Just a few books into this project and I have been exposed to a wide variety of traditions throughout our country. By coincidence, and timing, I shared two books on foraging earlier this year. I have been picking books that expose me to a diverse set of traditions, mixed with books for review.
The cookbook I’m sharing today is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A book filled with recipes and stories throughout. I felt transported to a place I have never visited, yet the similarities to Nordic food is there. It’s how we cook food that makes all the difference, sometimes. For example, pan fried potatoes taste completely different when cooked with butter versus bacon fat.
A quick life update. Bill’s broken foot it healing well enough to move into normal foot wear, and we hope to have news on our move this week. In less than two weeks we begin the moving process with a company that organizes, removes and donates. I have never used a service to help with this stage of moving but I am looking forward to the help.
I’m also eager to start traveling again. With Bill and I living between two states and a house for sale… personal travel has been paused. First up is a visit with Andrew to explore DC and northern Virginia in June. I’m starting to get the itch to plan another adventure on the trails. Please let me know if you have any recommendations for us.
I planted my garden weeks ago, hoping to harvest before we move this summer. The weather has been so cold and gloomy that other than the lettuce… nothing is growing much. I also transplanted from strawberries into containers so they can move with us. Now we need to finalize our housing in Virginia :)
Tomorrow night I will be make one of the recipes below, charred lettuce. I must admit I have never thought to char lettuce - it’s been a wonderful surprise of a recipe.
We were lucky enough to be in DC for Cherry Blossom season. It was absolutely stunning. We also celebrated a close friends 50th birthday in NYC, saw Hamilton and ate at one of my favorite restaurants. Bill bought an electric motorcycle on March 30, broke his foot the next day, and had surgery four days later. We listed our NJ home that same week.
Good morning friends. March was incredibly busy for us and provided little time to blog.
I know some of you thought it would never happen… our home is for sale! We also may have found a home in Virginia, but we are not quite ready to make an offer. In the meantime, I will plant a spring harvest this week, and start preparing the deck/patio for outdoor dining.
Today I’m highlighting a cookbook published late summer 2018. I cook from this one a lot. The recipes are easy to make, nutritious and are… oh so good!
During the podcast I shared a story about traveling with my father, to Paris (click here to read the post about this trip). It’s one of my favorite memories, exploring a city for the first time with my Dad. He wasn’t walking well, having double knee replacement a few months later. It might be important to note that I am an early riser on vacation - often having explored a city for three-plus hours before my family is ready to go. On this trip, I remember exploring the city on foot and returning to the hotel with a banana crepe and coffee to start his day. We would then hire a taxi to drive us around Paris. We both remember the day I pushed him in a wheelchair to explore the many halls in the Louvre. I could write a short story about that day! I read almost a book a day on that trip, which occurred just before getting my first ipad… my suitcase weighted down with real books. ;)
I have fond memories of warm summer days spent outside, as a young girl. Our neighborhood had an abundance of fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and meadows full of honeysuckle and wild berries. I remember knowing who didn’t mind us nibbling from their yards for a midday treat, and who would yell at us.
Rhubarb was always a favorite. At home, my mother would let us dip it into sugar, but while roaming the neighborhood, we encouraged each other to enjoy this sour snack. My friends and I also pulled carrots out of the ground, brushed the dirt off and ate them while hiding in corn stalks. I know the mothers must have been watching us, hopefully with a smile.
Last week we took a road trip to the DC area, to continue the home search. With the dogs in tow, we spent 3-4 hours a day driving through neighborhoods, scouting out necessities that let us build a version of our northern NJ life in Virginia.
We drove by/walked through almost thirty homes. I can tell you not to believe a photo. Close to the district we saw houses with no yard, some twenty feet from the street, and one near a jail. Heading into northern Virginia, we saw a home with a gas station in the backyard, and a filthy total gut (which wasn’t listed ‘as is’).
Like a favorite book, read several times, this book tends to move throughout my home. Just last week I was talking to a friend, pulled this cookbook from my shelves, and started flipping the pages while recommending it as a gift. This is the cookbook that has taught me more than any other resource in my kitchen.
This morning, Sunday, I got up, walked Phoebe, made myself a latte and opened Instagram. The first photo I saw was Amy Chaplin announcing she is pregnant. Such joy!
If you come for an overnight stay in our home, you will find a collection of books on the bedside table. From travel to photography to short fiction. I plan to buy a second copy of the cookbook I’m sharing today, it’s a perfect addition for guest reading. I love imaging family and friends flipping through the pages of this book with a cup of tea, reading recipes and stories from the author’s health journey.
“To love yourself is to feed yourself the very best food you can at every meal. “
Maggie Battista has built a full life for herself as an entrepreneur. She’s a writer, owns a shop, and is a Creative Business Coach - so inspiring.
I received this book from a friend a few months ago. A cookbook pulled from the shelves quickly after being published, due to foraging safety concerns. Having read the book, I wonder if it would have remained on bookshelves if it was a memoir — the sharing of family stories as opposed to being sold as a cookbook. The pages are filled with stories, reminding us to press and display leaves, take walks in nature, tips to grow plants, recipes, etc..
Foraging controversy aside, this book is filled with recipes familiar to me. Hunting is a cornerstone of life in Minnesota. Since moving to the east coast, we haven’t had anyone share pheasant or venison with us, fresh maple syrup or a bushel of just picked apples. I don’t know anyone who cans food here.
The stories and recipes in this book are so familiar to me.
I, like many… (I’m making an assumption here), have been influenced by all things “in the kitchen” over the last decade thanks to social media. Remember when Martha Stewart and Food & Wine were our everything? I used to read through magazines, ripping out pages. I have a binder with splatter marked pages - recipes collected over the years.
I’m excited to share this cookbook with you. It’s one of my favorites. The author has won - WON - a James Beard award in food photography, and has been nominated for one in general cooking.