Monthly Archives: July 2011


July 28, 20114 Comments

SUMMER 2011. SUNSHINE. 07.29.11

As your garden begins to bear more fruit than you can stand and the CSA starts delivering the really good stuff – the corntomatoes and zucchini you’ve been waiting for while diligently finding uses for kohlrabi (no ideas, no link!) – I up and leave you. I can hardly believe I’m quoting Sheryl Crow: “I’m going to soak up the sun while it’s still free. I’m going to soak up the sun before it goes out on me.” Time for a break. Sunshine is the theme. Relaxation is on the menu. And many of the recipes I tackle this week will be garnished with a paper umbrella. Oh, and they won’t be photographed either. Why create evidence?

To keep you busy while I’m taking a much-needed break from the kitchen, the camera and the laptop, I’ve compiled a list of the most popular 10 recipes according to you (measured by total page views). I’m amused by this revealing list, which tells me something about you. For example, you like chicken. And beef! And you like the Barefoot Contessa, too. Who doesn’t, right? You also prefer the recipes displaying my weakest photography, with just a few exceptions. And you don’t actually like vegetables very much, though I suspect you want to like them more. You do look at salad dressing sometimes. While I’m resting with feet up and ordering my sons to feed me bon-bons, I’ve chosen a favorite recipe of my own to feature in the side bar to the right (RSS users, you have to go to the home page to see what I’m talking about). You decide what this says about me.

Finally, I’ve enjoyed the work of many inspired food writers lately. The last list is a hodgepodge of standout reads I thought you’d enjoy- some informative, some thought-provoking and some just plain amusing. Now take the advice of an adult contemporary hit single and soak up a few rays of your own. Meet you back here with new menus and recipes on August 12.

Summer 2011 Favorites

July 28, 20111 Comment

Summer 2011 Favorites

Thoughts on the Revamped Bon Appetit from The Bitten Word

I get a slew of cooking magazines and they’re not all created equal. Check out this review of the recent changes at Bon Appetit by Zach and Clay, the adorable guys behind the cook-through blog The Bitten Word. By now, those of you receiving the magazine have probably developed an opinion on the new style following its office move from LA to NY and a shiny new editor from GQ. I have to admit I’ve been won over rather quickly after some initial hesitation. I was so ready not to like it. But I just do. Maybe that’s because I enjoy men’s fashion magazines so much.

Jenny’s in the Kitchen on Food52

Dry, witty writing with an addictive charm. You may be familiar with “Jenny’s” coverage of Congress for The New York Times, but if you’ve not encountered her more creative side, allow me to make the introduction. Garden adventures and the occasional kitchen fire make this weekly column a hoot.

Photo Note(able) from Eating is Art

A biweekly inspiration complete with one stunning photo, all wrapped up neatly by Tricia Martin. The combination of Tricia’s pretty photos and a thought that seems to come at just the right moment make for a dose of happy. Sometimes I feel like Tricia has crawled right up into my subconscious and responded directly to my neurosis-du-jour. Sign up to receive it by putting your email address in the box along the right sidebar.

15 Homemade Meals You Can Carry on the Airplane  from The Kitchn

Nobody really likes airplane food and these days, it’s expensive and horrible. So why not carry your own? These terrific ideas are simple and travel well. Hint: also great for car trips…

A Guide to Washing Your Produce by The Table of Promise via kidHaven

Have you given much thought to how you wash your produce and why? You buy it, you wash it, you eat it. Maybe you use one of those fancy produce washing solutions or a brush for scrubbing certain varieties. In this informative post, kidHaven contributor Christa O’Brien gives a run down of how to wash produce items from leeks (soak!) to berries (rinse!) to sweet potatoes (no bath required). You can skip those pricey veggie washes altogether.

Mark Bittman’s 25 Favorites from The Minimalist

Of more than 1,000 recipes featured in this popular weekly column from The New York Times, Mark Bittman picked his 25 favorite. These have got to be winners, right?

