Creuset pepper mill in my collection; on it hangs a tag that says: Brooklyn Supper, Winner Editors’ Choice, Most Delicious Food. You guys – we won! [Read more…]
This past week has been a series of minor inconveniences building on one another to form one massive nest of problems. I’m trying to step back and remind myself that, on a global scale, I’m pretty lucky to have a car or a dishwasher (even if they do suddenly have a dent and broken hinges, respectively). And if my littlest one is sick, at least I’m in a position to get her back on her feet soon. Dealing with all these little troubles is just what life is. By taking troubles as they come and seeking out the small pleasures that balance them, we can build a pretty happy little life in spite of everything. [Read more…]
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Springtime is a time of waiting. Waiting for strawberries and asparagus. Waiting for the first short-sleeve day. Waiting for lamb. Waiting for grill weather. To make all that waiting go faster, our family of four always makes a trip out to local farms to see what we have in store. We love the lambs, calves, and kids, plus all the newly planted summer crops and the spring produce almost ready for the farm stand, such as chives, spring onions, mint, nettles, and fresh lamb. As the first foods of the season are just coming to life, so do the leaves and flowers back in the city. Brian and I make sure the girls take notice of all this , so they’ll understand and appreciate the hard work and patience it takes to grow and produce good food. [Read more…]
When I was 5 or 6, I played tee-ball. Coordination was never my strong suit and neither was attentiveness. With this in mind, the coach relegated me to the deep outfield behind third base, where I was left to make clover chains, eat grass stems, and, always, get caught completely off guard when the occasional ball came speeding my way. My outfield technique did have one advantage, at least — everyone moved in when I came to bat, freeing me up to hit the ball right over their unsuspecting heads. [Read more…]
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There are lots of little ways to reclaim our kitchens, and those I relish most are the daily battles and small victories. One of my favorite kitchen triumphs is the MacGyver dinner. You know that one –– you realize you have nothing to eat for dinner: no plan, no protein, and hardly any time. But then, with a bit of ingenuity, or at least a nicely chopped onion and some olive oil, a good meal is suddenly underway. Home cooks know the braises we’ve planned or the pasta sauce that’s cooked all day will be delicious, but these surprise meals, these takeout near misses, these dinners that make use of all the odds and ends, are always the most gratifying. [Read more…]