AROUND NOW, THE HOOKS on my mudroom walls offer no space for coats (though the weather hints I’ll be needing mine). Too many paper shopping bags are hanging there instead (photo above), one after another with faded, upside-down plants inside, meant to let go of their increasingly dry seed. That’s my primitive tactic, but there are better ways to save seed, and the Organic Seed Alliance shares them—from which variety you grow with eventual saving in mind, to maintaining that crop in the garden, to drying and even storing it–in a free, 30-page book-like pdf download loaded with both the botanical science and sensible tips, too. [read more…]
Planting a vegetable garden, or growing herbs, fruits and berries? One of my great pleasures is growing a portion of my own food. I eat the harvest fresh in season, of course, and freeze or can or otherwise store things for the winter, bringing the color and flavor of the summer garden to the offseason table.
THE ADVENTURE IN Mollie Katzen’s “The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation,” begins even before the first recipe page. It starts in the delicious, intimate endpapers—which came from illustrated journals that the author has been keeping since she was a teenager, which were also the origin of her beloved, bestselling “Moosewood Cookbook.” The musings (that’s one in the photo above), in drawings and hand-lettered words, speak to how Mollie—a keen gardener, and the guest on my latest radio show—approaches food today. Learn how she suggests we re-define “vegetarian;” how she “paints [her] rice,” and makes her simplest, most delicious tomato sauce. And maybe win her newest book, too. [read more…]
I CALL IT ‘TOMATO JUNK,’ and it’s my last-dash, mad-stash remedy for everything that’s still edible in the garden when frost threatens, or when I’m just too tired to keep at it, and ready to pull it all. I talked about Tomato Junk today with Amy Eddings of NPR’s New York City affiliate, WNYC (listen in now!)–about how to transform the final, precious hauls from garden or farmer’s market into colorful bricks of frozen goodness. Use it in the offseason as a base for soups (such as minestrone); chili; stews, or in any other recipe that calls for the usual can of tomatoes, assorted vegetables and water. I’ve even made curries and an improvised tikka masala-style dish with Tomato Junk as the starter. Like this: [read more…]
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA-based but Southeast-bred Kevin West strikes me at once as a very modern and also a very old-fashioned guy–a great combination to my mind. Quotes from the classical Roman poet Virgil open the chapters in his new hit book, “Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling and Preserving,” which is also loaded with old-fashioned fruits he hopes we haven’t forgotten about. But the recipes are smart, and the science and food safety is up-to-the-minute 21st century. Kevin joined me on the radio this week—and I bought some books to share with you, along with his best seasonal tips, and his apple-butter recipe (photo above): [read more…]