Archive for the ‘Nostalgia’ Category

Rosemary Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Recipe:Rosemary Caramel Apple Pie

Every year, beginning in August, my CSA starts inundating me with apples. It’s November now, and they are still coming; apples of every shape color and kind.  And, I’ve got an apple tree in my back yard, which drops its fruit long before fall officially arrives. So along with making apple sauce, apple jam, and apple crisp, I’ve been working on a new apple pie for Thanksgiving. A pie based on the idea that apples, salted caramel and rosemary have to lead somewhere good.

A quick web search will lead you to believe that Kraft invented the caramel apple in the 1950s. I don’t buy it. I’m not even buying Slashfood’s take it on it, that caramel apples originated in the late 1800s. Humans have been caramelizing sugar for thousands of years. Surely someone dunked an apple in the stuff, long, long ago.  Just because they didn’t do market research doesn’t mean they didn’t recognize a good thing when they tasted it.

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Muffins? Again? Cranberry Orange Mini Muffins for Tuesdays with Dorie

I almost skipped today’s Tuesdays with Dorie challenge. Buttermilk crumb muffins just don’t sound that enticing to me – especially since I still have a half dozen pumpkin muffins stored in the freezer.

Also, a plain muffin, with a trace of cinnamon and nutmeg for flavor, made from vegetable shorting and buttermilk? Not so much. But I really want to get back on the Tuesday with Dorie bandwagon, so when I saw the first harvest of cranberries at the market last week, inspiration finally took hold.

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Bread Pudding Chez Nora

Recipe: Bread Pudding with Salted Butterscotch Sauce

I ate bread pudding for dinner last night.

My mother didn’t serve Yorkshire pudding [with roast beef]…My mother served potato pancakes instead. I serve Yorkshire pudding and potato pancakes. Why not, you only live once.”
-          From ‘Serial Monogamy’

One of my favorite writers died this week. Nora Ephron may be better known as the queen of  romantic comedy, but she was much more. She was a real writer, concerned with craft, timing and the art of storytelling.

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Crustacean Crush

Recipe: Vintage Crab Cocktail

I lived on the East Coast for seven years, but I never really fell for lobster or lobster rolls. They’re good, particularly in Maine, along the coast, but they just never made me swoon. It’s not just a West Coast bias – I still dream of the fried clams on Cape Cod, for instance.

But when it comes to crustaceans, I am a Dungeness crab-girl. It’s a treat I will forever associate with trips to the beach as a kid, and the taste of the summer. The Washington coast Dungeness season typically runs from December through September.

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Carrots are Divine

Recipe: Spicy Carrot Pudding

I’m a child of the ’70s. If Bugs Bunny says it, believe it.*

Carrots are the first thing I ever grew from seed. My parents were big landscape gardeners, but not much into food gardening.  My mother planted cucumbers on the south side of our house one year, and the vines actually climbed up the house and under the siding – anything goes for heat-loving plants in the Pacific Northwest. Some years she grew corn, and almost always pumpkins and tomatoes – but it was too haphazard to be called a garden.

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Baked Beans: The Next Generation

Recipe: Smokey Sweet Beans and Quick Chicken Sausage

It’s miserable outside; 34°F, snowing, windy and cold.  I was drenched walking the dogs this morning, in spite of all my wet weather gear. I know the snow won’t stick, and I’m grateful for the crocuses, cherry blossoms, extra day light and the early tulips at the farmer’s market. But spring still feels a long way away.

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It’s Legit: Satsuma Apple Marmalade

Recipes: Satsuma Apple Marmalade and Dark Chocolate Almond Marmalade Tart

Marmalading: it really is a word. The Oxford English Dictionary says so, citing C.S. Lewis’s diary. Granted, the entry is marked as a rare usage, but still. That’s what I’ve been doing this week – making marmalade.

At first, I was afraid I wasn’t actually making marmalade at all, since my recipe doesn’t involve first boiling orange seeds to release the pectin contained within. Rather, (Satsumas are nearly seedless oranges), I chopped up an apple, tossed it in the pot, and hoped for the best.

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Another Cure for Charcutepalooza: Duck Salami

Recipe: Duck Salami

Charcutepalooza is almost over. And with the second to last challenge we’ve come full circle – back to curing. I choose the apprentice challenge this time, curing Salami. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for a long time.

My mother’s mother and her step-father were both great cooks. My grandmother, who was born in 1910, never saw a reason to pay for something she could make or grow at home and so largely missed out on the food that was normal in my childhood years – Wonder bread, Tang, Hamburger Helper, and frozen peas. My grandparents had a large garden, fished in Puget Sound, ate seasonally, and cooked with butter, olive oil, and lard. Grandma Blanche lived to be 87, Grandpa Con, 91. Continue reading

Stop, Smell and Eat the Roses

Recipe: Strawberry Rose Cupcakes

I’m not a big fan of the house we’ve been renting for the past 10 months. It’s a vanilla-bland subdivision, 3-car garage, late- twentieth century sprawl-special. The dogs get a lot out of the ¼ acre yard, but being surrounded by such relentless, plastic same-ness depresses me.  I can’t wait to live in an old-fashioned neighborhood again.

But I will miss the roses. The property has six rose bushes– and four of them are prolific bloomers. I haven’t lived with roses like this in a long time. My father loved roses. The entire south side of my childhood home was covered in them. Dad kept them blooming May through November, most years.  And every few days, he cut bouquets for me –even when I was 17 and he and I could barely have a civil conversation.

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Summer Grilling: Goat Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Recipe: Goat Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Summer is just around the corner. I just bought Max and Mishka their first suburban-dog kiddie pool for hot days. I’ve started planting flowers outside.  In the garden we’ve planted tomatoes and melons and pulled up most of the row cover.

It’s time to grill.

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