Cool Stuff
“No Sugar, No 7-Up, Just Plain Water: A Quest for the Perfect Christmas Tree”

We have a place that we go to every year on the highway. It is a place where burly Canadians come and display their Christmas trees. I look forward to finding that perfect tree… it’s a bit of a treasure hunt. Everyone has their own style. I look for nice balance and proportions, a little bushiness, and good height. But my mom is completely different. She likes those really sparse […]

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“How to String Peppers”

As you recall, I had all of these strange French peppers this year. Some turned red, some didn’t. It was very confusing. But they were beautiful and I loved them and pickled the ones that were green. The others sat one the windowsill because I was too busy to do anything with them and while they waited, they turned red! So we strung them and now they’re dangling and drying […]

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“A Norman Rockwell Evening”

I just had a very Norman Rockwell evening. Warm food and Christmas carol singing and advent wreath making… it began with a church potluck down the road. The same church that every member of my family seems to have gone through…in birth, marriage, or death. It’s a place where everybody knows my name… like on the TV show Cheers but more wholesome. Grandma Pellegrini and I worked all afternoon on […]

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“The Fruits of Our Labor”

There are few things more gratifying than cooking a meal entirely from things you have grown. This Thanksgiving we spent as much time outdoors collecting ingredients as we did indoors cooking them. First, we cut these baby brussels sprouts from the garden. They were strange things this year. We waited and waited for them to get large and plump but they never did. So because it was Thanksgiving, we just […]

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“Turkey Stock”

I think of any stock as liquid gold… the sure path to tastier food. And as you know by now, I like to use as many parts of the animal that I eat, as I possibly can. So this Thanksgiving, my turkey carcas became a lovely stock, that made the house smell like Thanksgiving all over again. Here’s how you make it, a little liquid gold from me to you, […]

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“Livin’ the Sheep Life”

In honor of “Black Friday,” I thought we could all use a little perspective. Meet my favorite sheep. I don’t know her name. But she’s my favorite. I’ll call her Bertha. Bertha knows how to keep it real even when there’s three babies biting her udders and a strange girl taking video of her. Bertha just chews hay, bats her white eyelashes and keeps it in perspective. This is a […]

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“Going Home”

I am about to step outside into the biggest travel day of the year. I’m a little scared. I’ve never done this before. I’m usually a hop, skip and a jump away from where I need to be on the holidays. So this is new territory for me. It also means I don’t get to cook as much as I would normally want to on a day that revolves around […]

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“An Oyster Soiree”

Over the weekend, I had a little oyster soiree. Now I’ll admit it, I never used to be an oyster gal. I can hear your gasps and cries through the cybersphere, but it is true. But then last New Year’s Eve that changed. I received a box from a guy who changed the way America eats seafood many decades ago, and in true form, he single handedly changed the way […]

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“Grandma’s Spinach Dip”

I recently received an email from Grandma Pellegrini. Yes, she does email now, she has a gmail account, and most recently a Facebook account, and is quite good at it. She is also good at ordering interesting things on amazon. Mostly cooking equipment. Just the other day I walked into her kitchen and a new ice cream maker was buzzing, churning some terra cotta colored apricot ice cream which had […]

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