Ginger lime gelato floats

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I usually consider myself a fairly organized person. I have phone and iPad calendar and to-do list apps that keep me in line, and my years in publishing have taught me the value of the editorial calendar (which helps me plan posts for this blog and other content for my writing gigs). But every once in a while, something slips through the cracks. Like this recipe. Early summer always finds me craving ginger ale floats, and last year, I found a recipe to DIY my own ginger ale. Addictive. … [Read more...]

Blueberry fool

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I don't know what it is about the humble berry, but it has inspired some curiously named desserts: blueberry buckle, blueberry grunt, blueberry boy bait, and — no foolin' — the berry fool. (Not certain where the name came from — the all-seeing Googles is vague about its origin.) (Whenever I hear blueberry grunt, I want to let out a football player [guuuh!] and slap something with my spatula.) Nothing foolish about the blueberry fool, no sir. Freshly whipped cream, … [Read more...]

In the garden + in the kitchen

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As summer marches onward, exiting (thankfully) a brutally hot July, I can't help but be struck by all the ways Nature finds to surprise us (like the random Black-eyed Susan that sprouted up next to my apple tree — I don't grow Black-eyed Susans, so its seed must have been deposited by a winged passerby). From tomatoes going into crazy production overload after a bit of rain to a stray cucumber plant sprouting up in the tomato patch, pumping out little pickling cuke after pickling cuke, … [Read more...]

S’mores Slab Pie

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It's so hard to believe that Labor Day is just around the corner. It's a holiday of mixed emotions, one I both really enjoy — it's a great party weekend in Cincinnati — and dread, as it signals the symbolic end of summer. Sunday of Labor Day weekend is the big celebration day in Cincinnati. Our nationally famous WEBN fireworks show occurs that evening, preceded by Riverfest, a day-long party lining both sides of the Ohio River (Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky), where a … [Read more...]

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes + black cherry tomato sauce

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This summer's growing season has been emotionally harrowing — exuberant highs and furrowed-brow lows. When July's heat wave arrived ... and made itself right at home ... I thought my tomatoes, my beloved tomatoes, were done for. Tomato plants love heat — they love it a lot — but need it in moderation. A few days of spiked 88° temps followed by some cool nights, plus deep but infrequent watering will cause them to flower their little heads right off. Lather, rinse, … [Read more...]

Grilled tomato, halloumi + cucumber salad

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About a year ago, I had a book crisis. As a life-long avid reader — I spent many a teenage night cowering under my blankets after reading a chapter of Salem's 'Lot far too late in the evening to shake off the image of vampires scratching on the bedroom window — and having spent the vast majority of my professional life in the publishing industry (on both sides of the fence, author and publisher), I had accumulated a lot of books. Tons of books. Walls lined with books, bookcases in … [Read more...]

Asian brown rice + veggie salad

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August is perhaps the best month to be a cook in the Midwest. Home gardens are busting out with fresh produce, while farmers' markets fill in the gaps with their lovely varieties of heirloom produce, and crops that require a lot of land — my particular gaps — like corn, the big melons and pumpkins, and orchard fruit. July was a brutally hot and dry month, but I have to say, my garden absolutely relished it all. (With only about a 1/3 of an acre, I can easily keep my gardens … [Read more...]

Guaczpacho (guacamole gazpacho)

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Y'all want to know why I'm a soup addict? Because soup never lets me down, winter, spring, summer or fall. Like so many of you in the northern hemisphere, my oven and stove top have been taking a serious break this brutal summer. I'll use them long enough to cook up some brown rice, risotto, or a quick batch of sweet little scones, but then it's back to cold fruits and salads. And air conditioning. Yes, my carbon footprint this summer has been huge.  [Sigh] When the tomatoes … [Read more...]

Spicy ginger dill refrigerator pickles

Spicy ginger refrigerator pickles

Summer's amazing cornucopia of produce sometimes brings on a happy panic. There's much to be done in the garden, favorite dishes to prepare as each new fruit or vegetable comes into season. Preserving, preserving, and more preserving, especially when one crop's harvest arrives faster than you eat them up. My tomatoes are coming along splendidly (plenty of fresh to pick every day), but right now, cucumbers are vying for attention. Lots of cucumbers mean pickles. And not just any … [Read more...]