So here we are in the gut of winter, many snowed in, perhaps going stir crazy (as I often do under such conditions). The pundits say variety is the spice of life, but sometimes the harsh winter weather limits that range of ability… unless you’re in the kitchen.
While variety may be the spice of life, I’d argue that spices enhance life, particularly the life of one’s cooking. Indian cuisine is practically built around spices (not to mention fresh vegetables), making it a nourishing and unique alternative to lunch or dinner. Food is often prepared with turmeric, a spice that offers researched health benefits that include protection against liver damage and certain types of cancers, anti-inflammatory and infection-fighting properties. Admittedly, since I’m not a fan of hot, spicy foods, my only exposure to Indian cuisine is the occasional episode of Aarti Party on The Food Network. Until now, as I realize that using spices does not necessarily make a food spicy.
I used fast-cooking whole wheat couscous as the platform in this recipe to inject a bit of Indian flavor. The earthy, vibrant turmeric mixes with the nutty, citrusy coriander (which has its own list of health benefits) to create a colorful base for this nutritious and filling side dish. I even used one of my several kitchen-related Christmas gifts– a coffee/spice grinder that quickly pulverized the coriander seeds to a fine powder (thanks, Mom!). Continue reading
With 2011 mere hours away, food preparation often includes black-eyed peas hoping for good luck throughout the year. I’ve already got some soaking for tomorrow’s meal.
Consider this Butter Beans with Caramelized Onions and Bacon recipe from The Kitchn a practice run. Granted, butter beans are not peas, and peas are not beans, but they are both classified as legumes, or vegetables that produce pods which split open along a seam to reveal a row of seeds. Despite growing up on Mom’s lentil soup at least twice a month, I feel I don’t eat beans and peas often enough these days; specifically the dried type, which require overnight soaking, an extra (albeit very easy) step that undoubtedly prevents myself and others from frequent preparation. I actually have to think ahead? Continue reading
Amidst the massive egg recall and the debate over local food math, I’m craving simplicity. With summer vacations departed and the back-to-school frenzy afoot, the slow dwindling of daylight hours subdues my kitchen a bit.
Okay, I admit it. I don’t have any kids to cart off to Target for school supplies or worry about what to wear on the first day or pack for lunch. While my only concern outside of the pending cooler temperatures is wondering how the changing traffic pattern may affect my work commute, this historically hectic time of year has permeated my mindset. Back to the basics I go with this unadorned, baked Sweet Dumpling squash, courtesy of the Landisdale Farm CSA. A tender and sweet summer send-off. Continue reading
I’ve grown tomatoes from seed. Well, a tomato so far, a single tear-drop, appearing a bit lonely but tenaciously hanging in (ahem):
I planted tomato and basil seeds on March 14. The basil had always flourished, while the tomato plant came from more humble beginnings. It suffered through a considerable amount of legginess and demanded more sunlight than my small condo could provide at times. But once we moved, the plant refreshed, sprouting small yellow flowers in early July. The bees had a chance to pollinate and in about 4 months, the first fruit arrived upon the spindly, but determined, stems. Continue reading