Between meals: Some good reads

I’m entranced by a fascinating book called “Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War,” by Anna Ciezadlo. I can’t recall anything like it, and can’t recommend it enough. Ciezadlo is a reporter, married to a Lebanese reporter, and she covered the wars in the Middle East, in Bagdhad and Beirut, for several newspapers and magazines. Her story

Green-up time

I didn’t put the subject in the title, because I didn’t want you running away. It’s broccoli, but it’s OK, really, this is good. I got this tip, in the same month, from two very good chefs (Shaun Hill and Brett Graham), and it’s terrific.

I was taught that broccoli stalks were bitter and tough, and should always be discarded, so I did. Now that I know it isn’t true, I could weep over all the food I’ve wasted—this shows the virtue of tasting always, and challenging the

Onion Relish

We make a lot of this in the summer, to go with barbecue and burgers, but it came in very handy over the recent year-end holidays. It works very well either at room temperature or cold, with ham, roast pork, or turkey, or with leftover chicken or beef. It’s positively sensational on a juicy burger. The wine we use in it is usually whatever’s left over from a night or two (or even three) earlier. This can be made ahead and will keep for a couple of weeks in a jar in the fridge, although we usually get to the bottom of it before then.

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 pound yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons tomato puree
12 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves,
      drained and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup dry red wine

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add all the remaining ingredients except the vinegar and wine. Stir well. Reduce heat to very low, cover, and cook on very low heat until the onions have begun to brown, about 1 hour. Stir in the vinegar and wine. Cook, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is a rich mahogany color, about 45 more minutes. Let cool. Spoon into airtight jars, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. (Bonus: Your house will smell wonderful all day.)