30 September 2016

Good, cozy plan

Fundamentally speaking, baking chocolate chip cookies shouldn't be complicated. But with the many ways to do such a thing: brown the butter, rest the dough 3 days, use part pastry flour and part bread flour, find chocolate feves/wafers, choose to use expensive chocolate, use only whole wheat flour (still a great choice) or simply decide which recipe to follow---and it can easily become a bother. Not so with these cookies. There's one caveat though, which is also why I chose to bake them: they use egg yolks, which I found, sitting in a lone cup in the fridge after making omelets with an extra white. The recipe, from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak includes only yolks to add a delicate richness to the cookies, and manages to do so without getting too fussy. You can swap in a bit of whole grain flour, dial down the sugar a hair, add nuts, use whatever chocolate to your liking, and also eat them on the same day, while stocking the dough in the freezer for later which, to me, sounds like a good, cozy plan for fall. 

06 September 2016

A push

And with a snap, all things summer get stored in the memory...
Increasingly beautiful sunsets.
Air, mountains, grass, oceans (for us urbanites)
Low-power A.C. : ( (good riddance)
As I write, a powerful breeze, slightly tropical, gusts through the living room window, announcing its entrance.

It will be four years in this space next month. In my kitchen, this summer, I got extra counter space--a seemingly simple thing that now seems inconceivable was never here. 

One night, early-June, a few days shy of turning 31, I was talking to Bryan Calvert, chef at James in Brooklyn. It was a celebration of his cookbook. It was a lively evening, with delicious appetizers and cocktails, and a cookbook so big and pretty it took me weeks to make anything from it (more below..)

22 July 2016


It seems like I blinked and it was Midsummer. Suddenly, the urge to do all the things we want to do fills us like school kids checking off bucket lists, the required reading punctuated by trailblazing. Except when you're an adult, there's not exactly a deadline signaling the close to your summer days except the sun itself. And I am reminded to appreciate all that we have done, are doing and what is here.

25 June 2016

Hurry, hurry

This is my favorite cake of the season. There, I said it. With its colors and flavor profile, a rhubarb-almond cake would be ideal on a Spring table (it stems from a Bon Appetit Easter feature from about a year ago) but who actually gets rhubarb for March/April? The first time it comes around here is May, and I expect it to last only a few weeks, yet every Saturday, when I went to the farm stand with produce from Mid-South Jersey, it was there well into June.

13 June 2016

A good thing to have around

Last mid-summer, while procrastiweddingplanning, I bought a popsicle mold, knowing that even if I wasn't making popsicles weekly, or even monthly, it would be a good thing to have around. I made raspberry yogurt pops (from Orangette) a bunch. We've got several ice cream shops in our neighborhood that have begun their summer craze. If you take a walk, it won't be unlikely you'll run into the gelato cart or ice cream truck from said places, both of which are doing very cool things flavors-wise. Going to a shop or passing by the cart to seize the moment, is always a way to feel like you're on vacation. Wanting an even easier route (can't I be on vacation in my own home?) today, I opted for Alice Medrich's fudgesicles.

23 May 2016

A Welcome Change

I spoke to a few people this past weekend who could not sleep Saturday evening. I was sleepless, not something that happens often... Was it the blue moon? That seemed to be the popular possibility. After finally catching a few hours in the very early morning, Sunday, we woke up hungry. I scrambled eggs with cheddar and set out coffee and fruit for some tasty fuel. Then, I decided that the whim of making a slab scone, something on mind for awhile, was ripe to occur, so I rolled out scone dough instead of cutting it, and tucked it up like a sleeping bag around a layer of Damson plum preserves. With each fold I hoped I was bringing luck to that night's sleep, and thankfully, it was a good one, especially since we woke up to these today.

03 May 2016

Turn to the pantry

I already think a lot about frugality as it relates to cooking and maxing out whole ingredients, but when I sat down to interview this chef last week for an upcoming piece in next month's  Industry magazine, my horizons were even further expanded. He's on a frontier with a wave of chefs who are reducing waste, pickling, canning and renewing. Part of his mission, besides making ketchup, vinegar and anything else he can, is shifting focus to not always be meat-centric. Not meaning it's not there. But once and awhile, isn't it nice to turn to the pantry?

23 April 2016


It's funny, the way making something new can feel like an effort not worth taking at first. Gathering materials not already in your pantry with limited real estate and budget, spending a bit more time reading directions, making sure it was a teaspoon and not a tablespoon you needed, double checking this and that. But then, after you've enjoyed it, a small mental space feels opened. You expanded. Sometimes, by force we expand, even if we wiggle through discomfort at first.