Pan #5 is perfect for 2. August 25

I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold

You could blame Brooks Robinson and George Brett, but mostly you should blame a slap-hitting, drag-bunting, slick-fielding, former Atlanta Braves farmhand named Terry Muck. Terry played short and sometimes second on the Aurora SealMasters, a men’s fast-pitch team from my hometown that won a bunch of National (and World) Championships when I was a kid. Sounds corny, I suppose, but they […]

Behold, the pre-smashed Blackberry Smash. August 18

3-2-1 Blackberry Simple Syrup

Back from vacation, I spent a steamy half hour this morning gleaning the last scruffy blackberries from the bramble out back. They surprised me again this year, putting out roughly 10 quarts over the past month. I’d feared their production would be way down after the construction crew next door bashed in the fence to which my […]

I'm pulling nearly a quart a day off my vines this past week. July 31

Blackberry Galette for Two

Galette is the fool’s pie. Which is not to confuse it with a fool. Or a crumble. Or a buckle. Or a betty. Or a cobbler. It’s just a scruffy, free-form, beautifully lazy way to have fruit and crust with minimal fuss. Simple, Summer-Fruit Galette I used blackberries, since my canes are berserk this season. […]

Blueberries' natural pectin make them a natural for simple, small-batch preserving. July 15

Blubarb Jam: A Sweet and Slippery Slope

If you’re new to making fruit preserves, blueberries are the perfect gateway. Widely available, rich in their own pectin, and relatively inexpensive, blues are a small-batch-friendly fruit. And with no hulling and no pitting, your prep is pretty much limited to a quick rinse and a scan for stray stems and bum berries. Lovely when sugared […]

But peaches and ginger and mushrooms and basil? You betcha. July 12

Another One-Pan Wonder

You may have noticed I have a thing for stews—particularly, chicken stews—one-pot (mostly), unfussy (definitely) dishes that are simple to assemble, easily scale up or down, take advantage of seasonal produce, and taste as good leftover as they do on Night One. There was the Riesling-fueled, Alsatian riff on Coq au Vin; the Mexican corn-and-poblano take; the Southern-influenced, peach-tomato-okra jumble; and, […]

Super-tasty, super-spreadable squishy squash will last in your fridge for a month. June 29

Squishy Squash: Spreadable Summer

Decades before Farm-to-Table was a nationwide THING, Madison’s L’Etoile (est. 1976), was championing small, local growers, constructing seasonal menus, and pushing vegetable-centric cooking beyond lentil cakes and baba ghanoush. A summer-squash compendium on the kitchn last week reminded me of a meal I’d had at L’Etoile close to 30 years ago—a meal that kicked off with a warm loaf of crusty bread and […]

Luxardo, from sour Marasca cherries, beats Bourbon and Brandy. In my book, anyway. June 21

Old-Fashioned Father’s Day Cherries

Let’s set aside how ridiculous is seems for me, after the past ten days—a sticky stretch of picking, pitting, freezing, and cooking roughly two gallons (!) of sweet, sweet cherries from my own backyard—to actually buy a quart at yesterday’s Collingswood Farmer’s Market. These are different. These are sour cherries. And as of 10:30 this morning, Father’s Day, they’re now […]

Pan June 11

A Tree Grows in Philly

It’s not a giant tree. I think, actually, it’s a “semi-dwarf” tree. But now, in its seventh full year in soil, it’s cranking out quarts and quarts and quarts of sweet, plump cherries faster than we can pick and eat and process them. Over the past 18 months, the vacant lots behind us have gone from an […]

Curds and whoa! Tangy rhubard curd and fragrant, vanilla-scented muffins. May 18

Hand-Me-Down Muffins, Share-Worthy Curd

Kim Severson’s lovely and poignant Mother’s Day piece in last week’s Food Section sent me sorting through my stash of handwritten, handed-down recipes for one of my favorite fruit-spread vehicles, my mom’s Vanilla Muffins. Fragrant, moist, and simple, these were not muffins you studded with fruit; these were muffins you smeared with fruit. With, say, Aunt Harriet‘s peach butter, made […]

Don't you just love it when weeds turn out to be delicious? May 07

Forage Potage

(faw-razh paw-tahzh) A thick soup, stew, or porridge in which found or scavenged items are boiled together until they form a thick mush. Yes, this one was a real hodge-podge. Ramps, the spring-heralding, wild allium that gave Chicago its name, picked up at the season’s first Headhouse Farmers’ Market Sunday. Stinging nettles—another truly foraged plant—that came […]

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