Chili with bacon + mushrooms

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As I type this, the winds are screeching around my house like a kindergarten class on a sugar high running from a swarm of bees. (Take a moment to soak in that imagery — I swear, that's what it sounds like, but I don't want to look out the window, in case sugared-up children are actually being chased by scary clowns, and, knowing thusly, I would be expected to rescue said children. But in the case of scary clowns, it's every woman for herself, man. Zombies, I'll grab up all-y'alls' … [Read more...]

Fall alliums

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Of all the many things I grow in my vegetable gardens, I have to say, alliums win the title for all-around awesomeness. They are so easy to grow, and the reward for cooks is huge. Most are great storers, and last 6-9 months. Some, like chives and leeks, can be grown nearly year round (chives do this by themselves; leeks, with a little planning and staggered planting, can be available 10 months out of the year). The reluctant gardener might mark tomatoes and zucchini as traditional … [Read more...]

Superchips! Superfood kale with superspices

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(Folks who received the email update today about this post from October, sorry 'bout that - I have absolutely no idea what happened there. Google FeedBurner, which serves those emails, must have had a glitch of some sort.) Baked kale chips were a revelation, the first time I made them last year (even though I burned them a little, ahem). You're with me on this one, right? Baked kale chips = awesomeness. But, my long-ago history with kale was sketchy, at best. My mom, with her Eastern … [Read more...]

Figs prosciutto

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Awkward foodie confession time, guys: I've never had a fresh fig before. That's right. If you were wondering who in the U.S., south of the wild Alaskan tundra, could possibly have never tasted a fresh fig before October 2012, well, that would be moi. Dried figs, you bet. Fresh, not so much. It's not for a lack of wanting, believe me. They're really, really hard to find in my area. Not even my Kroger — which regularly stocks Asian rambutans and dragon fruit, fer cryin' out loud … [Read more...]

Autumn Vegetable Pasta

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Why oh why oh why is pasta the perfect autumn comfort food? Why do I crave pasta above every other carb (even bread — gasp)? I can eat plain pasta right out of the bowl — absolutely plain, no butter, no salt, no nuthin'. Is that weird? The kid in me wants to eat pasta out of the bowl all the time — two-fisted, left-right-left-right — but my adult sensibilities know that responsible people use utensils and temper carb overload with lots and lots of veggies. … [Read more...]

Red Lentil Risotto

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All at once, it seems, the leaves are beginning to turn. October has settled in and brought with it bright pops of red and yellow where only green once stood. Letting go of summer has been hard this year, in part because it felt like we were cheated out of a proper July, too blazingly hot and humid to do much outdoors. But, I think I'm ready. Last night brought the predicted first frost, so I spent yesterday harvesting the last of the basil — which likes frost not at all — to … [Read more...]

Early fall in the garden

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I wrote the title of this post in near disbelief. It's October. Four days into October, in fact. Summer is not only in the rear view mirror, it's a tiny speck in soft focus, just visible and fading fast. Where did summer go? When the realization hit me on Sunday that September's end was here, I moped around the house for a bit before grabbing my camera and wandering out to the gardens. Summer crops are winding down while fall's are coming into their own. Some, such as carrots, leeks, … [Read more...]

Triple chocolate cookie pies

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This recipe still has me shaking my head. In surprise and amazement, that is. It shouldn't, I suppose — this isn't the first time I've tried crazy ingredient replacements with great results (my dad was gluten-free for many years, before gluten-free had its own spot on the grocery store shelf — mad ingredient substitution ruled the kitchen in those days). I just wasn't expecting whole chickpeas to make such amazing chocolate chip cookies. Yes, the stuff of hummus taking the … [Read more...]