Archives for posts with tag: recipes

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How to Make Friends (and leave a trail of crumbs)
by Julia Klatt Singer

Start with a bag of all-purpose flour, some kosher salt, room temperature water.
Mix these with a whisk on your desk, then add the sourdough starter your mother
sent with you back to college. To this college you transferred to, after a year in one
you loved, but so much farther away. Where you were before the pandemic.
Where making friends was as easy as opening your dorm room door, despite
being in Iowa and a tiny college, in a tinier town.

Let the dough rise overnight. Then carry it to the kitchen in the lidded pan
that was your great-grandmother’s. The one she gave to your mother when
she moved into her first apartment. The dough now shaped, it rises again
in a steamy oven. Say hello to the woman you pass in the hall. Say
I’m making bread, when she asks. When Simon from the room next to yours
asks when it will be done, tell him, he will know. He will smell it baking.

When it comes out of the oven, and you and Simon realize you don’t have a knife,
Three other students will go on the search for one. A small group of you now
In the kitchen, you open the peanut butter and jelly and find two spoons.
A small plastic knife is found and you stab it into the loaf, right after taking
a picture of the bread with your phone and sending it to your mother.
Ten minutes later you send her another photo, the bread now, just a heel
and crumbs.

PAINTING: The Basket of Bread by Salvador Dali (1926).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: How to write a How-to Poem . . . Start by thinking about all the things you’ve learned how to do since the pandemic started. How to think about time differently, notice how the light is changing and that you are too. Try to embrace technology, see how it connects you, or a part of you, with the world. Recognize how you have always watched the birds and trees for clues to resilience and beauty. Think about what gives you wings.  Think about where you fly. Start baking bread. Like your mother did when you were a girl. Not the same breads, but bread. Make two loaves and give one away each time you bake. Drop the bread on a neighbor’s porch and drive it across town. Show your son how easy it is to make. Send back starter with him, when he returns to college, mostly because you’ll know he’s eating that way, caring for himself, but also because he enjoys making things with his hands. And when he calls and says thank you, Mom, for sending the starter back with me, I’m meeting so many people by baking bread, realize that this is how to write a poem. Give it time. Let it form and then share it, let it be devoured.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julia Klatt Singer is the poet-in-residence at Grace Nursery School. She is co-author of Twelve Branches: Stories from St. Paul (Coffee House Press), author of In the Dreamed of Places, (Naissance Press), A Tangled Path to HeavenUntranslatable, (North Star Press), and her most recent chapbook, Elemental (Prolific Press). Audio poems from Elemental are at OpenKim, as the element Sp.  She’s co-written numerous songs with composers Craig Carnahan, Jocelyn Hagen, and Tim Takach.

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Presbyterian Cookies
by Penelope Moffet

First be born into
a Presbyterian family
or be born again
or just find yourself
a red-jacketed cookbook
printed 60 years ago.
Turn to page 60.
You do not need to be 60
or prone to finding
meaning in numbers
or Julia Child.
You may be a child
or a teen or a surly
young woman or
doddering saint.
Little depends on this.
Little depends on having
all the ingredients
or following instructions
as they are written but
don’t skimp on butter or sugar
or you will regret it
the rest of your days
which may be few
or many
or none at all,
your mouth full of sawdust.

PAINTING: Still Life with Cookies by John Stuart Ingle (late 20th century).

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: During my high school and college years, my family lived in Placentia, California, where both of my parents were very involved with Placentia Presbyterian Church. I was, too, even teaching Sunday school to very small children, until I abruptly lost my faith midway through college. I did not, however, lose faith in the church’s cookbooks. I make these oatmeal-raisin-walnut cookies about once a month, frequently messing with the recipe—egg whites instead of whole eggs, half the sugar and half the margarine the recipe calls for, etc. One of these days I’ll use cranberries instead of raisins and try gluten-free flour. The oat bran isn’t essential. I almost never use it because I almost never have any around. You can substitute a couple of ripe bananas for the sugar. That’s pretty good. But don’t leave out all the fat (e.g., margarine, butter) and sweetener.

