Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I collect cookbooks. I love the old ones I find with someone's notes written on the pages. It feels like such a personal connection to be reading their suggestions, additions and notes on a recipe. I recently bought a church cookbook from a town in New England, originally published in 1964. Tucked inside were nearly thirty pages of notes made by the original owner. From them I learned she was single and keen to find a husband. She marked a number of the recipes with the words MEN LIKE. In caps. I wonder if any of her recipes did the trick. My money's on her recipe for WACKI PORK and not HELENE'S TAHITIAN DELITE.

I cherish the handwritten recipes handed down to me by my family and friends. I simply love looking at the handwriting, some of it scribbled and some transcribed in beautiful longhand. Just seeing my mother's nearly unreadable scribble tugs at my heart.

We recently moved and though I've made some progress unpacking enough cookbooks to fill one bookcase, I still have six or more boxes of cookbooks to unpack.

Here are some images of the recipe collections I've made over the years. I've written out recipes, clipped and pasted many from magazines and adhered recipes written out by family and friends to their pages. I can barely close the covers. They are wild and unruly and contain far too much information. I love them this way. Each book is a history. They connect me to people and memories I love.

Summer Squash and Red Pepper Medley

July 7, 2009

Sing Our Song to the Stars
Summer Squash & Red Pepper Medley

Cooking while watching the Michael Jackson Memorial. Thinking about the power of creative and destructive energy, in all its permutations.

I love the flavor of red peppers in dishes. The juices and the oils released by the peppers during cooking envelope the ingredients in a rich, sweet flavor. This is an ideal pairing with summer squash. This medley is so simple to make and is open to any twist you want to put on it. Add more garlic, other herbs and seasonings, use hotter chilies, add another vegetable.

Goat cheese, flecked with crushed pepper, spread on slices of French bread is nice with this dish. Fresh peaches and cherries are a lovely fruit pairing.

I’m recording what I used to make this dish today. How I make it the next time, could be completely different.

Summer Squash & Red Pepper Medley

Yellow Onion [small – minced]
Anaheim chili [medium – sliced into thin strips]
Olive Oil [5-6 tablespoons]
Fresh Lemon Juice [to taste]
Summer Squash [2 cut in half, then sliced into thin strips]
Red Pepper [1 large, sliced into thin strips]
Maldon Smoked Sea Salt [to taste]
Freshly Ground Pepper [to taste]
Fresh Tarragon [minced – amount to taste]
Fresh Lemon Basil [minced – amount to taste]
Fresh Thyme [minced – amount to taste]
Fresh Parsley [minced – amount to taste]

A note about my ingredients:

I always use the best and freshest ingredients from olive oil to salt. I grow most of my own herbs. I never buy them from the grocery store. Pick up some “fresh” herbs from a grocery store and you’ll know why I leave them in the bin. They smell musty or have no smell, at all. If you can’t grow herbs at home, try to buy from a grower at a farmers market. Curled parsley gets such a hard time from people and I concur when we are talking about mass-produced curled parsley. Grow it at home or buy from a farm stand and you will quickly add this herb back into your repertoire. I absolutely love its flavor.


I use a large sauté pan my mother purchased for me many years ago at a yard sale. My pots and pans are some of my oldest and most faithful friends. I add the olive oil to the pan, heating it gently. Toss the minced onion and garlic into the sauté pan and cook until soft and translucent. Add the squash, pepper, chili, herbs, salt, pepper and lemon juice to the sauté pan. Cook until the vegetables are tender but not limp. Usually takes about ten to fifteen minutes depending upon the amount of heat you use.