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Garlic and Herb Roasted Pork Loin with Crackling (and Apple Chutney)

A hearty family roast, done right, is a cause for celebration – and a great reason to know your local butcher! This pork loin is flavored with herbs and served with spiced apple chutney.

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Crispy Pan-Seared Salmon with Creamy Lemon Rice

Flaky, moist pan-seared salmon with perfectly crisp skin, sitting on a bed of creamy lemon rice. It might look fancy but it’s a cinch to make, even on a weeknight.

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Hoisin-Glazed Cocktail Meatballs

These sticky, sweet and savory Hoisin-glazed Cocktail Meatballs are the ultimate party snack. If the concept is retro, the execution is modern and tasty: it’s all about that glaze, baby.

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Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Basil Sour Cream

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I think zucchini get a bad rap. At our local farmers market, the corn and tomatoes are total attention whores and poor little zucchini are waiting in the background for someone to notice that they’re sweet too. If only they’d take their glasses off and let their hair down… Well the good tomatoes aren’t ready yet and a girl can’t live on corn alone, so zucchini, you’re coming home with me.

I had bought several before remembering that, when you grow something, you don’t really have to buy it anymore. So I realized I needed to find a recipe that uses quite a bit of it. The pale squash below are from our garden, and the darker ones are from the market. (If you’re growing your own, or even just picking from the market, it’s best to go for zucchini that are smaller. They tend to have less water and a firmer texture.)

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Cold Cucumber Cocktails, perfect for summer.

Cucumber cocktails

Cucumber cocktails for your delectation and delight.

Arya’s favorite food (other than dirty napkins stolen out of the garbage) is cucumbers. She goes bonkers for them. I mean she’ll eat pretty much anything that is, was or came near food, but she loves cucumbers. While I’m kind of horrified to think I may be culinarily influenced by my dog, lately I’ve really starting getting into them too.

Obviously they’re great just to munch on and in salad, but I also really like them in cocktails. If I’m really in the mood to…ahem… drink, I’ll have a Hendricks Cucumber Martini, but that mo-fo is strong. When a light, refreshing drink (with a lot less alcohol) is more my speed, I’ll (ask Matt to) make a Grapefruit, Cucumber Gin Fizz.

The same recipe also works well with Blood Orange Soda (like San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa). If gin’s not your thing, use vodka instead. Of course you could always leave the spirits out all together. Whether it’s cucumber cocktails or cucumber mocktails, we’re fine with it, but just don’t leave out the cucumber.

The Reluctant Gardener

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I have a confession to make. I’m actually a little freaked out by “nature”. I mean, it’s beautiful and keeps us alive and I hate that we do terrible things to the Earth. And of course I love farmers markets and fresh, organic produce. That being said, I’m the person that steps off the pavement and immediately gets stung by a bee. Or trips on a tree stump. Or gets stuck in a bramble.

I’ve lived my whole life (until recently) in New York City and haven’t had a lot of experience with non-urban life but Matt really loves the country and I really love Matt so now we live in Beacon, NY. It’s not exactly the wilderness but it’s a pretty small town in the Hudson Valley, about an hour and 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan. We’ve been here almost a year now and I’m liking it much more than I anticipated but adjustments had to be made. There is almost NO restaurant delivery around here (which means we end up cooking a lot more which is good). Going out for dinner often means a 20 minute (or so) drive unless we just go into town. That also means I had to learn how to drive which is no small accomplishment for a city girl who’s never had a license. Now that I finally learned, I love driving everywhere. Even to the mall (I’m still tickled that we have to go to a mall sometimes).

Ramp and Fontina Biscuits

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I know ramps are a little out of season by now (their season is crazy short) but these biscuits were really good so I wanted to post the recipe. Ramps are also irritatingly trendy right now but even though it’s such a jerk move to say so, I’m going to declare it anyway: I’ve been obsessed with ramps for years. Starting around 1995, I used to go to the Union Square Green Market when it was pretty much the only one in town and I would try to get whatever was just in season, whether I was familiar with it or not. In very early Spring, that meant asparagus, fiddlehead ferns (which I just never got a taste for), and ramps.

A brief culinary tour of our (not so recent) trip to England and Wales.

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At the beginning of the summer (2013), Matt and I went to England to visit his family and do a little sightseeing. For years we went every other Christmas which means that we hadn’t been to the UK when the weather was warm for ages. Now don’t get me wrong, Christmas in England is magical, with all the fireplaces and fairy lights and mince pies (ok, those are kinda gross). But when you’re driving around it’s a bit difficult when it gets dark at 2pm and the average weather is frozen drizzle.

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