Annual Montpelier Hunt Races + Agua de Valencia, Butternut Squash Galette


Majestic horses, beautiful friends and wonderful food made my Saturday complete. Watching the Montpelier Hunt Races has become a tradition for my family and friends, and this year’s day of tailgating was perfect, with unusually warm weather and plenty of sun relieving us of coats that we’d brought, just in case. You never know what Mother Nature will hold in early November. 

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All about apples: pie, sauce, butter, brandy and challah


Fourteen pounds of apples may be just a few too many.

I didn’t mean to purchase this many, I truly didn’t. A half-bushel looked manageable at the orchard on a horribly rainy Sunday, but once home, the apples multiplied, filling bowls and counters, then forcing their way into every meal.

When I was three and a half, apples became applesauce, end of story. In what’s become a story told every year, when I was itty bitty, my parents had detailed to me our plans for the next day. Dreams of orchards full of trees and bowls full of applesauce apparently danced in my head overnight. As my mom tells it, I popped out of bed at 6 a.m. the next morning, ran to her room and stood right next to her face. “Pick papples, make papplesauce!” I excitedly announced. No time for sleeping–we had important fall activities. Just like picking strawberries and making jam has been a tradition for my whole life, so has finding fresh, local apples and making a simple, all-apple and no-sugar applesauce to stockpile in the freezer. Throughout the year, we’ll pull out the square Ziploc containers to enjoy our preserved fall bounty.  Continue reading “All about apples: pie, sauce, butter, brandy and challah”

Make your own whole wheat bread; why Michael Pollan insists

Mornings are cool now, sometimes even downright chilly. And with this fall weather, I’m ready to start baking again. Turning the oven on during the summer never seemed appealing–except for various pizzas, of course–so meals were often simple, little cooking required. No more. Let’s crank the oven on, pull out some yeast, and fill the house with wonderful smells that may even waft through our open windows. Perhaps we’ll finally meet our new neighbors this way. Cookies worked in college dorms, maybe bread is the secret in the real world.

This loaf had a surprise inside.

One morning this week, after recovering from the previous three-article, 13-hour day at work, I made the most of my time at home before another meeting needed babysitting. That meant making bread, something I’ve been meaning to do more often, thanks to Michael Pollan.

More and more, after reading Pollan’s “Cooked,” I question the lengthy list of ingredients on the plastic wrapper. It’s been quite some time since I’ve even purchased “regular” sandwich bread at the grocery store, instead foregoing sandwiches for other dishes. That’s primarily because I can never even eat my way through a whole loaf before needing to store slices in the (overstuffed) freezer for safe keeping. Soon, maybe my loaves will be eaten more quickly, shared at the table, feeding not just one. Until then, I’ll share bread with friends and my sister, and cram lingering pieces into the freezer.

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