Category Archives: food

Beets and radishes

Anyone who camps knows how even the most pedestrian meal is enhanced to a near-miraculous degree after a day in the wilderness. It happens all the time. “How can a bowl of pasta with canned sauce and chopped zucchini taste so good,” you wonder. And yet it does.

The visit to Salem was tense and then tenser. We didn’t manage to capture the cat. The aide had to leave a full hour earlier than expected. Plans had to be abandoned, limitations accepted. But before we got there, a fair amount of hostility was expressed. I spent a lot of time walking around the building, sort of wishing I smoked.

My sister blamed her temper on a transiting Mars / natal Sun conjunction and pretty much everything else on me.

She kept telling me to sit down and to stop moving. I kept suggesting that it might be time to put some pants on. The aide cleaned the kitchen. Then the bathroom.

My wish to get something done collided with my sister’s refusal to move. It’s often this way.

It’s a kind of wilderness, really — and I think it made the salad I made after getting home taste ridiculously good.

The gorgeous food blog, Harvest and Honey, inspired the choice of ingredients.

With the sweet, candy-like beets, the smooth and creamy avocado, plus a little goat cheese, chopped scallion, sliced radish and a handful of micro greens, it was beyond delicious.

Recipe (you hardly need one!)

1 large beet, roasted, peeled and diced*

1/2 scallion chopped, including white end

1 radish, sliced thin

1 1/2 Tbs goat cheese

Handful of micro greens

Dress with a tangy mustard vinaigrette (loaded with garlic).

* if you stow beets, post-roasting, in their foil wrappers in a large, unsealed zip lock bag, be very careful carrying the bag to the cutting board unless you want your kitchen to resemble a crime scene!

Two blessings and a soup

Blessing one: Finn was in the house when the large pin cherry on the lot line crashed into the deck. (So was I. I watched it fall).

Blessing two: the tree landed two feet away from the house. One branch was closer: about six inches!

I was also worried about the arbor vitae on the south side of the house, bowed as they were over some power lines.

After filling the feeders, freeing these shrubs of the cement-like clumps of snow and tying them up as best I could, I made soup. Delicious soup.

Stock: two beef bones, vegetable trimmings, a cup of red wine, two heads of garlic and S&P.

Soup: one sliced onion, two carrots, one potato, 1/4 c white rice, and a few Tbs fresh chopped cilantro, more S&P. Yum!!

Brisk walk and Catapults

How do I know if the robins I see are winter robins or early spring arrivals? They were pretty against the pewter sky. I wish you could see them in this picture.

Rain and then cold meant a slick treachery out there. I was underdressed in scarf, gloves and down coat. Nevertheless, these football fans braved the icy air to capture their excitement. The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl!

The rolling of the calendar into February catapulted me into sending some chapters (20) and a book proposal off to the literary agent that I met back in November. I didn’t want too much more time to go by. “Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life” said a country singer somewhere (just to keep the football thing going). You know I’ll be checking email obsessively until I hear from her.

I’ve got soup in the fridge and this guy for company. K will be traveling back from Moscow today. He’s been gone all week.

If you haven’t already done so on Instagram, wish me luck!

Deliciousness / Effort Ratio

Using packaged beef stock for this onion soup makes it ridiculously easy to throw together. It was so easy and so delicious, in fact, that it made me think that there should be a ratio of deliciousness to effort for recipes. This one would be off the charts.

EASY ONION SOUP

Sauté two onions (sliced in half moons)
add salt, pepper, thyme and
one box of beef stock.

That’s it!

Floating cheese toast nice but not necessary.

Sunday soup

It’s Sunday and I made “garbage soup” — you know, one of those concoctions that thriftily uses up items in the fridge no longer up for a starring role? Every version is necessarily different. Today’s batch included: slightly rubbery celery, tired lettuce, the ends of four sliced-open heads of garlic (above), a few small potatoes, one shallot, and excellent chicken stock. (Honestly, with good chicken stock, you could probably boil up strips of newspaper and find them edible).

Once blended and topped with parsley, this batch tasted pretty much like cream of celery soup. Yum! Especially considering there isn’t an ounce of dairy in it. Wonderful for an off-again-on-again rainy day. We enjoyed it after a quick visit to a Pottery Barn down the road. Because college tuition ended rather sooner than expected, we might replace some of our more awful or out-of-scale pieces of furniture. A smaller coffee table would be nice. The one we have is nice but a little too big and it blocks the fireplace.

We also looked at headboards to get ideas (we will make our own). I lusted after floral linen shams, faux fur bathrobes (so soft!), candle hurricanes, and darling reindeer ornaments. Seems like plaid is a thing this year. Maybe a few will be left come January.


Had fun taking B&W pix  — I’ve been tagged on Facebook. You probably know the drill.




Lastly, I went to the Tenth Annual Boston Book Festival yesterday. Went with my friend and writing teacher. We ate hot dogs, wandered inside the Boston Public Library and attended a great panel discussion between two fiction writers (Claire Messud and Jacqueline Woodson). If it doesn’t turn into what feels like a homework assignment, will share more.

Umm sugar

I can be an unabashed braggart when it comes to food — moaning my approval before anyone else at the table has a chance to comment, for instance. But, you know what? Every now and then I just hit it out of the park! These sugar cookies sailed right over the Green Monster* into my happy, happy mouth (*for those who don’t know, that’s a Fenway Park reference).

The recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen: The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook.

I don’t bother with their laborious flour concocting and instead use whatever gluten free flour is to hand. These cookies feature almond meal — always a boon for this nut-lover’s palette — and cream cheese, which probably accounts for the confections’ creamy softness. I happened to be out of vanilla (what? –  I know!), so I subbed a smaller amount of almond extract. Pow — these cookies are to die for. And that’s saying something for gluten free!


It’s Friday and it finally stopped raining. I’m reading Michael W. Twitty‘s food memoir and just got to the part about his conversion to Judaism and the parallels between Jewish and African American culinary traditions. Left me with a hankering for pastrami (I must trust my dear readers to be openly lusting for sugar and red meat in the same post!). There may be a run to Zaftig’s in my near future. There happens to be one near my favorite Christmas Tree Shop in Natick (please stop, Dee — too many confessions for one post).


I’ll end on a loftier note. Here’s the start of my contribution to a wonderful collaborative art/magic project that Mo is dreaming up (I Dream of a World Where Love is the Answer — It’s Crow Time). More to come.

Baffled by soup

The soup was only okay in spite of good ingredients and the same steps that have produced outstanding results. That’s how it goes.

There’s basil, parsley, garlic, collard greens, cabbage, carrots, onion, chicken sausage and homemade chicken stock. Added hot sesame oil and a squeeze of lime at the end. Maybe the lime was a mistake? Unlike softer greens which can be thrown in at the end or even off heat, I wilted the collards and green cabbage in advance.

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when I chop garlic, I chop enough for days

Sad to say, I broke my favorite knife in the process (the ceramic chef’s knife that was a Christmas gift years ago). I dropped it in a moment of distraction created by the hot handles of my Dutch oven. That made me decide to replace the damned pot (not the one in the picture) — in addition to poorly designed handles, its heat conduction is awful, producing side scorching and smoking olive oil routinely. Enough!

Besides, you should see the beauties I can get with frequent flyer miles!