Kumquat – Love to Eat, Eat to Love (Gluten-Free)

An estimated 1 in 133 people suffer from gluten allergy or intolerance. It’s no wonder there’s been an explosion in gluten-free products, businesses and of course, food blogs. I met Gretchen, a registered dietitian, recently at a conference. Her gorgeous photography and mouthwatering recipes have kept me visiting her blog even though I’m not restricted to gluten-free fare. In case you are wondering, yes, she is every bit as lovely as her site.

Blackberry Spritzers and a Mojito by TasteFood

This is another spot I’ve come to frequent lately. The photos say it all for me, but behind these pretty pictures are great recipes, too. Check out these fun (not to mention colorful) summer drink ideas. Since you are such big chicken fans, you may as well check out Lynda’s collection of chicken recipes, too.

Whole Foods Market Cooking

Whole Foods Market is helping you cook! That’s right. The ever-expanding natural foods grocery chain launched its Cooking initiative to inspire confidence in the kitchen and support home cooks of all skill levels (and kitchen sizes!), just like you and me. In partnership with food52, Whole Foods Market is rolling out new localized Cooking sites featuring tested recipes, cooking contests (with great prizes, of course), events, and Foodpickle, a real-time food hotline to get your urgent questions answered. Look here to see if your area is up and running – more local sites are launching all the time. is also the only place to find my column, Alicia’s Seasonal Kitchen, where I make a recipe from the site, snap some photos of my process (sometimes) and give you my take on it. Stories and random commentary (sometimes) included free of charge.

100 Ways to Use a Tomato from Endless Simmer

Yes, I fully realize I’m leaving you with no menus and no new recipes at summer produce peak. How very unkind of me. Actually, you can blame my brother and his ill-timed wedding. If you find yourself buried in tomatoes, you can always use the search box and get a list like this. Since you’ve probably already made all of my tomato recipes by now, I leave you with ideas for 100 more! Disclaimer: I’ve not tested, tasted, photographed or otherwise had anything to do with these recipes. I’m just offering you an alternative since I’ve so callously left you high and dry during your garden’s time of prosperity. Run along, now.


July 22, 2011Leave a comment

SUMMER 2011. CORN. 07.22.11

Last week, I featured the nutritionally inferior cucumber. For shame. And this week, I bring you the Marion Barry of vegetables – perennial, highly suspect and of course, covered heavily by media from coast to coast. Has this site completely lost its vision? Sheesh.

Anyone that’s paid one iota of attention to food production issues understands the role of corn. It’s used to make just. About. Everything. Take a look at these fine products made from wholesome, natural corn. For those too bored to click the link, I’ll summarize – corn is everywhere from latex paint to grits. It’s not just for soda and chips, people! Crayons, insecticides, ink and fuel ethanol depend on this key crop (more reading on this topic here). Millions (zillions?) of dollars have been earmarked to defend corn sugar – formerly known by the more sinister moniker “high fructose corn syrup” (shudder) – to let nice folks like us know that corn is a vegetable and it’s natural, so it’s really okay. Okay? Nothing to fear here, folks. Go ahead and slurp it up to your gut’s content.

When asked for comment on these allegations, corn had this to say, “B!%#@ set me up!” Easy now, corn. Let me finish. Yes, corn may be the only vegetable vilified in this this way. You don’t hear of billions of dollars pooled to protect the fragile reputation of endive, do you? Of course not. Though media coverage extensive and accusations concerning, to say the least, there are a few attributes one should not overlook. Nutritional bang? Virtually nil. Cancer-fighting abilities? You have to be pulling my leg. However, walk down to any farmers’ market and watch the husked mound winnow down like a loop from a time-elapsed camera on fast-forward and you’ll know that there is something more. Corn on the cob. Corn salad. Even sweet corn ice cream.

In its whole, natural form, corn is a revered summer tradition, like fireworks or snow cones on the beach. We grill it. We cut it off the cob. We boil it. Our annual clambakes depend on it. I’ll admit – I don’t want it in my drink. Or my peanut butter or my condiments. Oh, misunderstood corn. Where you belong is on my grill, or as the show-stealer in my salad or wedged annoyingly between my teeth. Sorry, that was gross. But you get the point. While corn may not boast the properties of nutritional powerhouses like kale or sweet potato, its role in the vegetable rainbow is distinct and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Want to receive updates in your inbox?