Fragrant Noodle Soup with Tofu and Sweet Pork

March 30, 2012 § 2 Comments

Last weekend I did something that I hadn’t done in a decade (such a shame).  I boarded a plane alone.  That plane took me from Seattle, over the clouds, to the desert.  It was my first trip to Arizona, a place that may be the exact opposite of the Northwest in March.  Green, wet evergreens were replaced by looming red rocks and dusty scrub.  Instead of low, heavy clouds there was vast blue sky.  And that blazing sun. I expected to feel sad to say goodbye to the sun and to return to a certain fate of months more of rain and gray in Seattle.  But when the plane descended through the clouds we were treated to an amazing view of Mount St Helens (I think).  And in just another moment we were over Lake Washington and my very own Seward Park, a dense forest right in the middle of my Emerald city.  Oh crud, I realized.  It’s happened. I’m a Seattleite.   Next thing I know I’ll be buying rain pants.

The truth of the matter is, I’ve adjusted to the constant drizzle and Seattle’s eternal spring that spans from February to July.  With that weather come many traditions I could not easily let go of: digging in our soggy garden, late afternoon fires, and big bowls of steamy soup.  Of course, I will still complain about the weather.  Because I’m cranky like that. « Read the rest of this entry »

A Tuber Like No Other

February 10, 2012 § 3 Comments

It’s getting difficult for me to muster enthusiasm about winter food.  Roasted root vegetables were just right in November.  Kale chips thrilled me in December.  January, what would you have been without beets?  But today I want food that is crisp, and bright, and extremely perishable.  Alas, it is February, and Mother Nature says: DENIED.  So, plan B is to  explore winter vegetables that are new to me –  undiscovered treasures that will deliver the excitement of The First Time.  And that’s how I met my new friend, the Jerusalem Artichoke (nickname: ‘sunchoke’).  Not the sexiest piece of produce I’ve ever laid eyes on, but what it lacks in good looks it makes up in rich, nutty flavor.  Sunchokes will keep my love alive until the first snap peas appear. « Read the rest of this entry »

Taking Stock and Making Stock

December 21, 2011 § 3 Comments

When the sun sets at 4 o’clock and you’re inner compass is wonky, something has to be done.  For me, that thing has been to make stock, the foundation for all things delicious in winter cooking.  Making stock is restorative on many fronts.  It’s simple, which relieves my brain.  It makes my house smell good, which makes it feel more like a cozy haven and less like a prison run by grade schoolers.  And it allows me to stockpile… that word is so appropriate…which will relieve untold amounts of stress in the future.

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Thai Curry Noodles, Quick ‘n E-zee

December 13, 2011 § 7 Comments

Some days are built around creating expansive dinners….Carefully selecting ingredients in the morning, chopping and dicing them while listening to public radio in the afternoon, cooking at a leisurely pace into the evening.  Those are very special days (and most of them are in my past, before motherhood).  I’ve always believed that the meals I cook reflect the mood that I am in when I cook cook them – relaxed and mellow days result in dinners that come together effortlessly and taste great. This doesn’t bode well for most of my family’s evening meals.

Lately, I spend my days in relative leisure.  Nonetheless, the hours between when I pick my kids up from school and the e.t.a. for dinner can get ugly.  The time that I imagine I will spend crafting a home-cooked meal of  splendor ends up being spent teaching my 6 year-old the ins and outs of the remote (when is she going to lean this invaluable skill, Dear God?!?) and making snacks and more snacks for my famished 8 year-old.  More than once I’ve asked myself what I am trying to prove.  Clearly, generations of women have been able to put three squares, homemade, from scratch, on their family’s table each day.  But maybe that skill has been bred out of us. I was raised on Stouffer’s and I turned out just great.  Still, I persevere.  Even though my family would probably be better off with a quickie dinner followed by conversation instead of marathon dishwashing, I persevere.  Once in a blue moon I come across a meal that is both delicious and quick and satisfies that end-o-the day big time hunger.  The blue moon shone on me this week, and I have a new favorite weeknight go-to dish. « Read the rest of this entry »

Chowda!

July 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

Today is the 1st of July, and I was in the mood for chowder.  The fact that I’m wearing corduroys and a sweater made it an even more perfect chowder day.  It was a fabulous, fortifying lunch – far superior to the Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza I had for lunch yesterday. I imagined that I was on a wind-swept, craggy beach in coastal Maine the entire time I slurped my soup.

The chowder was based on one in Alice Water’s The Art Simple Food.  Her recipe says it serves 4, but I think it’s more like 2 (c’mon, Alice.  Don’t be skimpy.) It is simple food, indeed.  Here’s how: « Read the rest of this entry »

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