Romancing Summer I: Grilled Pizza with Pickled Onions, Arugula, and Squash Blossoms

My romance with pizza was sparked in a small trattoria in Parmigiano, Italy, where I had my first Italian version. It was with ham, artichoke hearts, and melted cheese. A revelation: there was no tomato. I don’t remember the cheese, but it was gooey and stringy, so certainly more than just Parmesan.  Memory has faded, … Continue reading Romancing Summer I: Grilled Pizza with Pickled Onions, Arugula, and Squash Blossoms

Rhubarb Compote with Rosewater and Balsamic Vinegar

A box of wild rhubarb from my long time friend and sometimes co-author, Susanna Hoffman, prompted a cooking rendezvous with the tart, succulent vegetable cum fruit. On her Colorado Rocky Mountain property, she has six large patches of the odd chenopodium, whose far flung relatives include amaranth, spinach, epazote, and quinoa. Each May and June, like … Continue reading Rhubarb Compote with Rosewater and Balsamic Vinegar

Fresh Pickles, No Waiting

I’m an avid pickler, must have some on hand at all times. After years of “putting by” in sealed jars, I have turned away from that chore and now prefer fresh pickles. There’s no need for processing the jars to store on the pantry shelf nor

Beware the pickle poltergeist! The jar of cucumber pickles on the right was full to start with, but next thing I knew, it was only half full when it was time to shoot.

for lengthy resting in the frig while they cure. They are ready to serve within the next day or two. To that end, I have developed the following “magic brine” Continue reading “Fresh Pickles, No Waiting”

Parsing Artichokes

When I was growing up, artichokes were regular family fare.  My father, born and raised in California, where most artichokes in the U.S. are grown, had since “forever” known how to prepare the prickly vegetable. But,  to others we met in our travels from place to place as he pursued his Air Force career they … Continue reading Parsing Artichokes

Brown Rice, Walnut, and Dandelion Green-Stuffed Cabbage Leaves with Tomato Caper Sauce

Photo by Leo Gong, styling by Karen Shinto

Stuffed cabbage leaves have always been part of my life. When I was young, the stuffing was a lamb and rice one, a la my Armenian heritage, and they were called cabbage sarmas.  Later on, I leapt to a variation for my Pig-by-the-Tail Charcuterie, exchanging the lamb and rice for pork sausage and the individual leaf packets for a whole head, which I called a cabbage turban and sauced with a tomato caper sauce. These days, I have returned to the individual packets but Continue reading “Brown Rice, Walnut, and Dandelion Green-Stuffed Cabbage Leaves with Tomato Caper Sauce”

September Tomatoes

In the Great Depression of the 1930s, my immigrant grandmother went to work in a tomato cannery in Sacramento, California, where the family had settled. She supported her five children that way throughout the Depression and beyond. But, there weren’t just brought-home-from-work canned tomatoes in her kitchen. Her garden and those of my Armenian relatives … Continue reading September Tomatoes

Okra: from Africa to My Microwave, and an Okra Succotash for All Tables

In July through September the okra displays at produce and farmers’ markets attract a veritable study in a cross section of peoples that make up America and its cooking: Japanese, Chinese, Southeast Asians and Asian Indians, Greeks, Turkish, African Americans, Latinos, Middle Easterners, all precisely selecting the size pods desired for their dish: tiny ones for … Continue reading Okra: from Africa to My Microwave, and an Okra Succotash for All Tables