Curried celery root soup

Curried celery root soup

A fabulous warming winter root vegetable soup recipe with celeriac and curry – my delicious and divine interpretation of a Nepenthe soup. Easily adaptable to a vegetarian diet and completely gluten-free. Enjoy! Click through for recipe and photos.

Artichoke soup recipes

I saw a short tweet just now about a creamy crock pot artichoke soup, and when I clicked through found this wonderful, short booklet put together by Ocean Mist Farms, a local grower. Click through for the link –>

Playing I Spy with your food

Playing I Spy with your food

So far, the verdict is out on my Farm to Table CSA box. I do love the idea of farm fresh fruits and veggies dropped at my door, but in reality it’s an awful lot of produce to deal with at one time. The apples and beets from that first week’s box were tasty, but the pears and kiwi weren’t ripe. And unfortunately, since I left the broccoli and green beans out overnight and they were bad within a day of delivery. Week 2 came too fast, and I wasn’t terribly interested in the contents: even MORE beets, more unripe fruit, a cute little pumpkin, and an uninspiring bitter green I’d never seen before. I compared notes with a friend; turns out she spent her delivery day cooking up dishes and soups with all the vegetables so that nothing went bad – beet greens included. I was ready for a fresh glimmer of possibilities when Week 3’s bounty arrived:   Sorting out the box was like playing a game of I Spy: I spy, with my two eyes . . . a Caesar salad, a broccolini and carrot stir fry, and squash soup. We even got a potato leek fennel soup out of it. I call this a succesful CSA week. And in the interest of giving this box, and the CSA box concept, a fighting chance, I even went crazy and made a pesto from the radish and carrot greens – new pizza...
Farm Fresh vegetables at my door

Farm Fresh vegetables at my door

We’ve gotten to the point that a phone call or a knock on the door usually signals an intrusion; there’s rarely a friend or neighbor on the other end. People asking my opinion on politics and desalination, robots offering to reduce my credit card rate, Greenpeace canvassers, Mormon missionaries, door-to-door magazine salespersons . . . once a man in a refrigerated truck with an out-of-state license plate even knocked to ask if I’d like to buy some meat. I would love to see a Girl Scout or local kids raising money for their schools, but it’s not to be. I think all these type of sales must happen by their parents at the office. So last week when the door knocked and the dog barked, I rolled my eyes, pasted on a smile, and got ready to say no. But I was in for a surprise – the dog wagged his tail at the man. And he was a neighbor in a sense, a representative from Farm Fresh To You looking for new home delivery customers for their seasonal fruits and vegetables. It’s something I’ve always thought about doing, but not seriously. Now a farm found me, and the timing is great; I’ve been making baby steps toward planning our meals in advance and streamlining my grocery shopping. It seemed to be a good experiment to get a box of produce and plan a week of meals around it. I went for it. We received our first delivery yesterday morning, a box of fresh vegetables and fruits at my door before 8AM. Here’s a happy gorgeous way to start a morning:...
Sliced buttered radishes

Sliced buttered radishes

We’ve been on a warm buttered radish kick lately, serving them up every couple of days on top of a slice of fresh baguette and topped with a bit of crunchy green salad. Mmmm. If you’ve never tried these, give it a go. . . it’s the simplest side dish you’ll ever make: Sliced buttered radishes   Save Print Serve these warm, spicy, buttery radishes with a fresh baguette. Author: Life in a Skillet Recipe type: salad, side dish Ingredients 1 bunch fresh radishes 1 tbsp unsalted butter 1 tsp sea salt Instructions Wash and trim the radishes. Slice into thin circles. Arrange on a microwave-safe plate. Top with 1 tbsp butter. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt and serve. Wordpress Recipe Plugin by EasyRecipe 3.1.09...
Homegrown tomatoes

