An orange cake evoking olfactory memories

It’s intriguing how the scent of certain foods can transport you back in time and space. For me, oranges have that power, both the blossoms and the fruit. They bring back vivid memories of the little time I got to spend with my Tunisian grandmother as a child when I visited her in Ksar Hellal, a town in the Tunisian Sahel. Continue reading

Breakfast fare for breakfast skippers

With the exception of breads, there are very few breakfast recipes on this blog. The simple reason is that I don’t eat breakfast. Yes, I know, it’s a bad habit but the fact is that I cannot stomach to eat anything early in the morning. My breakfast consists of a large mug of coffee with lots of hot frothed milk, basically an oversized cappuccino. Other people’s breakfast then becomes my lunch. Continue reading

Taking stock, twenty years after immigration

On January 5, 1998, I landed in New York City with an immigration visa that I won in the Green Card Lottery. The previous summer, I had received a letter in the mail notifying me that I was one of 55,000 lucky people whose number was drawn in the Green Card Lottery from more than eight million participants. Winning, however, was only the first, easy step. What followed was a thorough and costly screening process to make sure that I was who I claimed to be, without a criminal record, in good health and able to support myself for a few months in the United States without working. I have often wondered how Green Card winners less fortunate than me made it through that process. Continue reading

As American as apple pie?

In the past few months I have thought a lot about the expression, “as American as apple pie.” Whether I was tossing and turning in bed during many sleepless nights, driving past homes with the American flag and an occasional Confederate flag, whether I was standing at the stove until late at night canning and preserving the harvest from my garden, or angrily digging up the soil and pulling weeds until I almost dropped in an attempt to vent and get away from too much news intake – it all seemed to be boiling down to one question: What is American? Continue reading

Herb-Rub Roasted Chicken, or: celebrating July 4th with local foods

On most days, we eat vegetarian. We have fish once a week at the most, chicken once or twice a month, and beef or other meat on very rare occasions. The few times we do eat meat or poultry, I am ready to dig into my pockets for prime quality, raised organically and locally, because food that is shipped hundreds or thousands of miles across the country is not sustainable even if it is organic. Continue reading

Putting America first

Kohlrabi

Since the election, I had been in a black hole like so many of my friends and family. I tried to look at it as a gardener: Sometimes I dig up an entire area in my garden, I rip out everything to replant it. It is messy and unsightly in the beginning, and it takes muscle power, sweat, patience, perseverance, and quite a few blisters and calluses on my hands to turn it into a pretty flower bed or into a productive vegetable plot. Continue reading

Apple Masala

Apple Masala Bread

A long and productive gardening season is winding down. After the first frost, the last peppers and tomatoes are ripening on trays indoors, the freezer is packed to the top, the basement shelves are filled with all kinds of canned goods, and the water-bath canner and all the other canning equipment has been put in storage. And I finally have time to get on my bike again.

Well not so fast…. From one of my bike rides I brought back a whole basket of windfall apples. Continue reading