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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

White Christmas

We had a white Christmas, which does not happen often around here. Growing up in Michigan, I cannot remember a Christmas that was not white. I was thrilled this year with the ample snow. Per usual, I insisted on enjoying the snow. I expounded its virtues to anyone that would listen, and there are few Daytonians who agree with my assessment of snow. Proclamations of "Snowmageddon" and "Snowpocalypse" are frequent. I cheerfully ignored all the naysayers, determined to enjoy snow. Thank goodness, too. Or else I would have missed this amazing scenery.

Buddy really enjoyed the snow. He frolicked, found sticks, and even attempted to jump out on the ice.

At lunch last week, my mother-in-law was adamant that snow was an evil inconvenience, and that it shouldn't exist at all. I reasoned that if it wasn't snowing, it would be raining. And rain could not look this beautiful:

She reluctantly agreed.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas!

I hope you're having a happy Christmas. I'm baking away, and enjoying a blissfully quiet Christmas Holiday with Mr. Radar.

He's taken leave (doesn't happen often, trust me), so expect a bit of quiet from me over the next 4-5 days. I'd love to enjoy my holiday with the #1 man in my heart.

Now go eat something delicious!

Preferable this or this . Homemade Butterbeer, yes please!

PS: Next week, my Granny's legendary, super secret Custard Nog recipe, especially for New Year's Eve. Best served with Bourbon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dear Mr. Radar: Happy Anniversary.

Happy Anniversary. We've been married two years now, and I'm more in love with you than ever.

And I love you so much that sometimes my heart aches. No matter how many oceans are between us, I know always, that you are mine.

You are a better husband that you know. When I want to give up, you gently nudge me forward. Reassuring me that, no, I am not a failure. You are patient when I am frustrated. Kind when I am wracked with anger.

You do not laugh at my crazy ideas. Even though, generally, they are crazy. You have never limited my imagination, always believing in the possibility of my dreams.

Before I met you, I defined my life by accomplishments. How much I learned, always pushing to be bigger and better. But life, as you taught me, is not about how much you do. Life is about how much you love.

And my love for you could span the globe one hundred times.

*All photos by the lovely and talented Faye Sommer

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Loves: For the Homebody

You may have noticed that these lists oddly resemble the two main protagonists of this blog: Mr. Radar and me, Hilary Bee. It's true. I want everything on this list and I'll bet you will find something to like, too. Do you have any special holiday wishes? I wish for a holiday season full of of hugs, mugs of hot tea and warm cocoa, cookies and fudge, some extra coal (for warmth, like the bookkeepers in A Christmas Carol). Maybe the thing you're wishing for is on this list.

10. Morning Glory Bib Apron

I have to have a bib apron. I always spill on my front when baking, and a half apron just doesn't cut the mustard.

Pamwares Etsy Shop

9. Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea

Warm up your insides with this divine tea. The decorative tin makes a beautiful stocking stuffer.

Harney & Sons Tea

8. Zhena Gypsy Tea Coconut Chai Tea
I know what you are thinking. I must be nuts to want this much tea. But I drink a LOT of tea. And this Coconut Chai Tea is the perfect, cozy cup.

Zhena's Gypsy Tea

7. Hilary Bee's Pizzelle Cookies

To go with all that tea. Not too sweet, the perfect accompaniment to tea or espresso.

6. The Blessings of the Animals, by Katrina Kittle

Katrina is Dayton based, and was kind enough to come to the South Park book club! This has been on my reading list for a long time. My goal is to finish it by January.

At Amazon

5.Glitter and Felt Acorns

Perfect for the Christmas tree. We haven't trimmed our tree yet- we usually trim it on December 13, our wedding anniversary.

AnnaBelle Arts

4. Sufjan Stevens Songs for Christmas
Easily one of my Christmas albums. If you like this album, check out his love letter to Michigan or his newest, Age of Adz.

Via Asthmatic Kitty Records

3.Bamboo Radio

Listen to NPR any time with this beauty. If I had this, I'd tuck it under my pillow, and listen to Ira Glass streaming into my ear.
The Conran Shop

2.I Heart Michigan. And Ohio.
My two great loves, Michigan and Ohio. Reverent of my past, hopeful for my future.

