In a few weeks, we’ll be starting up with a local food coop and I couldn’t be more excited for it to start up. We had been receiving a weekly box of produce from a farm west of Boston and had quite enjoyed the service. Besides onions and garlic, we really didn’t need to purchase a whole lot in the way of vegetables. Since moving, we had to find another service and we were thrilled when we came across information regarding a produce pickup not far from our house. In addition to the veggies we’ll be getting, we also joined their cheese share. Yes, a cheese share! They do a bread one too, but we decided that might not be the best idea. But cheese… we couldn’t resist.
While we wait for this to start up, I’ve been making frequent trips to our local Whole Foods, which is situated just down the road. A ten minute walk. Yes, it’s dangerous. These trips always result in items that we probably didn’t need… but, gosh, we just had to have them. Like fiddleheads. Or ramps. Or those very expensive mushrooms I couldn’t leave without.
I made a stop there just last week after Kimberley’s fierce debut cookbook, Vibrant Food, came my way. I’ve had the pleasure of following her site, The Year In Food, for quite some time. A couple of years ago, we got to see each other in New York. Snacks were consumed. There was day drinking (I know… shocking). From the moment I saw her beautiful blog… the recipes, the photos, the anecdotes… I knew that it was only a matter of time before there’d be a book. When the announcement was made, it immediately made it on my list of must-have cookbooks. Nothing could have prepared me for this stunning creation. I will hold onto Vibrant Food for years and years. This is not a book that one goes to for the images alone. I want to make every dish in here and, not only that, it has inspired numerous ideas for future recipes. That’s something special.
This recipe is my take on her poached apricots, which included rose water instead of the lavender I used. I also included chopped pistachios for texture and because I will put pistachios on top of just about anything because I love the nutty flavor.
So, thanks to Kimberley and the folks at Ten Speed Press, you have a chance to win your own copy of Vibrant Food!
Here’s how to enter the giveaway:
Leave a comment on this post… it can be anything, but I’d love to hear what your favorite spring or summer fruits and veggies are.
Additional entry: Tweet the following and then come back and leave a comment telling us you’ve done so –
Check out these Poached Apricots and a giveaway of Vibrant Food by @theyearinfood over at @myfoodthoughts – http://tinyurl.com/kzlwj4w
Rules: This giveaway will end on Friday, June 13, 2014 at 12:00 PM EST. I’ll pick 1 winner via random.org and that person will be contacted via e-mail. Two entries per person (one comment, one tweet) and entrants must have a US/Canadian mailing address (sorry international friends) and provide a valid email address. Best of luck!
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For most of my youth (and well into adulthood), I believed that the best part of eating artichokes was the melted butter that accompanied them. This was the sole reason I’d endure the tedious process of scraping away at each leaf. That, along with the knowledge I’d be treated to a tender heart I could dunk in the remaining butter, kept me going. Since one can’t indulge in such decadence all the time, I have grown to appreciate a new condiment: a combination of Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and fresh dill. Sound boring compared to melted butter? Well, it’s definitely not as rich, but it is creamy and the mustard gives it a little kick, which definitely adds to the experience.
Until now, I’d been steaming my artichokes. This, I’ve learned, is not the most exciting way to prepare them. After recently trying my hand at roasting them with olive oil, lemon, and some garlic cloves, I’m now a convert to this method. In fact, a dipping sauce becomes less essential since the flesh has already been infused with these flavors and is seasoned with salt. I’m not saying you shouldn’t include the yogurt-mustard sauce or lemon butter, but if you don’t feel like mixing it up, there’s enough going on with these roasted ‘chokes that you probably won’t miss it.
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Eric and I returned home on Sunday to find a note left by my mom. “I love you,” it said. “We had a wonderful time in your beautiful and warm home.” Somehow she’d found a way to tuck this in our office without us noticing. It was a lovely message to receive after a fantastic weekend. I’d been anxiously awaiting this visit from my parents. For one thing, they hadn’t seen the house. Yes, we sent photos and videos and did our best to describe things in as much detail as we could. But that isn’t the same as experiencing it. They got to walk around the garden and see all the flowers that have started to crop up these last couple of weeks. They got to meet our neighbors and see what a charming street we’re on.