PHOTOS: Old-Fashioned Oat Cookie Recipe (above, center) and cover of Placentia Presbyterian Church recipe book, Galley Goodies (above, right). 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Penelope Moffet is the author of two chapbooks, most recently It Isn’t That They Mean to Kill You (Arroyo Seco Press, 2018). She works for a small law firm in Los Angeles, takes lots of solitary walks, and is entertained by two rambunctious cats.

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How to Make Jam
by Stephen Howarth

Pick your fruits and words with care. Weigh them
accurately, in good proportions. Choose your tools,
knowing the function and purpose of each:
the thermometer and boiling pan, the paper and pen.

Begin with the half-intended products of
your garden: cook with what you know,
use the fruits you’ve grown, try them together,
test and taste, discover how they combine to give you

senses of futurity and seasoned summer fulness.
Rinse your words, top and tail as needed,
place them in the boiling pan, add a modicum of water
and more sugar than you consume in a month,

because life’s shocking sharpness and tartness
may be softened in this new creation. Use every sense
to create this newness. Apple and rose-hip, gooseberry
and apricot and gin, strawberry, peach and mead:

You are a magician now, imagining and making,
melding and moulding. Do not overboil.

PAINTING: Jelly Shelf by Mary Pratt (1999), All Rights Reserved. 

Jams and jellies

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: During Britain’s first lockdown, I had fun teaching myself how to make successful jams and jellies.Habitually I give some away, but am often given some in return. So I have at least a year’s supply for domestic needs, and mainly eat it during breakfast (although my stalwart preferences are marmalade — some given to me — and Marmite, a spread that you might not know). The jars are basically any old jars that have been thoroughly washed in HOT water and heated in the oven prior to potting up, so that the jam (just off the boil) doesn’t crack them. ¶ Oh, and in this case at least, size matters! I’ve been given some marmalade in such enormous jars that they’re really quite awkward — Imagine a Hellmann’s jar with a two-pound capacity . . . So I don’t do that, just ones around one-pound capacity maximum, with a number of smaller jars to use as gifts. Top tip: go easy on the ginger.

PHOTO: The author’s kitchen and an array of his jams and jellies. Left to right, rose-hip and apple jelly; raspberry and blueberry jam; gooseberry and mint; gooseberry, grape and apricot brandy; apricot, peach and mead; strawberry, peach and mead; courgette, lemon and ginger. Others made later include cotton candy grapes and mead, and rhubarb, apple, ginger and sloe gin.

Howarth

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Howarth has been an independent professional author of history all his working life. He served in the Royal Naval Reserves both on the lower deck and as an officer and wrote the official centenary history of the RNR — for which he was appointed an honorary Commander by HM the Queen. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Royal Geographical Society, and a Life Member of the US Naval Institute and The 1805 Club. He earned a Master’s degree (with Distinction) in creative writing at Nottingham Trent University.

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A Quest, for an ideal dandelion soup
by Steven Bridenbaugh

Dandelions are ubiquitous, but around here
The fuzzy leaves of cats ears more commonly abound.
But early California March
Beneath a stately larch
A robust colony I found.

I want more than just a leaf
Next to the root, is the heart.
Soaked in water and ice
Thrice washed makes it very nice
One cup chopped: the first part.

To this part, add one part parsley
And of Swiss chard, two parts.
These greens are surely not all that entices
To begin, in a dry pan roast whole spices:
Fennel, coriander, turmeric, and cumin, just to start.

Asafoedita, black pepper, and a pinch
Of cayenne, by hand well ground
With mortar and pestle is best
These spices will divest
To a vegetable broth something that will astound.

I wilt chopped leaves with ashwaganda ghee
With boiling broth complete
In ten minutes green and dark they will be
A blender perfects the sorcery
To this poet, not bitter, and to aging bones, most sweet.

