Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cooking For Sophie

Our family had a terrible tragedy this past weekend. We lost our beautiful cousin, Sophie. We are utterly shaken to the core. Gathering with family and friends at her parents' house here on Cape Cod has been heartbreaking and also incredibly helpful in dealing with our loss. Every night, many of us gather to eat dinner together, to hug, to share stories, tears, and laughs. Food has been nourishing in more ways than just for nutrients - it's given us something to concentrate on, something to taste and enjoy, something to share and provide. I'd like to give you a couple recipes for food that we made to share with the family. These recipes were special for us because we know that Sophie would have loved eating them and also because many of the ingredients were grown in our garden, or the gardens of our family and friends. Sophie was an organic gardener by heart and by trade, so I think she really would have appreciated these dishes. This is for you, Sophie. We miss you every day.

Chopped Arabic Salad

I found this salad on and tried it today. It resembles something a rabbit might enjoy, but it's actually quite tasty for humans, too. Sophie's sister, Ruby, told me that Sophie loved purslane, one of the ingredients. Many folks might see purslane as a weed, but it's actually edible, tasty and super healthy for you. Up until about a week ago, I pulled out those suckers out of my garden as fast as I could, but now that I know, I'll let them grow. Many thanks to the CSA we're participating in as we got a big bag of purslane this week. Sophie always said that weeds are just plants that are growing somewhere you don't want them to grow. If you have purslane in your garden, give it a chance. You might just discover that you like it! If you can't find purslane in your garden, local market or farmstand, you can leave it out of this salad, but it's definitely worth looking for.
  • 1 lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (1/2-lb) cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 1/3 cups)
  • 1 lb tomatoes (3 medium), cut into 1/3-inch dice (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion (1 small) or 1 cup chopped scallions (about 5)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped purslane
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
Cut peel, including all white pith, from lemon with a sharp paring knife. Working over a bowl, cut segments from half of lemon free from membranes and transfer segments to a cutting board, then squeeze juice from membranes and remaining 1/2 lemon into bowl. Transfer 2 tablespoons juice to a large bowl, then finely chop segments and add to measured juice. Add salt, pepper, and oil, whisking to combine, then stir in remaining ingredients.

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Bread

Many of our faithful readers (we recently got confirmation that we do have more than one reader!!!) probably know how to make zucchini bread. Maybe they even have a recipe memorized. This one is slightly different because it has sweet potato in it, but the basic recipe is pretty much the same. I modified it to make it healthier, but you can find the original recipe here. The recipe as is makes too much for one loaf, but not enough for two. I made one regular sized loaf and then used my u(imagine an umlaut over that u)ber-cute turquoise Pyrex vintage mini loaf pan for the extra batter.
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce or pear sauce
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups grated peeled sweet potato
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (toasting is optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Sift first 5 ingredients into medium bowl. Beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla to blend in large bowl. Mix in zucchini and sweet potato. Add dry ingredients and walnuts and stir well.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool bread in pan on rack 15 minutes. Cut around bread to loosen. Turn out onto rack and cool completely. It really does take that long to bake.

Sophie, Sophie, Sophie.


  1. I want to make that zucchini and sweet potato bread! Must go to the store for both those ingridients, though. Can I also say that you are hilarious? :) I found your blog on the etsy post about cooking that you added your link to in the comments. Just thought you'd like to know! It was not a waste of your time to comment on it. ok thats all. ;)

  2. Thanks, Rebecca! We're so glad you like our blog and think we're funny, too! We love making people laugh.

    The zucchini and sweet potato bread is definitely worth going to the store for. Yum!!! I like to have sweet potatoes on hand because they're something a little different and there are so many interesting recipes out there that use them. Happy baking!


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