Late summer and fall have collided in my kitchen. A photo shoot has left me with a full complement of Thanksgiving leftovers, while a bowl of garden tomatoes and two pie pumpkins share space on the counter. And the big bag of apples that comes with our CSA fruit share has started to include chartreuse and golden fall varieties alongside pale summer apples.
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I love planning an intricate party. Things that should feel like chores – coming up with the menu, writing an elaborate grocery list, washing my full set of fancy wine glasses – are fun in an odd way. But there’s also something nice about an impromptu party. (If you’ve cleaned your house recently, all the better.) [Read more…]
Like sour cherries or ramps, Concord grapes, which hit markets in September, have an all-too-brief season that begs for you to eat as many as you can before they’re gone. They have a showy, intense flavor that’s more grape lollipop than grape. [Read more…]
All summer, I’ve been meaning to cook everything in Meera Sodha’s Made in India. The book first came across my radar during the Food52 Piglet. I bought it immediately and was dazzled by the recipes. But during the chaotic summer, it ended up filed away on the bookshelf before I’d had a chance to cook from it. [Read more…]
My dream garden sits just a couple miles from my house on a mountain east of town. Whenever I visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, I end up wandering the Vegetable Garden, exploring the rows, making notes about the plants, and ogling the produce. Despite my ardent love for the gardens there, I’d never been on an official tour. So when Monticello invited me to tour the Monticello gardens with Curator of Gardens Eleanor Gould, I was ecstatic.
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On Tuesday morning, both my daughters hopped onto a big yellow school bus and I was alone in quiet house with a day stretching out ahead of me – a feeling I’d nearly forgotten. It didn’t take long before the silence and freedom I’d yearned for all summer became overwhelming and I found myself putting off deadlines by scrubbing the bathtub. After a second aimless day, I knew I needed new routines. [Read more…]
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Late summer entertaining is tricky business. Storms and swelter threaten, while all manner of insects plot in the shadows. I keep at it, though, because most of the threats to a summer party also bring a little summer magic. A booming storm might roll through, but won’t last long and leaves behind a rich aroma and a little respite from the sun. The searing heat of a hot summer day gives way to a sultry evening. Come winter, we’ll cozy up in our little house with friends and family, but summer is the time to take in the flowers and the sky. [Read more…]
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As a kid with two parents who balanced full-time jobs with child care and night school, I was a lunch buyer. Each day I’d load up my tray with limp french fries or the saddest hamburger in the world, and look longingly at the kids around me with packed lunches. I can’t recall what I envied exactly but it seemed wonderful to bring a lunch from home. Now that I’m a parent, it’s important to me to send my girls to school with a homemade lunch (even if Brian, the early-riser in our family, is the one who actually packs them). [Read more…]
Summer soups are weird, I know. But when all the tomatillos or tomatoes or zucchini are ripe at once, soup can be a savior, especially if you find yourself with a string of rainy, not completely sweltering August days, where pants, socks, and real shoes almost seem like normal clothes to wear. But even on a hot day, the interplay of tangy tomatillos, velvety chicken stock, crispy tortillas, tender chicken, and herbs is pretty great. [Read more…]