Maple Fig Shortbread Bars

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

There is a definite seasonal urgency to cooking, especially this time of year. One minute you’re on top of the game, the next Mother Nature snatches away your favorite ingredients without warning. Removing her wrench from my plans is where you will currently find me.

Originally conceived to capture the final harvest of fresh figs, our tree took an early holiday, and has since been put to bed. But I’m a sucker for fig cookies, and darned if this setback was going to impede my weekly baking therapy — dried, it is!

Continue reading

WEEKEND POST 146

From the Author

After weeks away, meals at home are always that much more appreciated — even if it’s frozen, container-shaped leftovers. Don’t you agree?

Lucky for us we had two generous servings of Grandma Marie’s split pea pork hock soup my mom sent us back to NC with many months ago, quietly waiting in the deep-freeze to provide comfort, memories of home + family, and brightness to an ominous-looking afternoon last weekend. Even luckier is that soups like this get better with time, and reheat very well.

A warm flame, a splash of homemade chicken stock, and a few besan crackers on the table. Very lucky us.

Continue reading

Salt-Baking a Whole Fish

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

As with many topics of culinary history, the origin of cooking foods encased in salt is up for debate. Several cultures lay claim to the invention — from the Iberian Spaniards and Portuguese, to the Mediterranean Italians and Greeks, and further east to the ancient Persians and Chinese.

Whatever the truth, salt-baking, or salt-roasting, has stood the test of time. Similar to tagines and clay pots, this centuries-old method traps steam heat to infuse moisture, amplify flavor and retain nutrients. So remarkably tender and succulent are the foods cooked inside these paradoxical salt igloos, that this otherwise humble technique has even been likened to the light-years-more-high-tech magic of sous vide.

Continue reading

WEEKEND POST 145

From the Author

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, ca. 1878

When it comes to our yard, weed control isn’t the occasional battle — it’s all-out war. Despite the terrible quality of our soil, there is no shortage of seeds being blown in or washed up from heavy winds and powerful rainstorms we’re accustomed to ten months out of the year. And for every one that germinates and is eventually plucked out, another three take root.

I’m typically not very forgiving of things that grow where they should not be, but there are those few that I, probably in folly, allow to live, even encourage. Like this little flowering vine currently trailing at the base of our magnolia tree. Or a similar vine that twirled up the main trunk of our fig tree, with its curly-cue tendrils and dainty white flower bunches. Or the wild grains that shoot up in clumps, a golden reminder of Midwestern fields in fall.

Continue reading

Yogurt Cloud Cake

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Showstopping desserts don’t have to mean fancy techniques or expensive ingredients or even butter and chocolate. Sometimes it’s more about a willingness to change the way we think about every-day food items we keep. Sometimes favoring simplicity + ingenuity wins the day.

A small mountain of fresh figs doesn’t hurt either.

Continue reading