Monday, August 17, 2009


Last summer we were blessed with the delivery of a couple boxes of what I believe to be the world's best peaches ever. They came from a farm stand somewhere east of the mountains, a stand discovered by my aunt and uncle. We gorged ourselves eating them day and night, baking them into yummy crisps and cobblers and turning a good number into jam. This summer we again received a box of these beauties. Again the gorging continued, some were gifted to those most special in our lives (yes these babies are so precious that they are destined for only a small number of receivers), a few were made into a crisp shared with friends after a day of fun playing on a local river, the rest have been frozen to be savored later. This summer instead of canning/jamming the bounty of delicious fruits I have been freezing as much as our limited freezer space will allow. We have several quarts of blueberries scored from our favorite farm stand. The drive is long but knowing what awaits makes it worth it every time. And now I will have a few quarts of these peaches as well. I really never knew how much I loved peaches until last summer, with the first delivery of these little bits of heaven on earth. I have talked with a few folks about how there is really nothing like a farm fresh peach, those bought in the store never compare, even dare I say those from my favorite little local coop. I am left wishing that I had requested another box, I didn't want to be greedy at the time but am going to remember next summer to take as many as my lovely aunt and uncle can haul back for us. I will be sure to have adequate space in my freezer for freezing quart after quart of all the summer fruits we can lay our hands on. Then come winter when we are enjoying crisps and cobblers we will think back on our summer days.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fast Forward

I took a long break and am now back, inspired by Molly Wizenberg's book A Homemade Life and the Gluten Free Girl's blog. I am so happy that summer is feeling so close and am excited to spend much time in my favorite room of the house with my children, exploring and getting creative in the kitchen.

I love the way A Homemade Life is written in chapters, each sharing a story of the author's life and the foods attached with those moments and memories. The bonus is that each chapter ends with a recipe or two for said foods. I have already tried many of the recipes with one of my favorites, so far, being the braised cabbage. I have never really consumed much cabbage other than in coleslaw, mixed into a salad or pickeled as sour kraut. But braising it has hooked me on the beauty of this under-appreciated vegetable. It was melt in my mouth, never to be forgotten and absolutely incredible. I was home alone for the night and took it as the perfect opportunity to try out something I wasn't sure the entire family would appreciate. I will remember that night always, me and some smooth jazz on the radio, enjoying every bite of the entire head of braised cabbage along with some muenster cheese on a baguette and a nice glass of wine.

I also did a special "cleansing" diet for three weeks this spring, which forced some fun and creative meals. My hands down favorite has been Salmon with fire roasted tomatoes and artichoke hearts. I am also very excited about trying some gluten free baking. After 3 weeks of no wheat, dairy, soy, caffeine, alcohol, nuts and sugar I am amazed how affected I have been by food. Now that I have been off of the "cleanse" I can feel the before and after difference of eating a really clean diet. I did miss being able to have a bit of cheese or baking something yummy and sitting down with it and a nice cuppa Moka Joe's coffee. I have been doing some reading about gluten intolerances and celiac and am really thinking I would like to get tested. I can relate to the fatigue and stiff/achy body. At one point I was terrified by the prospect of no bread, baked goods, pastas etc... Now I see all the possibilities out there and look at this as an opportunity for a whole new world of baking creativity.

I have also realized how social food and eating is for me and my family, I was aching to have friends over for a long slow meal around our old dining table. I also missed my weekly lunch dates with MM (not many options for eating out). I definitely felt a bit isolated and alone with this new way of eating, a bit on the fringe when out with family and not able to fully participate in the meal with them. It has also opened my eyes to the creative opportunity presented when cooking for someone with food sensitivities or preferences. I was a strict vegetarian for many years and felt the discomfort of being "different" than other dinner guests or having my portion "set aside" before the meat was added. I hope that I would shake that mind frame and look at a friend or family member's needs as a chance to get creative and offer a meal that is inclusive for all.