From Truche

1.Around my French Table

Cookbooks are the gifts that keep giving! I got Dorie's Baking, from My Home to Yours for my birthday. I've tested several recipes from French Table- and they are great. Dorie does not disappoint.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Loves: For Your Geeky Guy

What are you loving this holiday season? Over the next few posts, I'm going to share my holiday loves (both tangible and not) with you. First, gifts for your geeky guy (if you are lucky enough to have one like me).

10. iPhone/iPod Woodtec Docking Station

via Woodtec on Etsy

9. Logitech 750i Master System
For urban nerds, the wannabe spy and/or safety obsessed. Sheldon Cooper would want this.

Via Unplggd

8. Hilary Bee's 3C's Granola Bars
Sustenance for the busy engineer. (Nothing like a little self promotion, right?)

7. The Chillpill
Two speakers, that click into each other. Inexpensive and Super cool, for the traveling geek.

Chillpill Audio found locally at MacTown

6. A Trip to Handmade Holiday Dayton
Local fun, with handmade arts, toys, crafts, and food. Every nerd needs a little fored socialization.

5. BookBook Case

By 12South

4. TRON Legacy
Even Mr. Radar wants to see it, and he hates action movies.

3.Quirky Digits Pins
Just pin to your favorite gloves, and iPhone, iTouch, iPad away. Cheap, too!

2. Just Mobile AluPen for iPad
So you don't get sticky baker fingers all over the pretty iPad screen. I don't know anybody that might have sticky fingers...

Via MobileMag- they have a very helpful reviews, too. Maybe you need a little advice for the Geek you love?

1. iPad
Mr. Radar is the biggest Apple fan out there. This is the ultimate nerd gift.

via Geeky Gadgets

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hilary Bee Homemade Goods Now Available!

Hello, Friends! After years of baking goods for my friends and family, I decided to dip my toe into the baking world this year. I'm starting small, but with your help, I would love to build my way into a bigger business. For this holiday season, my baked goods will be available for direct order via e-mail. I would like to expand my operation to Etsy and Farmer's Markets in the coming year. Download the HilaryBee 2010 Catalog Here.

I will be offering:

Chocolate Gingerbread Mini Cake-Christmas in a cake. Fresh ginger, molasses, and chocolate chunks come together in this petite loaf. Drizzled with a decadent chocolate frosting.
Cake Pops-Cake bites on a stick, lovingly decorated for the holidays. Red velvet, chocolate, or yellow.
Pizzelle-The snowflake cookie from the Abruzzo region of Italy. Crispy, light, and not too sweet. Made to my Aunt Virginia's specifications. Choose from Vanilla, Amaretto, or Orange.
Double Decker Brownies-Half gooey brownie, half soft chocolate chip cookie. So good it should be illegal.
3C's Granola Bars-Granola goes gourmet. Dark chocolate paired with cashews and tart cherries. A delicious, but not sinful combination. Vegan.
The Works Holiday Basket- Beautifully decorated and filled to the brim with goodies. Two mini Chocolate Gingerbread Cakes, two Double Decker Brownies, six Pizzelle Cookies in an assortment of flavors, four 3C's Granola Bars, and a bouquet of six cake pops in assorted flavors.

Check out my catalog and please contact me via e-mail at if you are interested!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What to Eat When You Have a Cold

Do you have a cold? I do. It's about the right time for me- usually I get colds in late October. It didn't happen, so I knew the cold monster was gunning for me. This soup, Cider Onion Soup, is perfect for when you have a cold. I know, it's not chicken soup. Chicken soup, as prescribed by your mother or the food industrial complex is fine. But this soup is better. And it's vegetarian, because you know that's how I roll.

Molly Watson, over at The Diner Files, invented this soup last year. I had it then, and it has evolved into one of the favored meals at my house. I've added some sage croutons and thrown in some gruyere shavings. You'll like it, I promise.
Cider Onion Soup with Sage Croutons and Gruyere
Serves 4 first course servings; two dinner servings. (I'm lazy and don't make side dishes, so there are usually no leftovers of this soup).

