March 2014

Lady Astor —
One reason I don't drink is that I want to know when I am having a good time.
Slice 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

3.26.14 Days of Wine & Roses

I snagged that title from the 1962 film starring Jack Lemon and Lee Remick as a husband and wife who both succumb to what is referred to as "the alcoholic lifestyle." The pain of such an existence—of any addiction, really—is unfathomable. Life is hard enough without that continual struggle. Both of my mother's sisters were alcoholics and they had complicated lives full of drama. My cousin Lisa died at the age of 48, her liver destroyed, her name still on a long waiting list for a donor organ.

In a recent intervew in Shape magazine, Sharon Stone talks about how, at a certain point in her 40s, she went into the bathroom with a bottle of wine, locked the door, and said, "I’m not coming out until I can totally accept the way that I look right now." (Hey, everything's relative.) Later in the article, she says that, despite her great love of wine, she has given up drinking alcohol because it makes women over 40 look splotchy, puffy and bloated.

So, what am I trying to say here? I guess it's just another opportunity to consider moderation and mindfulness. Too much booze is not a good thing, but I'm pretty sure we can say the same thing about vanity. Which is why I'm not hesitating to offer those of you who can tolerate a little tipple this recipe for a delicious French apéritif called vin d'orange.

Percy Bysshe Shelley —
O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?
Smoothie 790 xxx
photo by gluttonforlife

3.21.14 Spring Forward

Can you feel it? The axis of the earth is increasing its tilt toward the sun. Days are longer and filled with more light. I’m not fully rejoicing yet because I hear there may be another nor’easter in our near future, but I’m getting ready for greatness. Our palates are preparing for the change, eager for the delicate flavors of spring: fresh goat cheese, the first slender stalks of asparagus and rhubarb, tender greens, sweet peas. These lighter foods act like a tonic upon us, awakening what has lain dormant, much as the sweet air brushing against our skin is revitalizing. This is a wonderful time to do a detox or a cleansing fast, to purge, freshen and take stock. There is something about that sparkling feeling, wiping the slate clean, that allows us to move ahead with great optimism. I urge you to shed some layers and wipe away the cobwebs—literally and figuratively. Soon we will be loosed from the shackles of winter and there is promise of great things to come.

Xu Guangqi —
Tea is a divine herb.
Edamame 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

3.12.14 Tea Time

Though the skies are perpetually grey, snow still covers the yard and a sleeting rain is now falling, I know that spring is coming. For one thing, I saw a green hellebore bud forming on a plant that's one of only a few not under snow. Oh, joy! For another, the cat keeps standing by the back door, waiting anxiously to go out to the porch. (She never lasts out there more than a minute or two, but still.) And there's my own restless anticipation. I am on a detox this week, having mostly smoothies, fresh juices and green soup. Visit that post and you'll see how last year at this time I was doing exactly the same thing. If you're at all connected to your animal instincts, you've probably noticed the way the body prepares for the change of season. I crave green.
John Andrew Holmes —
At middle age, the soul should be opening up like a rose, not closing up like a cabbage.
Chips 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

3.6.14 A New Leaf

I have a culinary crush on Alison Roman. She's an editor at Bon Appétit and, lately, so many of the recipes I grativate toward there are created by her. The magazine has a one-page feature towards the front that always showcases a single ingredient—like grapefruit or peanut butter or pomegranate—and several interesting ways to cook with it. In the March issue, it's cabbage and, though all three recipes look great, it was Alison's that really jumped out at me. It's for cabbage chips, an unusual idea and especially timely now that kale chips are wearing a bit thin. (Blasphemy, I know.) Pieces of tender cabbage—you're instructed to use the inner leaves—are roasted in a low oven for a couple of hours. They pass through a slightly stinky phase, when the cabbage wafts a bit of sulphur, and wind up with a sweet, concentrated vegetal flavor and a nice crispy crunch. I devoured these and felt positively virtuous.
William Blake —
In seed-time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.