Category Archives: farmer’s market

The 411 on the TLT Cooking School

I’m happy to hear of the interest in the armchair-travel style cooking courses (and thankful to all the friends spreading the word! :-), so I thought I would provide a few more details about what the night will include.

Pub Short Ribs, an American view

  • Three-course (minimum) meal consisting of traditional researched regional food, adapted from authentic recipes
  • Quality organic, seasonal, and local produce and other ingredients, as much as possible

Ah, the simple joys of hosting!
  • Being hosted in my home, an apartment in the Logan Circle neighborhood
  • Explanation of cooking techniques involved in the preparation of the meal
  • Tidbits of historical and cultural interest about the food, the region, and the culture
Another theme to look forward to…

I’m really looking forward to diving into the next research project, which will involve a certain boot-shaped mass of land… I will say no more!
…except to say that having just returned from a week in Napoli and Sicily, they will be influential resources!

If you’re interested and live in the DC area, please feel free to drop me a line at margaret [at] taste-life-twice [dot] com and I’ll be happy to accommodate you!

If you’re interested but living outside the DC Metro area, tell those you know about the idea!

Also, I take suggestions, and would love to chat about food and/or travel, so don’t hold back in the comments.
Ciao for now~!

Try, Try Again

I admit it.
I often try to do things that I consider virtuous and aligned with independent living values, not always because I aspire to be a pioneer woman (ahem), but because I like being able to opt-out of the modern food system, which I feel is not serving us well in the long term.

One of those Things I Do is try to make beans. I have failed several times – undercooking, overcooking – and succeeded a time or two as well. But it seems a hard thing for me to get a hold of. These complex legumes want to keep their mystery from me! Nevertheless, I keep trying.

Last weekend, I rinsed, I soaked overnight, and I left the house to meet a friend for the afternoon, leaving my Jacob’s cattle beans (purchased at my local Bloomingdale Farmers’ Market last summer) with their aromatics (bay leaf, onion studdded with cloves) in the oven at ~290 F, from this recipe. I met my friend Yasemin at the metro, and we went on a mini-adventure (for me, not for her) to the Turkish grocery/ convenience/ dry goods store a few minutes away (Attila’s on Columbia Pike). I saw, for the first time in 6 years, products that made me squeal with delight- soup mixes and pretzel sticks, ayran and apple tea powder. It was like visiting a locked room in my mind.

Afterwards, Yasemin graciously had me in to her house for tea and snacks, and we talked and talked and talked…and of course you remember I had beans on at home? Well, the fact had fled from my mind, until I realized it was past 5 PM and had a shock of ‘Oh I hope I didn’t ruin my pan!’ We postponed the forthcoming Turkish coffee and I sped home to survey the damage.

None! Still cooking away! Phew. Aren’t beans grand?
I settled down with a movie and looked up an hour later to see that the beans were all crusty and had mostly dried up except the ones under the onion.


Like beans, running is something of a pioneer sport: no money down, no fancy equipment, just gumption, persistence, and determination. If you mess up once, no matter, you can try again next time. Tomorrow is my Try Again.

See you under the cherry blossoms.

Bake, Saute, Forage

Having received the bounty of undamaged ripe pears from my parents’ backyard (thank you!), at first I waited. I indulged in a pear-chocolate hazelnut spread snack, but knew I needed to act on the other 3 pears-a-waiting before things got ugly. Enter convenient recipe.
Having bought poppy seeds on an impulse on my way back from Vermont, I now stood poised, wooden spoon at the ready, to make Whole Wheat Poppy Pear Loaf. I didn’t have mini pans as the blog author does, so I made one big loaf, saved some for home, and again, contributed to the yumminess level at work.

As often happens when one bakes, there was a need for balancing out the sugar-butter concoctions with greenery. I was out of my favorite standby kale, but had branched out to what I think were mustard greens, but I’m not sure. Bought at the Bloomngdale Farmers’ Market (so soon to close for the season! Boo!) from Snowbear Farm, I believe.
What I thought was really interesting here was the growth of little mini-leaves in the middle of the bigger expanse. It may be hard to see here, but they often came in pairs, on either side of the spine, like they had been pinned on. So fascinating, Nature…¬†Anyway, so I shredded the alleged mustard leaves from their spines and used this recipe to guide me from Deborah Madison, whom I like a lot. I had cauliflower, I had greens, and I had potatoes, from my incursion further into the deep interior jungle of Scottish cooking (up next!)…

Some steaming involved, and sauteing…

La mise en place, bien sur…

The spices part (where hopefully I smell up the hallway, in a good way)…

And the greens part, where they all cook down to almost nothing…

Yum, very tasty and good texture. Added bonus: feeling virtuous and healthy.
One chilly October night (I’ve had to turn on heat a few times), probably in the midst of reading, probably not having planned ahead as in the two instances above, I foraged in my kitchen for a picnic-type meal. I came up with leftover squash puree with pine nuts and parmesan, crusty bread, cheese slices, and chutney. Which is, sometimes, just what you need.
Added bonus: delight.