In the house where I grew up in a Chicago suburb that was situated so far south that its streets ended exactly where the tall, green and golden midwestern cornfields began, the best treasures were often in the big freezer out in the utility room. Last summer’s fish from vacations in Minnesota or Wisconsin (cleaned by yours truly), stored in tubs of water, were frozen forever just as they were…or at least until the next weekend’s fish fry. Small cartons of peaches –the ones that came in after the canning was done–might be on the door for mid-winter dessert or for topping the homemade ice cream we all took turns cranking early the following summer. The thing you really had to search for, though, as they were well-hidden from my Dad, me, and all the grandkids (you know who you are), were ice cream sandwiches made from Mom’s leftover waffles. Now I don’t know how there were ever leftover waffles, but there were. And somehow my mom managed to press vanilla ice cream between a couple of them, wrap them tightly, and hide them well until they were badly needed. You get it, right? When your whole adolescent world was falling apart or the Chicago weather had turned frightening…Continue reading
Since the first person made wine, there have no doubt been myriad variations on that theme. Additions, subtractions, trials, errors…even wine made from water if you include the wedding at Cana, Jesus’ first and always best miracle. I’m not in the habit of quoting anyone’s scripture on the blog, but this is my very favorite Bible story ever, of course, so bear with me:Continue reading
If the goal of feeding folks in the summer is to keep the cooking and the heat at a minimum, I’m in. As my friend Jodie says, “I turn into a troll when the temperature gets above 65 degrees F.” Even it it’s not terribly hot outdoors — or is, in fact, lovely — my house seems to turn into a hot box on June 1 every year. Of course that’s just one reason Americans grill (the contemporary version of the separate summer kitchen) and eat outdoors anytime we can. The other is we’re inordinately attached to kicking back for three months every year. Or we say we are anyway.Continue reading
I really love, love what I have thought of as my best green bean dish, which is Lemon Green Beans. There’s little to it and I make this A LOT. It’s probably my most used “recipe” because people memorize it at my dinner table: “Cooked green beans stirred up with lots of salt, pepper, and grated lemon rind with a little crushed red pepper and olive oil.” Great summer snack, too. I just leave a bowl on the counter. Keeps me from raiding the chips. Sometimes. ALL ABOUT COOKING GREEN BEANS HERE.