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spring is sproinging

By on May 24, 2015 in cooking, dinner, love, vegetarian | 0 comments

The winter was long and dreary. Yup, totally not an original statement. I am still not entirely sure if it is aging or actual changes in winter, but it feels like winters are getting harder in my beloved Midwest. Not necessarily in terms of snow, although Chicago did enjoy a 2′ in one day blizzard that buried my car so completely I could only see 1” of it after the snow plows came through, but in terms of the grey. The never… ending… grey… The cold that keeps a harsh snap way past any time that seems sane, though you know it happens every year. And for me, personally, in case the lack of writing wasn’t obvious, it was never… ending… work. Work is good, absolutely! I am lucky to have it. But being a studio of one, a freelancer, I piled on too much, deadlines slid around, and suddenly I found myself sitting in front of my computer for 14 hours a...

it’s not a spring renewal, it’s a summer one

By on Jun 23, 2014 in cooking, love, salad, vegetarian | 0 comments

It has been a while, has it not? Asparagus season is swiftly passing, and with it my urge to channel the Spargelfrau of Germany and prance merrily amongst the green stalks. Strawberries with all their intoxicating floral scent have arrived, leaving me with faintly stained fingertips and a culinary endorphin rush. Farmer’s market tables, being slightly delayed this year from the long winter, are suddenly exploding, tables heavily laden with a chorus of greens, oranges, and reds, every table calling out to the person hungry for fresh vegetables after the long winter. And where have I been, you might ask? Working. Working. And then working some more. But with this begins a renewed effort to maintain a regular round of postings, both of my own devising, and visiting folks who make such delicious things as, well, beer. Because beer is always in season.   I have been thinking of you,...

i shall eat all the green

By on Apr 10, 2014 in cooking, salad | 0 comments

Yesterday I drove home from work. With the window down. To those who live in a warmer clime, this may seem nothing, but to anyone in the northern half of the U.S. this winter, you know it is a big deal. The sensation of a warm sun and gentle air felt like a welcome madness. This morning I noticed fresh green grass beginning to force its way out of the ground, brazenly challenging Nature to snow on it. And Nature will likely oblige. But you see, the sun has warmed. The air is gentler. Hope springs eternal. Deep within my stocking feet, my toes are involuntarily flexing, imagining the day when they can be freed to the open air and sink deeply into fresh green grass. This hope runs in a giddy undercurrent through my brain, wrapping verdant tendrils around neurons frozen by this brutal winter, causing them to awake and demand green. To see green. To smell green. To eat it. Enter the...

tantalizing the microvilli

By on Jun 14, 2013 in cooking, dinner, experimenting | 0 comments

I have recently taken up reading a book on the subject of what really gets our human gustatory engines humming. Ostensibly, this book is about processed food, and how the sugar, salt, and fat therein are calibrated  by legions of food scientists to hit our deepest urges so we just want more and more, or at least that seems to be the trend. Fair enough. I have been known to mow down on a salty delicacy fished from the deepest recesses of a bag that crinkles just so as my fingers desperately search for that last little chip (and I must wonder if they engineer the crinkle of the bag as carefully as the food, because it is absolutely part of the sensory experience.). But this isn’t about the engineering of the chip or the bag. This is about a paragraph that basically debunked the long-held belief I have had that the tongue has different “taste zones.” Apparently, it...

meditative pasta

By on Mar 6, 2012 in cooking, dinner, experimenting, love | 0 comments

Cooking. The act of peeling, chopping, sauteeing, stirring, whisking, etc. never fails to be a source of meditation for the likes of me. My whole brain shifts into another state where time becomes more fluid and scent comes to the forefront of my senses. Without cooking, there is turmoil. Unhappiness born of the constant struggle to make a living as a creative professional and coming to terms with how often that means failure, whether it be my own fault or the simple and persnickety circumstance of timing. Cooking is just for me. No one stands behind me to tell me to turn something red five seconds after they tell me they are not a visual person. There are no committees of people lurking over my shoulder, yammering as I feel my entire being turn into plastic and look down to realize I have become a very tall computer mouse with brightly colored sneakers. For several weeks I have not...

the simplest of pilafs

By on Aug 13, 2011 in cooking, dinner | 0 comments

The weather is unrelenting. A cold and dreary spring gave way to a hot and sticky summer, with barely a day to transition. So finally, the last days of summer, nature gives us a week of respite. Cool, moderate temperatures with breezes that almost begin to gives hints of fall. In that brief window, the stove no longer likes like the enemy, something to add to the heavy ambient heat that has been riddling about the apartment for months. As the cool breezes gently blow out the last of the humidity, vivid orange carrots from the farmer’s market are scrubbed down and sliced thickly. A couple of small red onions from the same farmer are fished out of the refrigerated depths and sliced into brilliant stripes of magenta and pearly white. Fragrant basmati rice is set to the boil on one burner, delightfully earthy brown lentils pile into another pot with a bay leaf and a bit of the onion...