I enjoy Thai food a great deal, particularly the sauce-soaked flat noodles in pad see ew and the strong lemongrass and kaffir lime flavors in tom yum soup. Thai curry with its rich coconut sauce and aromatic herbs are a favorite of mine. Warm and comforting, spicy and textured, Thai cuisine is at once foreign and kin to the Vietnamese food I grew up eating.
Fall is here. I can feel the season in my surroundings and in my bones. The yellow-brown leaves slowly littering our sidewalk and the cooler morning air are evidence of a changing time. My breath catches as I step out each morning, the sun not yet risen, the sky a misty gray. I enjoy the stillness and solitude of these moments and feel myself waken with each slap of cold air on my cheeks.
If the chillier weather doesn’t sufficiently get me out of my morning stupor, a cup of coffee certainly will. In my kitchen this fair October, I have been brewing more coffee than I should, eating more yams than I care for, and entertaining friends with relish. Welcome to my kitchen.
I’m two years behind the trend in picking up Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, but my curiosity over Perelman’s phenomenal success as a food blogger overcame me so I finally borrowed a copy from the library. Perelman has hundreds of recipes available for readers on her blog, covering all food categories. I’ve made many dishes from the blog (my favorite being her adaptable blondies recipe I’ve made about a dozen times). I wondered: what could Perelman offer in her cookbook that she doesn’t already offer on her blog?
Discussion and debate often persuade me to think differently about a book. Take, for instance, my visceral reaction to Elizabeth Graver’s The End of the Point. A meandering story about wealthy WASPs and their vacation home, The End of the Point failed to capture my interest and left me questioning how in the world my book club decided upon this selection. Yet, after discussing this book with others, I was surprised to see that there were notable aspects of the story I had missed in my reading. I love being a part of a book club for this reason; the discussions remind me to be open-minded and teach me to appreciate the stories a little more. (My book club also taught me that I love scones, but that’s for a little later.)
I started making a nutty, low-glycemic granola blend a few months ago and have become quite smitten with this versatile protein-packed, whole grain breakfast food. I didn’t eat granola or oatmeal growing up; in fact, I can’t recall eating granola before I met my husband. We’ve spent exorbitant amounts on a variety of organic, all-natural granola these past few years before realizing how much sugar was in even the “healthiest” varieties. Our initial mission this past summer was to find a low or no-refined sugar granola blend. One thing led to another and I found myself in our kitchen making granola. Months later, I can’t seem to stop myself from making this quick and satisfying food!
Apple season is in full swing. We’re reveling in the variety of apples available to us right now. Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, and our beloved Sonoma County’s Gravenstein apples are among the many filling up our crisper — and disappearing just as fast!
The Untold is Courtney Collins’ fictional debut novel of real-life horse wrangler and outlaw Jessie Hickman. It is exquisitely written and utterly captivating. The depictions of the rugged Australian outback, its people, and frontier justice, combined with the stirring emotions of a woman being hunted like an animal, were compelling and deeply engrossing. Rich with details, The Untold is a story of redemption, freedom, and crime and punishment. To say I enjoyed this book would be an understatement; it is the best book I’ve read all year.
As summer slowly turns into fall and produce pickings change at the market, our meals have shifted from vibrant salads and light entrées to dishes full of seasonal beans…and…more beans. The farmers’ market has been bustling with folks feverishly picking through the dry farmed early girl tomatoes and reaching for the ripened peaches and nectarines. Not to be neglected are the glossy globe eggplants and the shamrock green zucchini. I’ve been happily enjoying such summer bounty, as you’ll see when you take a peek into my kitchen.