elevating the chickpea: chana masala

My sister and I both went to small, liberal arts women’s colleges. They had a lot of similarities: we each got a stellar education, made awesome friends, and had opportunities to practice our feminism all over the place. One big difference, however–and I checked with Joie to make sure I could say this without offending her–were the food worlds we had in our college towns. Charming and lovely though Bryn Mawr surely is (and yummy as it’s actual on-campus meal options are) it can’t really hold a candle to NYC in terms of easy access to a wide variety of tasty-taste. Still and all, Bryn Mawr holds a special place in my personal food history: I may have grown to love Indian food in New York, but I had my first tastes on a visit to see Joie in her freshman year of college. And thanks to my adventurous former vegetarian seester, I had chana masala for the first time.

chana

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what to do with all them apples

In short, apple picking is the best. A couple of weekends ago, Ed and I ventured about 45 minutes outside of Boston to Shelburne Farms to try our hand at picking-our-own. We could not believe how fun it was. We started by buying a bag of hot and greasy¬†apple cider doughnuts fresh from the fryer. We grabbed two ciders (one hot and one cold) to wash down all that spiced dough. By the time we were good and lethargic from the sugary carbs, we were braced for the toughest decision of the day: were we going to pick a half bushel (20 lbs) or a peck (10 lbs)? We went for a peck. We wandered into the orchard and harvested some for baking (Cortland) and many for snacking (MacIntosh, Macoun, Empire). When our bag was overflowing, we headed back to the farmhouse store to acquire a jug of cider, grilled hot dogs, and a caramel apple with nuts. As we settled back into the car, a question rose up between us “what are we going to do with all of these apples?”

apple butter 04

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sweet on sweet potatoes

Have you ever neglected a particular food for so long that once you do eat it again you’re staggered by how good it is, and left wondering why the heck you don’t eat it every day? That happened to me recently with a veggie so basic it seems insane to have overlooked it for as long as I did: the deelish sweet potato. Until a few weeks ago, I don’t think I’d made them at home in almost exactly a year (when one left on my counter was nibbled by a mouse, cooling my enthusiasm), and other than some lackluster fries I haven’t even had them at a restaurant in ages. When Hal made a sweet potato and onion hash as part of a fancy dinner to celebrate our new apartment, I remembered how much I loved them, and resolved to get more in my diet immediately. Luckily, Hal overbought and we had extras hanging around, so I sifted through some recipes and got to work.

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