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…]
I needed thyme on New Year’s Eve and walked out to the garden to see if my plant was hanging on. It had lost its vibrant color, but there was still lots of fresh, fragrant thyme to be had. It was a cold morning and the frost had settled into the tiny leaves to form glistening rosettes. [Read more…]
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I (really) love to put out a spread of great food and drink, but the last few times I’ve hosted a big party, I’ve felt like I spent the whole party taking coats, mixing drinks, getting appetizers from the oven to the serving tray, instead of actually, y’know, spending time with all these people I like. So lately, as part of my ongoing quest for more meaningful interactions, I’ve been throwing smaller parties of four or five where I really have the time to enjoy the festivities. A few close friends, some good food, and a couple great bottles of wine is always the best.
There are weekends that stretch out, with golden evenings and long, eventful days. The ones where you look back Sunday evening and feel like Friday is only a distant memory because you’ve had a week’s worth of fun in two days.
This wasn’t one of those weekends. [Read more…]
With a chill in the night air and a few recent professional disappointments, the past couple weeks have been a time for long, hot showers. At night, the bathroom all steamy, I listen to the BBC News, which focuses on Africa in the evening and often serves as a reminder that, with my safe home and clean water, I’m still ahead by more than any of us deserve. No one can blame me for being rooted in my own life –– it’s an essential part of being human –– but remembering that all I have is mine by chance is good way to keep things in check. [Read more…]
Home decor, especially kitchen appliances, can last a long time, so even though I was born after the heyday of burnt orange and pea green, the palette persisted well into my childhood. Even now, overly warm wood stains, yellow undertones, and dimly lit television shows all send me running for aesthetic cleansing. This may be why I have such difficulty embracing the hues of October. Besides the pervasive orange-ness of the season, to embrace all things squash or pumpkin is to admit defeat. For me, winter squash signals the end of the growing season, meaning everything from now until April is either a storage food or from someplace else. [Read more…]