All posts filed under: Kitchen

Harvest Cornbread

Summer is more so an emotion than a season. Annually it arrives, heat and hazy sunlight, a shimmering mirage of memories forgotten and ghosts of summers past, of childhood and yesteryears. And each summer has its own personality. Some come particularly hot and lazy, sprawling languid and driving anyone within reach to naps and slow eyed ruminations. Others come cool and soft, all lush greens and gentle breezes. But the best days are the rainy summer days.       Awake and ready to face the morning’s tasks, I wasn’t what you could call saddened at the sight of rain coming down the a.m. A cup of coffee and front porch sitting in the cool air came as much needed comfort. I frequently forget to pause lately and those not so subtle reminders are less pesky than welcome. Gardening is in full swing with necessary tasks compiled daily. Weed, water, harvest, prune, keep vigil for pests, fertilize, repeat. In that way, the art of gardening is imitating life lately. A series of tasks toward a higher goal eating …

Spring Green Salad with Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

This is the strange time of year when change is exaggerated, when I look at photos of the garden from only a few weeks ago and the rate of growth borders on preternatural. Seeds just budding last month are mature plants now, in the process of producing. And a garden tilled not long ago all dirt and rows marked by hay and mulch has gone from shades of clay and dirt to shimmering bold greens of every tone.          The world seems greener this year than any years in recent past. Nature shivers emerald, all gossamer leaves on the rainiest days and bright forest tones in the sunshine. Most days are rainy, albeit not like last year. And warm. So warm already that the early greens and cooler tempered plants are bolting while the squashes and tomatoes are sprawling in their takeover for the season. With all the cool natured plants in a race to bolt, recipes center around making the fullest use of their produce. And so, a simple salad. Quick to make but as fresh …

Spring Pasta with Roasted Garlic Sauce

The words “purple is royal” have been uttered more than once in the last few weeks and as the garden fleshes out in emerald and lavender, ultraviolet and splashes of pearl, I wonder if I wasn’t feeling a bit royal when planting. Or perhaps I have more of my mother’s blood than realized (purple is her all time favorite). Or maybe it was a surprise for E (purple is also her favorite). Maybe all of the above.       Either way, the irises are blooming along the fence line, honeysuckle has just begun to perfume the air, and somehow an accidental very purple theme for the first round of blooms has been managed all over the property. It will change as the other flowers come in, pinks, scarlets, and heavenly blues. But for these few weeks, spring has come in royal, all velvet purples and soft lilacs against a deep shimmering green backdrop while indoors the season has come when fresh flowers are always on display straight from the garden.  The vegetable garden is also flush with green as all the first …

Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms with Lemongrass-Ginger Dressing

Whether the Missouri route or the Arkansas route, it is a long drive back to Oklahoma from Tennessee. The first few hours down the music highway or along the Kentucky byways are pretty enough, but cross the Mississippi and the simplest route on budgeted time is the interstate. Hours on end and the scenery blurs together, especially when you’ve been driving since shortly after one in the morning and exhaustion kicked in with the bright glare of the morning sun.    Alternate drivers, push through, make lists for projects waiting at the house, sing along with radio, admire the Bostons on the horizon, almost to the state line. A few hours later and home, all draped in bright spring green, everything budded and bloomed, shimmering virescence has shrugged off the last signs of winter in our week long absence. Strange how quickly things can change, how when you aren’t looking the next season marches in leaving no trace of what was beginning to seem permanent. Just days ago we left blistering winds, drought dried air, and …

Rosemary Chicken Soup with Roasted Root Vegetables & Caramelized Onion.

It is spring, without a doubt, mostly comforting warm with a gentle light breeze. Blossoms have begun to dot the trees and bright green spears of bulbs have erupted all over the landscape. Soft yellow daffodils line the fence and the deep purple irises won’t be far behind.    Inside all the seeds best started indoors have already grown, tiny green sprouts of various heights becoming larger every day and the already larger early spring veggies have been transplanted to the garden, first peas and spinach planted, carrots and radishes sewn. But in spite of all that tepid weather and new growth casting out of the winter season, the wet season has begun here on the plains and the cooler dreary drizzling days simply call for soup. Heavy winter soups won’t do in the early spring climate, but rather something lighter was called for and so this soup, a simple mashing together of other older recipes I’ve had for too long, a good use for available ingredients when a spring soup fix is needed. ROSEMARY CHICKEN SOUP …

Simple Chicken Lo Mein

It is unusually warm the last week and the groundhog is calling for an early spring. With temperatures in the upper sixties and low seventies, I find myself more often outside, tilling, expanding the garden, finishing final pruning, prepping flowerbeds and dotting our acreage with wood stacks from the trees we are thinning. Sunsets are lengthening and twilight finds us on the porch relaxing, springtime breezes and summer afternoons coming so close we can taste them. Even my flowering quince has already begun to bloom. (Another snow won’t come as a surprise however. This is Oklahoma, after all.) But with all this unseasonable warmth, my cravings for soups and winter fare are tapered and for this week’s recipe the Chinese New Year is the inspiration.    This simple version of chicken lo mein takes no time to throw together and has saved me an awful lot on take out over the years. Being where we are and delivery not being an option, it’s perfect when those cravings hit. Happy lunar new year and may the …

Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup

Last week in a hunger for savory warmth, I roasted a chicken, but knowing the snow was coming, I pulled the remaining meat and stored it for making what may just be the finest use of leftover roast (or rotisserie) chicken. Frequently in the summer with the leftovers of roast chicken a lighter version of this soup can be found in my kitchen, but waking to snow and freezing cold, the heartier, creamier version is called for. I woke in mood to do little but read, tend and create, and as these first weeks of the new year are thus far deeply productive, I caved to my relaxation whim. Aside from keeping a warm fire going in the stove and tending the already started early cool season vegetable seedlings now taking up better than a third of the dining room table, there was no real must in the air.    And after some wandering in the cold quiet woods, a bit of reading and mild tending of business, I found myself in the kitchen to create. Outside the …