Autumn is definitely in the air – even here in Alabama. With autumn, comes a selection of spicier, richer deserts for all the upcoming festivals and celebrations. I adore fresh ginger: the color, the smell, to drink ginger tea and to eat ginger candy. Our local Ginger Ale – Buffalo Rock – is beautifully hot (very hot), spicy, and hands-down my favorite Ginger Ale.
Get your ginger fix with this great new recipe – the latest in our stenciling series combining cooking with our Bloomers Stencil from Alabama Stitch Book:
FRESH GINGER + BLOOMERS LAYER CAKE
In 2006, Leslie Hoffman of Earth Pledge asked me to write an short paper for inclusion in their Future Fashion White Papers. I recently came across the volume while browsing my library and the essay stirred up so many memories from that time. As the last of my tomatoes drop to the ground, I wanted to (re)share my thoughts on tomatoes and fashion.
The Museum of Electronic Wonder & Late Night Grilled Cheese Parlour is exactly as the name implies: part museum, part sandwich shop. Brainchild of Adam and Krista Bork – of Food Shark fame, this is the place for late-night gatherings in Marfa, Texas.
Open from 9:30 until “thirty minutes after the last bar closes,” the menu includes grilled cheese offerings like the Classic with Bacon and Tomato options, Brie with Spicy Cherry Chutney, and Gruyere with Brussels Sprouts and Caramelized Onion.
Originally conceived as a kitchen for the Food Shark, the museum has become an extended living room for the Bork’s – hosting locals and visiting art and music enthusiasts for late-night eats.
Why is it that small towns often have the coolest places? Every small town needs one of these.
See more pictures here.
The Museum of Electronic Wonder & Late Night Grilled Cheese Parlour
300 West San Antonio Street
I arrived back from Berlin to find that tomatoes are still dropping off the vines in my backyard. I just can’t seem to keep up with them this year. In a situation like this, the best thing to do is to make Pico de Gallo. A great dish for the heat of summer, it’s also known as Salsa Fresca, a name that can cool you off just by saying it. If you have a small vegetable garden there’s a good chance that you can get most of the ingredients right outside your back door.
Assembling the ingredients reminds you that the garden knows what flavors do well together. Or, as my friend Angie reminds me, “What grows together, goes together.”
Even the colors are beautiful together. What better way to prepare for my trip to Texas?
I thought a lot about what I would drink once my cleanse was over, and I could have alcohol in my life again. I’m a lover of white wine, but just before my cleanse started I was introduced to the world of vermouth cocktails by a talented barkeep at Blackberry Farm. In July, he served me up a simple drink so light and summery that I can’t stop thinking about it.
I’ve always kind of thought of vermouth as that terrible stuff in some grandmother’s liquor cabinet that no one ever touched. But it turns out there are lots of delicious vermouths that, when mixed with fresh fruit juice and soda, compose a cocktail more refreshing (and sometimes lower in alcohol) than the lightest white wine. Perfect for cooling off in the evenings.
Because I’m new to these, I got a primer from a friend of mine in the booze business. Here’s what I learned: Vermouth and many other “aperitivi” almost always come from France or Italy. They are usually fortified wines infused with herbs, roots and barks. They can be sweet or savory; every house has a different style. And because they are so flavorful on their own, you usually only need very simple mixers to create a complex tasting cocktail. Oh, and one more tip: for best results, store in the refrigerator and drink them within a month or so. They are not that much stronger than wine, so they will spoil.
Here are some recipes I’ve been playing with. Don’t be too literal with them. Just trust your gut and blend to taste.
Labor Day in my family means delicious home-cooked food. And while I won’t be indulging to excess this year, I still look forward to family get-togethers and the cooking involved. While browsing my cookbook collection in preparation for our family meal, it occurred to me that covered pies are really just applique with dough. Fascinated by that concept, I began to imagine all of the things you could do with stencils in the kitchen. With this recipe for Reverse Appliqué Bloomers Cherry Pie, I start exploring ways to combine Alabama Chanin stencils with good home cooking – imagine the possibilities.
(Re)Detox – Day 7 – and I have to say that it is so much better to detox with friends than alone. We have been sharing lunches, telling stories, laughing, and, at times, commiserating. This round has been easier for me (although I had a little slip on Friday night that involved a bottle of beer) and I continue to feel better and better. I made this soup last week which was a favorite – and everyone wanted the recipe you find below.
The preparation is very simple – slightly off the plan since it contains tomatoes, but they are still growing in my backyard and dropping on the ground. I will stop eating tomatoes in October when there aren’t any more good ones to eat.
My friend Sara cringed, “Seriously? No tomatoes? That is upsetting to me.”
Last weekend, I finally got a chance to read my Gravy: Special Louisiana Edition, the Spring 2011 Issue of the Southern Foodways Alliance’s “Food Letter” to its members. (Better late than never!)
On page 6 of the downloadable PDF, you will find a story about – and a recipe by – Susan Spicer of New Orleans. Titled “Eggplant, Oyster, and Tasso Gratin: A New Sort of Trinity,” the introduction to the recipe refers to the “trinity of Louisiana cookery: onions, celery and bell pepper.” Susan, a “self-described eggplant freak,” created her own trinity with eggplant, oysters and Tasso – recipe included. (You will also find this recipe and text on pages 35-36 of the Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook.)
While I was reading about Susan and her trinity, I kept thinking of the Indian legend of The Three Sisters. If you aren’t familiar with this story, it is really just a beautiful explanation of companion planting told in story form. The tale explains that corn is planted on a mound and provides the stalk for the beans to climb. In turn, the bean vines embrace the corn stalk and provide stability. The squash planted on the mound shades it from direct sunlight and prevents moisture from evaporating. Native Americans encourage eating the three “sisters” together, since together they offer the elements to sustain life: the corn delivers carbohydrates, the beans provide protein, and the squash contains essential vitamins.
As reported last week, I eased off my detox and back into everyday life. Using the photo shoot for our HEATH Ceramics collaboration as a happy start-date, I indulged easily back into my old way of eating and living. After enjoying some (quite a bit of) bread, a piece of wedding cake (or 2) that we had made for the shoot, some after-work cocktails, and other earthly delights, I am happy (and surprised) to report that I miss my new way of eating.
Saturday, I went back to the farmer’s market and yesterday my girlfriends and I started our “hard core” cleanse – together and one week early. In the coming weeks, I will share some of our favorite recipes that we develop while navigating the backyard garden, the farmer’s market and Clean.
The recipe below was a favorite of Angie and Cathy this week while we were shooting – it is absolutely approved under the Clean program.