Something from Nothing: Gifts from the Compost Pile

Some years ago, when winter was coming to an end and spring was still soggy and cold, I discovered a lone organic potato in my kitchen. I have to specify that it was organic because conventionally grown potatoes are much less likely to root and generate offspring. This sad little potato was dried out, wrinkly, and way past edible. At least six little rootlets were beginning to form on the skin, and so I decided to try an experiment. I cut that little potato into six chunks, each containing a single rootlet. I dug a trench in the garden on the far side of our backyard, and dropped each of the pieces into the trench, about one foot apart. Then I covered them with dirt and waited. Continue reading


Slow Food for Passover and Other Times

This week I’m starting to prepare for Passover, which begins this coming Friday at sunset, and I am reminded of an experience from a few years ago, when I got an email from a neighbor asking if anyone knew where she could find horseradish. Now it turns out that I had planted a horseradish root a few years prior, so I happened to know the answer to her question. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Nearly Magical Tomato Sauce

Thanks (and I really mean that!) to my daughter and her friend, among whose many talents I would definitely include garden building, we now have so many tomatoes it’s hard to know what to do with all of them. It’s a wonderful problem to have. I’ve actually been dreaming about dehydrated tomatoes, pickled tomatoes, marinated tomatoes, skewered tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, sliced tomatoes, and … sauced tomatoes. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Judith’s Eggplant Caponata

We went to a dinner party last week and ate the most elegant dinner, courtesy of my wonderful friend Judith, who mixes a mean martini, makes magic with shallots, has a good knife, and knows how to use it. I highly recommend you give some thought to adding this eggplant caponata to your upcoming holiday celebrations. It’s quite spectacular. Continue reading


Late Summer Moments

As the summer has been winding into fall, these past few weeks have been filled with many moments of the exceptional-yet-ordinary variety. These were moments of crystalline clarity, when nothing existed except for what was right there on the table: the food, people talking and listening, glass, cloth, pottery, and metal. The air sparkled faintly with a transcendent sense of space that was minute and endless at the same time, inconsequential and all-encompassing at once. And I loved it. Consumed in and by it, I loved it. Continue reading



YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Homemade Pickles!

When I arrived home from work the other evening, what did I find in the kitchen but a few jars of beautiful green pickles! These came straight from my daughter’s kitchen garden, which has continued to supply a happy and endless bounty of gorgeous, crunchy, green cucumbers over the past few weeks. If you would like to make these pickles but you don’t happen to have your own homegrown supply, just stop by the supermarket and pick up a package or two of small pickling cucumbers. You will be so glad you did! Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Fresh Herbs with Cannellini Beans

What makes this an unusual salad is that the herbs in this recipe play a leading role, complementing the cannellini (small white) beans as equal partners instead of minor players. Think of the herbs in this recipe more as greens than flavor enhancers. It’s a great way to use large amounts of fresh herbs from the garden. It’s super easy, super delicious, and super nutritious; herbs are known to have extremely high levels of phytonutrients. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Just Parsley Salad

There is an incredibly warm and cozy spot in my heart where the parsley goes. Parsley doesn’t usually get people riled up the same way that basil or thyme or oregano do but, if you ask me, it’s its own kind of wonderful. What’s different about these recipes is that here the parsley serves as the green, the herb, the everything. It’s not a decoration or a garnish, it’s just the parsley, and it’s definitely meant to be eaten this way. No competition, no second fiddle. Continue reading


Let the Growing Season Begin!

The first time I joined a community-supported agriculture (CSA), almost ten years ago, its kickoff late on a Thursday afternoon sent me racing out of the office at the end of the day. The first week’s bounty included lettuce greens, herbs, onions, kohlrabi, radishes. Adults chatted and children hopped around like happy rabbits as we waited for strawberries to arrive. After a long winter, we all hungered for fresh food. Continue reading