It’s summer. It’s hot. What wouldn’t be better than an ice cold pitcher of tea? So what are your choices? You could boil up a batch and then have to wait until it cools, you could use that instant stuff or you could put a jar with a couple of tea bags out on the back porch and brew it in the sun. The only problem with the last option is that you are brewing a lot more than tea in that jar. So next time you want sun tea, but without the extra bacteria, throw the jar in the refrigerator and let it brew there. I used two bags of Harrod’s Blend 49 in a quart jar and left in the fridge for a few hours. Not only will it be pathogen free (well if you clean the jar first), it will be a lot smoother and less astringent than if you heated the water first. Sweeten with your poison of choice, if you like, and drink!

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Broiled butterflied lemon-garlic chicken over peas and mushroom gnocchi

You know how sometimes when you’re dreaming, everything makes sense?  Like, you’re flying and it’s so easy?  Or you get this great idea for a novel that you know would be terrifically compelling?  And you’re sometimes even lucid enough to think, I have to remember this when I’m awake, because if I manage to translate this experience, it’s going to be AMAZING?

And then you wake up, and you try to describe it, and you’re like, “There was something about a boat… and yet, also, somehow it worked on land, and come to think of it, I think I was back in third grade and was somehow… uh, speaking in, like, shapes…?”

That’s roast chicken for me.  I’ve had some good roast chicken, but man, the way it exists in my head is transcendent.  Crispy skin, juicy meat, all bursting with herb and savory flavor and basted in luscious chicken fat… I have this vision in my head that epitomizes gloriously simple home cooking.  Someday I’ll get there.

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A surfeit of fruit

It’s that time of year, when the U-Pik signs go up along roadsides, advertising cheap berries for the effort of crouching in the fields over low strawberry bushes, sticking your hands into god knows what…. Sorry. Bad childhood experience.

Did you know? Most U-Pick places also have some already-picked flats for purchase. And the cost is not that much more. There are better ways to earn your Janie Dollaz. Like, say, making jam!

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Rotini Carbonara

Sometimes a girl comes home a little drunk.

Sometimes a girl waits for her friend who’s running an hour late at a bar and spends that hour drinking dry Sapphire martinis with a twist, and then has half of a rather anemic tuna sashimi plate for dinner, and sometimes that’s just not gonna cut it.

Sometimes a girl needs to do a little drunk cookin’.

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cake1

No, really! Completely free cake! Read on.

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cover

You don’t need a physical copy to read Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book. I first fell in love with the digital version here, on Google Books. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to curl up with it in bed, which is difficult to do even with a laptop, so I ordered a copy from Alibris. The one I got was printed in 1912, falling apart (I sort-of fixed it with packing tape), and contained a clipping from another book tucked between its pages (“Miss Olive Allen’s Tested Recipes,” which turned out to be an ad for Crisco).

crisco

Unfortunately, it had a disappointing lack of penciled notes in the margin. I did so want my old cookbook to have penciled notes in the margin.

It’s obviously been used, though; some of the pages are a little grease-spattered and wrinkly, and it has that general air of being heavily thumbed through, even more than you can chalk up to its being 100 years old. I started at the very beginning and have read straight through page 475 so far. (OK, I’ll admit I skimmed some of the recipes for cold jellied fish soup and stuff like that.)

Why do I love a 100-year-old cookbook?

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The most beautiful green and yellow wax beans you've ever seen, admit it.

The most beautiful green and yellow wax beans you've ever seen, admit it.

I have become a total vegetable gardening dork. I’m obsessed. I order catalogs, I baby my plants every chance I get, I snarl at my children if they get too close. It’s sad. My husband actually said to me the other day that I’m not a dork until I start taking pictures.

See above.

Those are my first ever pole beans. They are, as is true of everything that you grow with your own hands and eat fresh off the vine, a revelation. Who knew green beans could be almost juicy? I’ve eaten some of them straight up, but I have enough now that I can play around with them and use them in recipes.

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Ever had a garlic spear? No? Well, what’s keepin’ ya? The immature head of elephant garlic, they have a mild, sweet garlic flavor when roasted or grilled. I hear they’re great sauteed as well. Anything you can do with asparagus, you can do with the spear. Serve them alongside grilled meat or fish! Toss them in pasta! Pull them off the grill and nom them up one at a time until you have to figure out another side dish for the rest of your guests!

Here’s what I did!

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strawberry rhubarb and peach crumble

strawberry rhubarb and peach crumble

Or, how I am becoming my mother.

Exhibit a) Going to the grocery store so frequently I’m on a first name basis with most of the checkers.

Exhibit b) Frequent employment of illogical logic to the ultimate frustration of my mate.

Exhibit c) Halving (at least) the sugar content of every recipe.

It used to drive me bonkers that my mom would cut the sugar in our cookies, and add back in things like wheat germ and brewers yeast. I suppose I should be thankful that she at least had the sense not to replace the semi-sweet morsels with the abomination that is the carob chip. The sweet tooth that was so deprived as a child such that I would apply sugar to my unsweetened cereal like lake-effect snow in Buffalo has, probably as a result of my mother’s efforts, mellowed and refined. And as a result, I find most baked goods to be (gulp) Too Sweet.

Enter Crumble.

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sammich1

Step 1: Before you leave for work, tell your husband, “Man, I’d love meatball subs tonight.”

Step 2: Return home after work; express delight when a plate like the one above is put before you.

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