Tag Archives: ginger

Carrot Tops

Carrot top was a phrase that confused me as a child. Why were redheads ‘carrot tops’ when it was pretty obvious that the tops of carrots were


carrotAnd why doesn’t any one make a toy  top shaped like a carrot? They’re nearly ideal…..I did find carrot shaped furniture

Carrot Chest Punkin Patch Interiors

Carrot Chest Punkin Patch Interiors Is it just me or does this look like it could topple on these kids without warning?

Back to carrots.

So the carrots have been sitting in the fridge bin for about as long as they might and still be carrots and not compost.Time to make something.

I had a recipe note that I’ve been meaning to try. Recipe isn’t quite the right word.It cleans up to this:

Carrot and fresh Cranberry Slaw

Carrots – 4 cups

dried cranberries Fresh cranberries

Apple cider vinegar


Fresh ginger


Fennel – ¼ med bulb

I admit, even for me, this isn’t much to go on.I switched out fresh cranberries for the dried because  1) I like them better and 2)I also had some.

I was totally in love with the fresh ginger and the carrots together.

I had a shallot and this seemed like a good place to park it, ditto the dregs of a fennel bulb.

But it needed something more….

Trimmed and peeled the carrots and got out the handy dandy grater that I bought at Woolworth’s when I first moved out of the ancestral abode ever so many decades ago -sooo last century

The Woolworths is the little bity low down part towards the center

The Woolworths in Plymouth Center, several decades before I went shopping there.

cheese grater 4 sided

Grates more then cheese – stale bread for bread crumbs, carrots and cabbages for slaw, the occasional knuckle, ect.

Grate the carrot

Carrot, gratedAdd the cranberries….a couple of handfuls – I picked through them ( a good berry bounces) and rinsed and dried them first. Or used the dried cranberries.

Two or three handfuls should be enough

Two or three handfuls should be enough

Chop the shallot.

shallots are between onions and garlic in the taste spectrum. Substitute as you wish.

shallots are between onions and garlic in the taste spectrum. Substitute as you wish.

If you don’t have fennel you might use celery

This is also known as Florence Fennel - a little more anise then celery; good crunch, too.

This is also known as Florence Fennel – a little more anise then celery; good crunch, too.

Chop and add.Mix and mingle together Smelling good.

Cut and peel a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger. Avoiding cutting your thumb.Grate or chop finely and add.

This is more ginger then I used, but if you like things zingy

This is more ginger then I used, but if you like things zingy

Now for oil and vinegar…..apple cider vinegar is a good choice, and I had a bottle out.

apple cider vinegarAnd then I remembered….I had purchased flavored oil and vinegar from Omega Olive Oil at the Plymouth Farmers Market in the winter, but between the snow and the fire and the relocation I had forgotten….where are they now?

Blood Orange Oil and Ginger Balsamic Vinegar……now this bowl is singing good..

Sometimes it’s the little things that make something go from good to great.  These carrots were tops!



Filed under Recipe, Summer

Gingerbread. Man

A confectionery tale

Once upon a time, in a time not so very long ago, a messenger or two brought glad tidings of great joy.

“Oh, Yoo-Hoo, Oftabakin! In a village nearby The Historical Society shall soon choose the best gingerbread. Send your gingerbread as the best.”

Man, oh man, replied Oftabakin. Cakewalk.

And over the clatter of baking pans in and out of the oven, much like the clatter of hooves of twelve tiny reindeer on the roofs, Oftabakin heard ‘historical’ and ‘gingerbread’ and as these were great words, among her favorite words, she smiled with delight. For like ‘chocolate’ and ‘peanut butter’, some great words are even more great together.

So she cleaned up the kitchen and got out the historical books and the gingerbread books and made a study of historical gingerbread.

She discovered all sorts of strange and wonderful ways to spell gingerbread:

Blah blah blah

She found that honey was very common and then – like magic – sugar replaced it, only to later be replaced by molasses. Except that sugar never went completely away and in some places and cases came back stronger than ever.

That not all gingerbread had ginger in it.


That gingerbread was pressed and rolled and cut and caked and iced and frosted and gilded, served hot and cold and could be crispy/crunchy or soft and even gooey.

The more she studied gingerbread the more fascinating it became.

And so Oftabakin made lists and notes in margins and scribbled on different colored sticky papers and stuck the papers out of the books and on the sides of the fridge, and had to re-write several of the things she wrote for she could barely read her own handwriting.

And she slept on it and dreamed sweet angel dreams.

Gingerbread angel mold - 17th century

Gingerbread angel mold – 17th century


She made charts and lists and other charts….and then she saw the time, and it was time to bake.

So she shopped, for she had a mighty list.

Oftabakin checked and double checked the bowls and mixers and pans, and removed boughs and boughs of holly to clear the decks.


Decks cleared, she commenced a-measuring and a-mixing. Stirring, folding, warming, cooling, dropping, spreading, smoothing, timing.

A-baking. A-humming. Fa la la la la la la la la.

