Soon and slowly, bright orange carrots, small heads of lettuce, onions, and the first round of plump tomatoes will be ready to pick and eat. I’m eager for glass cups filled with ice-cold homemade lemonade with beads of water collecting and dripping down the sides. Planting a garden has been an annual ritual in our family for many years. Some years, it’s large enough to feed a small army; others, just a few tomato plants satisfy our desire for fresh produce.
I think we’ve all had at least one jalapeño popper at one time or another in our lifetime. You know the appetizer that comes out coated in breadcrumbs, deep fried, and bubbling hot… The one that instantly burns your tongue with scalding hot cheese, and then burns it again with the heat from the pepper. Yes, I know you’re familiar with this deliciously sinful appetizer! As far back as I can remember, the jalapeño popper has been a staple at parties, graduations, and get-togethers. It’s an expected appetizer at many bars and family restaurants.
I always laugh quietly to myself when I see a menu or commercial that advertises a “California” sandwich, salad, burger, etc. What makes it California? Avocados, of course!
Chicken wings are the quintessential party food. They’re most commonly served covered in a spicy-savory buffalo wing sauce, deep-fried, and with a side of blue cheese and celery sticks. This classic appetizer is a well-loved staple on many bar menus.
As a child, my family rarely went out to eat. Dinner was served at 5:30 sharp, and we were all expected to be at the table washed up and ready to disclose the highlights of our day. Eating out was a considered a luxury and was reserved for special occasions. As we got older, the rules began to loosen a bit and we developed a new family tradition. After church every Sunday, we began having lunch at a restaurant. The choice of restaurants varied each week, but we most of the time ended up at traditional home-cooked American type diners (think carved roast beef, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, gravy, and dinner rolls). I undoubtedly considered this a treat and was always grateful for the opportunity, but the adventurous foodie in me truly relished the times my parents would feel bold and choose a local Chinese restaurant. My experiences with ethnic cuisines were limited at that time, and my desire to experience what I perceived as authentic ethnic cuisine was insatiable. And best of all, Sunday was buffet day at most Chinese restaurants on our route. Huge, unfamiliar dishes filled with Chinese-American delicacies were all mine to sample and savor. I was drawn to the unexplored combinations of sweet, sour, and salty. In my eyes, it was harmonious perfection.
Can you believe that it’s spring already? The winter has finally come to a close and the spring’s classic warm humidity is lingering for longer periods of time. I’ve missed the warm sun on my face as I open the door to let out the dogs in the morning. Warm spring rain showers will soon aid the growth of lush green grass, fiddlehead ferns, fresh lettuce, and hidden patches of morel mushrooms.
Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Sauce
Growing up I spent many blissful summer days in the kitchen or garden with my beloved grandmother. She was a pleasantly plump, small woman that had a wicked stubborn streak and scared easier than any grown adult I had ever encountered. My brothers would revel in the fact that they could hide around the corner of the stairwell and patiently wait for my grandmother to pass, oblivious to the child lurking in the shadows. At just the right moment they would quietly sneak out of the shadows and wait for the holler. It was inevitable and at the time hilarious! Now being blessed with the same affliction to scare easily it is no longer quite as humorous!
Chive Dip Recipe
Spring has finally arrived and I for one could not be happier! Spring is such a beautiful time of the year; a time of new growth and renewal, a time for cleaning out the old and bringing in the new and a time when the vegetables and fruits begin to finally blossom and sprout out of the ground.
Living in Michigan, more than half of our year is blanketed in snow or the barren brown of dead grass and dormant greenery. The first notion of spring and we are out the door, clad in shorts and t-shirts heading to our favorite running path or hiking trail. As I walked up to my driveway and observed the tragedy that is my yard after a long winter I noticed signs of life popping up from the semi-frozen ground. Little sprigs of green signaling that the plants are ready for the warm sunshine of summer also!
Fresh figs have a very small window of opportunity for seasonality. The Kadota fig is currently in season from September through late October. The bright green and purple coloring of the outer skin of the fig is alluring, but the interior is truly the most beautiful part of the fruit. Exquisite tones of color ranging from a bright fuchsia to the palest of pinks. Flecks of black seeds compliment the center of the fruit. Sweet with a slightly tart tang, the fig is the perfect compliment to many kinds of cheese.