If you haven't already read it, run -- don't walk -- to pick up a copy of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle. We both read it this summer and it's without a doubt the most inspirational food book we've read to date.
Sure, other food books are inspiring. Heat, for instance, may make you want to go slave away in a maniac's kitchen. And Garlic and Sapphires may make you want to leave your desk job and go become a professional food critic.
But to us, Animal Vegetable Miracle is most inspiring because it shows you another way to live, how to truly change the way you eat and make more informed decisions about the food you consumer and who you support by doing so. (And the book also contains tons of easy recipes to show off your local purchases, like this amazingly delicious and simple Basil-Blackberry Crumble.)
We love a leisurely stroll through the farmers market on a Sunday morning. One of our favorite things to do is to sample all the fresh fruits. When we do, our thought process is always the same: "This would be good to have around as a snack. Or maybe to use in a dessert. Or even in a salsa or served with something from the grill. How nice."
But what we're really thinking is: "This would be awesome in a drink!"
We have absolutely loved making cocktails this summer using fresh fruits from the market. When we came across some to-die-for plums the other day, we knew they'd end up in a drink.
We always use the same basic recipe, and it couldn't be easier. Using fresh fruit like plums makes for a delicious, refreshing seasonal cocktail.
Summer may be winding down, but it's prime time for the vegetables at our CSA.
One of our favorite ways to eat them has been to just sauté them all together. We guess you could call this a succotash -- fresh corn does always seem to be on the menu. But we're pretty liberal with the definition, and our dishes, like this one from Food & Wine, don't usually include beans.
Whether it's a textbook succotash or not, our vegetable sautés all tend to follow the same basic recipe:
-- Heat some bacon grease or butter (or, um, both...) in a saucepan over medium heat
-- Add an aromatic, like chopped onions or shallots. Sauté those until they're softened
-- Throw in the hardier chopped vegetables, like squash, beans or okra. Sauté until they're tender
-- Throw in the softer vegetables, like tomatoes, and the ones you want to still be fresh and crunchy, like peas and corn. Cook for a couple minutes more
If you're looking for a succotash recipe with a little more structure, this one from Food & Wine is a great place to start.
Clay had a big birthday recently, and I wanted to make it special. So I threw a surprise party at our apartment (which isn't easy when you live together).
Because of deadlines at work and lots of traveling (and the fact that I couldn't really make anything ahead of time because of the surprise), I outsourced most of the party fare -- trays of D.C.'s best mini-burgers; a few easy-to-prepare appetizer platters of veggies, cheese, hummus, etc.; and frozen tater tots. (Yeah, I said it.)
But I did want to make at least one homemade item, to make the event more special. Clay's not much of a birthday cake guy, and he doesn't really care for cupcakes.
So when I saw this recipe for homemade ice cream sandwiches in the July issue of Everyday Food, I thought they'd be the perfect treat for a birthday party on a hot summer night.
-- It came from a random woman your mom sat next to on a plane
-- It involves raw eggs and a Ziploc bag
Needless to say, we were a little suspicious when Zach's mom B. arrived on her recent visit saying we just had to make an omelet she'd heard about from some woman on her flight. "You just mix everything together, dump it in a bag, and cook it in hot water for 10 minutes!"
On the day of our DinnerwithMom, we took a Sunday morning stroll to the Dupont Farmer's Market to buy some produce and figure out what we might serve that night. We knew we wanted to serve a dessert, but we weren't sure what to make. With plans to make small plates and uncertainty about how much work that would be, we knew that we wanted something relatively easy that we could make in advance.
As we were wandering and buying and tasting (if you make it to the Dupont Market, you must try the crab cake samples), we spotted something that we knew would provide the perfect makings of a dessert.