Burrata Caprese Salad

september 12, 2014

burrata caprese salad

Tomato season is winding down in Virginia.  Time to enjoy the last of these fruits of summer, fresh in salads and salsas or preserved with canning and slow roasting.  I like to make my green tomato chutney which carries me through to next summer.

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Cardamom Rosewater Frozen Yogurt

august 29, 2014

cardamom rosewater frozen yogurt


When frozen yogurt shops began to proliferate in the latter part of the 20th century, their product tasted like, well, yogurt.  Frozen.  And that’s not a complaint or criticism. What often passes for frozen  yogurt these days tastes a lot like soft serve ice cream. Even that’s not a complaint.  Most people like soft ice cream, as evidenced by the long lines that snake around those mom and pop shops by the seashore, the ones that sell frozen custard.

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Coconut Corn Avocado Soup

august 15, 2014

coconut corn avocado soupSadly, we are nearing the end of fresh corn season here in Richmond.  People have favorites : white vs. yellow, the elusive Silver Queen vs. Supersweet, but even mediocre ears of corn are satisfying with a slather of good butter and a sprinkle of sea salt.

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Cucumber Mint Cocktail

july 18, 2014

cucumber mint cocktail


In the South, summertime heat can get the best of your intentions to cook dinner.  Toss a salad, cut a few ripe tomatoes from the garden, fire up the outdoor grill (anything to avoid heating up the kitchen) and call that dinner.   Better yet, serve something you grilled the day before and avoid fire altogether.

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Summer Berry Yogurt Trifle

…and a visit to Old Church Creamery

june 27, 2014

summer berry yogurt trifle


Old Church Creamery, a thriving dairy farm one half hour north of Richmond in Manquin, Virginia, sprouted, then roared to life, in 2008.  Through trial and error, and hard work from owners Catherine and Keith Long, the operation is a premier supplier of naturally produced cow’s milk and dairy products for the Richmond area and beyond.

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Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp with Spring Vegetables

june 13, 2014

vietnamese grilled shrimp with spring vegetables

Long before I received any formal culinary training, I purchased some fish sauce at a market near my apartment in “Little Hanoi”, in what is now cosmopolitan Clarendon, Northern Virginia.  I am embarrassed to admit that after taking one whiff, it was returned to the shop where a kindly proprietor urged me to reconsider, telling me “fish sauce smells bad, but tastes good”.

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lemon dressed spring salad

Lemon Dressed Spring Salad

may 30, 2014

lemon dressed spring salad

We’ve come a long way from  salad defined by iceberg lettuce, waxy rounds of cucumber, flabby wedges of pale unripe tomato and bottled thousand island dressing languishing in a faux-wood bowl.  These days  salad offerings are some of the most intriguing items on restaurant menus, chock full of seasonal vegetables and fruits, local greens and house made vinaigrettes crafted to enhance, not overpower.

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sausage baguette with caramelized onions and lemon tahini sauce

Sausage Baguettes with Caramelized Onion and Lemon Tahini Sauce

…and a visit to Harmony Hill Farm

may 9, 2014

sausage baguette with caramelized onion and lemon tahini sauceThe day began with breakfast tostadas and ended with Italian sausage baguettes with caramelized onion and lemon tahini sauce, tomato orange soup and a simple, colorful salad of red cabbage, asparagus and carrot.  The afternoon was spent touring Harmony Hill Farm in nearby Glen Allen, Virginia, the source of my breakfast eggs and dinner sausage.

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Rhubarb Apple Compote

rhubarb apple compote

fresh rhubarb apple compote with Virginia’s Homestead Creamery vanilla ice cream

april 25, 2014

One of the first edible harbingers of spring is rhubarb.  And what a show!  This perennial, a vegetable given the royal fruit treatment,  rocks a shrub-like explosion of frilly lime green leaves and shiny  stalks in various shades of red and green.

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