Garden Candy


By Edward Schneider 

I’ve said before that it gives me a thrill to pick and immediately cook produce from my father-in-law’s garden in the UK. I’m a city boy and the son of city folk: my father was born on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and, although my mother’s parents kept a few chickens in their yard outside Czestochowa, Poland, their emigration to Brooklyn when my mother was twelve marked the end of animal husbandry for them. So, I am innately ignorant of tilling the soil. My limbs, like those of Mrs. Sullen in George Farquhar’s 1707 comedy The Beaux’ Stratagem, were not made for leaping of ditches and clambering over stiles. Much less for hoeing and weeding. 

But I’ve long harbored the illusion that, apart from die-hard Londoners (who are just as bad as us New Yorkers), Britons are universally garden-mad and raised to be familiar with small-scale agriculture centered on a quarter-acre behind the house or in a public plot (an allotment). Some of you who have read more than a few of my posts will know that Jackie’s father has always been an enthusiastic horticulturalist whose big garden yields everything from fennel to rhubarb to elderflowers. Granted, when he bought the house, back in the 1950s in a then-new suburban development, he picked the one with the largest garden, but all the houses in his neighborhood sit on pretty substantial parcels of arable land.  

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Posted in Farming

Sunday Supper: Pasta with Pork Ribs

If after a summer of barbecue you’re looking for something else to do with those spare ribs, this pasta will do them justice (and then some).  Adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Andrea’s Pasta with Pork Ribs

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 11/2hours

One of my favorite pasta recipes, a Neapolitan specialty—taught to me by my old friend Andrea—that can make just a few ribs go a long way.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 small dried hot red chiles (optional)

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 to 8 meaty spareribs, separated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes with the juice

1 pound ziti, penne, or other cut pasta

Freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese (optional)

1. Put the oil in a deep, broad saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the chiles if you’re using them and the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the ribs and raise the heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until the ribs have browned and given off some of their fat, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, crush the tomatoes with a fork or your hands, and add them to the pot.

2. Turn the heat to medium or medium-low—enough to maintain a nice steady bubbling, but nothing violent. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the ribs are very tender, nearly falling off the bone, about 1 hour. Remove the chiles from the sauce if you used them. (You can make the dish ahead to this point; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Gently reheat before proceeding.)

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the pasta until tender but not mushy. Drain it and sauce it; serve a rib or two to each diner along with the pasta.Pass the grated cheese at the table if you like.


Posted in Italian, Recipes

No More Foreign Oil!


By Kerri Conan 

This time of year, Kansas is usually lousy with sunflowers. Precisely what you’d expect from “the sunflower state.” Several small-headed varieties grow from ditches and cracks in the pavement, while fields of commodity plants—with their massive faces and sturdy stalks—bow in the wind like a battalion of chorus lines. Here in the eastern part of the state, where the weather has been strange even for tornado alley, we’re not getting many blooms this year. Fortunately, our co-op in Lawrence started carrying local sunflower oil this summer: So everything is coming up golden in the kitchen. 

Bainter is the producer, from the small town of Hoxie. Maybe I’m stretching the standard “local” radius a bit. But in this case—since single-source cooking oil is a rare foodstuff in America—I’m counting 333 miles across my beloved state as nearby. Bainter oil isn’t cold pressed, but claims to be refined without chemical solvents. I believe it. The slightly cloudy color is the shade of melted butter, with a moderately assertive balance of grassy, floral, and nutty flavors. The viscosity doesn’t turn your mouth furry. And to my pleasant surprise the oil doesn’t smoke, burn, or go bitter when super-heated. If you have to ask about the price, you can afford it. This is the Midwest after all. Check out the company website. (And while you’re there, feel free to add a piece of Bainter’s patented hydraulic farm equipment to your shopping cart.) 

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Posted in American

Cook the Best Food in the World at Home


This morning I recreated dishes from Copenhagen’s Noma (recently named the best restaurant in the world) on the Today Show.

Posted in Behind The Scenes

A New Way with Tomatoes


By Laura Virginia Anderson 

It’s gotten to the point of the summer where I’m getting a little tired of my go-to recipes for the vegetables from my CSA share. Don’t get me wrong; I still love slow-cooked Greek-style green beans (one of my friends describes them as “everything a green bean was meant to be,” and I’m inclined to agree), beets baked in foil and then sautéed in garlicky olive oil with their greens, and ripe tomatoes and peaches sliced and eaten raw with a splash of sherry vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. It’s just that these dishes no longer thrill—they’ve become almost banal, a weekly occurrence.

