Recipes

The first time I made this dish was an evening last fall when I walked into the butcher’s and said, “I just need something easy for dinner tonight.” Before moving to Scotland, my butcher shop was the gargantuan counter at Whole Foods Market. Being only 5’2″, I was always eye level with the top of the counter, so speaking to the butcher was like talking to a gleaming piece of metal. In contrast, the butcher shop here is the same size as my kitchen, and speaking to the butcher is like talking to an old friend. That day last fall […]

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Up here in Scotland we’re in the middle of what one friend calls “the tunnel”. Back in November I bumped into him on the street in St. Andrews. He said, “We’ve entered the tunnel. We won’t come out until February.” Northern living is challenging at this time of year. The mornings are dark – pitch dark, bump-into-walls-while-making-coffee dark. The afternoons are even darker. Light seeps into the sky around 8:45 and starts to drain out again by 3:30. I’ve never been so acutely aware of the winter solstice. We actually count the days we achieved since December 21st. The good […]

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One of my favorite places to shop in St Andrews is Keracher’s Fish and Game. A family run business, it’s been around since 1925. Their coldwater and shellfish is the super fresh, coming straight from the waters around Scotland. They offer a range of frozen fish and shellfish, smoked haddock and salmon, deli items such as pickled anchovies, herring and sardines, and all the accoutrements to round out your meal. The thing that interested me most however, on a recent visit, was the diced venison shoulder. I’d never cooked with venison – or any other game – but I was […]

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There’s frost on the ground in the mornings and a big fire stoked in our wood stove. The nights are drawing in and when it’s clear there are more stars visible than I thought possible. Scotland in October is beautiful. At the butcher, mutton has arrived, specifically from the famed Scottish Black Faced sheep. You know these guys, the ones with horns that curl like cinnamon buns on either side of their adorable black faces? These herds live in the most unspoiled countryside in Britain, feeding on heather, wild grasses, berries and the clear waters of the burns. Burns? That’d […]

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We all have comfort foods we crave again and again. Maybe it’s your mother’s roast chicken, or noodle soup, or freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, still warm and gooey from the oven. I could go on, but I’ll cut to the chase here. One of my top comfort foods is chicken salad. I like it classic, with mayo and celery, or shredded into a Cobb salad. I’ll eat it with a garlicky tahini dressing. I daydream about trying exotic chicken salads, like this one with curry and mango. And I love it combined with another fave comfort food: peanut butter, […]

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Back in May, just before we moved to Scotland, Saveur ran an article that featured a Corsican chestnut cake. The article talked about how chestnuts are the prize crop of Corsica, the mountainous Mediterranean island that claims to be the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte and Christopher Columbus. David McAninch, the article’s author, was more interested in gastronomy than history, entitling his article Pleasure Island. Corsican flavors run towards a plethora of local ingredients: wild game stews, pungent soft cheeses, fish soups, and fragrant herbs. Desserts almost always call into service the citrus and chestnuts that grow in abundance on the […]

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It’s true, when we decided to move north, we headed straight for cooler and damper weather. I’ve worn my down jacket and huddled up with my hot water bottle this summer, but all hope is not lost. Cooler weather is a great excuse to make all kinds of delicious soups and stews. And with an abundance of local beef, lamb and pork, inspiration is easy to come by. The stew above was sparked by an amazing-sounding recipe in the meaty cookbook, Primal Cuts. “Bourbon-Braised Pulled-Pork Sandwiches” comes from Morgan Maki of Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco. I figured if he […]

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We’re quickly learning that the lamb in Scotland is as fresh and more affordable than the local beef. It’s equally tasty, too, being a little gamey and very tender. Ground lamb here is called lamb mince and, thanks to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s The River Cottage Meat Book for a little inspiration, it makes delicious burgers. The lamb is marinated for about an hour in lemon, garlic and herbs, hence the souvlaki in the title. If you eat dairy, these would be wonderful with some homemade tzatziki. We had them with a local red onion confit from Knowehead Products that has a nice […]

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These days I’m restless and bored with cooking. I need new inspiration and new dishes. Usually when this happens I start perusing my cookbooks, but right now, my cookbooks are packed into a container ship heading to the UK, along with all my other earthly belongings. That’s right – we’re moving to Scotland in a few weeks. We’ll be living in a little cottage on a 1200 acre cattle farm outside of St Andrews. If you Google the address, you see a map with a lot of green and some tiny white dots. Zoom in, and those dots turn into […]

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This time of year all I want to do is cook on the grill. We’ve been lucky in North Carolina. We’ve had a true spring, complete with cool days and warm breezes and, for the most part, an absence of mosquitoes. It’s about to change, but right now, the weather is perfect for ducking out the back door and throwing a steak on a hot grill. Skirt steak works well with all kinds of marinades, but especially those that contain citrus, vinegar or tamari. The acid in the marinade helps break down the tough fibers of the steak, making the […]

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