Monday, 8 April 2013 | 18 comments

Sea of Cortez to the Pacific (+ fish taco primer)

“it would be good to live in a perpetual state of leave-taking, never to go nor to stay, but to remain suspended in that golden emotion of love and longing; to be loved without satiety.”
― John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez
When my sister and I told people we were going to Baja, Mexico on vacation, their response was pretty standard: Two women, alone?! Drugs! Cartels! Crime! Which is hardly fair, but it did somehow color my expectations. Instead, we found some of the most beautiful, varied landscapes we had ever seen; warm, helpful locals; and not one bad meal. » Click to read more

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 | 34 comments

A galette of winter greens

i. It is garden-planning season around here. We went a little crazy poring over seed catalogues and, in the recent thaw we had, are doing some initial digging around to make new beds. This year, I will have a bed just for my lettuces and leafy greens, which are some of my favorite things to grow. This is because they’re easy, except where slugs are involved, and because I get to have that kindergarten-wonder moment almost every day when I go out to the garden or Ben brings in lettuce for a salad. Our friend Connie likes to say that this part of the year is best for gardeners: no drought, no pests, no weeds, no deer. And in your mind, the garden is always beautiful and successful. (I believe the subtext there is, “So enjoy it while you can.”) » Click to read more

Thursday, 9 August 2012 | 20 comments

Capellini with roasted eggplant & peppers

Our friends got married up in gorgeous Vermont last weekend. I picked bucketfuls of black-eyed susans and queen anne’s lace, jack-knifed off rocks into not one, but two swimming holes, sipped whiskey-with-ice, and crashed under a full moon.The happy couple invited folks to come several days early and help with prep, which was a nice way to save on cost and do-it-yourself and a good way for guests to get to know each other. By the time you’ve chopped vegetables next to someone for several hours, you feel like old friends when it comes time to party. (Also, the fact that there were so many of us coming early to help is a testament to how great these two are.) » Click to read more

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 | 105 comments

On dinner, work, & lifestyle

When I wrote this post awhile back, trying to celebrate home cooks, it resonated with some of you, rubbed some of you the wrong way, but all in all, generated some nice dialogue. Outside of the public comments, some readers emailed me with big questions. Questions about work-life balance, questions about how one manages a full-time non-blog, non-food job and a life of home cooking. Some of you even had questions about my schedule and shopping habits, which were simultaneously flattering in their sincere (and mistaken) belief that I cook every single meal and grow a huge proportion of my diet, and embarrassing in the humble truth of my responses.

My recent college grad sister (congratulations!) related an anecdote to me. She’s at the receiving end of all those post-college let’s-talk-about-real-life speeches, and was recently given one that she found a bit belittling. “The problem with your generation,” the speaker said, “is that they don’t know the value of a day’s hard work. The young people who work for me do their 40 hours and no more. You all want to have a lifestyle.”

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Tuesday, 26 June 2012 | 26 comments

The grand gesture

Potlucks are our “new” thing. I know that you probably already understand that they’re fantastic, so forgive me for making old news new again. It took me a very long time to throw a potluck dinner. Somehow, I find it difficult to cede most of the control over the meal to others when it happens in my own home. This is bizarre. I know. Now that we’ve crossed over to the potluck side of things, though, I’m pretty sure these suppers will be a mainstay. We have a good record going.There’s a little Bon Appétit essay by the Canal House ladies, Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, from last fall. A friend asks them how they accomplish effortless entertaining, and the answer, they reply, is “simple: we go for the grand gesture.” One dish that doesn’t take too much attention while it’s cooking and serves many. It struck me that the grand gesture can be my answer to a potluck: serve a big main dish, and then rely on others for sides and salads. They might not be well-matched, exactly, but at least there’s an anchor point. » Click to read more

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