Friday, 20 December 2013 | 38 comments

Dennie’s molasses cookies

Four Decembers ago, my friend Jonathan and I went camping. (If you know both of us, this is only mildly absurd.) We went to Assateague—you know, the island where the wild ponies are?—and the freezing rain started on our drive there. It didn’t stop as we pitched our tent. It was so windy we couldn’t even get a fire lit to heat water for coffee. After one night, our spirits weren’t totally dampened, so we went hiking on the beach. We got back, freezing, wrapped ourselves in sleeping bags and ate cheese and apples in the tent. Jonathan produced some Ziploc bags full of his mom’s molasses cookies. The rain turned to snow, and we decided to leave, cutting the trip short.

We took a lot of pictures on the trip—Jonathan sitting on some driftwood as grey, winter-storm surf rolled in, me running on a beach that looked like the craggy surface of the moon with the grey sky hanging low—so it looms large in my memory. The whole affair was brief and completely miserable, but somehow we both remember it as this pinnacle event of our lives.
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Thursday, 5 December 2013 | 20 comments

John Besh’s sunny-side up egg

How quickly are you going to tune out knowing that this post is about how to fry an egg? There is more than one way to skin a cat, the saying goes, but I don’t think there are infinite ways to do it. Which is why I’m suspicious whenever some celebrity chef takes one of the simplest types of cooking and “reveals” it as a special technique (I always think of this Rachel Ray recipe—be sure to delve into the comments). So when I was listening to The Splendid Table a few weeks ago and heard New Orleans chef John Besh gush over how he thinks every cook should know how to make this particular creamy, perfect sunny-side up egg, I rolled my eyes and almost turned it off. » Click to read more

Tuesday, 26 November 2013 | 28 comments

Skillet-caramelized winter squash

At this time of year, there’s a late afternoon sun that streams in during a pretty hour or so before early dusk. » Click to read more

Tuesday, 12 November 2013 | 16 comments

Winter squash butter & more

i am back from Ghana and, as usual when I return from traveling, have all these ambitious ideas kicking around about essays to write about American food culture and privilege and whatnot (I know, what else is new?). But there is a lot to catch up on, so until and if I actually end up writing these things, I’ll leave you with a couple links from when I was out.

I did another “Small Batch” feature for Food52, this time about all the ways you can make “pumpkin butter” out of any winter squash. This stuff is really good, and just sweet enough that it goes really well with a tangy fresh cheese on crackers, or also just on your morning toast. You can read it here.

Amina Elahi of the blog PAPER/PLATES interviewed me for her “At the Table With…” feature. They’re fun questions if you’re into books and writing as well as food.

Last but not least, a quick shout-out to the lovely Rachel, who is an anthropologist doing her doctorate field work in Ghana. She reached out to me and we met up and walked around crazy Makola Market one day. It meant a lot, and reminded me that if I’m ever in your neck of the woods and you want to get coffee: let’s do it. Real life is way better than the Internet.

Friday, 25 October 2013 | 26 comments

First shiitake harvest

Early this year, we inoculated some logs with shiitake spawn. Around September, we got our first one or two ‘shrooms. But just this week was the first time we had enough coming in to really harvest in earnest.

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