IMAGE: Dandelions by Yayoi Kusama (1985).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have been reading about harvesting wild plants, and my lawn is a good source for them, since I have never used herbicides. This recipe illustrates a good way to make wild harvested plants more appetizing. True dandelions are not always easy to find in my area. Cats ears are a kind of dandelion, which is also edible. I have made a dandelion salad, following  instructions by Jacques Pepin, using cats ears, and they were delicious, but not as visually appealing as young dandelion. When you harvest dandelion leaves, try to include the white base of each stem, as it is very nutritious, and adds to the flavor. The bitterness of dandelion leaves is diminished by fat. To make a small amount of ashwaganda ghee, I heat a cup of water in a small pan, together with half a teaspoon of ashwaganda powder and a tablespoon of ghee from my bottle of clarified butter in the refrigerator. After the water is mostly evaporated, I toss the liquid into the greens, and braise them. I should add that it it is worth the effort, to grind freshly toasted spices with mortar and pestle, just as they do in India. My recipe is based on one in Kate O’Donnell’s Everyday Ayurveda Guide to Self Care.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steven Bridenbaugh is a retired teacher, construction worker, and mental health worker. In the last few years, he has been occupied with writing, playing guitar, and he is a student of Ayurveda and Vegan Cooking. Why? Because it tastes so good! He lives in Eureka California, and owns an older home which he is gradually remodeling. He is sorting boxes of books, which he has acquired over the years, mostly from secondhand stores. He plans to read most of these books, or find people who can appreciate them. If by any chance, you haven’t read The Vicar of Wakefield he will gladly give you a copy, as soon as he finishes reading it. Visit him on Facebook.

the-palm-1926
How To Survive Winter
by Yvette Viets Flaten

First of all, I plan my escape.
Thumb the cookbooks. Choose
a route, make a shopping list,
assemble my kit and cast myself
off.

Is it to be a weekender escape,
or a long trek into exotica?
Island frivolity or serious meditation?
A seaside paella, or heady Vindaloo?

Shall I bubble my sugo on the back
burner all day, peeling an orange brighter
than the noonday sun? Or thread shashlik
redolent of the noisy Spice Bazaar?

Oh, how far can I travel from the ice
and deepfreeze cold of these winter days,
encumbered like cousin muskox, pawing
at tundra moss? I’ll make myself, then,
tonight, a warm tagine, and tomorrow,
dancing shrimp, basked in olive oil, sanded
with paprika and the salt of sunny seas.

PAINTING: The Palm by Pierre Bonnard (1926).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love to cook and have collected recipes and cookbooks all my life. Like many others, I turn to the comfort of cooking during the isolated days of the Coronavirus Pandemic. But when the Upper Midwest also goes through the deep freeze temperatures of a Polar Vortex in the depths of winter, cooking becomes even more than a comfort. It becomes a happy escape from home quarantine, or, at 25 below zero, a way to endure what has morphed, quite literally, into house arrest.

Flaten

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yvette Viets Flaten was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in an Air Force family, living in Nevada, North Dakota, and Washington State as well as France, England, and Spain. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish (1974) and a Master of Arts in History (1982) from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She writes both fiction and poetry and her award-winning poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including the Wisconsin Academy Review, Rag Mag, Midwest Review, Free Verse, Red Cedar Review, and Barstow and Grand. In May 2020 she was interviewed by Garrison Keillor as part of his Pandemic Poetry Contest. Yvette’s poem “Riding It Out” was one of 10 winners. Find her interview with Garrison Keillor here.

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How To Condense Milk
by Jaya Avendel

I entice a fluffy cloud to rise above the
Silver rim of my grandmother’s pot by
Whisking until my wrist falls off,
Until the hands on my broken clock stop.

I count time in the sweet simmer of my blood and
My body’s response to the music
Filling my lonely kitchen with songs
Ugly in their portrayal of love.

I listen to fifteen songs
Fifteen songs all the same
All as slurred as the burn I prevent by dancing with
My wrist as well as my feet
At the bottom of my grandmother’s pot.

White turns to gold
I nurture sunshine in a frozen world
Until I want to scream
The steam is screaming.

Time stops with the chickadees
At the back of my mind
The radio fuzzes out
A storm is coming.

My grandmother’s pot
Harbors three minutes of pouring
Silky smooth substance and
Two minutes of thought
Tasted as love or hate depending on the tongue.

PAINTING: The Milk Maid by Johannes Vermeer (c1660).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Since age nine, I have written by hand, which offers a deep connection to the words and feelings I capture in ink. I often find myself feeling disjointed when I try to write in type without having my handwritten first draft in front of me. ¶ Several months ago, I condensed milk for the first time to avoid an impossible drive to the grocery store to make a rather questionable but sinfully filling treat called southern butter buns. Since then, making condensed milk not only to put into the bun sauce but also to mix with flavored fresh snow (yes, snow off the ground), is a labor of love that offers me clarity of mind and purpose.

