Carrots-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.8.12 Little Lamb

Valentine's Day is less than a week away. And? you say. Surely you don't buy into such a trumped-up, commercialized holiday! Ah, but love. Love. How can you resist a day set aside especially for the celebration of Love? Consider dispensing with the chocolate and fancy reservations and wrapped presents, but do compose a poem or arrange a fragrant nosegay. Draw a hot bath, or proffer a massage. And by all means, cook something indulgent for your beloved. Rather than the rich, heavy foods that seem to be the norm—how sad that short ribs have been rendered cliché—you may want to consider something a bit lighter. Fondue or a Japanese hot pot, perhaps, to underscore the shared nature of the meal. Is there anything more intimate than two forks clinking together in the same bowl? Serve a dry martini or a delicious fruity wine to set the mood. Whip up a sweet finish that lingers in the mouth as you sing each other's praises. If you are not in love at the moment, it's also wonderful to be with close friends, and celebrate another kind of love. There are so many. Take it wherever you can find it. It's healing, energizing, essential. It's everywhere. All you need is love. (And this wonderful recipe from Dan Barber, chef/owner of Blue Hill.)
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Tagged — carrots
Cranberry-reds-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

12.1.11 Roots & Tubers

We took advantage of the nice weather the other weekend to really put the finishing touches on the garden. The beds got a last weeding and were cleared of everything but a few kale and collard plants. All the pots had to be emptied and many of the perennials trimmed back. Living closer to the land like this makes you much more aware of the seasons and so of the passing of time. I look down at my hands stuck in the dirt, the beginning of arthritis just starting to swell a few knuckles, and I see my mother's hands. I was blessed with long, slender fingers and have been proud of my hands all my life, but this, along with my dark hair, is just one of the many vanities the years will strip from me. In return I have gained other things, including the pleasure of hearing G crow upon finding a cache of brilliant pink potatoes buried under the straw where he planted seeds late last summer. He had given up all hope of success in this department, so the discovery was that much sweeter. Have you ever seen such a vividly colored spud? I cut one open and was amazed to find that it was a rosy pink inside, and unbelievably crisp and juicy, almost like an apple. The freshest potato I've ever encountered and a sight to behold.
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Fall-vegetables-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

11.15.10 Vegangelical

Vegetables are in the zeitgeist. Pro-vegetable articles are popping up all over, like this one and this one. It seems like some people—a vocal minority?—are really starting to embrace Michael Pollan's edict to "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Actually, I'm not so sure about the "not too much" part. We Americans are all about plenty; a surfeit, even. But look, a ton o' vegetables is still a whole lot healthier than a ton o' beef. And I think I'll just take this opportunity to say once more, and probably not for the last time, I loathe the non-word "veggies." As if somehow you're going to make them what, more palatable? more cute? more friendly? Please. Just do me the great favor of honoring them with their lovely and true name: vegetable. Anyhoo. Eating lots of vegetables is always pretty easy during the warm months, when fresh tomatoes and corn and summer squash and lettuces and herbs are so plentiful, but what about now, as the farmers markets begin to dwindle down to a more paltry selection of onions, squash and the like? I feel a teensy bit smug knowing that my freezer is stocked with bags of local blackberries, freshly shucked corn and homemade tomato sauce. We can easily pop into the grocery store for hydroponic greens and grapes from Chile, but I urge you not to abandon seasonal eating quite so readily. Look again: local cabbage, celeriac, sweet potatoes, leeks, carrots, rutabagas, garlic, kale, collards, beets, turnips. And of course, there are always dried grains and legumes like lentils, chickpeas, barley, wild rice, buckwheat groats (kasha, to you Jews out there), farro, quinoa, brown rice, polenta and all manner of pasta. As well as a slew of nuts, seeds and dried fruits and spices to zhush it all up. The reality is, once you stop thinking of animal protein as the center of every meal, a whole gorgeous world of possibility crops (no pun intended) up.
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Carrot-salad-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

11.11.10 More Carrot, Less Stick

Ever since I ate the carrot-and-avocado salad at ABC Kitchen, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's new Manhattan bastion of "farm-to-table" cuisine, I've rekindled my passion for this most common root vegetable. Fear not, I will soon be posting my interpretation of this salad, which involves coating the carrots in a light film of cumin, chile and lemon juice before roasting them to tender perfection. It's truly extraordinary how they become almost meaty. But this is about another carrot salad. It's not wholly unlike the one you'll be presented with at virtually every meal in Morocco, though that tends to be sweeter, more cumin-intensive and full of raisins. This carrot salad I encountered on a visit to Smitten Kitchen, a delightful blog enjoyed by me and about a hundred thousand other people (no, I'm not jealous), and I've been putting off making it because I wanted to first make harissa, a North African spice paste that is one of its key ingredients. I could have just bought some harissa—it's easy enough to find in specialty grocers or online. I've even been hoarding a little pile of the ultra-hot Thai chiles we grew this summer to make it with. But yesterday, poking around in the fridge for something to turn into a quick, late lunch for G and me, I came across some gorgeous red carrots from the farm, remembered that I had seen a big bunch of mint in the yard hardy enough to defy the frost, and was seized with the desire to make spicy carrot salad now. With no harissa on hand, I punted.
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