All Things Corn: Sweet September and the Ebbing of Summer

All Things Corn: Sweet September and the Ebbing of Summer
“Biting into summer. Sitting on the lawn, feet bare eating hot buttered corn. Just picked. So good.” –Ruth Reichl, My Kitchen Year (2015)

September is a month of abundance to savor. From the heavenly days of blue skies and just-right temperatures, to the dreamy cool-night-open-window-sleeping, there is an abundance of all things good that infuses the September air.

You can hear the abundance in bites of crisp apples just picked from a local orchard; you can see the abundance in the roadside farm stands along country roads; you can feel the abundance in the buzz of city farmer markets; and you can smell the abundance in blueberry muffins, apple pies and apple cider donuts baking in ovens – and in the vegetable soups and chowders simmering on stoves.

So in these last days of sweet September, gather some of this month’s abundance and simmer it on the stove, taking one last bite into summer with the “All Things Corn” recipes below. Read more

Sooo Good Breakfast Bread

Sooo Good Breakfast Bread
It’s been a busy summer, but we’re excited to be back and grateful for all your support and emails as ATG continues to evolve! 
“The dictionary makes little distinction between hunger and appetite, but we tend to understand that hunger is the need to eat, almost entirely physical, while appetite is the desire to eat, stimulated by smell, sight, or the memory of certain foods or even the desire to satisfy emotional needs. Hunger indicates necessity; weakness is the result if it is unsatisfied. Appetite has more to do with interest and allure. When the two are combined we have someone very ready to eat. The problem is to keep them away from the bread.”  —Taken from the book Life is Meals by James and Kay Salter

Below is a recipe from the Inn at Sunrise Point on the Maine coast for a hearty, chewy, and satisfying bread that is perfect for morning toast and adds an extra specialness to an otherwise ordinary breakfast of scrambled or fried eggs.*

Layered with sweet cream butter and fresh blueberry, raspberry, or strawberry jam, this special homemade multi-grain bread is hard to stay away from! Read more

Seven Summer Salads

Seven Summer Salads
“You need to have the soul of a rabbit to eat lettuce as it is usually served – green leaves slightly lubricated with oil and flavored with vinegar. A salad is only a background; it needs embroidering.” –Paul Roboux (taken from M.F.K. Fisher’s The Art of Eating)

Just as dreamy summer days are a background for endless possibilities of outdoor entertainment, summer salads are a background for endless possibilities of gastronomic entertainment.

Below are seven different recipes for your summer salads, one for each day of the week (note: we’ve included three different versions of the Nicoise Salad at the end). Happy Summer! Read more

“Always Dreaming”…of Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

“Always Dreaming”…of Biscuits with Sausage Gravy
“…you dream about food – not just any food, but perfect food, the best food, magical meals, famous and awe-inspiring, the one piece of meat, the exact taste of buttery corn, tomatoes so ripe they split and sweeten the air, beans so crisp they snap between the teeth, gravy like mother’s milk singing to your bloodstream. –Dorothy Allison (writer, 1949–)

Thinking of the Kentucky Derby this weekend – where “Always Dreaming” made two Brooklyn boys’ Derby dreams come true – Mother’s Day next weekend and The Blue Coffee Pot restaurant where I had the best biscuits and sausage gravy I’ve ever had in my life.

What made this unexpected, out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere breakfast on an Indian Reservation in Kayenta, Arizona something to dream about? The scrambled eggs and the sausage gravy were like taking a bite out of a perfectly seasoned feathery light pillow of deliciousness. Never, in all of my biscuits and sausage gravy travels, have I experienced such genuine affection for what typically is a heavy lump of a dish that favors the appetite attentions of hungry men. Read more

“Circus XTREME”: The Last Greatest Show of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey

“Circus XTREME”: The Last Greatest Show of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey
“You must have always a great and progressive show and also one which is clean, pure, moral and instructive. Never cater to the baser instincts of humanity…and always remember that the children have ever been our best patrons…” –P.T. Barnum’s last letter before he died (1891), written to his “well-loved” James Bailey

