Sour Cherry Season

When I was in California last month, I had the most delicious breakfast I’ve ever eaten at Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland. We ordered a buttermilk biscuit to share while we waited for our meal (we should have each ordered our own), and on the table there was a pot of sour cherry jam to eat with it. After we’d polished off the last crumbs of the biscuit, I contemplated eating the jam right out of the pot with a spoon. That morning I vowed to finally get my hands on some sour cherries this year and make some jam.¬†Sour cherries have a very short season and are far more fragile than the sweet ones, so unless you have your own sour cherry tree, you really have to be on top of things to get your hands on some. I’m usually not that on top of things. Continue reading

Simple Cream of Asparagus Soup

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The weather was chilly and grey today, and after a quick stop at the garden to check on things after work, I wanted soup. The first local asparagus turned up the co-op last week, and I had a bunch of it waiting at home in the fridge. This soup is very simple and barely takes half an hour to make, but it tastes like something very fancy. I want to eat it every day until the peas come in, and then I want to eat this soup with peas in place of the asparagus. Continue reading

Nanny’s Irish Soda Bread

In 2008 I posted my grandmother’s Irish soda bread recipe on my first blog, cooking the hard way. It turned out to be my most popular post ever. I’m thinking its about time I shared the recipe again. This time around I was inspired by one of the commenters on that first post to make the dough into scones instead of one big round. It’s delicious either way. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!¬† Continue reading

Black Bean & Tortilla Casserole with Pasilla Chiles

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When I was just out of college and my cooking repertiore was still pretty limited, I used to make a casserole beans and tomatoes layered with corn tortillas and cheese, a recipe my mom used to make from one of her Williams-Sonoma cookbooks. As tasty as it was, my roommate Leslie and I doubted its authenticity as a Mexican dish. It just seemed to us a bit like something out of The Family Circle Illustrated Library of Cooking, and we dubbed it Fiesta Casserole.

Perhaps this recipe was a little more authentic than we gave it credit for, because this week I picked up a copy of Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen and found a couple different variations on this theme. This one is rich and smokey, and tastes almost chocolatey, like mole, even though there’s no chocolate in it. It will take you the better part of an afternoon to make, but it’s definitely worth it. Continue reading