For the soup:
4-5 medium size yellow cooking onions, thinly sliced
1 cup of dry, hard apple cider
3 cups vegetable stock (low salt, please)
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 whole sage leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

For the croutons:
About two cups day-old bread, cut into bite size chunks
1 tablespoon butter
2 sage leaves, minced

Gruyere Shavings (as you like, I like lots of cheese).

First, heat oven to 400. Melt the butter and olive oil in a medium pot. Add the onions and whole sage leaves. Stir occasionally to ensure the onions do not stick to the bottom. In a saute pan, melt the butter for the croutons. (I would use medium heat). Add the sage as the butter browns. Add the bread, and stir to ensure even coating of butter and sage. Place the croutons on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 for about 5-6 minutes. Stir the croutons to ensure they are not burnt. If they are not a deep brown color, put them back in the oven for another 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, the onion should be caramelizing. This does take a while, about 30-40 minutes. They could go longer, depending on your patience. I'm never patient enough to get them to a deep, deep brown. Make sure the onions are at least golden before starting the soup. When the onions are caramelized to your liking, add the cider and bring to a boil. Then add the stock and black pepper. Allow to simmer for another 15 minutes.

Top the soup with the croutons and cheese. Serve and relax.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Announcing Hilary Bee Homemade!

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Full of candy canes, trimmings, and bows. And food. Delicious, delicious food. Would you like to add something special to your holiday? Send a special homemade gift to your family and friends? Treat yourself?

I am pleased to announce that Hilary Bee Homemade will offer a limited Holiday catalog of baked goods. Pizzelle, Apple Butter, Granola Bars, Holiday Cakes, Buckeyes, Cake Pops, and Chestnut candies. All made with the highest quality local and/or organic ingredients that I can find.
One of my offerings: Bejeweled Citrus Cake. A luscious, moist cake studded with fresh cranberries. The cranberries look like rubies in each slice.

The pizzelle cookies are a time honored tradition on the Italian side of my family, and I am honored to share them with you.
For my South Park readers. I hear that you are busy! Don't like to cook? Generally stressed? Afraid of your oven? Fear not. I am offering my services to help you develop a custom menu for your holiday party. I will come to your house and help you prepare a wonderful holiday meal for your friends and family. Or, maybe you're just hungry? I'll make you dinner in your kitchen. I'll give you the recipes and skills to make a healthful, homemade meal over and over again.

Soon, I will have an order form PDF and paypal button on my blog. I will also distribute a mailer via e-mail and facebook. It's kind of scary, but hopefully this is the opportunity to share my talent with the ones that I love.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hoppin' John

Any Meadowlark fans out there? Well, I love the Meadowlark restaurant. It's my favorite restaurant in any city, bar none. Even better that this gem happens to be in my own city.

I've attempted to knock off several Wiley creations, including an experiment creating my own ketchup, which was somewhat successful. But the Hoppin' John- a humble, black eyed pea stew- is my favorite item on the menu. I've made several variations of the stew, and I've even tried a much lauded Emeril Legasse recipe (which I found far too salty and served about 16!) Here is my variation, made in a slow cooker, so you can enjoy Hoppin' John any night of the week.


1 Orange or Yellow Bell Pepper, diced
1 medium Yellow Onion diced
2 celery stalks with tops finely diced
1 bunch of Carrots, diced
3 Garlic Cloves minced
1 Jalapeno pepper, cut in half lengthwise
1 1/2 cup Dry Black Eyed Peas
32 ounces low salt stock (I use homemade vegetable; chicken would be nice, too)
3 Bay Leaves
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 Sprig Fresh Thyme
4-6 servings cooked rice of your choice
Sharp White Cheddar (I like Dubliner)
1 bunch Green Onions
1 bunch Collard greens, leaves stripped from stems
2-3 tablespoons White Vinegar (optional, but delicious)
Rinse the peas under cold water and pick out any stones or discolored peas. Bring the peas to boil in a medium saucepan full of cold water. Boil the peas for 10 minutes. As the beans cool, start chopping the vegetables. If you are planning to simmer the stew all day while at work, skip boiling the peas.

