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Archive for July, 2010

On the way back from the Berkshires last weekend, Rachela and I almost ran out of gas. And when you’re looking for a gas station, you inevitably can’t find one. And then the gas light goes off and says you have another 30 miles to go before you should panic. And then you drive another 5 miles. And you’re told you should really panic in 7 miles. And those extra 12 safety miles? They disappeared. Of course, when you finally find someone fixing his tractor at the side of the road and inquire about a station, he points you to the top of the hill where you can see a Gulf sign peeking out behind a church.

After we filled the tank, we began our search for farmers markets. We had seen loads of them throughout the weekend, but didn’t want to buy anything to have it sit in our room or the car in the sweltering heat. So when we were finally ready to load up the car with fresh fruits and vegetables, none were to be found. We drove by a wigwam. And an Indian circle dance. When I read the word dance, I jumped out of the car, ready to join in. Until I saw a half-dozen pot-bellied men in loin cloths and feather headdresses stomping their feet around a bonfire. We were back in the car and on the road fast. Really fast. So fast that we had to do a quick U-turn after we passed a sign for fresh-picked corn. U-turn accomplished, we rolled into the driveway and found a makeshift table set with ears of corn, plastic bags, a metal box and a sign stating,

Corn.

Picked this morning.

$6 a dozen or $0.50 each.

Please leave money in the box.

We promptly picked a pair of ears each, deposited our dollars in the box, and waved at the proprietress as she stepped onto her front porch to shuck.

We then passed a larger farmers stand with a greater variety of produce. I grabbed a few tomatoes, a handful of small cukes, and several large zucchinis.

And they sat in my fridge for almost a week while I toiled away in the office, ordering dinner in to sustain me during my late working hours. And then, only this weekend, did the vegetables come out to play. An Israeli salad. Corn roasted in the husk, eaten over the sink. And simple roasted zucchini with Mediterranean spices.

Roasted Zucchini

Adapted from a recipe for Roasted Zucchini with Ricotta and Mint from this August’s Food & Wine. 

Additional note 7/10/12: after salting the zucchini, make sure to rinse off all the salt. You can always add more salt to taste, but it’s pretty hard to remove it! 

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Dice 2 large zucchini into a medium-sized dice (1/3 – 1/2 inch). Salt generously and let sit in colander for 5-10 minutes until some of the zucchini’s liquid is released. Rinse zucchini and dry well. (The salting helps prevent the zucchini from getting soggy.) Toss with 1T olive oil, salt, and pepper. Shake onto a baking dish and roast for 25-30 minutes until zucchini starts to brown. Add 2 t cumin and a few pinches of crushed red pepper and roast for another 2-5 minutes until the spices are fragrant. Scoop into a bowl and sprinkle with the juice of half a lemon. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a few mint leaves and a scoop of labane (or leave off the labane for a non-dairy option).

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this is America

Last year, I spent the Fourth in Panama (yes, yes, I know that I owe you more chronicles…they are in the works, I promise).

This year, I was back on US soil and my friend Rachela and I drove out to Berkshires for the long weekend. It was a colorful weekend on so many levels, so please bear with me as I test out my new camera to capture it all. Our adventure started with berries plucked straight from the bushes. It ended with the most non-PC gentleman you could even imagine pointing us towards the nearest gas station. In between: farm animals, a swimming hole (yes, a swimming hole), the local Independence Day parade complete with the Chesterfield Chicken and the town mime, dance, fireworks and a long line of traffic, art, a lake, and the largest popovers I have ever seen.

And just when I thought I was a little out of my comfort zone, the Israeli photographer we shared breakfast with reminded me that “this is America.”

Remember those black raspberries? Did I tell you they were picked from the bushes behind our B&B? Or that when we met the proprietor his hands were stained from his collection? Or that they starred in the muffins that made up part of our multi-course breakfast? Or that I snagged the recipe to share with you? Yes, I may be slowing down on the recipe front, but this one is well worth the wait.

Black Raspberry Muffins

Generously shared by Denise at Seven Hearths. Makes 12 muffins. You will eat them all.

- 2 C flour

- 1 T baking powder

- 1/2 t salt

- 2/3 C sugar

- 1 egg, beaten

- 1/3 C sweet butter, melted

- 1/2 C milk, warm

- 1/2 C sour cream

- 1 1/2+ C black raspberries

Pre-heat oven to 400.

Mix. Mix all dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients except fruit and stir until just blended. DO NOT OVERSTIR. Fold fruit in lightly.

Bake. Scoop batter in lined or greased muffin tins. Bake approximately 20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 7-10 minutes and then remove.

Variation: you can substitute 1 1/2 C other fruit, but adjust the sugar (and other ingredients) accordingly:

Blackberry: 1 C sugar
Raspberry: 2/3 C sugar
Blueberry: 1/2 C sugar, 2 t lemon juice, 1 t grated lemon rind
Bing Cherry:  2/3 C sugar, 2 t grated lemon peel
Nectarine: 1/2 C sugar
Peach: 1/2 C sugar, 1 t vanilla

And it’s been a while since I shared some dance videos with you, so here are excerpts from the performance we saw.

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