Kitchen Projects

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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

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putting green beans up for winter

The green beans look beautiful this year. So do the purple beans. And the yellow ones. I can’t seem to leave the market without several pounds. But that’s okay. I love dilly beans and that is the best way to put beans in jars, as far as I’m concerned. But I also adore crisp, fresh green beans, blanched quickly, then sauteed in olive oil and shallots. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll add some toasted almonds and lemon zest. To enjoy this treat all year ’round, I freeze beans at the height of the season. It takes just a few minutes each week to put a some portioned packages into the freezer. After a handful of work days like that, you’ll be set for all those […]

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caramel apricot pistachio conserve

Apricot season lasts only a minute or two so now is the time to make some apricot preserves. Here is what you need to know. Apricots vary enormously. Some have a sweet, perfumed scent and are juicy and tender like a peach. And some have thin melt-away skin. And then there are the tougher skinned ones, and virtually-tasteless-until-cooked types. All of them make for lovely jams. Even mushy apricots transform in the preserving pot to make a wonderful buttery spread. Buy your apricots when they are firm and have no spots. If black spots are evident anywhere, the fruit may have been picked or packed when damp. These fruits will spoil quickly, and as all apricots benefit from additional ripening off the tree, the spoilage […]

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the original seven day pickle?

In the last two weeks, I’ve made dozens of pickles. My favorite sweet pickles were first on the list, and if you have been reading along, or had a quick lunch over here in MrsW’s kitchen, you know I serve these all year long. This is a pickle that’s worth the (very minimal) work. They are sweet and briny with a sharp vinegar bite. Without a doubt, the best part is the crispness. They are the perfect deviled egg, egg salad, tuna salad or chicken salad pickle. They pair with rich salty charcuterie in a wonderful way. And they are perfect for that refrigerator contemplation… the “what’s for dinner” stare … that requires something lifted aimlessly from jar to mouth while thinking.   There’s no […]