Combine peas, stock, diced yellow pepper, onion, carrots, garlic, jalepeno halves, stock and seasonings in a slow cooker.Cook for at least 4 hours on low.

About an hour before you are ready to serve, prepare the rice and collards. While the rice is cooking, cut the collard green leaves into strips and add them to the stew. Cook the stew for another 40-60 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves, thyme stems, and jalapeno halves. Spoon the stew over rice. Top with cheddar cheese, green onions, and a drizzle of white vinegar. Serve hot.

Read more at Food52.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Luke's Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Butter

We're all friends here, right? Since we are, you will know how very much I love the Gilmore Girls. And I watch the episodes over and over. And it never gets old.
In Season 4 of the Gilmore Girls, Luke shocks Lorelei and Rory with Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Butter. Well folks, here they are. And if you are obsessive like me, you can watch the episode while enjoying these pancakes. And you have my permission to daydream about Luke eating them with you.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Butter
Adapted from Annie's Eats

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
1 cup milk
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spices in the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine the milk, pumpkin, egg and oil. Using the paddle attachment, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Let the batter sit for about ten minutes.

Heat a skillet to make the pancakes. We like our pancakes a bit larger- but make them the size you prefer. Serve with maple syrup and cinnamon butter.

Cinnamon Butter
1 Stick of Butter
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. I put the finished butter in parchment paper and roll it up, to create a roll of butter. Place the roll in the fridge or freezer for easy slicing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Roasted Pears with Chai Spiced Creme Anglaise

Fancy dinner party? Meet fancy dessert.

This dessert screams holidays: cozy pears wrapped in a luscious, creamy sauce. The pears are a cinch- and the Creme Anglaise takes mere minutes to make. I've hacked Dorie Greenspan's version of Creme Anglaise by adding Chai tea, spices, and cinnamon. I love the idea of Earl Grey Creme Anglaise, too. The next time I make this there will be Early Grey.

Roasted Pears with Chai Spiced Creme Anglaise
Inspired by Sally Schneider and Dorie Greenspan
Roasted Pears:

4 Large Pears (I've used bosc and comice, both worked great)
Juice of Half a Lemon
1 Vanilla Bean
1 cup Pear Nectar
1 tablespoon Butter, diced.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the pears. Hold the stem, and then peel downward for the best results. Halve the pears and remove the seeds with a melon baller. Use a paring knife to remove the woody remnants leading to the stem. Arrange pears with the scooped side up in a large roasting dish.
Squeeze lemon juice over pears. Place the lemon half in the roasting dish and pour the pear nectar on top. Top each pear with a piece of butter.
Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and place it on top of the pears.
Roast the pears for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, flip the pears over and baste them with the juices. Roast for another 10-15 minutes, until the pears are soft, but still hold their shape. Baste pears with the pan juices before serving.

Chai Spiced Creme Anglaise:

1 cup milk (2% or higher)
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Chai Tea
5 Black Peppercorns
2 Cinnamon Sticks
Fill a large glass bowl with ice cubes. Place a smaller bowl on top for the finished creme. Place the tea and peppercorns in a cheese cloth. Combine the milk and cream in a small saucepan. Place the cheesecloth and cinnamon sticks in the milk mixture. Bring mixture to a full boil.
In a medium size saucepan, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until the sugar is evenly distributed.
Once the milk boils, turn the heat off and remove the cheesecloth and cinnamon sticks. Slowly add about 1/4 a cup of the milk to the egg yolks to temper the yolks. Whisk vigorously!
Slowly pour the rest of the milk into the yolks while whisking. Turn the heat back on to medium-low. Never stop whisking or the mixture will stick to the bottom of the pan. The mixture will start to thicken after about 2 minutes. Test the creme on the back of a wooden spoon with a finger. If the mixture is ready, it will cling to the spoon and won't run into the track.
Pour the mixture into the bowl. Refrigerate overnight in an airtight container. It will thicken and the flavors will blossom if you are patient enough to wait (I rarely am).
When ready to serve, spoon about 1/4 cup of the sauce onto a dessert plate or shallow bowl. Place one or two pear halves on top. Drizzle with the pear pan juices. Enjoy!