Homegrown tomatoes

Only two things that money can’t buy That’s true love and home grown tomatoes LL and I used to listen to Guy Clark’s song “Homegrown Tomatoes” from the 30-foot sailboat that was our first home, the first years of our true love but before we had a place to try our hand at homegrown tomatoes. It was the pre-iPod, pre-internet, pre-child era, when Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, and Lucinda Williams serenaded us weekend mornings from a mini-CD player perched on a teak shelf and we watched blue herons dive for sardines next to our dock in the twilight. We eventually landed in a little corner house in our coastal beach town where it took almost a decade to plant our first tomato bed. We learned that summer’s fog does keeps mornings lovely and cool but makes it difficult to successfully grow lush crops of most varieties of love apples. I’ve learned to use fresh soil each season, to prune the plants as they grow, to stop watering as soon as fruit develops for best flavor, and to not worry when the leaves turn yellow and the plant appears to die off early – it’s just the life cycle. We still don’t have a dependable variety or two we plant each year, though. We tried the San Francisco Fog variety to great success, but that cultivar has disappeared from the nursery starts lately. Last summer, we had large, round, Oregon Springs, a variety recommended by an CSA stand intern at our Saturday Farmer’s Market because “how hot and sunny can Oregon’s springs be?” It was a good choice, though; they were...
Spicy pickled vegetables

Spicy pickled vegetables

Here’s a quick recipe for pickled vegetables for you to play around with. I’d been making a batch of pickled red onions every couple of month ever since I found Monica Bhide’s recipe in a magazine last year and finally started playing around with it to mix up the color and flavors. I love this version – it’s a gorgeous mixture of oranges, yellows, and purples – and it tastes just fabulous. Crunch, tang, spice, a bit of sweet . . . we’ve been adding it to everything from pizza to hot dogs to hummus and spinach tortilla wraps. Plus, it’s vegan, gluten-free, and has that super-healthy boost turmeric provides. Best of all, it’s a simple recipe that keeps for – well, I don’t know how long it will keeps. We’ve always eaten this size batch within 2 weeks. This is all you do. Pour 1 cup very hot water in a 2-quart Pyrex mixing bowl. Stir in 1 tbsp sugar and stir until dissolved. Add 1 tbsp turmeric and stir again Now add: One thinly sliced red onion 3 ribs thinly julienned celery 1 bunch thinly sliced radishes 1 cup shredded carrot a pinch of red pepper flakes Cover with white vinegar, and your work is done. Just snap on the lid, place the container in the refrigerator, and let the turmeric and vinegar do their thing for 6-8 hours. Drain the mixture well before serving; a colander works best. Store unused portion in the vinegar mixture in the refrigerator....

Taste memory of Loreto: pineapple and jalapeño salsa

“If we’re in Mexico, does the menu really have to say Mexican food?” This from my very astute Kid Two while reading the offerings at Loreto’s La Palapa, a tourist destination-type restaurant conveniently situated between the ocean and the town square. I had a few menu questions of my own, like why are the chicken fajitas and chicken in mole sauce listed under “Fowls” instead of included with the Mexican offerings? And in that spirit, shouldn’t the beef shish kabob have been more properly labeled as “Turkish” instead of under “Meats?” And why didn’t they get someone to spell-check the English translations? – “garlinc” “snaper” and “chesse” all snuck by, preserved forever under laminating paper.   La Palapa was highly recommended by the expat sitting next to me on the plane, a golf-playing blonde of a certain age on her way back from taking care of some business back in Portland. I can picture her there – sunburned nose on a hot summer night, a table with a pitcher of margaritas and her three best friends – a reliable spot to laugh a lot and sing a little, a place to start the night with fresh ceviche and guacamole and end it with a couple of tacos and a plate of fries to soak up the booze. Anyway . . . I’m being a little snarky, but I get why people like the place. It’s got energy – mariachi music, splashed with color, and an awesome kitschy thatched palm roof – and the food was fresh and perfectly fine. It has to be tricky, trying to stay in business by catering to the whims...
Battle zucchini