The kitchen was alive with the fragrance of sugar and spice and everything nice and the sound of angelic harps, very Celtic it seemed, but then they would be.

Oftabakin tasted the gingerbread and the gingerbread was good.

When Oftabakin said Cakewalk, she thought that the Historical Society wanted plates of gingerbread, to judge the gingerbread and choose the best gingerbread. Like a real cakewalk.

So she went to their magical website to get an entry form and directions and to see if she needed particular plates to serve it on, and would they need a copy of the recipes, for she had decided to make FOUR gingerbreads, to demonstrate Four Hundred Years of Gingerbread History on one plate. History you could eat.

What The Historical Society wanted was….



Oftabakin was many things, and when not a-baking could be a-gardening or a-cleaning or even a-humming, but Oftabakin was not a carpenter.

Oh, sure she knew the difference between a thwart saw and a sawzall, a screwdriver and a screw, timber framing and balloon framing – although that there were no actual balloons involved in balloon framing was the source of perpetual disappointment for her and a real shortcoming for carpentry in general she thought.

So she sharpened her knives and disinfected a T-square and covered the correct sized base with tin foil and made gobs and gobs of royal icing and got a pastry bag with different tips and cutters in different shapes and candies in different colors and went to work.

Hard hats were now required in the kitchen.

This is a Martha Stewart Gingerbread House. It bears no resemblance to any house in this story.

This is a Martha Stewart Gingerbread House. It bears no resemblance to any house in this story.

The list of things that Oftabakin was not continued to grow.

Not a construction worker.

Not an engineer.

Not an ice cubes chance in you-know-where for a career in fancy pastry work, either.

gingerbread house

This is not the actual house under construction. It is a re-created facsimile….minus the royal icing and gumdrops – and it is standing up straighter…..


And when it was done, she took some photos of The Little House, made with 4 kinds of gingerbread. And copious amounts of royal icing. And gumdrops. With a little Gingerbread Man.

The G-Man

The G-Man

“But the lightening isn’t very good,” Oftabakin said to herself. “I can’t find the good side of this house.”

“It’s not the lighting, Toots”, said the Gingerbread Man. “It’s the House. It doesn’t have a good side. Well, it does – INSIDE…someone’s mouth

Great. Of All the Gingerbread Men in All the World, Oftabakin managed to make one who was also a Wise Guy.

But daylight was burning, delivery had to be made, so the house and the icing and the gumdrops and the mouthy G-Man were all packed up and maps came out and it was time to roll.

On the highways and byways, the roll came to a sudden stop – there was an accident ahead. “Hey, Toots,” said the G-Man, “That’s not the only accident on this road – look in this box.”

Before Oftabakin could answer, she saw a sign, a sign that had colors and shapes that spoke of the Sunrise and the Sunset, and she was drawn to it, so she pulled off the highways and closer to the sign. “What would you like?” asked the Sign, and Oftabakin told the Sign.DD drive thru

Oftabakin had a Gingerbread Coffee and it was good. Oftabakin liked her coffee with cream, and no sugar, for she was sweet enough just the way God made her. Sometimes a little sugar on the side made coffee even better. So she reached to box with the Little House and picked up the G-Man and dunked his head into the coffee.gman headless

And it was good. And he was quiet. At last and for always.

And then she went home, for she realized the gingerbread was never meant to go away, but was something she could share with her own Village.

And so she took apart the house and made plates of the four different gingerbreads and shared them.

And the Villagers said, “This is Good.”


Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas, Holiday, Perception ways

Smoke and Ginger

Smoke and Ginger would be a great name for a Rock Band,or a cocktail….. it’s also the taste of the change of season.

The Days are still somewhat Summerish, but some of the Nights are downright Autumnal…..it’s interesting that as the traditional burning of leaves has been curtailed as environmentally unfriendly, the number of fire pits that people gather around has grown – is there less smoke now or is woodsmoke better then leaf smoke? There’s government money to spent on that study somewhere.

Anyhow, the taste of smoke to me always speaks more to the cooling weather then the heat of summer. It makes no logical sense; many more summer meals cooked over fire, but was that really fire taste or lighter fluid/charcoal briquette taste?
Could it be that I started at the Plant in September and wood smoke became the flavor of the season?
Could it be the many years of Charcoal Burn at work that has shaped my perception that smoke is autumnal?

