Ingredient: White Peaches

I had traveled all day long to get to Vic, a town north of Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain. My destination was the retreat house of a group of Catholic religious sisters, where I’d be staying for 12 days while working on a television program about the life of the Spanish saint, Anthony Claret. It rained…

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Ingredient: Produce, the mother lode

This is the kind of post that defines the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s August and everywhere there is color, abundance, ripe flavor…it’s all self-evident, isn’t it? But I will say just a few, if not a thousand, words. We’ll talk more later this week about the tremendous art of…

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Ingredient: Little coosa, little summer squash

It’s true that the Lebanese love to stuff it—grape leaves, cabbage, coosa. The coosa refers to a particular light green, medium-sized squash that is sweet, tender, and so good. But they’re difficult to find, so we turn also to traditional zucchini and yellow summer squash, which are succulent too. Last week I was strolling down…

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Ingredient: Cabbage

This was supposed to be a week of brilliant red bell peppers here on Main Street, a week of shiny patent-leather red vegetables and a simple recipe to make and to love. That, however, was not meant to be. Rita over at Bill’s Farm Market saw me hanging around the peppers looking lost amid the…

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Ingredient: Raspberries, U-Pick

On the way into town up here on M-119, there was for many years a sign at Emmet Heights road, hand scripted in red paint: Raspberries U-Pick We waited for it every year, and didn’t hesitate to scream it out from the open windows of the big ole custom cruiser wagon as we drove up.…

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Ingredient: Cherries

When you come from Michigan, there is so much to say about cherries that you practically come to a halt thinking of where to begin. When you’re Lebanese, cherries are known for their pits as mahleb, ground and used as a flavoring in baking. But right now it’s summer, and we’re focused on fresh fruit…

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Ingredient: Radishes

Bill’s farm market opened last week (up here we’re just entering a world of bounty now. Takes a while in these parts). I remember last October I asked Bill about some radishes, really wanting to make a particular dish with all of you. Didn’t do so well this year, he said, just don’t have any.…

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Ingredient: Potatoes

One of the great pleasures (and there were many) of a morning at Chicago’s Green City Market was the remarkable display of potatoes at Nichol’s Farms. The colors! The shapes and sizes! My favorites were some little purple potatoes that defied all expectations for tubers, in color and flavor and texture. Up north we are…

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Ingredient: Rhubarb

I knew rhubarb from a very young age because there was a huge row of it in the yard behind my grandmother Alice Abowd’s house in Fostoria, Ohio. She and my mother cooked the rhubarb into a sauce in the spring and we ate the sweet pink pleasure with spoons out of the saucepan, sitting…

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Ingredient: Grape Leaves

I’ve got a secret. Or at least I used to have one, and like my mother and my aunts and my grandmothers, I carried it around in my purse until spring, right around this same time every year when bloom was the big event each day and the unfurling of tender, young grape leaves was…

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