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Archive for 'early autumn'

CONCORD GRAPES: AUTUMN’S JUICIEST FRUIT

Right now, people I know are putting up preserves, reorganizing their closets, or wrangling a wayward comforter into a duvet cover. I admire their industry and foresight, but truth is, I’m more of a grasshopper than an ant. I’d rather be outside in the October sun, poking around in the garden without doing anything much except harvesting lettuce and sizing up green […]

SEPTEMBER FIG FEST

In September, nature has a certain magnificent unconcern. Zinnias still bloom their heads off, rising above foliage wrecked by powdery mildew. Cosmos, bearing blossoms the size of teacups on their tall, feathery stems, straggle and sprawl with abandon. Bumblebees spend hours nuzzling the dahlias, then struggle to lift off under the weight of their yellow pollen pantaloons. And […]

ZUCCHINI: THE RAW & THE COOKED

Zucchini has quite the reputation. The plants are prolific as hell, and with the effortless pick-up of a sports car, their offspring zooms from the cute, almost-ready-to-pick stage to the size of a cricket bat (see above) in no time. Garrison Keillor, chronicler of the small, fictional town of Lake Wobegon on A Prairie Home Companion, has […]

SALAD SLOTH

The last thing I want to do during the pre-dinner hustle—especially on a weeknight—is haul out the salad spinner and prep salad greens. Not only is it a royal pain, but damp leaves aren’t very receptive to a vinaigrette or other dressing (for three classics, click here). That’s why, a few days ahead of time, […]

STORM COOKING: (MEATLESS) SOUP BEANS

It’s the day after Hurricane Sandy walloped New York, and Sam and I are among the fortunate—we are sitting high and dry, with the lights on. I’ve just sheathed the Maglites and the hand-crank weather radio (complete with cell-phone charger) in zip-top bags and stowed them back in the emergency box. Sam watched me without comment; after […]

SWING-SEASON POLENTA: A MARKET STORY

I am eating my way through October with gusto and greed. It’s the year’s great swing season, after all. The days are still warm and long enough to allow the last of the tomatoes, eggplant, green beans, and corn to sweeten and mature. Short-season cool-weather crops of lettuces and radishes—tender and juicy—are being harvested. And […]

NEW YORK STATE SORGHUM: A MARKET STORY

About six years ago, I’d heard that a couple of farmers, two brothers, from the Catskills region had started making sorghum syrup, a tangy, deep-flavored sweetener better known south of the Mason-Dixon Line. I filed the information away, then forgot about it; I always seem to have a jar of the stuff, lugged back from […]

KITCHEN ALCHEMY: SLOW-ROASTED TOMATOES

I wish you were here, because our apartment smells wonderful. It’s the tomatoes I’m roasting; after five hours in a low oven, they are well on their way to a mellow, deep-flavored sweetness. In another hour, their texture will be meaty, lush, and a little chewy around the caramelized edges. Magical. Slow-roasting is more of […]

HARISSA MORO

Harissa—a blend of hot chiles, garlic, olive oil, and spices—is an essential condiment and flavor base in Tunisia and elsewhere in North Africa. It is is eaten in or alongside couscous, stews, egg dishes, and briks, or “stuffed parcels” made from the crisp, thinner-than-thin pastry called warka. It’s no surprise that there are as many […]

BLACK SEA BASS GRILLED OVER FENNEL

A recent dinner party at a friend’s house began with a gorgeous platter of grilled fresh sardines, golden and crisp-skinned. They were delicious, and made me feel on holiday in a Mediterranean port town. They also left me wanting more grilled fish. As luck would have it, another pal scored some line-caught black sea bass from down around […]