Category Archives: food

The veggie, the vegan, the raw.

My grandmother used to take my family to Chester, Connecticut once in a while. There was a French restaurant called Restaurant du Village that served the loveliest vegetable terrine.

Chester, Connecticut

Chester, Connecticut

I hadn’t been back to Chester in years. But now there’s a vegan/vegetarian/raw food restaurant there, named for its address: Six Main. It’s the subject of my latest food story. Read it here.

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A sweet tooth’s guide to New Haven.

Or, in other words, my guide to New Haven in the Hartford Courant.

With some photos that didn’t make it into the article.

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Cooking up the CSA

This year, I bought a share in a CSA (community-supported agriculture). My first farm share.

I don’t really do recipes, but I did want to share some delicious combinations of foods that I’ve stumbled upon while cooking up my weekly baskets of food.

Lemony greens and rice

Arborio rice, cooked risotto-style with vegetable broth and a chopped onion

+

Kale and chard, chopped and sauteed with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and walnuts

Not your average mac and cheese

Sauteed cauliflower + onion + green bell peppers + penne pasta + cheddar cheese sauce

A New England Jewish girl gets over her fear of collards

A chopped and sautéed onion + a few ears of fresh corn, cut from the cob + a chopped green bell pepper + blanched collard greens  + a little salt, pepper, and cumin

Fresh Peaches

Take one peach. Wash. Eat. Make sure to catch the dripping peach juice before it falls.

Repeat.

Actual Recipes

If you want real recipes, here are two from people who are famous for such things. I’ve made them both and love them.

Tomato and Corn Pie (from Smitten Kitchen)

Tomato Sauce with Eggplant, Caponata Style (from Mark Bittman)

Enjoy.

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Hungry? Sushi.

My latest Bargain Bites column in the Hartford Courant is now up. I reviewed the new Sushi Palace in North Haven, because what’s a better bargain than all-you-can-eat sushi, tempura, maki, dumplings, seaweed salad, miso soup, teriyaki, Japanese noodles, red bean ice cream, and – well, you get the idea.

Thanks to everyone who waited patiently (or at least with the pretense of patience) while I photographed their food that they were so eager to eat.

I’m starting to get a little better at low-light indoor photography, but I still have a lot of work to do. Too much bokeh in these shots.

Read my scoop here.

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T-Day Report

I offer you a snapshot of Thanksgiving with my fun and kooky family.

We had enough food to feed about three times as many people as we had: turkey, cranberry, stuffing, brussels sprouts, corn muffins, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with pecans, green beans with almonds. Apple-blackberry crumb pie, chocolate pecan pie, and chocolate truffles. Plus the hors d’oeuvres we started with, pita chips and crudité and hummus and guacamole and olives. Oh, and wine.

We talked about TV shows I hadn’t heard of. It’s scary when I know less about pop culture than my mother does. In the middle of a particularly frivolous conversation, my cousin said, “Remember when our holidays were just talking about the Holocaust?” Which is true, because my grandparents were Holocaust survivors, and my uncle is a scholar about (among other things) the Holocaust, and so genocide is a perfectly normal conversation topic for my family.

Once, at a different family holiday, my younger cousin burst out, “Whenever anyone in this family wants to be funny, they just say something in a Yiddish accent!” True. Guilty as charged.

I played piano while my cousin and our stray guest sang numbers from West Side Story. Later, around the table, we sang a couple of spirituals. My uncle translated a few Christmas carols into Yiddish. My cousin did a hilarious Justin Bieber impression. Not everyone had realized how much Bieber resembles a 22-year-old lesbian and thought it was hilarious when I brought it up, even though it was hardly my idea.

My uncle fell asleep on the couch, and we all chuckled when he snored. One of my aunts disappeared for a while; I think she was taking a quieter nap on a more remote sofa. We put on some stupid TV show in the background while we digested dinner and tried to rally for dessert. Which we did, finally. And then cleared the last round of plates, packed up leftovers, and called it a night.

And then I sat down to finish writing a column that was due Friday. It was a long night.

 

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Jewbilation

My brother had said that they lived in a Jewish neighborhood. It’s been fun and fascinating to see just how Jewish.

On the nearby main street, I haven’t seen such a density of synagogues since the year I lived in Jerusalem.

My first morning here, my brother packed up some of his metal cookware – a few bowls, a whisk, a cast iron pan, a pot and a couple of pie plates – and we brought it to a nearby synagogue to dunk it all in boiling water to make it kosher for Passover. I’ve never been strict about keeping kosher, but it was fun to see their system: a maaaaaaassive pot of water boiled on the industrial-sized stove. A couple of volunteers directed everyone to put their cookware into mesh bags, a few items per bag. A woman with potholders protecting her hands carried each bag up a stepladder to dunk it in the vat of boiling water. Then the freshly kashered items were laid out to dry and cool off. And with a bag of rejuvenated cookware, we went on our merry way.

This morning, I walked down to the pharmacy to pick up a couple things. Something in the toy section caught my eye: Passover toys. My favorite was the package of juggling matzah balls (in other words, juggling bean bags printed like matzah). And this was a national chain. My brother had told me to go to Glatt Mart to fully absorb the neighborhood. So on my way home, I did.

Glatt, by the way, refers to a strict category of kosher food. When kosher food isn’t kosher enough, go glatt kosher. Hence: Glatt Mart. It’s like a whole store called SuperKosher. And in my shorts (gasp! bare legs! among the Orthodox!), I waded in.

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You’ll have fettucine

I went with some friends tonight to a newish restaurant in town. Great-sounding menu, decent enough food but nothing to drool over. Pricey. I’d go back for drinks and desserts, but probably not for dinner.

Great bathroom with a nifty sink, a few feet wide and sloped toward the middle, with faucet handles shaped like antler ends. But perched on top was a lone pump bottle of cheap hand soap. In such an expensively designed bathroom, they can’t spend $10 on an attractive soap dispenser and budget for a nice-smelling soap?

What really made me want to write about this place was the waiter. He did this amusing thing where he only described food in the second person future tense. For example, in reciting the specials:

“You’ll have fettucine, you’ll have a chili cream sauce, you’ll have shrimp and asparagus on that.”

Maybe it’s a technique to get people to imagine the plate steaming, fragrant, in front of them, to envision themselves savoring the food even before it’s ordered. Maybe it’s an even simpler tactic of using the language of commands with a casual tone of voice. I just had to suppress the urge to giggle.

He also did the trained-salesman thing where he nodded while making suggestions, hoping you’ll subconsciously nod back and, therefore, agree (to spend more money).

People have written volumes about the power of suggestion and how consistently people unconsciously mirror each other’s gestures. It was amusing to see it in action tonight.

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