Friday, 11 November 2011 | 16 comments
In the last months of my mom’s life, she spent a lot of time at home, unable to get around very easily. She watched a lot of TV. After she passed away, I found a notebook. The first twenty pages or so were filled with lists of ingredients and, sometimes, half-scribbled directions. It would seem that Mama had been watching some cooking shows.My mother was a great cook, but outside of a few indulgences—prosciutto comes to mind—she had a fairly straightforward, American-fare cooking style. The recipes in this notebook, though, were beautiful, celebration recipes. Roast chicken with morels and madeira, french bread pudding with sweet italian sausage, ragout with escarole and chardonnay. Recipes for big dinners or brunch, shared with other people. I wept over that notebook. What had my mom been planning when she wrote those recipes? With whom did she want to share them? They were just jotted-down recipes—but she was never able to make them. » Click to read more
Friday, 2 September 2011 | 7 comments
I always forget how perfectly sequenced the winding-down of summer is. Two weeks ago I was at the beach, grains of sand and damp curls sticking to sweaty temples. A week later, the weather settled into a breezy warmth. Now, the little hairs on my arms prickle into goosebumps when I step out the door in the morning. “Autumn is stretching her legs,” Ben likes to say. Images and feelings that I had shut away in my head in mid-April flood back: cool, dewy mornings; knitted woolly things; damp leaves. Scarves. Hot soup and apples. Boots! For the first time in months, I can unpack these ideas without the immediate sensation that they’re otherworldly. They seem possible, even. » Click to read more
Tuesday, 9 August 2011 | 6 comments
Back in DC! And happily ensconced in my kitchen once more. I’m still feeling a bit jetlagged, so for right now, I’m leaving you all with this pulpy, resin-y sweet soda I’ve been mixing up with some over-ripe plums.More developed posts—some of them east and southern Africa-inspired!—coming soon. » Click to read more
Friday, 3 June 2011 | 4 comments
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.
Tuesday, 29 March 2011 | 6 comments
The chemistry of cooking always amazes me, but nowhere is it better exemplified than when I cook with onions. Something about using heat and maybe a little oil to begin to break down the sugars in this lowly little allium brings people wandering into the kitchen, saying things like, “Smells good, what are you making?” Even though all you’re doing is sautéeing an onion.