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.
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.
Filed under food, writing
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
Take one peach. Wash. Eat. Make sure to catch the dripping peach juice before it falls.
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)
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.
I’m going to amend my previous post to include an important Central Asian menu option. The three main dishes offered at lunch or dinner are:
1) Noodles with mutton
2) Rice with mutton
3) Mutton on a stick
#3 is shashlyk, a skewer threaded through chunks of meat, usually served on a bed of onions. Shashlyk can be any meat on a skewer – beef, chicken, even pork (which seems odd in Muslim countries). But mutton seems to lie at the heart of everything.
I realized yesterday that many meal choices on my trip came down to:
1) Noodles with mutton
2) Rice with mutton
Small chaikhanas (tea houses) sometimes have menus, but more often the person waiting on you will just tell you what they have. In addition to these two options, they love to offer shashlyk (meat grilled on a skewer, usually lamb or chicken). And there’s always bread and tea to go with everything.
It’s not really as dire as it sounds, though. Option #1 is laghman, a spicy soup filled with irregularly shaped handmade noodles, dill and/or parsley, and maybe even some veggies. Option #2 is plov, the national dish of Uzbekistan (and several other Central Asian countries under various names). Plov is a greasy mix of rice, shredded carrots boiled to a tasteless mush, and mutton. Occasionally it’s brightened with raisins or nuts. Very occasionally. Continue reading
Jety-Oguz National Park
I just spent two nights camping in Jety-Oguz National Park, a gorgeous expanse of meadow and mountain and canyon centering on a rapidly running river. The road to the canyon crosses the river several times on very basic wooden bridges that, especially when seen from our big orange truck, didn’t inspire confidence. Whether or not because of people’s prayers and crossed fingers, the truck stayed on the narrow, guard-rail-less bridges, and none of the rough-looking structures collapsed.
While in the park, someone decided that we should get a lamb from a shepherd and roast it for dinner. So, one morning, a few bloodthirsty carnivores set off with our Kyrgyz guide to knock on the doors of a few yurts. Most people said that their sheep had already gone up into the hills for the day. (Sheep here graze at incredible altitudes, way up the steep green slopes. Horses, too. Cows seem to stay closer to the bottom of the hills, even wandering through our campsite a few times.) The last family, though they said the same thing, offered to send someone up the mountain to retrieve a sheep. Three o’clock, they said, they would deliver it.
A little after four, when the fire was burning beautifully and the cooks were starting to feel anxious, we saw a man coming down the road on horseback carrying a plastic package. Our delivery horseman had kindly stopped along the way to procure the pink plastic bag for the freshly butchered sheep. We didn’t want to think about how he’d been carrying it beforehand, but it’s easy enough to guess. At the big market in the town of Karakol, I saw a young guy cheerfully walking along with a small carcass in each hand, unwrapped. I mean, this is a country where they play games with headless goat carcasses. Continue reading
It’s impossible to do justice to the buildings I’ve seen here, especially until I can upload some photos. So for now, I’ll offer a few snapshots of my trip.
1. I chatted with a guy this morning who spent almost a year in Columbus, OH as an exchange student. I tried to picture this nice young high school student in Ohio and introducing himself as coming from Uzbekistan. Even I’ve never been to Columbus, and I’m American.
2. Speaking of “American”: it’s a word I almost never use. I associate it with George Bush and unironic patriotism and all sorts of disagreeable things. But here, one of the first questions people ask me – sometimes the first or even only question – is, “Where are you from?” And the answer they understand is “America.” Most people are surprised. Some are excited, or fascinated, or tell me about a relative who lived there. The father or grandfather of the guy in #1 gave me a four-side Uzbek skullcap as a gift. It was so kind of him.