Spicy Roasted Vegetable Bisque

October brought dark and stormy skies today, which is another way of saying it's a good time for soup. We made this fiery version out of a heap of roasted vegetables recently, and while the corresponding recipe is posted at the bottom of this post, the truth is that making it is much more about a method than it is about a list of ingredients: roast a bunch of chopped vegetables in oil, simmer them in hot water, pure√©, add milk, add seasonings, adjust. The other truth is that, basically, this is how we cook most days. See, let's just say, for the sake of argument, that there are two main ways to approach recipes. (I have to say "for the sake of argument" in case any of those of you who are reading here today are the pesky, exacting sort [of which both Tim and I tend to be] and so, when you hear the words, "there are two main ways to approach recipes," you can't help it but your mind immediately begins making a case for why there are, in fact, actually at least six different … [Read more...]

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

This past Saturday was my favorite kind of day: we had no plans, no place we had to be, no major to-do lists---and, at least for someone with my personality and temperament, I am finding days like this are crucial. Spending 24 hours at a leisurely pace, the kind where you stroll around the Franklin farmers market, fall asleep for two hours on the sofa, hold your husband's hand as you walk up and down the block before the sun sets is just the ticket to helping yourself slow down, be still and feel thankful. Seriously, this Saturday was so good, it was almost like being in Hawaii again. Oh and also, there were these quinoa black bean burgers. I got the idea to make black bean burgers last week and, after pinning five or six recipes that caught my eye, I put together a version that combined their ideas and added some of my own. Using bulk-bin organic beans and quinoa, I had to soak them the night before, but once that step was taken care of, the process was pretty easy: cook the … [Read more...]

thin, chewy pizza crust

You remember what it was like when you were a kid and you hated to go to bed? You could have just had the best day in your life---a birthday party, playing with friends, swimming, riding bikes, building pretend houses, eating fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, whatever---but when the sun went down, you knew what was coming. No matter how great the last few hours had been, no matter how much joy you'd been offered---and especially no matter what anyone else had told you about thankfulness---there was only one thing on your mind when your mom said to put your pajamas on, and it was a disheartening thing indeed: all this fun had to end. That's a little how I feel this morning. It's funny to think about, really. I mean, we all look at a child throwing a tantrum before bed and see precisely what he doesn't, the very factors that would take his fear away: Morning will come, we want to say to him. There's more fun to be had. And besides, you have to rest; you need it. We know he … [Read more...]

Mama’s Meat Sauce

I come from a long line of women who can cook: My great grandma, I'm told, made legendary pasta. My grandma rolled her own cannoli shells. My mom, a woman who loves to say, Oh, it's so simple (particularly when her only daughter asks for clarification on some new recipe trick), has a vast cooking repertoire that ranges from bakery-worthy apple strudel to hot chicken curry just the way my dad likes it. And as with a lot of things in life, I feel there are different ways to approach this kind of heritage: Embrace it. Or resent it. I'll let you guess which way I tended towards for most of my childhood and only say this: it's amazing how we can turn blessings into curses, how we can choose to be intimidated by that which can help us grow. You may call it perfectionism; I call it ugly. It's like, say, when you have the opportunity to start working from home: This is such an obvious good (especially as it is the thing---the very thing---you have wanted and worked towards for … [Read more...]