How to Cut Up a Very Large Squash

October 26, 2009

Winter squash are the armadillos of the plant world. They’re hard, funny looking, and very difficult to cut in to.

If winter squash weren’t so delicious, I wouldn’t give much thought to cutting them open. But they are, and I have. So today, dear readers, I will share what I know with you.

First of all, it helps to have a big, sharp knife. I’ve cut up a squash with a paring knife – in fact, I’ve done it more than once – but I wouldn’t recommend it. They always get stuck in the squash, and then you can’t get them out, and you can’t cut, and it’s very frustrating.

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Why I Don’t Write Apology Posts

October 7, 2009

There is nothing worse, to my mind, than writing a post to apologize for not writing a post. It adds nothing, bores the reader, and displaces useful and interesting content. I would much rather have my reader browse the archives for recipes, trot over to another blog, or switch the Internet off together than to read a post about not writing a post.

Kate Harding has similar thoughts on the subject.

Ricotta Pie

September 6, 2009

For the crust:

Pour a goodly amount of sliced almonds and dried coconut into a bowl. (If you’re not sure what a “goodly amount” is, start with half a cup of each and see if it looks like enough almonds and coconuts to cover the bottom of a pie pan.)

Remove the zest from one lemon and add it to the almonds and coconut. A zester is nice for this job, but if you don’t have one, use a knife or a carrot peeler.

Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and stir it into the mix.

Press the almond-coconut mixture into the bottom of a pie pan.

For the filling:

Combine two cups of ricotta cheese, the juice from the lemon you just zested, 1/3 cup of honey, and two beaten eggs.

Pour the filling onto the almond-coconut crust and sprinkle it with a bit of nutmeg.

Bake the pie at 350. The pie is done when you can smell it and when the filling starts to look a little firmer. I don’t remember exactly how long it takes to cook, but if you put the pie in the oven before dinner, it’s usually done by the time you’re ready to eat dessert.

It’s best to let it cool for a bit before you slice it (it’s a bit runny when you first take it out of the oven), but you can eat it straight out of the oven if you like. It’s also good the next day, and it looks very festive with a bit of nice fruit.

I Think There’s a Wild Animal in my House

August 3, 2009

brown giraffe in the aloe plant 5 Read the rest of this entry »

And Then I Died and Went to Heaven

July 30, 2009

Cut up half a cantaloupe. Wash a handful of basil leaves, tear them up, and sprinkle them over the cantaloupe. Squeeze half a lime over everything.

How to Make a Most Bodacious Lentil Salad

July 30, 2009
A most bodacious lentil salad

A most bodacious lentil salad

Put a cup of dried lentils (green, brown, or puy lentils are best – the red lentils will fall apart) and three cups of water in a pot. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat until the lentils are done. This will take about thirty minutes.

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Locavore Dinner

July 22, 2009


Local ingredients: Potatoes, garlic, fava beans, fennel, rainbow carrots, purple cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, and alpine cheese.

Nonlocal ingredients: Butter, salt, and vinegar. And we really could have gotten butter and vinegar at the farmers market.

The technique: Bring a small pot of water to boil. Shell the fava beans. Wash and slice the potatoes, and skin and chop up the garlic. Saute the garlic in butter, then add the potatoes.

Wash and slice all the other veggies while the potatoes cook and the water comes to a boil. Be sure to give the potatoes a stir every now and then so that they don’t burn.

When the water comes to a boil, dump in the fava beans and cook until they’re tender. Fresh fava beans don’t take very long – they cook up just like lima beans. I think 2-3 minutes is probably enough time for them.

Drain the fava beans and add a bit of salt to both the favas and the potatoes. If you’d like to turn your purple cabbage pink, serve it with a little vinegar.

Bon appetit!