There was a lot accomplished this weekend, especially in the way of decorating. They brought up furniture that came from my grandmother, who passed away a few months ago. I didn’t know how it’d fit in the house, but I’m beyond thrilled with how it’s all turned out. It’s nice to have a piece of my grandparents here… especially the two brown leather recliners that now reside in our living room. They were their favorite chairs and every time I sit in one, I’ll remember the hours they spent in them, working on crossword puzzles, reading, or watching basketball games.
My parents took us to get some lamps and pillows and treated us to new sheets and a comforter and a throw to lay on top of the bed (you know… grown up things). And my mom, with her incredible eye, helped us figure out what art to hang on the walls. In addition to all the errands, we did dinner with Eric’s mom and dad and their partners. On Friday, I cooked up a storm, even going so far as to make an appetizer for everyone to nosh on before the meal (again… so grown up). There was wine and scotch and wonderful conversation. And, most importantly, we got to just be together in our home.
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I’m finally getting a feel for the light in the house. I know a lot of folks assumed that this was the first thing I investigated when we initially looked at it, but, really, it was one of the last. In fact, I didn’t realize how good it was until I actually started playing around. Yes, the kitchen is a bit limited, but I do have two small patches that seem to work nicely. And that’s significantly better than our apartment. I didn’t tell a lot of people this, but I rarely photographed food in our old kitchen. The light just wasn’t very good. So I’d do a lot of the chopping and ingredient shots in the living room, head into the kitchen to cook, and then bring it all back into the living room. It was very challenging and I’m so glad those days are behind me.
In our new place, I get most of my shots in the dining room. There are three large windows that fill the room with just the right amount of light. I’m still getting a sense of the best places to shoot and it’s really exciting when I find a new area to work in.
So, I freaked out a little when I saw fiddleheads in the store. I can’t remember what I went in for. Whatever it was became insignificant as soon as I saw these. For some strange reason, I’m obsessed when I get my hands on them. Maybe it’s their unique shape or that they taste like asparagus, but with a slight grassy note. Whatever it is, I had to buy a bag. I often do a sauté with butter and garlic and will throw them on pasta or grits. This time, I wanted something different. Because they are potentially toxic, it’s a good idea to cook them first, which is what I did. And then I tossed them into an ice bath before throwing them into a bowl with chopped tomato and a light, lemony dressing. That may have been satisfying enough, but a salad doesn’t really hit the spot without the addition of cheese. I’m pretty sure the pecorino brings this whole dish together.
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It’s hard to find the words to express what an amazing experience this last Potluck was. For those who have never attended, I like to describe it as a non-conference conference. Yes, there are keynote speakers. Incredible ones, in fact. The topics, however, are not traditional. Instead of covering SEO and monetization, the themes at the Big Traveling Potluck are much bigger, forcing us to look at ways to improve our lives, and, thus, our writing and photography.
I had the pleasure of being the official photographer for the Potluck. This was the third I’ve photographed and it was such a wonderful experience. I hope these pictures illustrate the love, the passion, and all the incredible food.
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We got spoiled by a few days of really beautiful weather last week. But just before I left for California, it started getting cold again and, when I returned, nothing had changed. It’s pretty crisp out there. You don’t mind a few minutes walking at a fast clip, but any more than that isn’t much fun. That didn’t stop me from spending a little time in our garden. Mind you, I wasn’t actually gardening. Just looking to see what progress had been made while I was away. Every time I look, something else starts to come up. I can’t wait to see it all looks like at its peak.
Even though I swore that I’d take a day to recuperate from a weekend spent photographing the Potluck, I couldn’t help but take my camera out to get some pictures. I’ve been playing around with different flavored rims for my margaritas and one of my favorites is this one that’s made, very simply, by combining sugar with a ton of lemon and lime zest. I sprinkle that on a plate and add powdered ginger and a touch of Kosher salt. It just takes the whole margarita experience to a whole new level.
Speaking of margaritas… let’s chat about that. When it comes to margaritas, I’m kind of a traditionalist. Well, most of the time I am. If using fresh juice, I’m open to interpretation. Store-bought mix, however, is off limits. Who needs it? Not me! Yes, yes, I know limes are expensive right now. So, if you want, use grapefruit. Just please don’t use that cloyingly sweet pre-made mix. This one definitely isn’t traditional, but it’s just as refreshing and still the perfect balance of tart, sweet, and, with that special rim, just a little salty.
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