Posts tagged ‘yogurt’

August 30, 2010

Chive Cream

I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve been feeling a bit conflicted about apples.

Have you seen them in the farmer’s markets in the last week or so? Bins of early apples nestled up alongside the summer squash and cherry tomatoes and big bunches of basil?

I have… and my first thought (Apples! I love apples!) was immediately followed by the realization that apples herald the coming of autumn. Another burst of excitement (Autumn! I love autumn! — and I do, in all of its roasted squash, clove-scented kitchen, crisp afternoon and brisk blue sky-glory), was too soon followed by guilt (is a love of autumn a betrayal of summer?) and a final realization that my beloved autumn is too soon followed by the dreaded winter: dreary, dark, dismal winter.

Between Thanksgiving and the holiday season, November and December are alright, but around February things are starting to feel quite bleak. By the time March finally rolls around with its lingering dirty patches of snow and slush and freezing rain, I’m already chomping at the bit for warmer weather and longer days and GREEN… but March is an interminable month, and often taunts us with a couple of warm days in the third week only to pitch us back into arctic temperatures just in time for the start of April, sometimes just in time to cruelly bury the first few crocus buds in a new layer of sleet or snow.

You see now why I’m so conflicted about the arrival of apples.

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August 2, 2010

Cucumber and White Bean Salads

This weekend I spent another lovely afternoon in New Haven, with my brother, not eating eggs.

a lovely summer table of meatless (and sadly egg-less) proteins

If you’re wondering why I announced what we were not eating (ie, eggs) instead of what we did (those nifty cucumber and white bean salads up there), it’s because we were supposed to be having eggs: backyard-fresh, straight-from-the-hen eggs. Because my brother has been chickensitting for his neighbors, and was sure he would have accumulated such a massive collection of eggs that last week he commissioned me to start thinking about new and interesting ways to use them all.

Truth be told, the real reason I went to New Haven was not to visit my brother, but to visit the chickens.

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July 7, 2010

Cool as a Cucumber

It’s the middle of summer — the days are hot and humid and stretch on for hours, seemingly endless, until finally they melt into those high summer apricot and lavender skies — and I can’t get enough of it.

I love the feel of the sun, the smell of the air and the water; the coconutty smell of sunscreen. I love ducking into the air-conditioned bus to escape the muggy, oppressive heat of Manhattan and heading home for weekends of beaches and hammocks and local wine. But perhaps more than anything, I cherish this season that brings wave after wave of lush new produce. Each week, it seems, a new crop sweeps into the farmer’s markets; a new jewel-toned addition to the summer palette of bright yellows and reds, deep purples and creamy greens.

chilled cucumber soup 1

Now I don’t like to play favorites with my vegetables, but there is something magical about the arrival of sweet corn, those perfect little rows of velvety pearls that turn buttercup yellow with a little heat and pop in sweet little bursts between your teeth…. Um, wow.

So when last week I received a report from my darling mother that the corn was in early this year — that it was already flooding farmstands by the bushelfull, well in time for Fourth of July festivities — I was thrilled. And I wasn’t the only one. I could tell from the tone in which my mother gave this report that she was pleased as punch with herself for being the bearer of such wonderful news.

In the days leading up to the holiday weekend, visions of sweet corn chowder danced through my head, distracting me from paying attention to things like my job, conversations, crosswalk signs…. I simply could not WAIT to get home and into a big kitchen with a huge armload of corn and some fresh milk.

There was, however, just one problem: it was really, really hot last weekend. Really hot. Like, record-breaking, haven’t-seen-temperatures-like-these-since-nineteen-ninety-nine hot. And despite the fact that my parents are far less stingy with the air conditioning than I am, the thought of simmering a chowder on the stovetop for a few hours sounded like the very last thing I wanted to be doing.

Have I ever told you that I am a firm believer that when life hands you lemons, you should make lemonade? Or lemon bars (and share them with me)? Or that when one door closes, another one opens? Because I am a firm believer in both of those things.

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June 9, 2010

Yogurt: A Love Story

Today I did something I love to do: I made my own yogurt.

If you’re sitting there wondering why on earth anyone would want to go to the trouble to make their own yogurt when there are already entire grocery sections devoted to the stuff, you clearly lack a sense of adventure don’t know me very well. I could go on a little rant about artificial flavors and sweeteners, fillers and gelatins and preservatives, or I could tell you that there’s something really wholesome and comforting about the process… but instead I’m going to tell you a little story.

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