Battle zucchini

Stick with me to the end and I’ll share some zucchini dinner ideas with you. After five days in St. Louis hanging out with mystery writers at Bouchercon, I came home with a recharged imagination and chaos in the garden. Seemed that summer ended in my absence. The pea plants turned yellow; leftover pods shriveled on the vine. Barren Roma tomato vines withered into dried brown tentacles. The last of the spinach leaves were riddled with moth holes, and the zucchini leaves had mildewed. So on the first day of autumn, I cleared away the detritus and harvested all the veggie booty I could find. Here’s the loot: Those #$*% zucchini again. Again! The biggest ones there are 5 – 8 pounders, and the summer squash that never quite got off the ground started going crazy. I tried to do my best by the harvest. Zucchini risotto. Another gallon of zucchini marinara. 5 loaves of zucchini bread. Zucchini on pizza. Zucchini sticks. Zucchini egg cups. I even bought this awesome spiral slicer and we had zucchini “noodles” with olive oil and meatballs. By Saturday – a full three weeks later after that harvest – we’d lost any semblance of desire for zucchini. But there were two monsters left.  So I gathered the Kids and the pumpkin-carving tools and told them to go ahead and crush the courgettes. Meet Daphne and Velma, the fruits of their labors, our first jack-‘o-zucchini lanterns: A creative end to the zucchini problem. I used to have a couple zucchini around year-round to add to stir fry or pasta sauce or to saute with garlic as a side...
How to stuff a wild zucchini

How to stuff a wild zucchini

The zucchini have gone completely wild this year. It didn’t start out that way; they were actually slow to grow. I planted the 4″ starts the second week of May; by the third week of June they’d barely doubled in size. So I worked a handful of Dr. Earth into the soil and got the drip irrigation going. Drip, drop, drip, drop, 1 gallon psi for 30 minutes every other day. With a week 3 foot high stems sporting dinner plate-sized leaves waved high in the air. One day I found a monstrous 3 pound zucchini I swear hadn’t existed the day before. I went away the second week of July and, returning home, discovered the zucchini had gone completely wild. They’d snuck out of their raised bed, crowded out the cucumber and spinach, and sported platter-sized leaves. Hidden underneath were dozens of tastefully-sized baby zucchini . . . dinner! I’d just been reading the Southwest Airlines flight magazine featuring this recipe for zucchini carpaccio recipe, so we were on. I didn’t worry too much about arranging the thinly sliced squash in lovely pattern on the plate, just sliced, sprinkled drizzled, and ate – and it was so good! Dinner from the garden – a fantasy coming true. We’ve made it several time since, occasionally using white balsamic vinegar and leaving out the olive oil and lemon, depending on what’s handy. Then we started harvesting zucchini blossoms – they’ve starred in over a dozen meals over the last 8 weeks – and they really are the best part of the plant.  We’ve eaten them stuffed with mozzarella and chives, dredged in...
First fruit

First fruit

Tons of rock. Yards of soil. Comparing the relative values of heirloom seeds vs. organic starts. Six trips to the nursery to puzzle together a jigsaw of drip irrigation. Finally my garden fantasies are starting to bear fruit.

Drinking my vegetables

Drinking my vegetables

“Tiny pellets of poison” what a friend calls peas. Personally, I don’t have any problem with peas as long as they’re not mushy and are mixed in a creamy white sauce, tossed with penne, and topped with crispy prosciutto. Everything is better with crispy prosciutto. I told someone recently that I don’t really like vegetables. That’s not really true, though, I love artichokes, asparagus, zucchini, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers), and any member of the allium family. I’ll take a tart, crunchy salad any day, loaded with lettuce and cucumbers and radishes and celery and shredded multicolor carrots. I like some vegetables. It’s probably more accurate to say that admonishments to “eat your vegetables” and news extolling vegetables’ virtues have only served to turn me off. They’re just not being presented in a delicious way, and I just don’t have much innate desire for dandelion greens or kale. I’m not like that mom who turned to me that cool Tuesday morning while chaperoning a Kid Two field trip as asked, “I just crave cruciferae this time of year, don’t you?” No. I’ve recently developed a fondness for fennel and parsnip, but I don’t dream of roasted beets. No cooing over cauliflower. Squash and yams are challenging to cook with. Just smelling broccoli makes me queasy, as it has ever since I was pregnant with Kid One. And Brussels sprouts? Big shiver. It was over between us after The Worst Dinner I Ever Ate – LL’s 50th birthday dinner – which infamously finished with Brussels sprouts crème brûlée. Truly disgusting. I’ve since noticed that fall’s fields of ripe Brussels sprouts give off the odor of...