I’m excited to announce the launch of Twice as Tasty Live, a new segment of this blog project. Twice as Tasty Live incorporates the already popular workshops and expands to other events that put me in your kitchen, making and sharing delicious, homemade food.
Read more about Twice as Tasty Live events
When the garden is in full swing and sailing season is on, one of my go-to meals is a stir-fry. In the time it takes to cook a pot of rice, the rest of the meal can be chopped, cooked, and ready to serve from one pan as a single-dish meal. In spring, asparagus, early onions, young garlic, snap peas, spinach, and herbs dominate the stir-fry; at the height of summer, freshly harvested onions, peppers, carrots, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes take over. By late summer, corn, eggplant, and fall broccoli and peas are ready to mix in.
When you’re rich in a particular vegetable, you can let it solo in a stir-fry, backed by aromatics such as garlic, ginger, and chilies. But my favorite stir-fries are created with dibs and dabs of many vegetables and a protein such as tofu. To guarantee success, fry quickly, at high heat, in an order that lets the ingredients brown evenly, with plenty of movement. It’s in the name: stir and fry.
Learn to make Fresh Improv Stir-Fry and Pan-Fried Tofu
I’ve been thinking a lot about local food lately. With last week’s official launch of Twice as Tasty Live, I’ve been making the rounds of local purveyors of flour, milk, coffee, tea, fish, and more to find ingredients for the first two Twice as Tasty house concerts coming up in the next week. I’ve also been inspecting progress in the garden, keeping tabs on what will be ready to harvest and take straight to the host’s table for each event.
But how to define “local food”? Some sources define the local food circle as within 100 miles of where it’s bought or eaten, but many federal assistance programs extend that range to 400 miles. Some define it as food grown and processed within a state, whereas others define local food systems by regions rather than borders. Giant chain stores sell local food; so do farmers from roadside stands and weekly markets.
My local food sources start with the ground I garden in, extend out to local producers and locally owned businesses, and continue down the road to the closest source for any item that isn’t grown in my backyard. I love the way Barbara Kingsolver put it in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life: “Our highest shopping goal was to get our food from so close to home, we’d know the person who grew it.” It’s a lofty challenge, but this may be the month to work toward it.
Read more about eating local
Every year, we stuff at least 40 pepper plants into a hoop house, including bell peppers, Gypsy peppers, Poblanos, and several types of chilies. We go big because peppers can go in and on almost anything: salsas, salads, dips, sauces, breakfast eggs, lunch sandwiches, dinner pastas—the list is endless.
The challenge is in waiting for the peppers to ripen to bright yellows, oranges, reds, and purples and then capturing their peak flavor. My favorite variations use the grill to add a little char for fresh eating, such as for Corn, Bean, and Pepper Salsa and Shish Kebabs with Garlic–Soy Marinade, or a lot of smokiness before long-term storage, such as for Smoked Chilies and Home-Smoked Chili Paste. My latest trick falls somewhere in the middle: roasting peppers on the grill and then freezing them in a dice to throw in winter dishes or as a puree to use as a spread or sauce.
Learn to grill peppers and make Red Bell Pepper Puree