Last week I showed you my quince splurge: twenty pounds of this old-fashioned fruit that is so hard to find. I’ve been busy cooking it up, since quince is a fruit that needs some tender loving attention before it rewards you with its sweetness.
In case you are so lucky as to get your paws on a basket of this fruit, here is a basic tutorial on cooking it into its sweet, fragrant state, ready and willing for crumbles, pies, and spooning over breakfast oatmeal all winter long.
Boo! Spiders are taking over this Halloween! Don’t be scared, these arachnids are the friendly, candy-loving sort and they’d love nothing better than to march across your buffet table and perch on the edge of your plate. So grab your sugar googly eyes and pick up some licorice — your Halloween is about to get crafty.
Who cooks & eats here: Chef and author Barton Seaver and his wife Carrie Anne
Where: Jamaica Plain, Boston
Rent or Own? Rent
In August I spent seven days sailing around Alaska with a crew of fellow food writers, photographers, and chefs, one of whom was Barton Seaver. Barton is an accomplished chef, two-time cookbook author, and National Geographic fellow currently serving as the director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food program at Harvard’s School of Public Health — and, as it turns out, my neighbor! (We live five blocks away from each other in Boston.)
He was gracious enough to let me check out his rental apartment kitchen, where I discovered oak barrels full of aged vinegar (his newest hobby), jars of bourbon cherries and preserved lemons, well-loved appliances handed down from his grandmother, and a way of working that’s all about the proper setup.
There may be some things more pleasurable than biting into a homemade marshmallow — one that is so fresh, it’s like nibbling on a cloud — but I can’t seem to think of any right now. Dunked in cocoa, gifted to a good friend, or secretly eaten too close to dinner, homemade marshmallows are a treat above all others.
I don’t mean to undersell this, but this is just a frittata. It’s not going to help decimate your weekend’s apple haul, it’s not to going to solve the whole homemade-pizza-on-your-schedule crisis, it’s not a cake you’ve been missing out on since 1983, which was 30 years ago, ow. No, it doesn’t have higher powers or reinvent grilled cheese, it’s not even the life-changing soup stock I’ve been meaning to tell you about for two years now (next week?) and I was about to say that it didn’t make the unconquerable in the kitchen conquerable, except that might not be true. This, in fact, did exactly that last Monday night, when someone told me about the recipe that morning and we had it on the table by dinnertime, no small feat some Mondays.
I realize that there’s a woeful dearth of frittata recipes on this site and while I’d like to tell you that I have an solid reason for neglecting the dinner omelet on this site such as not being very into eggs or vegetarian dinners or things that sound like breakfast-for-dinner, you’d know it was all lies. The truth is far less glamorous: prior to recently, the kid had almost zero interest in eggs, and while I may claim on paper to be the kind of parent who believes that it’s parents’ jobs to put out a healthy, nutritious meals three times a day, and then sign off, leaving it the matter of whether or not it gets eaten up to the offspring, I still do my fair share of, say, tilting the scales in dinner’s favor. That generally means that we eat a whole lot more kid-approved sweet potatoes, broccoli and rice than we might were we child-free, and also means we attempt to not build entire meals around things that the child outright loathes, such as eggs. But recently, there have been glimmerings of change in the air — eggs have been ingested willingly, whoa — and I got so excited that I set out to fill the site’s (but mostly our belly’s) frittata void.
Happy Halloween! If you’re still searching for that perfect treat to take to this year’s party, might I suggest a dish of chocolate graveyard dirt cake? Or perhaps some pumpkin-spiced Rice Krispie treats? Crunchy caramel popcorn also makes the ultimate Halloween snack as you traipse through the darkness.
Whether you’re headed out with the kids on trick-or-treat duty or headed to a party in your cleverest costume yet, you’re going to need some treats to satisfy all the hungry spirits you meet on your way.