Tag Archives: Food

Pioneering the Martha Stewart Way

Nope, I’m not a Pioneer Woman.  I may be somewhat of a pioneer in my business life, but in my domestic life it’s Martha Stewart I turn to and not to the butter and bacon Pioneer Woman of the Food Network.

So last night I invited some friends over to watch Larry David’s “Clear History” on HBO with an out of this world comic turn by Michael Keaton proving he is still one of the most unique comic talents around.

I made her Quinoa Salad with Zucchini, Mint and Pistachios in the September issue of “Living”.  We served it with my husband’s potato and onions with his secret rub (Ok, it’s Sirracha and Smoked Paprika), and a Thomas Keller rubbed pork tenderloin from his “Ad Hoc at Home”.   I had purchased the zucchini, fresh potatoes right out of the ground, and onions from the Hutterites who sell produce in town every Saturday. P1000848

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The mint was from the garden.  Pistachios from the Community Co-op.  I served Martha’s Pistachio and Strawberry Semi Freddo for dessert. Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo

Welcome to my world.  It’s as Schizo as ever.

Vegetable Medley

In my last entry I described a dish I made this week, Tikka Masala.  It’s an Indian dish with a rich blend of flavors.  As I stirred in the spices to the simmering onions and tomato paste and waved my hand over the pan and towards my nostrils just like I’ve seen chefs do on The Food Network,  I sighed, “Ahhhh”. Already the meal was satisfying.  And later when we ate it, we sighed again and commented on the complexity and the surprises in this exotic dish.

But if I go out to dinner in this tiny Montana town, “The steak (chop, fish, chicken) comes with either a baked potato or “our vegetable medley.”  The vegetable medley is so bland that I can hardly tell you what’s in it.  I think it’s got some zucchini, carrots, and those odd tasteless things with the odd texture, the sugar snap pea.  The spice is butter with a little salt.  Ho hum.

It came to me the other night that the “vegetable medley” is the apt description for the people that inhabit this place.  Having lived in New York City for over fifteen years with its rich blend of peoples, I often long for the sound of foreign accents, strange headgear, and different skin tones.

This is not to say we don’t have our local eccentrics (and by now I’m sure I’m considered one of them with my hats,  horn rimmed glasses, and big scarves).  IMG_0558 - Version 2

There is some satisfaction here in conformity and the sameness of even the vegetables with your entree.  There is comfort in the same Parmesan cream sauce over penne and the cream of mushroom soup. The ideas and the conversation can be much like that bowl of soup or that vegetable medley; a little weather conversation and concern about rain mixed with news of old Sally tripping over a frozen cowpie and breaking her hip while sorting cows.

When I long to talk about the protests in Taksim Square or the NSA spying crimes, I bite my tongue and talk of how to make the perfect Manhattan or why Hendriks gin is better than Bombay sapphire as an alternative to the endless discussions of drought and how the tomatoes are growing.  Instead of talking about Booz Allen Hamilton, I talk just booze.

Fortunately with summer comes the summer tourists.  Every once in awhile somebody slightly more like Tikka Masala than Vegetable Medley comes through the door and we engage in asking questions about each others’ countries and customs.   I savor these conversations like I do a good Chimichurri sauce accompanying my flank steak.

Growing up at the Table

This short essay by Michael Simic took me back to days of listening to grownups solving all life’s problems with a lot of embellishment and a great deal of laughter.  I too was much more interested in listening to the adults talk than playing with the other children. Click on the quote for the essay.

Even with all the cooking shows on television and all the thousands of cookbooks available in bookstores, fewer and fewer people have the time to cook at home and invite friends over. Thinking about it the other day, I realized that most of what I learned about my family members and their lives I heard over family meals. More than that, some of the stories I still tell my friends I first heard some relative or family friend relate over a long dinner or Sunday lunch more than sixty years ago

In Denmark, at this time of year, they spend three or more hours at dinner.  They hunker down for the winter, turn off the overhead lighting and use lots of candles.  They call it “Hyggeliq op”  pronounced “Hugh gleeg”  or “to cozy up”.  In the summer, they spend their time out in the long sunny days.  But when it gets overcast and cold, they spend more time with family and friends and “cozy up”.  They even stay out at the cafes that line the harbor.  They have beautiful big stadium type blankets on every chair and a heat lamp at the table.  There they knock back some hot toddies wrapped in their blankets.  So if you are in a place where there is cold and snow, have more dinner parties and “cozy up” and solve all the problems of the world.