Category Archives: farmer’s market

Ramping up the Delight

For all you locavores out there, this post is a bit embarrassing…
For me, that is.
Yes, those are ramps up there. Ramps, as in the trend-du-moment harbinger of spring ending and summer beginning. Since we had an awfully long, drawn-out spring (who’s complaining? not me), and a peek-a-boo summer, things may have been a little mixed up. And they were. But it’s still a bit late to talk about ramps.
But that’s ok, I’m not giving a recipe. I’m actually highlighting a delightful observation I made at the time of cutting up the expensive, farmer’s-market, little darlings:

I matched my food!

As I looked down and the penny dropped, I felt happily content to be so in tune with the season that I had on a purple top and green shorts- ha!
The ramps went into a lazy-man-scramble with some early tomatoes, and were paired with those all-stars of the sustainability world: anchovies. More specifically, marinated white anchovies, a specialty which the Spanish call boquerones, and the Greeks call gavros. I first met their ilk at Estadio, and later bought these at Vace, an Italian deli-and-pizza stronghold in the Cleveland Park neighborhood.

It was a simple, filling, and nutritious meal. Eggs and anchovies = good proteins and fats; tomatoes, ramps, and herbs = 2 fruit and vegetable servings for the day. And that’s pretty much how I do my food accounting. It’s not overly complex.

Moments when you match what you’re chopping… now THAT’s ENTERTAINMENT!

I’d love to hear how you all entertain yourselves with your own passions. These types of stories sustain us as we follow our dreams. So do be a peach and tell us a story, eh?
I am currently trawling for students for my next cooking class, possibly next week. The armchair travel theme is Southern Italy (oh, aren’t you dying to see where I went? Soon!), and the menu will be different from the last one- modified to include Pizza, as only southern Italians can make it. (And those who have learned from southern Italians, of course!) Send me a message if you or someone you know may be interested!

**Sincere thanks to all who have like the new Taste Life Twice Facebook page! I’m delighted to have another way to connect with people, and look forward to enjoying the recipes, stories, and opportunities to be shared.

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~!

Glazed Oxtail Meets Amazing Brown Rice Bowl


As with the beans, so with the oxtail…

Who makes anything with oxtail these days? Wizened Italian grandmothers, that’s who. Am I aspiring to be a wizened Italian grandmother?
No.

But again, there’s that yearning to live ‘close to the ground,’ if you know what I mean. If you can’t be in harmony with nature due to your society’s dependence on oil, then at least you can understand better how to be grateful for what you have. Enter the oxtail, sturdy, hearty, hard-to-get-at-unless-you-take-the-time protein.

Simply Recipes (such a great site, btw) put up this recipe for Glazed Oxtails a few weeks ago, coincidentally right after I had taken the leap at the farmers market to purchase some oxtail joints. Ding! That would be the universe calling.

It took a while, edging around other plans, but I finally made it this week, staying amazingly faithful to Elise’s recipe (for me), which included very helpful pictures at all steps along the way.

One of the ways I did depart from her recipe was volume: being a one-person household, I didn’t want to either buy or store the 4 pounds of meat, so I bought one vacuum-packed bundle, coming in at 1.3 lbs. I halved most of the other ingredients, which was fine (except then the boiling-off took forever…).

However, after a time, it too was done. But ya can’t just eat meat.

Then this eye candy from Vanessa Barrington showed up in my Twitter feed, and I had my idea: Glazed Oxtail meets Amazing Brown Rice Bowl. Done!

I went the easy way for the rice bowl part, already feeling virtuous from the multi-step, multi-hour process that the oxtail required. Brown rice from Trader Joe’s went into the micro, spring onions (from the farmers market- it IS spring!) got chopped into the pan with a dollop each of lemonaise and tahini. I added a swish of olive oil to coat, then half of the rice until warmed through, then half of the oxtail (which I had prewarmed to deliquify the gelatin).

In went the rest of the rice (for 3 cups total). I topped a serving for my dinner with the greens of the two spring onions and a splinkling of dashi for crunch and salt.

If you’re interested in the proportions, that was ~.75 lbs oxtail to begin, and  3 cups brown rice (for 2 servings, one dinner and one work lunch!). As you can see, it made for a dish that was suffused with good beef flavor and stock without being dominated by the protein itself. Just what I was aiming for at this point in my eating life.

Now if only I can do that for some of the other aims in my working life…