Monday, 6 February 2012 | 77 comments

A grapefruit olive oil cake for a cold winter day

I take pleasure in the spareness of this season: the quiet, the grey light, the bare branches. It’s been such a mild winter so far that whenever we get a rare dusting of snow, I find myself walking around in the woods for hours.All the silence and sparseness are a bit misleading, though. I think about the secrets under the quiet white veil; the life that is there, dormant, waiting to wake up; the soil that’s teeming, always, with all kinds of micro-critters. Nature is like this, I think. She enjoys vibrance hidden beneath humble exteriors. Like seeds.And jewel-bright grapefruit. » Click to read more

Friday, 5 August 2011 | 7 comments

Cherry buckwheat clafoutis

I’m away from DC right now, traveling for work in Mozambique. It feels strange—something of a betrayal—to be writing here, when the Yellow House has become so much about a concrete space, its modest garden, the seasons that whirl around it, and the people who make it home. By contrast, I’m in a cool, tidy hotel with far too much room for one visitor. I worry that my green tomatoes have turned red with no one to harvest them. I fret that a neighbor will email my landlady to complain about our unkempt front garden. I’m happy, though, that I brought along the pictures of this little brown cake. » Click to read more

Tuesday, 12 July 2011 | 5 comments

Summer squash & basil frittata

I grew up in the kind of family who knew that, come summer, you better have an arsenal of recipes at hand for using up squash. Louise and I were packed off for a few weeks each year to my grandma and grandpa’s farm in Indiana, and I have vivid memories of heading off on August Sundays loaded down with a brown paper bag of zucchini in each arm for some unsuspecting church-goer. In retrospect, it was a brilliant idea: make little kids give it away, and no one can turn down the ‘gift’.

This frittata isn’t going to win any beauty contests—and with a hungry Louise waiting to dig in, I didn’t spend time trying to gussy it up for photos—but it’s a nice alternative to exploiting innocent children to use up your influx of squash. Grating summer squash renders it simple to incorporate into a variety of recipes, and I often stir sautéed squash into risottos and pasta sauces. The yellow squash in this frittata lends some nutty heft to one of my favorite easy meals, and goat cheese and basil dress it up for brunch or dinner.

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Friday, 3 June 2011 | 4 comments

Herbed buckwheat crêpes

I should start this off by admitting that I’m not a “crêpe person”. You know who you are, crêpe people. Crêpes were your favorite street food in France, and you’re already a little annoyed with me for calling a buckwheat crêpe a crêpe at all, because everyone knows that in France, buckwheat crêpes are called galettes. (I myself, despite David Lebovitz‘s best efforts to educate me, did not know until after I had already made these.)

So, I’m sorry in advance, devoted crêpe people. I didn’t even really set out to make these crêpes very purposefully. Instead, they were the result of having too much of several ingredients–eggs, milk, and a lot of herbs.

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Saturday, 26 March 2011 | 6 comments

Cherry blossom breakfast

DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival starts today. Tourists descend en masse on the Potomac tidal basin, where the Thomas Jefferson memorial is ringed by an astonishing display of delicate pinks and whites. It’s striking. There are so many blossoms that all the natural light seems to be filtered through a pink lens, casting a rosy glow. I recommend going on a weekday morning or evening, when the crowds are fewer and the air is stiller.

Louise and I braved the crowds last year with our mother, who drove in from Michigan just for the event. It was hectic, but still beautiful, and L snapped some gorgeous pictures.


You don’t have to be downtown to see the cherry blossoms, though. The District is peppered with cherry trees, and my morning commute has become increasingly beautiful over the past week as the local park unfolded itself into spring. But this year, the advent of the cherry blossoms is tinged with tragedy. How can you look at graceful sprays of sakura and not think of Japan?
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