Read more at Food52

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Older and Nuttier

Last week Mr. Radar threw me a birthday party. It was wonderful, full of family and friends and delicious food. My three favorite things.

My parents sent flowers, and Mama Bee raided HilaryBee's wishlist!. I got a new tart pan, a new pie dish and **drum roll please!!** Dorie Greenspan! Okay, Dorie didn't show up at my door, but I did get her book, Baking from My Home to Your's Wow, right? I know, I'm super lucky. I've already made and hacked a number of Dorie's recipes, more on that next post!

We took lots of food to the party, but in particular I wanted to share this recipe for homemade nut mix. I know that premixed nuts can be found in any grocery store. But this is better. Much, much better. It's spicy, sweet, savory, and a little herby. I think you'll like it!

Go to a store where you can buy bags of raw or unsalted nuts cheaply. I went to Trader Joe's and bought almonds, cashews, and peanuts. I like almonized peanuts, but roasted will do. (Almonized peanuts are first boiled then roasted in oil. I recommend them because they are crispier and have a deep flavor). Use any combination of nuts you like- I think pecans would be lovely, but since I'm allergic they weren't included in my mix.

Sweet and Spicy Party Nuts
Adapted from Shutterbean

1 1/2 cups Raw Almonds
1 1/2 cups Raw Cashews
4 1/2 cups Almonized Peanuts
1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt (Diamond Brand preferred)
1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme (about 3-4 sprigs stripped)
1 Tablespoon of Rosemary (fresh or dried)
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
2 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Line two flat baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine the corn syrup, cayenne, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Chop the herbs finely and add to the spice mixture. Mix thoroughly to combine. Add the nuts to the bowl and stir to combine. Use a wooden spoon to ensure the nuts are evenly coated.

Spread the nuts onto the baking sheets in a thin layer. Then sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Do not mix- just dust the brown sugar over the nuts.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the nuts are fragrant and the corn syrup is no longer sticky.

Store for up to two weeks in an airtight container.

(Little) New Hope

Lately, I've been feeling pretty emotional. Maybe it's because my birthday was Saturday (more on my Bday and all the food next post!), and I feel as though I've reached a point of no return. Adulthood has sunk in, and there is no turning back. It feels a little like drowning or falling down a black tunnel. And I don't want to fall, powerless. I want to thrive.

My job search drags on, and I have felt lost, with little hope on the horizon. Then, Sunday, Mr. Radar found a half-dead kitten. And suddenly, I'm filled with a little extra hope. It's funny how something so small, a former street urchin, can restore some of my faith in life.

She was really sick. She had nasty burrs all over her body, and was covered from head to toe in muck and grime. She weighs just over a pound at 8 weeks-severely malnourished. But, she rises from the ashes.

Mr. Radar calls her New Hope.

We took her to the vet yesterday, and she has nearly every illness a little kitten could have (except Feline Lukemia, thank god!).
But look at her. If she can fight back, so can I.
And I'm going to keep her. Yes, I already have quite the menagerie. But I don't care. She gives me hope.

Besides, she looks a bit like fluffy chocolate. And who wouldn't want a chocolate covered kitten?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cool Blog: They Draw & Cook

I really love the website They Draw & Cook.

Artists submit illustrated recipes to be featured on the blog. There is usually a chosen dish or ingredient like pumpkin or tiramisu. You can also search by category- in case you are looking for an illustrated recipe. I haven't actually tried to make a recipe from this blog, but I find the pictures pretty. Visual learners might like this approach to cooking. I can also see children engaging with the illustrations.

I like this Halloween themed illustration:They Draw and Cook: Monster's Favourite Pumpkin Soup by Maria Bogade

And this one:They Draw and Cook: Gnocchi by Emilia Szewczyk

Would you use an illustrated recipe for cooking?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dear Mr. Radar: Volume 1

Dear Mr. Radar:

You are traveling again, which means I miss you. I know that you are out, working hard and being the perfect nerd that you are. I am so proud that you are now the scientist and professional that you dreamed of becoming. You have-and continue- to work so hard. Soon you will be Dr. Radar, and I couldn't be more proud.

