Eggplant & Bean Thai Curry

Another easy weeknight supper recipe, one of my favorite meatless suppers, though it makes a great side dish too. It's made from green beans and eggplant that get stirred into a sauce of coconut milk that's kissed with lime zest and fresh mint. Globalization gets a bad rap in many circles but food-wise, what a boon! Who can imagine a day without coffee (imported mostly from Brazil) or sugar cookies without a hint of cinnamon (Sri Lanka) or steak with without freshly ground black pepper (Vietnam)? The 100 Mile Diet encourages consumption of locally produced foods, ones that travel no more than a hundred miles. For St. Louisans like me, that means no further than from Cape Girardeau, Fort Leonard Wood and Columbia on the Missouri side, and from Quincy, Springfield and Marion on the Illinois side. No coffee or spices in that radius, I’m afraid!This recipe calls for two imports that are personal pantry favorites. The first is canned unsweetened coconut milk, especially the low-fa…

Dimply Plum Cake

The one simple, rustic cake I make, year after year, during the short window in late August when Italian plums can be found. It's sturdy, it's fruity, it's a cake to savor bite by bite. Who's heard of cookbook author Dorie Greenspan? We have Dorie to thank for this summer cake, just sweet Italian plums burrowed into a cardamom-sweet, citrus-scented rustic cake. Me, I like to serve it with a dollop of Swedish Cream, whipped cream made with a touch of sour cream and cardamom.

Fresh & Seasonal, Perfect for a Late-Summer Sweet Treat.

How to Save Money on Groceries - Part Three

Many thanks to all who are encouraging this series, especially the readers forwarding thoughtful tips. I am increasingly aware how difficult it is to buy groceries without falling prey to the temptations of the food companies. They're good at selling! So we must be equally good at buying. To start at the beginning of this series about How to Save Money on Groceries:
Part One: Frugal Eating Starts in Our Heads
Part Two: Frugal Food Shopping Requires a Plan
We're finally mentally ready to shop for groceries, frugally. We are motivated to save money. We're armed with good intentions and smart grocery shopping tips. We've gathered the fortitude to withstand all the marketing messages that will bombard us once inside the stores. We'll understand that it's easy to fall to temptation: food companies don't become successful by selling us less. Stay strong. We're up for it!"Just food, only food." This …

Golden Coconut Cookies

Looking for a way to use up four egg yolks? It happens, every so often. And since way back, I actually look forward to having leftover egg yolks, knowing that a batch of Golden Coconut Cookies will soon emerge from the oven. They're sweet and crisp, a little chewy in the center. They're cinnamon-y too and in fact, remind me of snickerdoodles.

A Simple Cookie, Sweet & Crisp, Bright with Cinnamon. Handy for Using Leftover Egg Yolks.

Chilaquiles Recipe

A classic Mexican breakfast with eggs, corn tortillas and melted cheese. A concept recipe with many variations. To quote my Nana, never one to pussyfoot, "It sure looks like the dog's breakfast." Luckily, chilaquiles [pronounced chee-lah-KEE-lehs] taste better than they look because this is classic comfort food: easy, quick, cheap, nourishing. The 'signature' of chilaquiles is pieces of corn tortilla, fried first and then softened -- but just a bit, some 'chew' is good -- in a milk 'n' cheese sauce. It might have some plant crunch, onion and celery or especially tomatilla, say. Add a fried egg to the top and you've got a hearty breakfast or a quick supper.Did I mention delicious and addictive? That too. Chilaquiles might 'look' like the dog's breakfast but all the humans will be lapping them up, pronto. ALANNA's TIPS
Flour tortillas, even whole wheat tortillas, turn out more mealy than crispy.
Queso fresco is a crumbly slightly…

Lemon Basil Shrimp

Many folks like to work out. Me, I like to work outside. And when my garden is thick with leafy ferns in the spring and tall with lily-scented hostas about now, it’s all worthwhile.But much of the time, a yard with a garden is more about hauling than tending or even weeding.You know. Hauling dirt. Hauling mulch. Hauling plants. Hauling empty containers. Hauling chemicals, cords and clippings. Hauling yard bags. And this time of year, hauling hoses. And all too soon, hauling leaves and gumballs.Awhile back, a man I’ll call ‘Bill’ started passing by my place often and regularly enough to recognize that he walked for exercise and Kirkwood streets were his gym. One fine spring day, I was working on the mulch pile in the driveway when Bill passed by, nodding hello in that certain Midwestern-male way. “Like to help?” I asked, only half joking. Without breaking stride, he shot back, “Just bought a condo,” as if his answer explained all. It sure did, Bill, it sure did. Keep walking. ALANNA&…

Thai Cantaloupe Salad

The Recipe: A refreshing summer salad, just cantaloupe balls with lime juice, fish sauce (yeah, I know, but you have to try it to believe it) , fresh basil and a touch of jalapeƱo heat.The Conversation: What's the word for August's food bounty? The last page of the Atlantic is my first read. It's a funny little column called "Word Fugitives" that conjures clever terms for conditions failed by the current lexicon. Example: If a husband is a packrat, what might we call his opposite? Readers suggested "wouldchuck" and "hurl squirrel" and the winning entry, "heave-homemaker". Ha!Me, my missing word would describe the food bounty that August's gardens and farmers markets deliver. It would suggest the satisfied moan that follows the first bite of fresh and simple food that just tastes so – not delicious, someplace past delicious. It conveys that there's simply no bad food right now, that everything that's fresh is wondrous, in…