From the Author

There is plenty of support offered freely and unselfishly to people after damaging storms, but I wonder — who, if anyone, helps the animals affected? Is it left to nature to sort out, or are there wildlife aid groups who step in?

The questions struck me now having watched our unlucky osprey family’s nest completely destroyed twice in less than a year. It breaks my heart, and I wish there was some way to literally give them a hand. Or a snack of fish (or this?) to give them energy for another rebuild. At least, I hope they choose to rebuild!

Peach Tomato Thyme Pizza

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Marbled Rye Bread

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

We relished our long-awaited first taste of cool, dry weather last week. A glorious shock to the system. In spite of a predictably hasty return to the summer status quo, it gave me hope. Sooner or later the time will come when I can crank up the oven without harsh looks, trading hands routinely caked in soil for flour in my hair and dough under my nails. Looking ahead today with a tribute to rye.

The original loaves of northern and eastern Europe and Russia were 100% rye flour. Dark, dense, strong, filling, sustaining. As the bakers and their traditions came to America, the loaves lightened in both color and heft as portions of the rye flour were replaced with softer, cheaper wheat-based flours. For better or for worse, the blend stuck.

There are many, many different recipes. This example is made from one part light rye flour to two parts bread flour, and incorporates olive oil and molasses, all of which contribute to a rich, hearty yet fluffy bread. Sweet licorice-y caraway seeds add a gentle crunch and drive home the classic flavor.

On the inside, the tell-tale spiral of dark and light. This “marbling” is created by layering and rolling together portions of plain rye dough + the same with cocoa powder worked in for color (some recipes call for coffee or a flavorless caramel coloring). My marbling was faint, and next time I might increase the amount of cocoa or try a cocoa powder-espresso powder combo to give it a boost. (The lack of intensity could also be the result of overworking the stacked and rolled dough; see recipe for more notes.)

Marble rye dough stack

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From the Author

Sobering stats out of the Old North State this week as the Hurricane Matthew mayhem continues: + 13,728 — the number of power outages in NC and SC still without power as of this morning; + 12 — feet of water covering some of the historic towns in northeastern NC (above roof lines in some instances); + 34 — counties in NC declared federal disaster areas (over 1/3); + 174 — approximate number of water rescues made by helicopter; + 22 — the latest death toll in NC alone.

The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, serving 16 of the disaster-declared counties, is providing 5 meals to those impacted by the storm for every $1 donated to the Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund. If monetary giving isn’t an option, please consider sharing some of the most needed items at a FBCENC branch location, or many other churches, banks, pantries, and supermarkets around the central and eastern parts of the state.

Our particular area of the eastern coast was, once again, very fortunate. In some regions the flood levels are still rising, expected to crest by the day’s end. Though the waters are receding and routines are beginning to return to normal, our hearts and prayers go out to those struggling in the storm’s wake.

Fattoush salad

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From the Author

Hurricane Matthew continues the slow twirl northward, leaving destruction in its wake. My parents flew safely home in advance of the brunt of the storm, which has weakened in the past day from a Cat 4 to 1 (humor is invaluable in these situations). Even so, wind gusts could top 100 mph and expected rainfall is upwards of ten inches.

Luckily our neighborhood shouldn’t directly experience the devastating storm surge — despite an elevation of five feet + relatively close proximity to water — thanks to the ICW and a barrier island, and only in times like these do I thank the Heavens that our “soil” is roughly two-thirds rapidly-draining sand and rock.

Hurricane Matthew Eve 2016 Continue reading

Garam Masala

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

If you’ve seen our herb and spice collection — a full three-level cabinet + overflow in the pantry — you are well aware of my fascination at the limitless possibilities. Curiosity never killed the adventurous cook. (Unless it’s fugu. Don’t eat fugu.)

Originating in the Punjab region of Northern India, garam masala is composed of familiar spices in a blend that may not be established in your kitchen. Yet.

The name literally translates to “hot spices,” but it’s more a deep warmth than fiery heat. Must-haves are cinnamon, black peppercorns, cardamom, nutmeg, and coriander. Ginger, cloves and mace typically find their way in as well. Maybe cumin, caraway, or nigella seed (also called black cumin, or kalonji).

Garam Masala spices Continue reading