Archive for the ‘Thankful’ Category

We had a bit of work to do to get the garden plot cleaned up.

Hoo boy

I mean, just a little bit.

Luckily, I had some help. As in, luckily, I had two able bodies to do most of the work.

in progress

Whew! All ready for radishes, cukes, tomatoes, peppers, basil.

Cleaned out


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Scallions, rhubarb, two types of mizuna, mushrooms. I love this time of the year. Obviously, it’s great having local, fresh produce abundantly available. But what’s even better is how the CSA pickup or the farmer’s market trip tells me what to make for dinner.

CSA pickup, 5/5/11

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Ugh! Maybe this blogging business isn’t for me. I leave things here way too unattended.
Somebody asked me on Sunday what I’ve been up to this summer. I had no idea. Luckily my camera told me otherwise.

I’ve been cooking a lot sans recipes, with whatever is in the fridge, which happens to be A LOT of produce between our CSA and our garden.
Radish and Cuke Salad

I’ve been picking lots of fruit: cherries, peaches, blueberries, more peaches, and raspberries. And more peaches.
Moods Windmill

I’ve been making pickles.
Dilly Beans

And chutney.

And jam.

I grilled octopus last weekend.

I’ve been picking lots of delicious veg out of my garden. (Oops, I meant OUR garden.)

I’ve been shooting some weddings! One by myself, and one as an assistant. And I got paid! But, shh, don’t tell Uncle Sam.
First Dance BW

I made zucchini bread that wasn’t very good.
zucchini bread

I met Jennifer Carroll! Swoon.

I took two canning classes: beets and tomatoes (and salsa).
Packing beets

I’ve also been loving on my new chest freezer. More on that later.

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We found out on Saturday that we were lucky enough to get a plot at the Liberty Lands community garden. I’ve only done a little container gardening the past few years so I’m excited to have a bigger space to grow some veg. We’ve also added a little herb garden in our new-ish backyard. To say that our yard needs some work is an understatement, so it’s really nice to be able to have some separate space to do some gardening.

Cat mint

One of the awesome activities that the garden participates in is the City Harvest program. Gardeners grow produce that’s then donated to a local feeding program. Obviously I can get on board with that. Seeds and seedlings (started by inmates of the PA prison system) are provided to gardeners who plant them in their own gardens. Liberty Lands donated over 300 pounds of produce last year. Between the earthquake in Chile and the bad weather in Florida (among other factors), food banks are going to be super lean on produce until well into the summer, making this program even more crucial this year.


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I’m a slacker, on all counts. Posting, cooking, photographing, I’ve just been slacking all around, though thinking a lot about hipsters on food stamps. But that’s for another day. Here, though, are some tasty shots from Easter brunch. Sharing food with friends is obviously one of life’s greatest pleasures. Especially when everyone brings something…ham, goat cheese souffles, green bean casserole, and pear and chocolate cake. And candy, of course.

Bloody Marys
Bloody Marys.

Steaming Green Bean Casserole
Serving it up.

Goat cheese souffles
Goat cheese souffles, courtesy of Misty.



Misty and Adam
Misty and Adam.

Pretty tulips, cake, and peeps.

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My husband gave me the most beautiful Valentine’s Day gift, a copy of Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town by Douglas Gayeton. This book is one long interwoven story of traditions and food and family and friends. It makes you cheer, it makes you cry, it makes you gasp in awe. The sepia photos work like a time machine, transporting you back to an era when people slaughtered their own animals, using every single part. A time when restauranteurs did deals with anonymous mushroom hunters and people pressed their own olive oil. Then I remember that most of these stories take place in the past decade.

It also happens to be the type of book that makes you look around and think WTF? Seriously, what am I doing with my LIFE? Huge philosophical questions present themselves. What IS this rat race we’re all in? Why don’t we grow/raise/produce more of our own food? I am panicking. We don’t eat enough locally. Sometimes I throw away the carcass from the local, pasteured chicken I roasted, instead of making stock. Suddenly, buying eggs from the local farmer isn’t enough. Apparently, I must have my own chickens. In a henhouse. In my little city backyard. Is that even allowed? Suddenly my cookbook collection seems so…cliche. I comfort myself by thinking about the beautiful chard I got last weekend.


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A couple weekends ago, about fifty of our family members and closest friends joined us for a little party to celebrate our new digs. I am KICKING myself for not taking more pictures, especially of the food and the people, obviously. More hosting was done than shooting, unfortunately. As for the food, let’s just say that I was a little overambitious. We had canapes, and deviled eggs (courtesy of Joy Manning’s and Tara Mataraza Desmond’s Almost Meatless), Mango Curry Shrimp Salad (a perennial favorite), and beer simmered hot dog bites. I made little twice baked potatoes from beautiful blue potatoes from Livengood’s Produce. We had endive leaves filled with blue cheese, cranberries, walnuts, dressed with a light maple syrup dressing.


There were cupcakes! In honor of Misty’s birthday. There was pulled pork, courtesy of Aunt Louise, a beautiful quiche made by Cully, and mini cranberry meatballs, lovingly made by my pastry school friend Steph. Misty made mushrooms stuffed with crab meat. Apparently no one except Steph touched the crudite. There were other ideas that didn’t make it through to execution like beet and goat cheese skewers and Ina Garten’s ham and cheese puff pastry. My friend Brooke brought the makings of this delicious onion tart. And of course there were pickles.

Steph, eating the only piece of crudite all night.

There were many times that I looked around that night and smiled to myself. It sort of felt like our wedding, on only a slightly smaller scale: family, old and new work friends, college friends, high school friends, neighborhood friends. I also feel very fortunate that our families get along great. Everyone always has a good time together.

Like any other major get-together or holiday, food was a main component of our party. And the truth is, if I hadn’t received any compliments about the food, I would have been bummed. So much of what I identify with has to do with food. I like making it, eating it, taking pictures of it, and I make sure people who need it, have it. Apparently much of my self worth (personal and professional) is wrapped up in it.

So of COURSE I received many compliments on the food. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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