Month: April 2012

pot of gold

We have a chicken making a weird, wheezy snorking noise today, and while I am not broadcasting an open plea for advice, I will share a little wisdom: if you happen to suspect that a chicken of your acquaintance may have an impacted crop, do NOT do any internet research while eating lunch at your desk.  Just take me at my word on that. I was going to write you a nice little story about the beans in my lunch, but barnyarding and other Monday managerial tasks have absorbed all the time I had for that.  So no story.  Just beans. That is what these are–just beans.  I’ve said before (more than once, in fact) that in my opinion, a person who starts the week with a giant pot of beans in the fridge strides boldly forward with a spring in their step.  Beans are my pals for many reasons: they can be bought without packaging, can be made ahead in quantity, improve on standing, are nutritionally dense, easy on the wallet, will usefully marry …

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I melt with you

We had a friend once who had lived penuriously in solitude for years despite grand tastes and a big heart, and then found her circumstances much altered by happily finding love with a man who happened to have some cash.  She decorated a large house for the two of them to live in.  And I mean to say, she DECORATED a house.  “Rococo” does not begin to describe the gleefully over-the-top aesthetic she employed.  We went to a party there with my husband’s father not long after the house was done.  He is a person of radically different tastes than those of our hostess.  As we drove home, he struggled to find the most polite way to describe what he had just experienced.  “That,” he said eventually, “Was a very densely decorated home.” When she gave us the house tour, our hostess had showed us the little gift presented to her by the interior decorator she had colluded with: a lily, gilded. Which brings us directly to sauce.  It’s the end of Condimentia Week, and …

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the great sauce caper

caper, n. 1.     to leap or skip about in a sprightly manner; prance; frisk; gambol. 2.     a prank or trick; harebrained escapade. 3.     a frivolous, carefree episode or activity. 4.     a spiny shrub, Capparis spinosa,  of Mediterranean regions, having roundish leaves and solitary white flowers. 5.     its flower bud which is pickled and used for garnish or seasoning. This one is a lulu, piquant and snappy and as useful as a little black dress.  You could dip into it with a vegetable, you could smear it on anything grilled, broiled or just standing still, you could rocket a potato or chicken salad to the moon with it. It comes from one of my favorite and most splattered cookbooks, Jerry Traunfeld’s Herbfarm Cookbook.  His polenta is my standard for polenta.  His sensibilities make my tastebuds very happy.  He avoids the traditional sprinkle of fresh herbs, tending more toward the fistful, but manages to make the results still subtle and interesting and not at all overdone. In case the Full Disclosure Police are reading, I should volunteer …

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