King of Carrot Flowers. Except they’re squash.

It has not been the garden season I imagined. It started SO HOPEFUL, with all my seedlings I was growing from scratch. Although summer came early to Portland, my peach tree developed a fungus that caused it to drop hundreds of peach fetuses, leaving three lone peaches on the tree. Squirrels got two of them. I staked my tomatoes this year, which I’ve come to realize may mean better quality tomatoes, but less of them. Next year, its back to Call of the Wild. Squash, which I planted in abundance, vined out but grew few actual squash.
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Now that I’ve thrown in the towel on actual squash, I’m ready to start picking squash flowers, which open themselves in a very suggestive manner every morning on my walkaround. I grabbed about 12 of them this morning.

Baked Ricotta Stuffed Squash Flowers

  • 8 squash flowers (male)
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • splash of vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil

time: 15 min
yield: 8 appetizer sized bites.
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Wild Mushroom Chowder

My friend Tamar asked me on a recent call, “have you ever made a dish where all the ingredients are exceptional, but the result is…. ” “Bad?” “YES. And so you just keep putting more good things in, trying to resuscitate it?” “Bail. Bail hard. Bail now… there’s shit even foie gras can’t fix.”.

Sometimes its a misplaced staple. While I agree with the “five magic ingredients”… five items that can be added to anything to instantly make a dish better (butter, cream, chocolate, bacon and foie), the thing is, you can’t randomly choose one…no one wants you to add chocolate to fish.

Sometimes there is no explanation whatsoever- its just bad recipe mojo. I have some friends I believe are cursed because each time they come for dinner, completely reasonable, tested recipes go south. Without a doubt, they think I’m the world’s worst chef.

Like, ever.

But this recipe, which I’ve been making since college, is the unicorn of recipes. Its simple, hard to fuck up, and remarkably delicious. You start with great ingredients: whatever wild mushrooms you can get your hands on, some wine, cream, butter… you really can’t go wrong. My favorite way to eat this is with a glass of wine, sitting at a table, listening to jazz, drawing.

Ingredients

  • a bag of mushrooms. If you can, buy them from this guy like I do
  • a few shallots
  • a glass or two of wine, preferably white. substitute sherry if need be
  • a quart of stock, I like chicken for its mild flavor
  • 3 tbsp of shiro miso (white,  not red)
  • thyme and sage
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
Prep time: 30 minutes
Yield: enough to get you through 1.5 heartbreaks

Rhubarb Smack

I *loathe* rhubarb. Its in season wherever I go, whenever I go- how is this fucking possible? I was touring Ireland’s Kylemore Abbey’s ridiculous kitchen garden last year, got lost and suddenly found myself in an acre of rhubarb. “Fucking figures”.   The entirety of Ireland couldn’t need that much.

When I moved to my current house, I was none too pleased to realize that an entire bed was taken over by rhubarb and mint. My landlord was still moving out as I took a shovel and started the eviction process. The rhiozome was, I’m not joking, 4′ x 4′. Though that bed now happily houses my tomatoes and basil. It hasn’t shocked me that I’ve lost the war to a few offshoots outside the beds.  In the unending and eventually funny battle for my yard, friends come and hack the rhubarb down to the point of clear dismemberment only for me to emerge from my house the next day and BAM. Full on rhubarb nation, as if the day before never happened. It is the worst kind of Groundhog Day.

 

Fruits in my home become something my friends have named “smack”. Smack is not a preserve, but its too viscous for a syrup. We generally pour it over ice cream, waffles or pancakes, but you’d bathe in it if you could. Friends ask for a recipe, but it changes every time, based on the fruit. So here is rhubarb smack, destined for jars to be given away. Cause again- its fucking rhubarb. 

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Hops wreath

I grow hops for the stupidest possible reason: I love the smell. I make hops pillows by combinging the dry hops with lavender and chamomile and put them into muslin bags. Throw them in your pillowcase and they are literally the most intoxicating smell, ever.

I brought hops here from back east and was thrilled that they made it through the winter and started growing. Into the ground they went and they were off to a great start. Continue reading

The comprehensive guide to the best chicken and matzo ball soup. Like ever.

Every Jewish woman has, for ages, maintained one fact: “She is the beholder of the best chicken and matzo ball soup ever“. Unless her mother is said beholder, then beholden-ness will, of course, be passed down. My recipe comes from my mother, who previous to my beholding the best chicken and matzo ball soup ever, was of course, the previous beholder of the best chicken and matzo ball soup ever. Mine extrapolates her recipe based on conventional wisdom of chefs in regards to stock making, and my preference for a richer soup with more vegetables. The biggest notable difference is that my mother is a person of exactness and recipes. I throw stuff in pots.

My recipe comes from my mother, who previous to my beholding the best chicken and matzo ball soup ever, was of course, the previous beholder of the best chicken and matzo ball soup ever.

I’ve written out this recipe a few times, and it is the unique combination of the exhaustion of doing so, and the recipients refusal to then use said recipe (looks complicated…. but you’ll visit again soon, right?) that causes me to start this blog. Its not complicated, not at all. Its just not a recipe you make in one sitting 30 minutes before dinner. You do it, as I do with most things, in between other stuff around the house.

So I give you, in highly detailed, easy to follow along steps, live from a real Jewish person-the recipe for

THE BEST CHICKEN AND MATZO BALL SOUP EVER Continue reading