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squash soupuree

By on Nov 19, 2011 in dinner, experimenting, fail... or not | 0 comments

In fall a young woman’s fancy turns to warm, dense foods that can be scooped into bowls and enjoyed slowly while she watches the waning sun track across the sky. At least, when there are no clouds. And there are a lot of grey days. Enter the kuri squash. Sounds like “curry” and tastes nothing like it. They are of modest size and their skins have a burnished glow, especially when spotted sitting next to the pale butternut. They yield a more delicate flavor than our friend the butternut, a flavor that calls for a slightly different and more complex partner than the traditional sage. What about… tart apple? A bright hit of ginger? A savory smattering of shallot? Perhaps a bit of cumin and clove? The squash slowly roast until it collapses, the outer skin yielding to the softening flesh within. Everything cooks achingly slowly into a deeply colored smooth puree that...

apple butter

By on Oct 10, 2010 in fail... or not, love, preserving | 0 comments

Another fall day masquerading in summer’s heat. The apples were nestled together, dozing in the warm air, waiting patiently for their transformation into that most magical of fall elixirs… apple butter. Six pounds of apples were swiftly cored and thrown into a pot so large it would not fit in the sink, then drowned in apple cider made of their brethren pomaceous fruit. The day had been warm, but for the apples, it was about to get warmer. Slowly, achingly, the apples and cider came to a boil, the moist white flesh softening in the growing heat, letting forth a warm tangy scent. It was time for the skins to leave. Slowly, ladle by ladle, the mix was ground through a food mill into yet another pot, emitting a luscious dark puree. The puree was set to the boil again, spices were added, and then… a long slow simmer. Two large pots on the stove were not enough. A third...

the graping

By on Oct 6, 2010 in fail... or not, preserving | 2 comments

Less than 24 hours off the vine, the grapes warily eyed the cold light of the city. Plucked and cooked into a vivid mass, the grapes were ground slowly through a food mill that had been crushing their ancestors for decades. The thick syrupy juice collected below, working through the molecules of the mill and the bowl, delivering a purple blush that belied the vivid magenta of their fresh demise. Unbeknownst to the cook, the grapes had spent their night in the dark confines of the refrigerator in tense communication with the packet of pectin. At the crucial moment, the grapes fighting to their last as the heat went high, the pectin seized into a hundred gelatinous chunks, refusing to release back into the boiling liquid. All chance of jam was lost. The cook, desperate, twirled between the stove and the sink, sifting out the chunks, spraying the kitchen with bright grapey droplets. The...

won ton soup… in a manner of speaking

By on Oct 6, 2010 in cooking, fail... or not, love | 0 comments

A sane person would buy won ton wrappers rather than make and roll out yard upon yard of smooth supple dough, letting the cool dough glide along the floured counters as it becomes ever thinner. I am not a sane person. A won ton soup fail can elicit other delectable results. The smooth and supple dough stuck together in the damp kitchen, so the dough got pulled apart like some sort of savory taffy into ribbons and dumplings. The filling of fresh ground pork, steamed spinach, ginger, soy sauce, and peanut oil was cooked on its own, broth added, the random bits of dough flung in along with bright scallions, and at long last, a single egg beaten then swirled in, creating a final tangle of egg and noodle to rival any Pollock...