Getting Schooled.

I spent three very delightful evenings this past week assisting down at the Charlottesville Cooking School with my friend Martha, who taught an Every Day Cooking Skills Series.  It’s a three part class that is usually taught over the course of three weeks, but Martha decided to teach it over three consecutive evenings in one week as a trial summer run.  The concept is sort of like a boot camp for cooking – it covers a variety of basic cooking techniques so that participants walk out  with skills to throw together simple seasonal and delicious dinners regularly.  Sounds too good to be true,  I know, but Martha is an amazing instructor who can make this happen and I don’t just say that because she’s a friend.  Martha is a trained chef, who has been teaching cooking classes longer than she wants to admit (which is also longer than I’ve been cooking).

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Pickled Cucumbers, every which way.

Cucumbers are starting to come in and since I have a bit of reputation for pickling everything in sight, I’ve already started fielding requests for my favorite cucumber preserving recipes.  I thought I’d go ahead and put all my favorites into one post, so from here on out, I can just send this link in response to “What are your favorite cucumber pickle recipes?”

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Greens, it’s what’s for dinner.

The farmer’s market is overflowing with greens these days  – cabbage, chard, kale, arugula, lettuces galore – as well as with lovely root vegetables with their greenery still attached – beets, radishes, carrots, turnips. How to use it all without wasting it? I am often asked how I go about doing that this time of year.

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This is how it happens.

I needed a new raincoat. I didn’t want anything fancy, a simple old-fashioned rain slicker would do. Something I could wear in the summer months that wasn’t overly expensive. It didn’t have to be a name brand, it didn’t have to have a lot of bells and whistles, it just needed to be something sturdy and water repellent to wear in the rain. The bar was pretty low. I did a google search and after looking around the interwebs, I kept going back to this one particular rain jacket, a floral lined rain slicker by a company whose name I recognized as one that was frequently carried at The Bon Ton, the local department store in the town I grew up in.  Not a fancy label, but the sort of label your mother purchased as a good, dependable, tasteful, well priced brand. You know the type. Continue reading

May Showers

I have decided to credit the last 16 days of rain for the miraculous recovery of my blue hydrangea. I walked out there the other day and noticed buds forming. They still look a little rough around the edges, but they are quickly making a come back. I really think it’s due to all the rain and this is how I’ve come to peace with the current and apparently, ongoing weather. Continue reading

A new pickle bible.

I’ve long said that if you like making pickles, then you only really need one book on pickling – Linda Zeidrich’s “The Joy of Pickling”.  In fact, I refer to it as ‘my pickle bible’.  But  I recently discovered another less known gem and I am revising that statement. If you like making pickles, “The Joy of Pickling” is essential, but if you love making pickles, then you also need “The Complete Book of Pickles & Relishes” by Leonard Louis Levinson.

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