KITCHEN COPY:A PRETTY PUMPKIN

Right about now the Mums begin rolling into Wolff’s and taking over the place like some kind of bizarre alien invasion. It seems like every day more cloudbursts of color are added to the expanding floral grid. Their arrival coincides with the onset of chilly mornings, corn shocks, and overwhelming swells of heirloom pumpkins. The pumpkin’s…

KITCHEN COPY: HONEYCRISP APPLE LIME GRANITA

Some things take a long time to learn about oneself, while other things take none at all. After scaling, gutting, and prepping fish for a brief stint at a small Greek restaurant in Federal Hill, Baltimore, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do in the kitchen. And it wasn’t cleaning fish. It only took a…

KITCHEN COPY: WATERMELON-TINI

The single memory from my childhood of eating watermelon centers more upon the large, black, unpleasant, inedible seeds than it does the deliciously sweet and totally consumable flesh. It is a memory which speaks volumes about the kind of person I am. It’s no secret how I would answer the proverbial glass-half-full or glass-half-empty question. As far as I’m concerned, the glass…

KITCHEN COPY:NOTEWORTHY NECTARINES

I’m fully allowed to taste the produce at Wolff’s Apple House. As their resident chef, it’s part of my job. Nevertheless, there is always a moment (right about the time I lift the fruit from the display) when it feels criminal. Like I’m getting away with something. Like I’m stealing something precious from others. Which leads me to a confession. Earlier today,…

KITCHEN COPY: HEAVENLY HEIRLOOMS

Some heirloom tomato varieties hardly resemble tomatoes at all. That’s what one might think, anyway. The truth is that only in the last hundred years did tomatoes become so uniformly round, and red, and (Let’s admit it!) often flavorless. That’s all changed, of course. Americans have rediscovered (thanks to hard-working small farmers) how to embrace seasonality, and a desire to experience the…

KITCHEN COPY: SCANDALOUS STRING BEANS

Whether whores first invented puttanesca is no concern of mine. The sauce is bright, flavorful, pungent, and goes with just about anything you can scrounge together. Including the ubiquitous green bean. Literally translated, alla puttanesca means “in the style of a prostitute.” It is a culinary legend whose origins (like so many inventions) are clouded with speculation. There are various…

KITCHEN COPY: A RHUBARB TO REMEMBER

The poisonous leaves of the rhubarb plant can cause a variety of symptoms including stomach pain, nausea, and breathing difficulty. The bright red stalk of the rhubarb plant, on the other hand, is totally edible and can cause delight, a sense of wellness, and sometimes (in extreme cases) euphoria. When I was about seven years old, my…

KITCHEN COPY: CONTEMPTIBLE KIWI

At the risk of sounding totally counterculture, I would like to confess that I love tropical fruit. That is, I thoroughly enjoy consuming fruits that have been harvested in tropical regions, packaged, and shipped across the globe. I enjoy these things even while I acknowledge the impact that common farming/distributing practices have on the environment and…

KITCHEN COPY: EASILY ELEGANT LEEKS

  Leeks have come a long way in my life since 2001. It’s been an uphill battle for this once neglected ingredient. Unlike onions and garlic, the leek is more intimidating. It seems almost alien when pulled from a grocery bag and placed on a cutting-board at home. I remember a cashier quizzically examining a bunch of…

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Sage

Autumn collects synonyms.  It’s already the only season with two interchangeable names, and from there, its monikers multiply.  It’s also known as pumpkin season, apple season, cider season and more.  But how long has autumn been known as the season for all kinds of pumpkin-spiced food and beverages, from pumpkin lattes to pumpkin ravioli to…

15 Easy In-Season Recipes for Labor Day

How wonderful are Labor Day vacations?  They snag the last bits of summer, salvaging time with family and friends before the rush of fall schedules pulls us in different directions.  They celebrate cooler weather and golden sunlit evenings.  They offer rest. When I was growing up, Labor Day was our favorite family vacation time.  We…

Set the Table for Spring with Cucumber Dill Salad & Black Bean Wraps

Whenever I have a chance to teach English courses, I like to talk about cliches.  “What are some of your favorite cliches?” I ask.  “Or some of the most bewildering?”  We write them down.  “Now, how can we freshen them up?  Make them more unexpected?” Cliches got their start because someone came up with a…

Frittata Time

I first discovered frittatas a few years ago when I needed to use up some fresh sage.  Sage, with its leaves like Lamb’s-Ear, seemed fancy enough for Martha Stewart, so I turned to Martha Stewart’s Healthy Quick Cook, a treasure my  aunt had given me for Christmas years earlier, and discovered a lovely sage-mushroom frittata. …

Gabbing in Garden-Speak

Nan Reinert of Chubby Pickle Farm in Robeson Township, Berks County, is always happy to help others learn about smarter and more efficient ways to garden, knowing quite well just how stressful this therapeutic effort can become if you take on too much. “I am passionate about growing and getting people to grow,” she says…