A growing spirit of change

WhoFarm bus

As the JibJab look back at 2008 quips, “McCain has many houses, but none of them are white.” Obama does (or will) have a White House, and with great real estate comes great responsibility. Or so says an organization urging Obama to take the presidential residence on a left turn (notice the traffic signal) into the world of organic gardening. As heard on NPR, the WhoFarm project–which drives around this nifty bus with a garden on the top–is one of the groups encouraging Number 44 to go organic. They started even before we knew who would get the office, taking a cross-country tour and ending up in D.C. just before the election.

Michael Pollan is in on it, as is Kitchen Gardeners International. According to former White House executive chef Walter Scheib, previous presidents did grow and eat organic. Continue reading


Christmas cookies…


…the breakfast of champions! Coffee and buttery, sugary goodness… yes, I’ve been living the good life over the past few days.

Actually, I’ve watched with interest over the past few weeks as my sugar threshold has risen. While I don’t seek out sweet things during most of the year, around the holidays I’m inundated with chocolate Hanukkah gelt, candy canes, cookies, and all sorts of other stuff–and I eat it! And then, as the major sweet-related holiday, Christmas, approaches, I start getting into it. “Yeah,” my body says on T-minus two weeks (or around the time Hanukkah starts, whichever comes first), “I could manage another Elite coin.”

A little later, it’s thinking cookies for breakfast is a pretty fine idea. “It’s tasty! And festive! Why not?”

By December 24, things have gotten a little ugly. My inner appetite meter has morphed into something hulking and dark, grabbing at any White Elephant gift with even the faintest whiff of sugar emanating from its wrappings, shouting “More! More! You think Santa NEEDS a head? No way! He can get along fine without it. [munch munch] And the body, too. Why do they make these damn things hollow, anyway? [glomp glomp slurp] Why??” And then a deep rumble begins in my stomach and gurgles up in my throat, eventually emerging: “MORE.”

Ah yes.

Happy holidays, everyone! Eat well, and be happy.

Butter, sugar, spices, rum

Turns out what you see in the title is all there is to it when it comes to making hot buttered rum, a popular drink this time of year. Plus a little hot water or apple cider. I haven’t tried it yet, and admit I’m a little resistant (A sort of butter tea? Oil and water? It seems unnatural) but I hope to soon. You should, too!

Emeril has a good recipe that cooks saturated with positive reviews. My favorite:

“Whoa, mamma!! This was better than the flu shot. I got the flu anyway but after sipping on this, I didn’t care…”

-Marilyn, Jacksonville, FL

Here’s one that uses ice cream. Nummers!

What do you think of buttered rum?

Image from Diana’s Desserts.

Latkes! [Updated]

Regular and sweet potato latkes

To get you ready for the start of Hanukah (lighting its first candle the night of December 21 this year), here are some latke recipes for you!

Traditional Potato Latkes (adapted from a recipe by Barry Tunkel, a.k.a. the Latke King, a mighty maker of latkes in my synagogue when I was growing up)

4-5 medium potatoes, grated
2 eggs
1 onion, grated
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
Canola, corn, peanut, or olive oil
3 heaping Tbs. matzo meal (or flour)
1 –2 Tbs. fresh parsley

More oil

Continue reading

The renaissance pastry blender

patry blender

I’ve always detested chopping up eggs for egg salad. There’s something tedious and unsatisfying about slicing into egg after egg, getting the powdery yellow yolk on your knife, wiping it off, starting again. So I was thrilled yesterday when I came across a solution! The key is a pastry blender. You know ’em if you’ve got one — a horseshoe-shaped implement with wires and a handle. I use mine to cut butter into a flour mixture for baked goods. But now I’ll be taking it out of the cabinet more often to slice up my eggs! Continue reading

Gourmet meals on a (space) budget

No, this post is not about inexpensive freeze-dried Apollo chili. While NASA’s working on innovative space food and recycled pee, I’m dealing with my own space challenge–cooking small.

When I first laid eyes on my current kitchen, the first word that came to mind was “mini.” I noted how the stove crowded four gas burners onto a range the size of a place mat, and that the cabinets looked like something you’d see in a fun house “skinny” mirror. The rest of the apartment proceeded to charm the pants off me, though, and I started to think of the kitchen as cute and livable. (At least it had actual cabinets with doors, which is more than I can say for my last one-person place). Once I moved in, I started thinking about how to continue to do the cooking I love in a smaller venue. With a little thought and a lot of trial and error, the kitchen really is becoming livable and cookable. I thought I’d share some of my space-saving fixes here. Continue reading

A sight you may never see again

pizza box 2



Like an ice age or Halley’s Comet, it only happened for a split second in the grand scheme of the planet, and will not happen again for a very long time. But yes, there was a moment when my refrigerator a.) was clean and b.) actually resembled the fridge of a cooking-averse bachelor.

Moving will do that to you. It will also keep you from posting in your beloved blog. Never fear, though. More is coming, maybe even a recipe for a raw kale salad with orange sections and pomegranate seeds.