I’ve never been one to sneak vegetables into food. I want my girls to embrace foods of all kinds and eat them gladly. But wanting things and having those things are not the same. And understanding the ever-changing likes and dislikes of a seven and three year old isn’t a science –– a dish one will eat in its entirety one week can easily go untouched the next. So it was a relief to see that both girls loved this pesto shells and cheese recipe. read more »
Certain winter vegetables feel like they are only for the most devoted seasonal eaters, with turnips and rutabagas at the top of the list. Ugly, with radish-y undertones, it’s not surprising these homely roots don’t make their way onto a lot of home menus. But, by this time of year, seasonal vegetables come down to a choice between bracing brassicas and sweeter vegetables like beets and sweet potatoes, or winter squash. And after all the sweets and rich foods of the holidays, the slight bitterness of brassicas make for a welcome change of pace. The humble turnip, for example, doesn’t just have to be buried in a stew. It can be a delicious base for a fresh salad. read more »
For the squirrels, it started a month ago. The first day of September, before the acorns fell, panic washed over the animal kingdom. Squirrels were more furtive and skittish then ever. Either a deer or a groundhog decided to eat all of our late strawberries, leaves and all. These days, it’s the birds who are nuts; the blue jays have returned from wherever they summer and the crows are back to making a ruckus.
In the human world, early October is a more appropriate time to freak out. read more »
I’m prone to think myself an expert on too wide an array of topics. Brian’s similarly afflicted, so in this way, and the fact that we’re both not the dollars and cents types, we’re a bad match. Or at least, he’s not the absolute yin to my yang. One way we both learned we knew much less than we had thought we did was moving to Virginia. In Brooklyn, artisan products and farm-fresh produce (that you buy from the farmer) are available almost any day of the week at one of the city’s Green Markets and also at local specialty shops like the Bedford Cheese Shop or the Meat Hook. Not only that, but because vendors range from Vermont to southern New Jersey, we enjoyed a particular food’s season longer as it stretched up the eastern seaboard. Here in a small city in central Virginia, vendors aren’t exactly flocking, so eating locally has a far more strictly defined meaning. That’s one of the main reasons we were thrilled to have signed up for a CSA. (Have you sent in your check yet?) read more »
On cool nights in Brooklyn, I loved laying in bed with the windows open. I would drift to sleep and sometimes be startled out of it by the conversational mumbles of the late dinner crowd coming out of the restaurants and planning their next moves, the nightly din-to-shrill crescendo of the bar out back, and the wall of taxis laying on their horns as they came down Havemeyer on weekend nights at twelve thirty, and again at two. When the loudest sounds ebbed, I’d hear bits of conversation, laughing, music floating by, and would sit in bed and love that I could hear all this life happening from right there in my bedroom. And if the moon was also shining in the window, as it did this time of year, well, what else could you want?
The Virginia nights offer a different symphony. read more »
Pretty soon after we moved from NYC to Virginia, Brian and I installed raised beds in the backyard. Brimming with a sense of accomplishment and pride, we filled them with dirt and began planting tiny tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, squash, and herbs. Admittedly, that was kind of a lot for two two by four foot beds. No matter! I wanted a garden! I thought we’d be living off of it come August. But the rainy, then humid Virginia summer had other plans. read more »