You refuse to give up on me, supporting me no matter what. I change my mind often, and am frequently difficult. You are steady and patient in spite of it all. I appreciate your love and support more than you could possibly know. 2010 has been a difficult, unkind year. Even though there are quite a few months to go- I couldn't have made it through the last ten months without you.

Fall is your favorite time of year. It's a beautiful, reflective time of year. Fall is the time to give thanks. And I am so thankful for you.

The first two photos are were taken by the lovely and talented Faye Sommer.

Friday, October 8, 2010

SK's Acorn Squash Quesadillas

Mr. Radar and I loved this recipe. Except for one tiny problem. This is HOT!!! Mr. Radar loved it- and he loves spicy food- but even he was grabbing a glass of milk to put out the fire in his mouth.

So, I've reduced the pepper content in here. I think spice level depends on the freshness and quality of the hot peppers you use. We procured our peppers from our friend, George. I also added some black beans for some protein. Forget the salsa. Serve this with a heaping spoonful of sour cream.

Acorn Squash Quesadillas
Adapted from SmittenKitchen

1 small/medium acorn squash
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons diced white onion
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
1 clove garlic, minced
2 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and cut into strips
Salt and pepper to taste
10-inch flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cooked black beans (unflavored and rinsed if from a can)
Butter for frying quesadillas

First, roast the acorn squash. Preheat the oven to 400. Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds, and cut each half into half-inch slices. Rub the slices with olive oil and roast for about 20-25 minutes, until soft.

If you are more patient than I am, wait for the squash to cool. (I, of course, would rather burn my fingers than I have something wrong with me?!) Cut the skin off of each slice carefully, trying to preserve as much flesh as possible. Dice the squash.

Saute the onions, garlic, jalepeno and poblano peppers in a large skillet. Add the squash and cook for another 5 or 10 minutes, until the squash is very tender. Add the black beans.

Spread a few tablespoons of the cooked squash mixture onto one half of a 10-inch flour tortilla. Generously sprinkle with cheese. Fold over and place in a hot pan with melted butter, and fry until crispy. Cut into wedges and serve hot!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

But What Will I cook?

I have lots of allergies. I've always suffered, but it is something I've always dealt with. This year, allergies dealt me a huge blow.
I finally had enough, and I called my allergist looking for answers. Unfortunately, his answers were not the answers I was hoping for. After a long and arduous process of shots, eating foods followed by more shots, a food diary, and a RAST test- I finally found out that I have Oral Allergy Syndrome.

Finally, an answer. When I was in high school, I had a perpetually itchy mouth. There were stomach problems. I would collapse into a ball of misery. It subsided for a while in college, but flared back up again. I had my stomach scoped, numerous blood tests, and saw lots of physicians. They knew there was something wrong, but there were no answers. I wasn't a celiac and I wasn't allergic to the typical (soy, nuts or milk).

Finally, a doctor has been able to figure it out. This diagnoses makes so much sense for me. It explains almost two decades of suffering, and I am so glad that I have a chance to feel better. Unfortunately, this means that I will be cutting a LOT of foods out of my diet. It's an exhaustive list, and I'm still figuring out what I can eat to avoid getting sick. When you have OAS, some foods should be avoided altogether based on the severity of the reactions. Some fruits and vegetables can be "denatured" through cooking. I'll be able to eat those foods only when cooked (like apples, for example. )

Sadly, here is a list of foods that must be auf'd. I'm Heidi Klum bidding inadequate designers goodbye. Except I'm saying goodbye to fruit. And some vegetables. And some bad seeds. Goodbye melons and bananas. Goodbye pickles and herbal tea. I must bid you all adieu:

Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew & watermelon)
herbal tea (echinacae, chamomile or hibiscus)
Sunflower seeds
Flax seeds

Friday, September 24, 2010

Will offerings of fall soup excuse my absence?

