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Birthday Meals

January 30th, 2018

When I was a girl, Chicken and Dumplings was always my birthday dinner request. Mr Chiots often requests lasagna. This year, I decided to make Skyline lasagna. We both went to college in Cincinnati and ate at Skyline frequently. We try to eat there when we go back to Ohio, it’s not easy to find outside of the area.

If you’ve never had Cincinnati style chili, you’ve been missing out. There are plenty of recipes on-line, but we prefer to get cans of the real thing. Since we only eat it once or twice a year it’s worth it for us. We’ve converted our neighbors to it as well, they were excited to join us for dinner on Saturday night.

Do you have any regional foods that you have grown to love? Do you still live in an area where you can get them?

Delicious Cranberries

January 8th, 2018

I’ve been ordering cranberries from Cranberry Hill farm for years now (I’m guessing 10 years or more). I order both fresh and dried cranberries each year. We enjoy the dried cranberries for snacking and on top of salad. The fresh cranberries are kept in the freezer for making sauces, chutneys, or in baking. Cranberries are one of those things that it seems people love or hate, I LOVE them!!!

I’m never without either variety in my pantry or in my freezer. One top of being delicious and the best you can buy, it’s nice to know you’re supporting small farm and small businesses.

I will tell you that their dried sweetened cranberries are the best, absolutely the BEST ones you can buy. If you’re looking for delicious dried or fresh cranberries, get some today. You can order from their website (but you have to send in a check, no on-line ordering) or head over to LocalHarvest.org and get some there.

Are you a fan of cranberries?

Quote of the Day: Ruth Reichl

December 5th, 2017

“Alice would have snickered derisively at the notion, but she was the first person I ever met who understood the power of cooking. She was a great cook, but she cooked more for herself than for other people, not because she was hungry, but because she was comforted by the rituals of the kitchen. It occurred to her that others might feel differently, and I was grown before I realized that not every six-year-old would consider it a treat to spend entire afternoons in the kitchen.” 

-Ruth Reichl in Tender at the Bone

Recently, I read this book at LOVED it. My childhood was filled with all sorts of delicious and exotic food. Since I grew up in South America, I was able to taste all manner of strange and wonderful things: plantain, fresh coconut right off the tree, yucca, guanabana, and so much more. Thankfully, pickiness was not in my blood, I loved food–all food.

Naturally, since I loved eating and food, cooking became an passion early in life. When I was Jr High and High School, I did the majority of the cooking for my family.

For me, cooking in a creative outlet and it’s comforting. Spending a day in the kitchen making good meals is very enjoyable, and relaxing. I always joke that cooking is my spiritual gift.

Do you enjoy cooking? Do you enjoy eating? What’s your favorite exotic food?

The End of the Season

November 24th, 2017

Last weekend I harvested the rest of the brussels sprouts from the garden. This year, I both grew ‘Churchill’ and ‘Diablo’. (I got my seed from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, a great local seed source for me here in Maine).

‘Diablo’ came out way ahead, it’s a much better variety for my garden. I like the sprouts much better as well, they’re tight sprouts and are more evenly sized. I also found that they had fewer issues with late aphids. If the plants were attacked, the sprouts are easily rinsed off and eaten since they’re so tight. It also held better in the field, without sprouts becoming overgrown and huge. Cold tolerance is also a big bonus for this variety, we regularly had temperatures in the teens and it didn’t mind at all.

The stalks will be left in the garage for a few weeks, then any remaining will be moved to the basement. Most likely, they won’t last long. We’re big fans of Brussels sprouts, our favorite way to eat them is with a balsamic cream sauce, which we had at a local restaurant. Lucky for us, the restaurant chef published a cookbook and it contains the recipe. If you’re interested, see the ‘Brussels Sprouts; The Disregarded Vegetable’ in Comfort Food. I’ll try to share the recipe in December sometime.

Are you a fan of Brussels sprouts? What’s your favorite way to cook them?

Book referenced above, every recipe I’ve tried has been fantastic, which is not a surprise since it’s my favorite restaurant.

Quote of the Day: Robert Farrar Capon

October 29th, 2017

“The world does not need another cookbook, but it needs all the lovers–amateurs–it can get. It is a gorgeous old place, full of clownish graces and beautiful drolleries, and it has enough textures, tastes, and smells to keep us intrigued for more time than we have. Unfortunately, however, our response to its loveliness is not always delight: It is, far more often than it should be, boredom. And that is not only odd, it is tragic; for boredom is not neutral–it is the fertilizing principle for unloveliness.”

Robert Farrar Capon in The Supper of the Lamb





I’m very happy that winter is approaching. While I still enjoy cooking in the summer, my schedule makes it difficult to really immerse myself in cooking big meals, in trying new recipes, baking bread, etc. Summer is about quick cooking vegetables from the garden, winter is about spending hours in the kitchen, braised meats, long simmered soups…

Do you consider yourself an amateur cook? Do you enjoy the process of cooking?

Seeds and Sundries
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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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