So I’m trying to inject a little creativity into the process of cooking and eating my vegetables and fruit. This week, I received a pint of lovely little cherry tomatoes in addition to four soft, heavy slicers. The thought of eating them all in salads didn’t appeal, nor did that of broiling them with herbs or making tomato sauce. But then I noticed the bag of whole wheat flour sitting in my pantry, and one of those thoughts arose, one of those ideas that is either brilliant or idiotic, one of those recipe-notions that takes on a life of its own and demands to be made: tomato muffins.

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Posted in Produce

“The era of cheap, abundant food is over.”


There’s a lot more to say about this, and I’ll be saying as much of it as I can in the next few months (and years, I suppose), but my review of Julian Cribb’s The Coming Famine is an opening salvo. The book is convincing, scary, and filled with details about things that most readers of this blog – and most people who consider themselves “substainabilists,” to use an impossible word – already know, at least in broad strokes.

I’m not saying “buy this book,” though it reads pretty well, especially for something so dense. I’m saying it addresses issues to which attention must be paid. The sad thing is that if you’re reading this you probably are already paying attention.

Posted in Food Politics

This Week’s Minimalist: Citrus-Almond Poundcake

A food processor makes this poundcake incredibly fast and easy; a citrus soak makes it unbeliebably moist and delicious.

Posted in Baking

How I Spent My Summer Vacation


By Clotilde Hryshko

Thanks and recognition goes to some of the friends of my daughter Marya – Ellie, Gabe, Kim, Marya and Nick – for their efforts on the wood stacking and garlic harvest. These jobs are perfect for the young teens – a chance for some money, camaraderie, and that critical opportunity to do a job and see its completion. I’m sure they won’t remember them as the best days of their vacation but the other parents and I will continue to be smug about its importance.

My summer vacation is really more of a flip-flop. Jim took the girls away for 10 days. They traveled to Alaska where he has a brother and a sister. They camped and went salmon fishing, meeting up with more family. Marya caught 2 fish this year and the youngest, Yelena, caught one (fly-fishing).

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Posted in Farming

Donut Peach Donuts


By Cathy Erway

It was so silly I had to do it. When I read that I would be getting a pint of donut peaches in the newsletter of my fruit CSA this week, the idea took hold of me: must make “donut peach donuts.” I just saw Inception like the rest of our society has, it seems, so I know more than ever now that when an idea is planted, it can grow and grow to take over your rational thought. 
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I dreamed and deliberated about how to make donut peach donuts. My first idea had been simple: make a peach jelly with the fresh fruit, and squeeze it in the middle of some sort of homemade donutty thing. Yeast-risen dough or cake-like dough? Both involved tons of steps, especially the yeast, which is actually my preferred donut type. Do I coat it with powdered sugar after it’s been deep-fried and done? Yuck… I know it’s classic, but I could never stand that fine dust of super-sweet. Maybe I don’t really want to make donuts after all? I hesitated.

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Posted in Baking, Produce

Sunday Supper: Pasta with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Bread Crumbs

A great pasta dish to make during tomato season (now). Adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Pasta with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Bread Crumbs

Makes: About 4 servings

Time: 40 minutes

The trick here is incorporating crisp-cooked bread crumbs at the last minute. You must use fresh bread crumbs, most pieces about the size of a pea.


1 /4cup extra virgin olive oil (1/2cup if you’re omitting the pancetta)

1 /4cup chopped pancetta or bacon (optional)

1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs

Freshly ground black pepper

2 small to medium eggplant (about 12 ounces), cut into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks

6 small or 3 medium tomatoes (about 12 ounces), cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks

1 to 2 teaspoons thinly sliced garlic, to taste

1 pound spaghetti, linguine, or other long pasta

Chopped fresh basil or parsley leaves for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put half the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the meat if you’re using it, stirring occasionally, until just about crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring almost constantly, until nicely browned, 3 to 5 minutes; sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper as they cook. Remove with a slotted spoon and add the remaining oil.

2. Add the eggplant, stirring occasionally and sprinkling with salt and pepper, until browned and tender, about 15 minutes. When it’s done, begin cooking the pasta in the boiling water until tender but not mushy. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the eggplant; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.

3. When the pasta is done, drain it and toss with the eggplant mixture, the bread crumbs, and the meat if you used it. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with basil, and serve.


Posted in Italian, Recipes