Brown butter scones

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A couple of years ago, I gave up soft drinks. (Diet, too — the whole shebang.) My vice was Mt. Dew. Oh, lovely, Mt. Dew, you got me through college, through grad school, and far too many years of being on-call 24/7 in an IT job at a corporate law firm whose lawyers worked around the clock (and therefore, so did I). Oh, lovely, brominated Mt. Dew, with your 46 grams of unadulterated high fructose corn syrup (that's 6+ teaspoons to us Imperial measurement system, … [Read more...]

Pesto zucchini brown rice risotto

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As summer reaches the middle mark — the height of the growing season — the gardening to-do list grows long. The tomatoes need constant staking and pruning (not so much picking yet, but we're getting there. Pure torture, I tell you, all the waiting). The relentless army of cucumber and flea beetles need battling (a losing war, so far — the leaves of my cucumber vines and eggplants are filigreed finer than my grandmother's lace wedding veil). Fall crops must be sowed; summer … [Read more...]

Portobello blue burgers

Portobello blue cheese burgers

When my dad went gluten-free years and years ago (before the gluten-free movement had developed much steam), we took what was probably the typical approach to switching over to an exclusion diet: straight-up, one-to-one substitution for the now-forbidden foods. My mom searched high and low for palatable (read, edible) gluten-free bread. Gluten-free snacks instead of pretzels (my dad's favorite). Gluten-free cereal instead of Rice Krispies (another favorite). For anyone who has been … [Read more...]

Spinach, egg & harissa chopped salad

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Green is the new black. At least in the food world. Kale, Swiss chard, spinach, arugula. They're everywhere, in just about every recipe. This is a good thing. And it's even better since I learned the wonders of raw, massaged kale. Cooked kale and I are not best buds (thanks to a childhood incident involving kale kielbasa stew and worms. There may have been dry-heaving — I'm not admittin' nothin' — there was definitely crying). Raw kale, however, can pose some … [Read more...]

Stuffed eight ball zucchini

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What does it mean today to "eat healthy"? My adult lifetime has seen the many comings and goings of the Diets of Exclusion:  No fat. No carbs. No sugar (but replaced with artificial sweeteners). No cholesterol. The no-fat/low-fat diet, in particular, really resonated with me in its hay day — if you don't consume fat, surely it's impossible to add fat to your body. We believed that. We really did. I cringe now to think how many bottles of fat-free salad dressing (loaded … [Read more...]

Grilled cherry & blueberry galette

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Until this morning, I thought I would never turn on the oven again. Ever. Ever. Friday actually set an all-time record high: 104°F (yeah, I know, Arizona, 104° is a chilling blast). In the Heartland, we like our summers in the low- to mid-80s. Yesterday marked the 12th day over 90°. It's the kind of thick, humid heat that undoes the morning shower 5 minutes after stepping outside. The grass in my yard is crunchy. My heavily-furry-woodland-creature-populated back yard is … [Read more...]

Onions and shallots, all growed up

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'Memba this (from this early April post)? Little wispy onion sprouts, mere weeks old in the ground. And garlic and shallots, strong and productive from a good overwintering. Time flies, my friends. It absolutely flies. It's July, and these wisps are all grown up and harvested now. I just recently wrote about the garlic harvest, but shallots were actually lifted first, back in May. Onions, only in the last two weeks (with a second, succession planting to be ready sometime in late … [Read more...]

Potted cherries with rum and vanilla beans

Potted cherries with rum and vanilla bean

This is a really great time of year, food-wise, in the U.S. Weather-wise, I'm a true-blue summer girl, but we're entering our 6th straight day of 95+°F temps, and it's barely July. Weird wind storms fueled by the excessive heat last Friday left millions in this region and along the eastern seaboard without electricity all sweltering weekend, while the western half of the country seems to be ablaze, quite literally (folks in Colorado and Utah, I'm thinking of you). The word for the … [Read more...]