A tiny ball of energy launches from a nearby tree and comes speeding up to my window. Its blurred form resolves as a hovering little bird with a shimmering green body distinctly outlined against the sky and jet black eyes looking nervously around. Its wings beats so incredibly fast there is only grey in the [...]
I felt like a Boy Scout on Sunday, roasting potatoes in the dying coals left after an evening of pizza. Wrapped in foil, along with just a hint of butter to keep their skins moist, those potatoes cooked to perfection in a little over an hour. That nutty aroma took me right back to the [...]
There’s no pussyfooting about this: the best way to make Baba Ganouj is to roast your eggplant directly on the coals. The skin of the eggplant turns black and crusty, and pulls away from the tender fruit within. At the same time the flesh takes on a luscious, smoky perfection.
Not familiar with Baba Ganouj? [...]
What’s not to love about a big old woodfired loaf of bread? The first time I saw a Pain Poilâne, I wanted to sink my teeth right into its yeasty innards and let the smell of smoke waft into my brain. And that big crusty miche on the cover of Peter Reinhart’s book? Okay, it’s [...]
Jerry keeps a supply of applewood for me in a makeshift shed tucked away in a stand of tall cottonwoods that’s barely a hundred feet from the Yakima River. To get to it, I negotiate my car around stacks of orchard boxes punctuated by assorted vehicles: an old city bus, a fire truck, two jeeps, [...]
“Sinpannay; conpannay.” A man holding a white pad stood by our weatherbeaten outdoor table, gesturing from me to the Salad Queen. His face was turning red. We were so frazzed by our drive that we just didn’t get it. “Sinpannay. Conpannay.” He gestured back and forth, threw up his arms and stalked off. His thin cry of exasperation [...]
Before grunge or Starbucks ever took hold in Seattle, the Salad Queen cooked me an Indian curry. Back then there were no Indian restaurants to speak of, so during dinner she regaled me with stories of fabulous feasts she’d had as a girl growing up in England. Quite frankly, I didn’t understand a tenth of what she [...]
I would love to fire up the woodfired oven every day. But somehow – whether it’s a house project that requires my attention, Dad doing taxi duty, or a sudden downpour that puts me off – the rest of life has an uncanny habit of getting in the way. So more often than I care [...]
I raced the mower around our new asparagus bed, eyeing it carefully. Lacy fern tops spread out above the trenches in the soil that my dad had so carefully dug. I stopped out of sight behind the garage, turned off the engine, and sat watching a dragonfly playing among the feathery branches that dipped and shivered [...]
You never forget your first sformato. We were in that little trattoria on the north shore of Green Lake, absorbed by an inner glow that transcended the gusts of rain throwing themselves against our window. Inside the restaurant with its fabulous smells, all was candlelit and cozy.
Our waiter’s humor and his rounded Balkan accent were totally [...]