Stormy January Weather and Simmering Pumpkin Soup!

Stormy January Weather and Simmering Pumpkin Soup! A thick and nourishing cauldron of soup is a wonderful thermal surrogate to have simmering on the back burner. Furthermore, a mug of soup never talks back to you, rudely inquires if my hair is really red, or what is the state of my taxes or my political view. What a true friend! When the local electric company can’t be counted on, moths have munched holes in your favorite sweater, and your favorite person in the world is many miles away, hot soup can become your most precious ally—almost as comforting as a … Continue reading

Kohlrabi: A Gold Mine of Minerals

Kohlrabi: A Gold Mine of Minerals Americans are discovering what Northern Europeans have known for centuries—the delicacy of the kohlrabi. Its mildly flavored sweet, chestnut-like flavor makes it a wonderful addition to any dinnertable. The kohlrabi bulb is crisp and crunchy when raw, while its nonfibrous pulp takes on a smooth texture when cooked. Its leaves are also edible, raw or cooked. Besides being tasty and versatile, the kohlrabi is economical and, above all, healthy. Kohlrabi is part of the cabbage family. Not only is it an excellent source of potassium, but it also contains natural enzymes that aid digestion … Continue reading

Glorious Sweet Potatoes—An Odyssey of Inspirational Side Dishes!

Glorious Sweet Potatoes! Did you know sweet potatoes are a member of the morning glory family? And, did you know the brown-skinned, orange-fleshed sweet potato that Americans love to eat candied at Thanksgiving is actually a potato-like tuber which is native to the Caribbean and Central America? The variety is often, incorrectly, called yams, in this country. A true yam is an elongated brown-skinned, white fleshy root native to Africa. Please, let me explain… Africans who came to the New World as slaves called their yams nyami. When they found sweet potatoes to cook and eat, they called them nyami, … Continue reading

Full and Bosomy to Narrow and Sleek—Eggplants!

Full and Bosomy to Narrow and Sleek—Eggplants! It is August and time for eggplants… Eggplants can be as petite as a plum or as large as a cantelope; chubby or oblong; glossy purple to striped violet, to antique ivory in color.  No matter which variety, eggplants add bulk and fiber to one’s diet, and the subtle flavor and melting consistency provides a bare minimum of calories, which is a real plus for health conscious folks.  Most people are familiar with the full and bosomy purple eggplant, but today, I will take things a step further… New varieties versus our “old” … Continue reading

Sour Cherries & Summertime!

Sour Cherries & Summertime!    Cherries 101… Sweet cherries are commonly eaten out of hand as fresh cherries, while sour or tart cherries are used primarily for cooking and baking. Sweet cherries simply do not hold up when cooking and loose much of their flavor. Sour cherries on the other hand, stay plump and juicy while cooking or baking. Some eat sour cherries out of hand (as do I), but they are also very good pitted, with a sprinkle of crusty brown sugar and a dollop of honey-sweetened sour cream or whipped cream on top. The garnet jewels of summertime… Sour … Continue reading

Garden, Sugar Snap or Snow Peas?

Which Pea to Pick? Peas are one of the earliest crops to mature in the springtime, and they can be used in all kinds of dishes.  In fact, you can eat some of them right off the vine!  Usually, the biggest decision is just what type of pea to use: garden peas, sugar snap peas or snow peas? Let’s take a look at each… When most people think of peas, they think of those pictures here—garden peas.  Note that they are also called English peas, shelling peas, standard peas or common peas—sheesh!  But there are two things that definitely separate … Continue reading

It’s Asparagus Time!

Refueling Your Fork in Sync with the Seasons

It’s Asparagus time! Willowy asparagus spears become hard to resist on a daily basis, from the end of April, right through the month of June. Thin spears of green asparagus, called sprue, have been grown as a delicacy for over 2000 years! Wash asparagus spears carefully, especially around the tips, which can contain dirt and grit. Then bend each stem until it snaps—it will break at the part where it becomes woody and tough.  Personally, I like thicker spears—using a peeler, I shave down the stem from the middle to the broken end and simply steam in a shallow pan … Continue reading

Spring Vegetables and Side Dishes

Spring Vegetables and Side Dishes The snow has turned to mud, and then the mud turns to humus. The air is heavy all around, expectant—pregnant with spring. We feel the sun’s warmth on our skin, we breathe in the fresh, clean air, and before we know it, the gray of winter recedes and bright shades of emerald green burst forth. New grass trembles under the wind’s flow. The days grow longer. Springtime invites us to connect with the land on which we live and eating locally is healthy for not only us but the environment too. We souls of Northern … Continue reading

Twist & Snout – For the Love of Pork! Recipe: Spareribs with Orange Stuffing

TWIST & SNOUT – For the Love of Pork!  RECIPE: Spareribs with Orange Stuffing From nose to belly to butt, if you ask people what food truly rocks their world, the answer is always pork.  Ahhhh, pork—the crack-cocaine of all meats! Especially good is pork that comes from pasture-raised piggies—and if you get acquainted with your local farmers, so much the better.  The best-eating pigs are those raised and left to thrive on a steady diet of goodness.  Pigs should spend 10 hours a day being pigs—outside exploring, rooting and generally creating chaos and naughtiness wherever they wander.  Did you … Continue reading

Good, Healthy Food Starts with Good, Healthy Ethics – Wintertime Salads

GOOD, HEALTHY FOOD STARTS WITH GOOD, HEALTHY ETHICS Healthy food products are propagated by the conscientious farmer in collaboration with the land, fauna, and flora.  The farmer nurtures the land, keeps animals in a proper and safe way, and takes great care when cultivating plants and crops.  The reward is healthy and tasty food.  It seems so many have forgotten about nature’s values and the importance of health, and have exchanged it all for convenience and cheaper prices.  And at what a cost!  We have in this country animal and plant foods which, in worst cases, have never even come … Continue reading

Nutty Nutrition—A Tangle of Tastes

Nutty Nutrition—A Tangle of Tastes Nuts are humankind’s earliest and most nutritious natural foods. Whether they are employed as the major ingredient or as an embellishment or garnish, nuts are an indispensable element in today’s cosmopolitan recipes, as well as to every creative, yet practical home cook. Nuts can give the contrasting texture, piquancy or flavor needed to impart an amazing quality to foods. Even in small quantities, they are marvelously flavorful and will give character to an entrée or side dish, and if toasted beforehand, the taste is even more pronounced or altered, and the texture crispier. By using … Continue reading

The Cranberry—More than Just a Pretty Face

The Cranberry—More than Just a Pretty Face Long before foreign settlers came to North America, indigenous people harvested wild red berries and cooked them with venison, maple syrup, and honey.  Early settlers and explorers called the tart fruits “crane berries”, perhaps because the blossoms of the plant sits on a slender stem resembling the neck of a crane. Another version of the story holds that the berries were named for that same swamp-dwelling bird, which ate them. Either way, the name eventually became the one we know today. The Harvest…Storage… Cranberries no longer grow wild. The crimson harvest is big … Continue reading