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…

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…

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…

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…

Eastertide Fermentation Miracle

Perfectly Paschal purple, this ferment came together Easter morning, after I’d finished up a mixed-veg slaw to contribute to that evening’s holiday table. The slaw used up all the carrots, but the remaining cabbage and celeriac volunteered for laboratory duty. Time for more small-batch fermentation experimentation! I suspected my sunnier, Spring-warmed kitchen might kick the fermentation process into a higher…

Swap-Box Hero: SpanaKohlpita

Judging by end-of-day swap-box contents, kohlrabi—especially the giant Kossaks we see in the colder months—is in the running for our site’s least-loved (most-feared?) CSA item. Even in high July, after zucchini fatigue has set in, we rarely see a uniform swap box at closing time. But last Tuesday, after all the first-week Winter Season shares had…

Scary-Good Hot Sauce

Bubble, bubble, a little toil, not much trouble. In mid-September, I chunked up a whole mess of hot, super-hot, and mild peppers, stuffed them into a couple jars, added salt water, and let them burble away on my kitchen counter. Fermentation, kickstarted by the the ambient yeasts and mild fall temps in my kitchen, worked its black…

Awesome Sauce

Road trip! Fall road trip! Last Sunday’s drive up to Bucks County was a week or two before peak leaf-peeping—but was smack on for peak apple-picking (thank you, Solebury Orchards). I think Sheila and I have each had an apple a day since then, plus I made a pie Monday morning before work. But still, with…

Swap-Box Hero: Hoagie Peppers

  It was meant to be, I guess. The same bag of banana peppers I’d exchanged for a carton of mushrooms Tuesday morning was still in the swap box after everyone had picked up Tuesday night—along with a second bag of mixed wax peppers. By now, you probably know what that means: it’s time to prep…