WEEKEND POST 94

From the Author

Welcome to Autumn! It’s the most wonderfulest of seasons, this disappointing reminder notwithstanding. (Color-rich friends and family, spam us with photos! Please, and thank you.)

Here, a strange bright ball in the sky made quick work of burning off the morning’s dense veil of fog. Following what felt like 40 days and 40 nights of grey, sodden mess, the sun seems foreign, its intensity causing me to walk even indoors with squinted eyes.

The cats, who spent the last week huddled under the safety of the dining room table as cracks and flashes and gales raged outside, emerged to chase patches of sunlight on the floor with a rare enthusiasm usually reserved for food bowl replenishments. Us humans, on the other hand (paw?), are excited that afternoon art fair plans aren’t spoiled; less so at the prospect of tending an overly watered yard.

Most disappointingly, adding insult to injury, my garden suffered a potentially permanent demise. Suspicions of foul-play were unearthed with the five okra plants whose crude “replanting” (shockingly) didn’t take. The helpful folks at the NC Cooperative Extension confirmed my careful post-mortem hypothesis that I involuntarily relinquished control of the garden to root-knot nematodes: “[M]icroscopic roundworms that… injure plants by feeding on root cells… to the point where the plant cannot properly absorb water and nutrients.” A fatal blow.

And so this weekend’s raised bed tasks: 1) harvest the remaining eggplants, bell peppers, onions and herbs; 2) remove and dispose of the plants + their infested root systems; 3) burn the brush cuttings inside the bed’s walls (along with, hopefully, millions of the nasty perpetrators); 4) scour the internet for rapeseed seeds to sow as a “restorative cover crop”; 5) snivel and blubber about the fact that even if I find rapeseed then let the garden lay fallow for a year after tilling in its six-month cover that I probably can’t successfully plant anything until 2018. HA-rumph. Time to stock up on potters, I suppose.

Stormy day kitties Continue reading

Cream Scones with Fresh Figs, Cardamom and Black Pepper

Eat Well Edibles Grow Well Recipe

Nine years ago this September, my parents and I set off in the early morning hours down the interstate. Minneapolis — grad school + dietetic internship — or bust. Suitcases, boxes, and bags filled with far too many belongings for my new garden-level studio were deftly organized into the two cars by my father, our packing engineer. Thoughtfully, he left enough room for myself, a very large coffee, and a parting gift from my mother: her extra copy of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

Being in the kitchen is more than a passion and reminder of loved ones who helped make it so, but, for me, also a stress reliever. And though my subterranean shoebox boasted nothing beyond the basics — refrigerator, sink, an appropriately tiny gas oven/stove, and literally zero counter space — cooking, along with walks and the best café miel, was my delicious escape from reality. My smart mum, she just knew that Marion Cunningham’s classic would keep me well fed. And sane.

Fannie and I got on instantly, and she remains an anchor cookbook to this day. I have made so many of her recipes, both as printed and as variations on a theme, with honestly not one failure. Or at least not a failure on her part — burning my palm almost to the third degree on a metal skillet handle and destroying its contents was not instructed. The signs of heavy use are plain to see in the cracked spine (apologies, lots of love), spattered pages (decoration), scribbled notes (words of praise), and the occasional small cloud of flour that falls when opened to certain pages (baking pixie dust).

Scone cut-outs_HGN

Continue reading

WEEKEND POST 93

From the Author

Happy Sunday, and welcome to a new week.

Thank Heavens.

Do you ever feel like you’re living outside of your own body? I don’t really know how to elaborate other than distractedly going through the motions, recognizing, however half-heartedly, that the days are passing but not registering the individual moments. I’m not making any sense; or am I making perfect sense?

Either way, a bit too metaphysical for the day of rest. So, food!

Cast iron cod

Continue reading

Whole Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Lemon and Herbs

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

I consider myself lucky to be an early riser. It grants me a calm head start to the day, and an opportunity to pause and reflect as the sun climbs up over the horizon.

Like watching birds, one of the easiest ways to keep a finger on the pulse of the changing seasons is to watch the gradual movement of the sun. Standing in the same window every morning, I see it in a slightly different position, literally inching across the sky toward due east ahead of the equinox later in the month.

It’s a subtle signal that summer and its generous edible offerings have a deadline, and each year this ticking clock lights a fire beneath me. I scramble to gather as much of the remaining fresh, seasonal flavors as I can, then light an actual fire to turn them into a few last gloriously summery meals.

Mahi-mahi pre-stuff

Continue reading

WEEKEND POST 92

From the Author

What do you have planned this weekend? It’s the first for regular season football, woo! I feel good about Green Bay; less so about my two fantasy teams. The Packers game isn’t airing here, so we may hit a local brewery or bottle shop, armed with a cooler of game-day nibbles or opt for some simple bar snacks.

Are you tuning in at home to cheer on your favorite team? Going all-out season opener potluck with family or friends (stadium tailgate if you’re really lucky)? Or maybe you couldn’t care less, and are headed outside to make the most of the cooler weather we so long for?

Mole smoked chicken taco fixins Continue reading