Kitchen Projects

cooking with friends

We had houseguests this weekend. Perfect houseguests. I have known Catherine and Jerry since we were in our very early careers. When we were in our 20s and early 30s. When we wore clothes with very large Joan Collins padded shoulders (!!) We lost touch, then reconnected a few years back, and fell right back into a comfortable friendship. Catherine and I cooked together all those decades ago, and picked up the same rhythm this weekend, spending Friday evening plotting our menu, and Saturday executing it. Inspired by Jerusalem, the marvelous new cookbook, and her recollections of meals in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, we put together a mezza feast, with nine dishes, some from the cookbook, and others from Food52. (Ttwo of the Food52 […]

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good food, good friends, giving thanks

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, which is probably common for people who love to cook. It’s a giant stage on which we do a soliloquy, expressing ourselves with burnished birds and burbling pies and happy bellies. This year, I’m particularly aware of the “thanks” part, and wish to focus on the “giving.” Too late, I’m afraid, a friend and I looked for a family for whom we might cook. No one has chimed in yet, but we’re prepared to jump on it, should we get a call today. (Hello, Children’s Hospital? Knollwood? I left your social workers a message.) In the meantime, as I do most years, the plans are underway for a ridiculous amount of cooking. Naturally, like many of you, I will cook […]

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nectarine preserves, peach tequila jam, and two end of summer salads

Inspirations for new flavor combinations come in many forms and from many sources. The Washington State Fruit Producers kindly sent me a gorgeous box of their fruits to play with – prune plums, nectarines and peaches – and declared me a Canbassador. (I’ll admit, I was hoping for a fancy hat or some sort of sash, too ….) They have a terrific website – Sweet Preservation – that has many superb tips for canning novices and lots of great recipes, too. There was no question that slivovitz would be the fate of those plums. That was easy. Last year’s batch was gone all too soon, and I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. I had hoarded saved the very last two ounces but had […]

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aubergine is just a fancy name for eggplant

Really, isn’t aubergine a great word? It’s sexy. Much hotter than eggplant, which just sounds like a bad idea. When you offer your family aubergine with buttermilk dressing, za’atar and pomegranate (from the fantastic cookbook, Plenty) you will be a superstar. Ask if they want eggplant for dinner, and the reception might not be so warm. In my preserving mind, I see these purple veggies  as a freezer-friendly food. The next two months are going to be really busy… I’ll be traveling almost half of October. Aubergine, stuffed with flavors of Morocco, or cut into rounds, dredged, fried and stacked, make brilliant, small freezer meals for my left-at-home husband. It’s a big step up from granola, which is what he would eat if left to […]

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habanero, apricot and honey jelly with cheese, please

It’s a spectacular year for chiles of all sorts. The markets have everything from sweet Italian peppers, perfect for salsa or pickle relish, to jalapenos, serranos, and incendiary Thai bird chiles. I’ve made a few batches of hot sauce, using this brilliant Sriracha-style recipe from Food52. I use cherry bombs to make Sriracha, easier to find on the East Coast than red jalapenos, or fresnos. But you can also swap out jalapenos or cayenne, adding apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar and instead of palm sugar, try honey or maple syrup. Add mustard seed, celery seed, allspice. It’s a solid recipe that begs for tweaking to adjust to your market (or garden) conditions. There is always a jar of pickled peppers in the refrigerator. I’ve […]

Splendid Table

Just a quick post to let you know you can find me on The Splendid Table this weekend. Lovely Lynne Rosetto Kasper interviewed me and made me feel so comfortable. Here’s the link. The interview with me starts around minute 27, but don’t miss Lynne’s reminiscences of Julia Child, David Leite on Nutella and Ted Allen. What glorious company. I’m busy in the kitchen with fifty pounds of gorgeous organic tomatoes, eight pounds of haricot verts, three pounds of mirabelle plums and a little charcutepalooza project, coming soon. xoCathy