Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Forks In The Road

I was recently telling some friends that I often see forks in the road when I am out walking. I am talking about metal forks for eating! They said not spoons or knives? Just forks? I told them I've found a few spoons in my day but mostly it's forks. We tried to imagine how this comes about. Are kids eating in their yard and forgetting and leaving them? But it's 20 degrees out. Monday, when I walked down my street I saw a fork on the sidewalk in front of a row of triple-deckers. I stood there and looked and looked again but I resisted picking it up and taking it home.

A Little Dirt Is Good For You!

This is good news because when food falls on my kitchen floor I always pick it up and eat it!

Click here!

Crazy for Cast Iron

Today while cooking up some vegetables I heard a loud pop. I winced. My six quart Griswold Dutch oven cracked and the hot olive oil began to leak out! It was because my electric burner was already very hot when I first started and the pot was cold. So sad. So I called the foundry on my street, Friends Foundry, to see if they deal with cast iron repairs. They were very kind and they said we only work in cast aluminum but call Fairmount Foundry and Cumberland Foundry. So I did! Everyone was nice at both places.

I had a long chat with Al from Cumberland Foundry about my love of cast iron. I told Al about my cracked pan. He told me it is very hard to repair cracked cast iron but a mold could be made for casting a clone. Interesting, but I imagine it's probably more costly than replacing it. Al is friends with Mr. Lodge of Lodge Cast Iron who I wrote a fan letter to years ago! Yes it's true! I told him my Lodge cast iron Bundt pan is perfectly seasoned now after 13 years of frequent use. A friend laughed at me recently when I told him this and he said only 13 years, that's quite an endorsement! Cast iron is your friend for life if you take care of it! I used to give Dutch ovens as wedding gifts until I discovered people didn't know what to do to season it and the Dutch oven would rust and then they would throw it away! Now Lodge sells a cast iron pan that is pre-seasoned to get people started. I told Al I had a frying pan that was the size of a manhole cover! I asked Al if one day I could go by Cumberland Foundry and see the process of casting iron. He said absolutely. I am so excited. I would be on my way there right now except we are snowed in, or rather slushed in.

(Take the virtual tour of Cumberland Foundry! Click here.)

Lazy With Leftovers

I have my phases of being very lazy and low energy in the kitchen. It happens every few months and can last for months. Here's a perfect home cooked fast-food dish I made the other night and with variations the past few days. It felt like a great invention and perfect match to my lazy phase.
Take leftover rice or pasta put in a Pyrex bowl with fitting lid. A bowl with a plate on top will work fine too! Rinse and chop snow peas and add scallions and mushrooms if you have them. Place in the bowl with the rice add bloops of olive oil and splashes of soy sauce and cover and zap in the microwave for three or four minutes and voila! A fantastic lunch or supper....or late breakfast. This works well because snow peas, scallions and mushrooms are perfect cooked aldente. I sometimes cook a pot of rice or noodles in the morning while I'm having my tea, so I can generate leftovers.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bill's Asian Delight

My husband Bill created this amazing Asian inspired dish. This is what he did:

Saute in a large frying pan or big pot with olive oil and toasted sesame oil; a couple of bay leaves, a piece of star anise, one crumbled dry Thai red pepper, one large yellow onion sliced, a handful of scallions coarsely chopped, a couple of chopped carrots, a chunk of ginger root peeled and diced, diced fresh garlic (three bulbs), a fistful of dried Chinese mushrooms (rehydrated in boiling water and then chopped), and a fistful of raisins.

Coarsely chop a whole head of Chinese napa cabbage, parboil it in a big spaghetti pot, and then add it to the saute mixture with a generous dose of soy sauce and more olive oil. Bring to a simmer. Add 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch to the liquid if you'd like it to thicken.

Eat with chop sticks!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cranberry Applesauce

Yesterday the refrigerator apple drawer was full of orphaned apples. I filled our six quart Dutch oven with them whole and added a leftover bag of fresh cranberries. Then I added about a quart of water, covered it with a tight fitting lid and simmered it until the apples were cooked. Then I poured it all into the food mill which was mounted over a large bowl in the sink and I turned the handle clockwise making a gorgeous pink tart and sweet applesauce. It's even more delicious with a bit of honey.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Black White And Blue

I just visited Wright's Dairy Farm and all of the newborn Holstein's were wearing blue jackets! The new red barn is almost finished. It will be a milking parlor where the public can come in and observe the cows being milked.

Day By Day

My dog Honey will eat omelettes and waffles and French toast and my bread and plain cooked meat. So we are feeding them to her. Her kidneys are diseased and so her life is day by day. Maybe I should remember all of our lives are day by day.


Appetite is a dear friend that sometimes leaves.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Evolving Meal

I cooked Chinese cabbage and bean sprouts and spinach. Then I cooked noodles adding it to the vegetables. The next night Bill added a few fresh whole red cranberries and mushrooms and green beans and ground meat and we enjoyed a great meal. The next night I baked chic peas and added them. Then, tonight I cooked lots of fresh spinach and added it in. Every night we eat a few meals and then the next day one of us takes the leftovers to another step.

Pie Crust

Frost covered the whole bedroom window this morning. So I couldn't see out! It was 50 degrees indoors! I have sore back muscles from shoveling for two days! I set up two breads set to rise next to the boiler. One sourdough has cashews and raisins added and the other one is a plain whole wheat sourdough. We have five inches of snow. The streets are plowed and the crumbly beige snow on the sides of the road looks like the early stages of making pie crust. Perhaps I'll make a chocolate pudding pie.

Play And Nature

Each day, and the living of it, has to be a conscious creation in which discipline and order are relieved with some play and pure foolishness.
-May Sarton

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
-May Sarton

Thursday, January 1, 2009


So when Mr. Henry arrived on a Saturday night, we smelled him. He smelled wonderful. Like trees and lemon vanishing cream, and Nu Nile Hair Oil and flecks of Sen-Sen.
-Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye