Tuesday, 14 April 2015 | 17 comments

Spring stuff

I think I speak for most East Coast people when I say THANK GOD. The time for tiny green sprouting things is upon us. I spend a lot of time silently cheering for those bold enough to be popping up their heads and blooming.

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Spring at a new house: Ben and I have acres to our names all of a sudden, which is a bit paralyzing. I am a very amateurish gardener at best, but I think what I’ve learned most about growing food (well, about growing anything really) is that the planting is the easy part. Seeds know what to do, all bound up in their tiny package, just waiting for the right conditions. Knowing where to put them, knowing the dynamic of the place you live, knowing the places that soak up heat during the day and give it off at night: these are the tougher pieces of the puzzle.

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Wednesday, 18 March 2015 | 46 comments

Nigella sativa

You’re lying on your back on the hard floor of an empty house. The ancient furnace in the basement rumbles to life. It’s an unfamiliar noise, and the sound reverberating off the walls is disconcerting. Kind of like the basement is about to explode. Before you know it, it’ll be comforting, Ben told you. Right.

Yesterday, you signed papers to make the house yours. Yours, second person plural. Well, yours in trust of the bank. Yours, asterisked with a very large debt that is meant to be paid off over a span of time longer than the years you have actually lived on the green earth.

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Friday, 20 February 2015 | 22 comments

Fennel salt à la Jody Williams

I love Buvette, the West Village Manhattan restaurant by chef Jody Williams, but I have only eaten there once. Luckily, I was gifted the Buvette cookbook this past year.

French-y, well-sourced, market-driven food is everywhere nowadays, so it takes a good cookbook to actually make me care about someone’s particular spin on the roast chicken or aioli. The Buvette cookbook makes you care.

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Monday, 26 January 2015 | 24 comments

Buttermilk tangelo scones

It’s that time of year again: bleak January, where I end up with my hands on some citrus and start feeling poetic about its life-giving brightness amidst the snow and the stupid ice that makes me slip and nearly fall on the way to the car every morning. (Truly, this happens every year (the citrus thing, not the slipping and almost falling): 2011. 2012. 2013. 2014.).


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Monday, 12 January 2015 | 28 comments

Melissa Clark’s pinto beans braised with bacon & red wine

I took a little holiday break from writing here but not from writing, which was an interesting experiment that caused me to descend into some pretty dark stuff that no one, trust me, wants to read. So! Happy new year. Let’s talk about beans and definitely not about feelings, feminism, guns, or country music.*

I don’t pretend to be any high arbiter of bean quality, but if you like food, we live in a golden age of beautiful, heirloom beans, no small thanks to seed savers and discoverers like Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo. Heirloom beans are worth the money, and sometimes I special order them for particular dishes or to have on hand for a treat. I could spend a long time convincing you of the merits of gorgeous Good Mother Stallards or Christmas limas. But beans are supposed to promise a triple threat of nutrition, rib-sticking satiety, and economy. And at $6+ a pound, heirlooms don’t exactly satisfy that last qualification. So let’s talk about budget-conscious beans. Enter the humble pinto.
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