Rhubarb & Chard (& Mustard Seeds & Sausage)

Okay, so it’s not exactly “Hey, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” territory, but it’s close. Over high heat, the rhubarb breaks down quickly, dissolving into a sauce that slicks the dark, tannic greens; those tannins—and the rhubarb’s citrusy tang—work to balance the rich sausage; the mustard seeds weigh in with a little pop of…

That’s the Spirit: DIY Tonic

Peas—a must-plant for me—will go in the ground sometime in the next few days, and I didn’t sow nearly enough of them last year. So last week I reviewed my sketches of what grew where over the past couple summers—searching for a spot to squeeze in a few more rows—and I was reminded that I didn’t…

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…

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…

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…

Want to preserve that half-bottle? Screw it.

At least a couple times a week, customers ask me which tool is best for saving a partial bottle of wine. My answer’s always the same: Masking tape. Let me explain. I have a glass of wine with dinner most nights (it’s practically a BFOQ, after all), and there’s no way I’m killing off a…

A Stew So Nice I Made It Twice . . .

. . . just so I could eat it once. A recent all-night (and all-the-next-day) bout with a hidden crustacean left me, um, shell-shocked. I’ve been so careful these past few years. But with too many plates—and probably too many glasses—on the six-top that night, I didn’t ask our server all the questions I should have. I…

Grilled Nectarine and Burrata Salad

Peaches and cream? Absotively. Nectarines and burrata? Why not? Grilled Nectarine and Burrata Salad No set “recipe” here, since there’s not even a vinaigrette involved. Scale everything to your own needs and tastes. If you can’t find super-creamy, super-fresh burrata* (mine was from Di Bruno Brothers), fresh mozz, fresh ricotta, or even goat cheese will…

Polenta: When Meal Makes the Meal

Sometimes I fantasize there’s a CSA Merit Badge for incorporating multiple sharebox items into a single dish. I had a four-bagger a couple months ago. One of the winter season’s final boxes included shitake and crimini mushrooms, red sorrel, a head of garlic, and a bag of Castle Valley Mill polenta. I guess technically that’s five items….

Miso en Place

My meals are often made out of sequence. Well, partially made, anyway. On the days I work the closing shift, if I want to boost my odds of eating a better dinner than carry-out slices or a bowl of cereal or a scrambled egg or two (and believe me, that happens often enough), I have to…

Alsatian chicken stew

Is there a smell better than leeks sizzling away in bacon fat? Probably. Somewhere. Maybe. But on a cold winter’s night, with flurries out the window and snow-capped mountains on TV, I can’t think of one. Here’s an easy, one-pot chicken stew—a riff on Nigella Lawson’s riff on Coq au Vin—whose leeks and bacon and…

Out of the deep freeze

Hey, maybe you haven’t heard—since, you know, the hysteria-industrial complex only reported it 23/7—but it’s been cold. Not just cold. C-c-c-c-c-cold. When just going outside to let the dog do his thing requires two layers and ends with crystalized eyelashes, going out the store—or out to eat—is out of the question. I know I’m not…