Iraqi cuisine: Almost four thousand years and counting

A cookbook that holds a special place in my collection is Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and a History of the Iraqi Cuisine by Nawal Nasrallah. I have the first edition from 2003, a hefty, 650-page book that was self-published and printed in black and white (it was later released as a hardcover with color photos). It’s a book that I turn to when I need to get grounded again about food and cooking. Everything these days is so overheated, short-lived and hyper, and the social media attention keeps moving from one food trend and snippet and Instagram photo to the next within split seconds. Reading a page, or even just a paragraph, about Mesopotamian civilization that goes back to 6,000 BC, to the dawn of recorded human history, helps me to cool it and put things back in perspective. Continue reading

Advertisements

Citrus jam recipe redux

Except for salad greens, and family-size bags of carrots and frozen green beans, we buy almost no vegetables when we go food shopping. During the winter, we mostly eat the bounty from my garden that fills our freezer. At the supermarket, I often get a puzzled look from the cashier or the people in line behind me when I load those 5-pound bags on the conveyor belt. “Those are for our dog,” I say when someone asks. Continue reading

Beets and quiche don’t rhyme – or do they?

For the longest time, I disliked beets. It was a bunch of freshly pulled spring beets from a friend’s garden that turned me from a beet hater to a beet lover, and now I grow them every year. Since we don’t have a root cellar, I roast or cook the beets right after harvest and freeze them. The beet leaves, if they are still young and tender, go into the freezer as well.

My favorite beet recipes that I make often are Martha Rose Shulman’s Mushroom and Beet Borscht from The New York Times, Beet Green Risotto – and this Beet Quiche. Continue reading

Thank you, local farmers!

We are skipping the turkey this year. Instead of spending my time basting and stuffing, I want to give a shout-out to the local farmers and producers who have filled our table with such wonderful foods this year.

When I moved to rural northeast Pennsylvania in 2001, it was a real culture shock. Yes, the culture shock did not happen when I moved from Germany to New York City three years prior. It happened when I moved from the city to the country. It was not only because living on a rural hilltop and telecommuting is an isolated and remote lifestyle, it was also because I realized that my image of country life was a bucolic fantasy. Continue reading