Anton Chekhov —
Watching a woman make Russian pancakes, you might think that she was calling on the spirits or extracting from the batter the philosopher’s stone.
Plate 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

3.17.15 Dosa Do

Yes, it's another pancake. I'm on a (gluten-free) roll. The dosa is not dissimilar to the blini in that it's also made from a batter that sits around and gets bubbly, but it's got no yeast. Its gentle loft and tang come from a process of natural fermentation. If you live in the city, you might never think about making your own dosas. You're much more likely to head to little India—or to that award-winning dosa cart in Washington Square—and simply indulge your craving without much ado. But those of us out in the sticks have to get creative. We've got to psych ourselves up to scale these culinary walls. Ignorance and inexperience cannot stand in our way. Gotta scratch that dosa itch.


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Farmer's Digest —
A wish is a desire without an attempt.
Blini 790 xxx
photos by glutonforlife

3.11.15 Blini Meenie Miney Mo

Many great Russian writers, including Chekhov, Pushkin and Gogol, have dedicated plenty of ink to blini. These sturdy yet tender pancakes—originally made from oats but now also from wheat, rye, buckwheat and barley—were made for the pagan festival Maslenitsa, a celebration of the sun that heralded the coming of spring. The blini, round and golden like little suns, were eaten by the dozen in hopes of ensuring a rich harvest. Today, they are made for occasions both celebratory and pedestrian, topped with (or rolled around) a great many fillings, from mushrooms, potatoes and fish to fruit, cheese and honey. Blini are incredibly versatile, as welcome at the breakfast table as they are at the most sophisticated cocktail party. I think it's time to add them to your repertoire.


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George Santayana —
To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.
Winter house 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

3.6.15 March Hot Links

The guy who plows our driveway is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Every time it snows, he comes by and makes a huge mountain at the end of our front walk. I guess it hasn't occurred to him that we actually leave the house. At any rate, after the recent snowfall, there was a wall nearly four feet high and almost as wide. It was so wet and heavy that heaving every shovelful was a considered effort. Such a sisyphean task is what passes for a good workout here in the boondocks. And someone in my yoga class told me to spray the shovel with Pam to prevent the snow from sticking. Who am I and how did I get here?


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Sinclair Lewis —
Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.
Sand 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

3.3.15 Running Hot & Cold

Sand between my toes is but a distant memory. The crunch of snow underfoot is what greeted me after my short vacation in Antigua. But I'm not complaining: I was lucky to get away and even luckier to return to my tiny cottage in the woods, my geriatric kitty, my cozy kitchen and everything I hold most dear and famliar. All the little routines—my meditation, watching birds in the yard while drinking my morning cup of tea, cooking dinner—these incremental steps in the journey of life bring me the most happiness. (Mary Oliver says it so much better.) I have some photos to illustrate the transition from island paradise to winter wonderland, and a few ideas for cold-weather cooking, and I've cobbled them together here into a long, image-studded meandering that ends in a recipe for duck confit that is so easy and so delicious you just have to make it.


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Anne Morrow Lindbergh —
I feel we are all islands - in a common sea.
Antigua 790 xxx
photo from the inter webs

2.18.15 Cold Comfort

This past Sunday, the day we were slated to fly out of Newark airport to meet G's extended family in Antigua for our much-anticipated winter getaway, great gusts of snow were billowing across the unplowed roads of our town. Miraculously, our anxious pre-dawn drive gave way to a nearly-on-time departure and a touchdown, a mere four hours later, beside the preternaturally blue waters of this island paradise. The news from home continues to bear glacial tidings, with record-low temperatures predicted, along with more snowfall, into next week. By that time, I'll be back in Sullivan County with only a little sand in my shoes to remind me of balmier climes.


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