Author Photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jaya Avendel, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, is passionate about family, fantasy, poetry, and prose. Her writing is published at Visual Verse, Free Verse Revolution, Mookychick, and Green Ink Poetry, among others, and is most recently published in The Kali Project Anthology. She writes creatively at ninchronicles.com

weston eggplant
Making Eggplant Croquettes with the NYT Food Page
by Robbi Nester

To make this dish, you have to plan ahead.
One day, two eggplants occupied the shelf
in my refrigerator. I baked them, purple
as a nimbus cloud about to split. They fell in
on themselves, all steam and soft white flesh.
Then I left them overnight to cool, bitter
black juice seeping into the bowl. The next
day, I slipped off their blackened jackets,
chopped the yielding shreds, grated in
four cloves of garlic with a microplane,
mixed in some green-gold olive oil
and salt. I wasn’t finished yet!

After another day of waiting, I spread
a sheet of parchment paper in a pan,
poured in the eggplant mixture, wedged
it in the freezer. Next afternoon, I cut it
into greyish squares smelling of sweet
garlic. Finally, it was time to cook!
I arranged three bowls of beaten egg,
flour, and seasoned panko, dredged
the squares of frozen eggplant,
heated the cast iron pan till waves
of heat shimmered like a spirit
over the oil, lowered the croquettes
into their sizzling bath. They hissed
and spit like cornered cats, and crisped
immediately, the insides creamy
on my tongue. Sometimes, cooking
is like a séance, calling forth from plain
ingredients what’s been there all along.

PHOTO: Eggplant by Edward Weston, silver gelatin print (1929).

egplant croquettes

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have always enjoyed reading and writing about food and cooking as well as watching professional chefs cook and talk about food. During the pandemic, I stopped going to restaurants. The highlight of my week has become going to the grocery store, mostly very early in the morning, when the markets are virtually empty, and I feel as though I am walking through my own personal pantry. ¶ Before, I was a careless cook. Though I have always loved culinary variety and innovation and sought to learn something from making new dishes, the pandemic has slowed everything down considerably, allowed me to spend more time on each step of the preparation. Now I have time to prepare dishes that I would never consider making in the before-world, like the eggplant croquettes I have written about in this poem, which I first discovered in the pages of the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

PHOTO: Smoky Eggplant Croquettes (New York Times, All Rights Reserved).

NOTE: The New York Times recipe site is subscription only. A list of ingredients for Smoky Eggplant Croquettes is available at copymethat.com. But the directions are only available at the New York Times subscription site, or in the above poem.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robbi Nester is the author of four books of poetry, a chapbook, and three collections of poems, the most recent is Narrow Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2019). She has also edited three anthologies, the most recent is The Plague Papers, published as a special issue of Poemeleon Poetry Journal, available to read at Poemeleon.me. Find more of her work at robbinester.net.

cheese spread

How to Make the Perfect Southern Sandwich
by Joan Leotta

At our weekly lunches,
my Georgia-born
neighbor, Faye, introduced
little Pennsylvania me
to her “perfect sandwich,”
bread spread with a
mix of cheddar, roasted red peppers
(pimento) and Southern charm.
I begged for the secret to the
orange-red spread I had never
tried before eating it with Faye,
what she told me was called
“pimento cheese.”
At last, one afternoon, she invited
me into her kitchen
to demonstrate how,
when blended with Duke’s mayo,
canned pimento punctuates
shredded white cheddar
with a vinegary spike.
“Duke’s blends it all,”
Faye whispered. “Duke’s is
the secret, the kiss of the South.”
We mashed the ingredients
together with a fork.
Then she smothered white bread
slices with a knife-full of gold,
deftly trimmed off crusts
and with one swift stroke,
divided the sandwich
into triangles, one each.
“So, Northern Girl, what do you
think?” she asked. I replied,
“I think I’m buying a jar of Duke’s.
These sandwiches are perfection.”