“Circus XTREME”, which is making its very last appearance in Providence, Rhode Island this weekend, is Xtremely entertaining and there is no doubt that P.T. Barnum would have been proud of this very “Xpert” creation for having lived up to his life motto “Excelsior”, a Latin word meaning “ever upward” and “still higher.” Read more

Bob Dylan: Through His Life and Ours, A Poet for the Ages

“I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet.”
bob dylan nobel prize
Photo credit: back cover of my college book, “Writings and Drawings by Bob Dylan”, 1973

It has been quite a journey through the month of April with Bob Dylan. It was my desire to do a little piece on him as the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of National Poetry Month, and so I retrieved all things Bob Dylan – books, CDs, albums, magazine articles, etc. – and started digging in. And now, many days later, I am still going strong, ever more moved and ever more amazed by his body of work, his art, and his genius.

Dylan is a modern day Shakespeare, as Neil McCormick expresses so well in his article for The Telegraph (Oct. 13, 2016):

“He is our greatest living poetic voice, the Bard of the Age, our rock and roll Shakespeare….[t]he Nobel committee say they are honoring Dylan ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition’ but he did way more than that. Dylan utterly exploded the form, enabling the simple song to become a vehicle for every shade and nuance of human thought and expression, unleashing incredible forces of creativity on this ancient sturdy folk medium – and did it with a flowing electrifying word smithery and innate, almost mystical wisdom that has created a body of mind-blowing work that will resonate for centuries to come.” Read more

One Perfect Meatball for a Perfect Spring Day

“You’re gonna love ’em.”

Bob Dylan Perfect Meatball RecipeFor a perfect ending to April, and after a month long celebration of poetry, and in recognition of the “changin’ times” wrought by the Swedish Nobel Committee awarding, for the first time in its history, a songwriter (Bob Dylan!) the Nobel Prize in Literature, have a listen to Bob Dylan’s song “Series of Dreams” (from The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3, rare & unreleased):

“…If my thought-dreams could be seen they’d probably put my head in a guillotine”, while making “Bob Dylan’s Perfect Meatball Recipe” below.

…and then listen to “Caribbean Wind” and then “Abandoned Love” and then “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and then, before you know it, you will have One Perfect Bob Dylan Meatball! Read more

Happy Spring, Happy Sugar Cookie

Happy Spring, Happy Sugar Cookie
“Today me will live in the moment, unless it is unpleasant. In which case me will eat a cookie.” –Cookie Monster

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that can bring us the most joy, such as a steaming cup of hot tea and a homemade sugar cookie with buttercream frosting and sprinkles. Below are three recipes for sugar cookies, two of which are plain old-fashioned recipes with basic simple ingredients, while the third recipe adds a couple of twists and turns to a basic recipe, giving it a little extra dash of ultimate spring flair! Read more

A Time for Everything: “Spring, A Cookbook”

Skye Gyngell recipesThere is a time for everything, including a time for asparagus and artichokes and cookbooks that are all about spring cuisine! Adding to the growing collection of beautiful cookbooks from the culinary world which are dedicated to seasonal cooking is one of London’s “most respected and acclaimed chefs” Skye Gyngell’s new cookbook Spring.

Ms. Gyngell, who also has published three other cookbooks*, is known “for her distinctively seasonal, elegant cooking, creating dishes inspired by what she saw growing and blossoming around her.” She also has a new restaurant by the same name “Spring” in the heart of London’s arts and culture district.

It is worth checking out her website, where you can find one of her shared recipes of the month (see below). Read more

Good and Glorious Morning Muffins

Good and Glorious Morning Muffins

Springtime is here, which means it is time to “lighten” the calorie load of winter heavy sticky buns and deep fried apple fritters to Peter Rabbit-like muffins filled with wholesome good-for-your ingredients such as carrots, zucchini, apples, nuts, coconut and raisins.

The three recipes below are filled with superfood ingredients that are bound to add an extra skippety-hippety-hop and touch of sweet to all of your glorious spring mornings! Read more