Making charcoal - you thought it made itself? It takes a lot of smoke to make wood become charcoal

Making charcoal – you thought it made itself? It takes a lot of smoke to make wood become charcoal Photo by Sally Rothemich


Jack and Ginger, jack-whiskey-ginger-alenot to be confused with Fred and Ginger,

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Flying Down To Rio

 Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire Flying Down To Rio

….in terms of zingy names a Gin and Ginger would be a natural, which is also evidently called a Ginger Rogers, not the dancer sort, just to make he whole thing a little confusing
Liquid smoke is made from actual smoke….I just try to work this factoid into all sorts of conversations
But, here in real time, Norah brought in pears, pears from her Sainted Smudder’s pear tree. A 5 gallon pail of pears, with a note to take them. So I ate one. It was small, so I ate another. I put a few aside for lunch, but I’m not a greedy gobble guts. I ate one at lunch with my salad and other with some blue cheese. There were still some that need a home, so I took a few home to make Pear and Ginger Soup … but the next thing I knew there weren’t any left…they just disappeared like magic . They were fragrant and soft and juicy…all the good pear things.
If any had survived I would have made the soup. The beauty of this soup is that it is a great improver of pears. Now if you have a Farm Stand or a Farmer’s Market or a Tree, and you have lovely pears, they really need no improvement. The real challenge is to let their simple beauty shine though. BUT if you’re buying pears through the supermarket, chances are you’re getting pears that are tough enough to stand up to some pretty rough handling. In short, pears that could use a little improvement.

Pear Ginger Soup

6 ripe pears, peeled and cored

3 ½ cups water

¼ cup sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 cinnamon stick

4 whole cloves

1 2/3 inch thick slice fresh ginger

Powdered ginger to taste

  1. Combine the water, sugar and vanilla bean, cinnamon stick. Sliced ginger and cloves in a pan. When it comes to a gentle boil, add the peeled and cored pear bits and poach them 30-40 minutes until they are soft.
  2. Drain and reserve the liquid. Remove the vanilla bean, cinnamon and cloves.
  3. Puree the pears and the ginger slice in a food processor or blender. Pour back into the pan.
  4. Add 2 cups of the poaching liquid or enough to make a soup consistency.
  5. Heat over medium heat. Sprinkle with powdered ginger and serve.

Serves 4

Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook. Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. 1983 (1994) p. 140.

MS Quick Cook

Smoked Turkey and Stilton Sandwiches

What? You need more direction that this? Smoked Turkey. Stilton Cheese. You can buy both of these things sliced at the deli counter. Mustard is good. A little lettuce or watercress is not amiss. Sprouts – not to overwhelm but to give a little green with the rich also works. Arugula? Easier to get then watercress these days and just as good. Now you see it.

I always cut this sandwich into 4 triangles, and turn them out like butterfly wings. I don’t know why, I just do. Some sandwiches aren’t meant to be eaten in rectangular form.

 Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook. p. 141.

pear, singleAlexander_Lucas_

Leave a comment

Filed under 1990's, Influencers, Summer

Salad Noodles

The salad days of summer continue……
Some people have signature dishes, something that they always bring, that they always serve.
I am not one of those people.
In part because, I have a very, very low threshold for boredom.
In part because there is very little I don’t truly believe that I could do better next time – and that means  little changes, and those little changes add up over time.
In part, because once I ‘file’ a recipe – out of sight, out of mind.
Going through my books and folders for this blog has been a real trip down memory lane.
In the ‘why did I stop making that’ category:


It’s tasty, it’s easy, it travels well…..but once I put my copy of  the cookbook Asian Noodles  away…….when I picked it up, it fell open to the peanut dressing recipe.

Rainbow Peanut Noodles


Chinese Peanut Dressing

One 1/3 inch thick slice fresh ginger, peeled and cut in half

8 cloves garlic, peeled

1 teaspoon hot chile paste (or more…)

½ cup smooth peanut butter (or more…)

¼ cup soy sauce

3 ½ tablespoons sugar

3 1.2 tablespoons Chines black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons chicken broth or water (or more)

  1. In a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, finely chop the ginger and the garlic.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients in the order listed. The dressing should be the consistency of thick cream. If it’s too thick, add more liquid; if it’s too think add more peanut butter.
  3. Refrigerate in a cover container (this is a good time to use a Mason jar). The dressing will keep for 2 to 3 weeks, she says – mine has never lasted past the 10 day mark.

Page 122.

Rainbow Noodle Salad

1 # thin noodles, cooked until just tender, rinsed under cold water, drained and tossed with 2 teas toasted sesame oil

8-10 carrots (2#) peeled and grated

4 good sized cukes, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, shredded and squeezed dry

4 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

2 ripe bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into thin strings (about 2 cups)

4 cups sliced cooked chicken, cut into thin strips (or the meat from a Friday night special supermarket  rotisserie chicken. Save the bones for broth)

2-3 tablespoons minced scallion greens (or garlic scapes)

  1. Arrange noodles in a large serving bowl or platter.
  2. Arrange vegetables in concentric circles over the noodles and pile the chicken in the center – or if there are vegetarians or food allergy issues, arrange the meat and veggies in smaller bowls/plates around the noodle bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the scallions or scapes all around on top.
  4. Serve at room temperature or chilled with the Chinese Peanut Sauce.

12 servings, depending on your crowd and what else is on the table.

Nina Simonds. Asian Noodles. Hearst Books. 1997. p.82.

Nina Simonds

Nina Simonds

Nina Simonds has a blog that has a tahini version of this sauce at ninasimonds.

Asian Noodles Nina SimmondsThe leftovers, should there be any, are great with eggs as a fritatta , just  leave off any cheese.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Recipe