So, I've been gone. Mostly, it is because my brother, Ian the animal tamer, came to visit me for a little more than a week. Secondly, I'm going for a whole blog redesign. I suck at this, so it is going very, very slow. I've also experienced a number of pretty severe recipe fails. I don't fail all that often, but I have to tell you some of these fails were epic. I've had some triumphs, too. I've had success with some great recipes- apple butter, squash quesadillas, maple burgers, summer peach cake. I've also had some original creations this month, including pistachio pesto gnocchi, brown butter sage & squash lasagne, nutty apple crumble, homemade ketchup, and lemongrass scented butternut squash soup.

This soup is fresh, almost fruity. I wasn't in the mood for a heavy, cream laden squash soup. So, I improvised using ingredients I procured at the Yellow Springs Farmer's market. It has a light almost effervescent texture. I used a Cortland apple to lighten the soup. I would suggest using a firm, white fleshed varietal like the Cortland, Roxbury Royal or McIntosh. A bonus for those sensitive eaters, this recipe is vegan & gluten free.

Lemongrass Scented Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash, chopped into 1 inch chunks
3-4 stalks of fresh lemon grass
1 Cortland apple, chopped
32 ounces of vegetable stock
1/2 inch piece of ginger, cleaned and peeled
regular coconut milk, to taste
Place the squash, apple, lemongrass, ginger and stock in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
Let the mixture cool for about 5-10 minutes. It should still be warm, but not hot. Pick out the lemongrass stalks. Puree using an immersion blender. Reheat to desired temperature when ready to serve.
Spoon soup into bowls. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of coconut milk in each bowl before serving. You can use a toothpick or knife to make a design with the coconut milk. (Obviously I fail with the artistic presentation, but you get the idea).

You forgive me now, right?

As always, many of my recipes can be found on Food52.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Farm Stand Round-Up

Usually, I am a die hard supporter of my local Farmers Market, the 2nd Street Market. This summer, I decided to branch out and visit more farm stands and more markets. We've gone U-picking twice this summer, gone to far flung farm stands in West Alexandria and Xenia. Sometimes I feel like I'm cheating on the 2nd Street Market.

It's cute, isn't it? But let's say you are looking for some variety? The Sugarcreek Farmers market is more like a collection of individual farm stands. It happens every Friday afternoon from 3-7. It's a true outdoor market though- it is in the middle of the field, next to a giant Target and a Petsmart. No joke. Only in Dayton. I'm still trying to figure out how locavores coexist in peaceful harmony with mass market consumerism. Or maybe the market is in the shadow of mass market consumerism? Either way, I find it ironic. At the Sugarcreek Farmers Market I have found some incredible deals on stone fruit. $5.99 a peck? You're kidding, right? I bought about 5 pounds of apples for only $1 a pound. Seriously, it is highway robbery. Sugarcreek also has some more niche/interesting vendors, like the Peaceful Acres Lavender Farm and Harry's Gourmet Garlic. I bought a bunch of lovely, fragrant English Lavender from Peaceful Acres, and I'm still enjoying the scent. Harry's has heirloom garlic, with special varietals like music, Italian, and Russian. I've enjoyed them thoroughly.

I've also frequented the Stubbs Family farm stand. It appears, like a mirage, in a parking lot next to the Tim Hortons on Patterson & Wilmington Pike. You can also find the Stubbs family at the Wright-Dunbar market on Friday mornings. High quality, inexpensive produce. It's great when I've run out of ingredients in the middle of the week. Also, they had the best melons this season. Sweet, with a hint of musk- but not too much.

I've mentioned Tuken's and Berry Hill Farm- both with their own farm stands. I've seen LOTS!! of Farm Stands off of State Route 380- so give it a try. Fall is coming up, and 380 is a beautiful drive.

I've found a lot of farms through the internet- especially a site called Local Harvest You can search by crop and location. I highly recommend it. A simple search for Dayton, OH yields 4 pages of results. For those Grand Rapidians reading this blog, the 49301 zip code (Ada/Cascade) has 3 pages of results- for just that zip code! An Ohio based site, Our Ohio, provides a great round-up of what's in season right now!

PS: I've visited some great farmers markets in other states, too. Kudos to the Ithaca Farmers Market for being super cool. Best selection, as always, goes to my original market, The Fulton Street Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Image from here