Last Saturday, we picked up our Christmas tree. Brian wanted to drive to the nice in-town place where we got a tree last year, but heading out to the country to chop down our own was very high on my things-to-do-now-that-we-don’t-live-Brooklyn wish list, and because he could see I had my heart set on it, we drove south to a tree farm. As we crossed the county line south of town, I realized that the “just over the river” place I’d picked was actually 30 miles past the river –– over winding backcountry roads of varying degrees of pavedness through the rain-soaked Virginia hills and forests shrouded in fog. We arrived, were given instructions by a kind older man with a very specific central Virginia accent that is best described as Southern meets Canadian. We set out to find our tree and after some slogging through wet fields selected a Norway spruce. Instead of chopping, Brian sawed it down with a dull hacksaw. After we carted it back, paid, and tied it to the car, we happily made our way home, stopping at our favorite rural pizza place (our favorite pizza in Virginia!) on the way back.
But in the backdrop of all this merriment, are a few stressors. read more »
My first Brooklyn apartment had a distant view of the Chrysler building. You had to climb out the kitchen window and stand on an adjacent roof to see it, but still it was there. Brian and I would sit out there in the evenings, filled with all the optimism that young love and any kind of view of the NYC skyline inspires, and dream our dreams. We planned to take the city by storm. We’d also talk about having kids and all the things we wanted for these potential humans. read more »
Brian contends that this blog is as much about the weather as it is about food. I could talk about weather for days, but I try not to indulge too often for fear I’ll bore you. These days though, the chill of winter is inescapable. (Except on the west coast, where it’s apparently summer?) But out here in the east, this winter weather feels right. I want to earn the spring and summer, to make the most of the contrasts and changing seasons. And earning it we are, with highs in the teens and lows in the single digits, we are all getting an education in cold.
All in all, it’s a very good time to have the oven on; twisting the knob is the first essential step for just about everything we make lately. But these cauliflower steaks are more than an excuse to warm things up, they’re also part of a plan. read more »
Antoine-Auguste Parmentier, for whom potage Parmentier and a host of other potato dishes are named, is the rare agronomist whose life makes for an interesting read (George Washington Carver is another and after that I’ve got nothing.) While we now think of the potato as central to European peasant cuisine, that wasn’t the case in Parmentier’s time, prior to the French Revolution. An import from South America where it was a staple for the Indians of the Andes, the potato hadn’t caught on as human food in Europe and was thought to only to be edible only for animals. read more »
The food media likes to promise the impossible. Dinner in fifteen minutes? Maybe if it’s a sandwich (or summer, but let’s please not think about summer right now). The thing is, I like my dinner slow. I love simmering something for hours or crafting a meal step-by-step over a series of days. Slow food. We’ve all heard of that. And now that winter is making a show of things, there’s nothing I want more than to have a big pot of something bubbling away on my stovetop. read more »
Owing to their place as one of the two vegetables my daughters will always eat gladly (the other is broccoli, if you’re curious), I tend to stock up on sweet potatoes. If I look hard enough I can generally find one or two kicking around in the depths of my refrigerator. At lunchtime today, I found a few and my first inclination was to roast them whole, split them open, and smother them with chimichurri and bacon, but I decided at the last minute that I need more texture and spice so I cut them up for their stint in the oven. read more »