PHOTO: Still from youtube video How It’s Done: South Carolina Pimento Cheese by Discover South Carolina, All Rights Reserved. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I first tasted Pimento Cheese at the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, at the site’s snack bar with my friend Faye, and then at the Indigo Inn in Charleston, South Carolina. Like any recipe that’s made in many families, there are numerous versions across the South. Some folks add cream cheese to make the mixture more spreadable. (If using cream cheese in the recipe below, use 3-4 ounces room-temperature cream cheese). Some families add cayenne pepper and/or Worcestershire sauce. I like it plain. I use white sharp cheddar because I like the color to come from the pimento only. You can also use sharp yellow cheddar.

cheese pamela mcadams licensed

Joan’s Pimento Cheese (with a nod to the Indigo Inn in Charleston, South Carolina)
Ingredients
1 cup freshly grated extra-sharp white cheddar cheese (do not buy pre-grated).
2 ounces pimento peppers, well drained and chopped
3 tablespoons to ½ cup Duke’s Mayonnaise
Dash of cayenne pepper
Method
Stir and stir until the ingredients are well blended. Refrigerate. Lasts one week.

Photo by Pamela McAdams, used by permission. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta, a Pittsburgh girl now living in North Carolina, plays with words on page, stage, and in the kitchen where she balances Southern Italian cooking with American Southern. Her poems, essays, and stories have appeared in Silver Birch Press, Potato Soup Journal, Sasse, Highland Park Poetry, Verse Virtual and Visual Verse and others. Her chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon is available from Finishing Line Press.

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Pie Crust
by Kathleen Naureckas

Every time I make a two-crust pie,
I cut vents to let the steam out. I cut
them the same way always: a long,
thin S-shape in the middle, three tilted
slashes on each side. I’ve done it that
way from the first pie I ever made.
I never had to stop to think how, but
one day I asked myself why. I knew,
really: that’s how my mother did it.
I didn’t know there was another way.

The next time I shared a phone call with
my two sisters, I asked them how they
pierced their pies. They did it the same
way I did, the way they learned from
Mother. “I asked her once why she did
it that way,” said my older sister.
“She said that’s how her mother did it.”

I wish I could call up my grandmother
and ask her where and how she learned
to make a pie, but she died before I was
born. I’d like to picture a bridge of pies
stretching back across time and
the Atlantic all the way to Ireland, an
art bequeathed from mother to daughter
to daughter, like mitochondrial DNA.

PHOTO: Kathleen Naureckas’s apple pie.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathleen Naureckas is a retired journalist whose poems have appeared in a number of journals, including Bluestem, Light, Measure, and Willow Review. Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, For the Duration, in 2012. (Author photo by Furla Photography and Video, 2011)

Cupcakes with cherries in tins on board
CHERRY MUFFINS
by Sasha Kasoff

Vague measuring
Egg cracking
Anxious mixing
Cherry pitting

Greasing pan
Spooning batter
Setting oven

The wait
The smell

Rolling out from the oven
Honey and comfort
Twisting through my home
And then they are done
Steaming and perfect
I could eat the whole batch
With tea, coffee, or nothing at all
Nothing warms my day
Like cherry muffins

Sasha

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sasha Kasoff is a published poet, fantasy writer, and aspiring teacher. Having recently returned from studying abroad in Ireland, she is currently attending University of the Pacific, earning her BA in English with plans to continue her studies in creative writing as a graduate next year. Her poetry can be found in two self-published books as well as in anthologies, magazines, and other literary presses. Look for her on Goodreads.

AUTHOR’S MUFFIN RECIPE: (For Cherry Muffins, add dried cherries.)

Chai Latte Muffins
1 cup milk
4 teabags

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1
 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of ground pepper

honey
butter

Preheat oven to 325-375F. Heat milk to almost boiling (in the microwave or a small sauce pan) and steep the tea bags in it for about 10 minutes, making very strong, milky tea. Don’t worry about making the tea bitter (which can happen as a result of over-steeping) because you won’t taste it in the end product. In a large bowl whisk together the wet ingredients. In a small bowl, mix the dry as well. Pour half into the egg mixture, stirring well, followed by the tea mixture and the rest of the flour. Stir only until just combined, then evenly distribute into prepared muffin tins.
Bake for about 21-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the muffin springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
 Makes 12 muffins.