Radish and Fennel Salad with Mint

Radish & Fennel Salad w/ Mint

Food is memory. This simple salad stirs memories that stretch through my life. Common red radishes were a favorite of my mother’s and thus an element of my childhood. I often came home from school to find my mother, in from gardening, standing at the kitchen sink eating radishes.

Fennel is a vegetable I first tasted in the 70s while in cooking school. I was in my early 20s, and it seemed so exotic at the time, whereas mint had always been familiar. It grew among the rocks that lined the lake we visited every summer. In my mind, I can see and smell that lush mint and hear the water lapping at the rocks. My mother cherished that fresh mint and used it as often as she could. She explained to me why it grew so well there: it needed a lot of water and it liked the shade from the tree nearby.

My mother would love the crunchy freshness of this salad if she could be here to enjoy it with me. I think she’d appreciate each of the ingredients for the memories they would stir for both of us. Continue reading

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How to Make a Basic Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette Ingredients

A basic vinaigrette is an oil and vinegar dressing for salads. Above is a photo of just some of the ingredients from my pantry and fridge that I have on hand to make vinaigrette salad dressings. The possible flavor variations are endless.  Continue reading

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Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

Fall is here and I find myself making a lot of orange food. Pumpkin soup is simple to make, satisfying, and comforting. You could use any hard squash for this recipe, like butternut, dumpling, delicate, acorn, or kabocha. What distinguishes pumpkin from other hard squash is its delicate flavor. This is a squash soup that even a tentative squash eater will love. Continue reading

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Please Vote For My Recipe


Ibu's Squash

I have entered my recipe for Ibu’s Curried Butternut Squash in a contest to win a Mobile Skillet Cooking App. But I need your help to win! Please click on the following link,  http://pinterest.com/pin/68187381829608760/ to like, comment on, and re-pin my entry. If you are not already a Pinterest member, you can sign up using your email. 

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Simple Baked Winter Squash

Winter squash: (from left) carnival, butternut, pumpkin, and delicata

This one is for Ronda. Nothing could be simpler than this recipe for baked winter squash. I used carnival, also called dumpling squash recently. (It’s the yellow and green squash on the upper left corner in the photo above.) I did so because the size of the squash was perfect for the amount of puree that I wanted. But you can apply this cooking method to any type of hard winter squash. The other green and yellow squash in the photo is delicata. The bright orange one is called a small pumpkin. The light orange one is butternut.  Continue reading

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Italian Prune Plum Clafouti

Italian Prune Plum Clafouti

Last weekend I found Italian prune plums at my local farm market. The grower told me they were the last of the season. I was so happy I hadn’t missed the season entirely! A simple plum clafouti is one of my favorite ways to use them. A clafouti is basically a sweet crepe batter poured over fruit and baked. A crepe is to a clafouti as an omelet is to a frittata. Like an omelet, a crepe is made in a pan on the stove top. Like a frittata, a clafouti is baked in the oven. Clafouti is a homey French dessert: not too sweet, not too complicated. It’s a great way to use up overripe or bruised fruit. Kids love it and love to help make it. Italian prune plums are perfect for clafouti because they hold their shape when baked (other plums will ooze out too much of their juices and make for a very soggy dessert). The other fruit that I love in clafouti are cherries, but I’ll have to wait until spring for one of those.  Continue reading

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No-Cook Tomato Sauce for Pasta

Whole wheat linguini with fresh tomato sauce

Whole wheat spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce

Here we are, deep into tomato season. It is HOT here in the Washington, DC area; temperatures in the 90s are predicted for later today with high humidity. It’s not a day to spend a lot of time inside cooking, and it’s too hot to even fire up the grill. So here’s a fresh, simple, no-cook tomato sauce that I use on pasta. Fresh herbs, garlic, and a bit of vinegar brighten the mix and round out the flavor, and it’s fat-free, too. Continue reading

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Watermelon Juice

Fresh Watermelon Juice

True confession: the only melon I like to eat is watermelon. Believe me, I can appreciate other melons, but watermelon is my love. It’s an ingredient of summer. Continue reading

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Storing Parsley and Other Fresh Herbs

Parsley in Garden

Fresh parsley is a living thing, so I store it and other fresh, leafy herbs as I do fresh flowers. It’s best to have your fresh parsley washed and thoroughly dried before chopping it. Continue reading

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Cilantro Mint Chutney

Coriander Mint Chutney

Spring is so exciting for me. One of the first things to sprout up in my garden every year is mint: such a fresh and beautiful green and wonderfully fragrant.

It’s so lovely and green I just had to make something with it. So I got out one of my favorite recipes: cilantro mint chutney. I love having sauces, dips, relishes, and/or pickles in my fridge and on the table. The roots of this chutney are Indian, but I don’t confine its use to Indian food. I roasted a chicken the other night and this chutney was just the thing to use with it. Continue reading

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