My former colleague/current friend Merritt emailed me with a snippet from her dream life the other day. Not her dreamy and beautiful existence in San Francisco but an actual dream. Apparently, in her dreams, my current morning routine involves at least ten minutes of combing my eyebrows with a rusty old dime. Yes. That sounds about right.Read More
We live in a studio in a small building. It’s cozy and lovely. The building was built in the late 1800’s and a lot of the original, pretty wrought-iron stairway railing remains alongside the six flights we walk up to our home. There are still mysterious doors in the hallway that hide the space where communal toilets were years ago. I think the super uses them as broom closets now. (I did spy a reeeeaaally old commode when one door happened to be open. Neat and gross!) We have pretty exposed beams across the ceiling, really beat up wood floors, and a kind of ugly but warming brick wall. All in all, I feel extremely lucky to live here.Read More
I always feel sort of bad for an angel food cake. Somewhere in the past twenty years food writers pushed it into the fat-free food world and it got stuck there, only celebrated for what it wasn’t rather than what it was. Then once that whole fad became a joke, and we all decided to put down the Snackwells and eat more vegetables, angel food cake never seemed to recover from the stigma.Read More
My friend Cate and I used to have a standing movie date every Sunday night. Ten years ago we lived in the same Brooklyn neighborhood, only a few blocks from each other, and the date was easy to keep. We didn’t call to confirm. We just called if we needed to cancel. Not much further planning was needed.Read More
Do you remember the first time you tasted biscotti? Do you remember what ran through your mind? Perhaps it was something along the lines of, “This stupid cookie stick is stale. Rude.” That was my first reaction. But then again, I was just a kid. I didn’t know that biscotti are supposed to be hard. I didn’t know anything about drinking coffee. And I didn’t know that the singular of biscotti is biscotto. I’ve come a long way.Read More
My friends and I rented a run-down, drafty house during our last two years of college. The kitchen was far from perfect. It had dingy linoleum floors covered with a film of salt and mud from our snowy boots and mysterious sticky patches from the last party. Fat carpenter ant carcasses dotted the faded countertops because B, one of my more courageous roommates, was in the habit of smooshing them with her thumb but not in the habit of disposing of the bodies. Thinking about whatever might have lurked in the dank darkness of the cupboards gives me the shivers even now. But, despite all of that, the four of us roommates were into good food and we were always excited to take up a cooking project together.Read More
I think I’ve found my dessert mecca: Sweden. That may come as a surprise. Not many people think of Sweden as dessert destination. I’m not sure Swedes even think of Sweden that way.
I have a Swedish friend named Erik. Fifteen years ago he was studying in England. One night, he had an important rendezvous to meet this fly American girl for the very first time. Sweet twenty-something-year-old Erik knew enough to bring a gift. Sweet Erik wanted to bring a sweet gift. Of course he wanted to make a good impression. But instead of bringing something tasty to show off the pastry talents of his own nation, he presented her with...Read More
Can geckos regrow their tails? Absolutely. (And apparently the severed limb keeps moving once disconnected!) How's Jody Sweetin doing? Much better, thank goodness. What did we do before the internet?
The other day I was thinking of one of the songs my brother and I used to sing together. It was about milk, and it was on Sesame Street. "Milk. So good. So warm and white." Seriously catchy stuff. I was curious to hear the real version and it took exactly 2 seconds of searching. You are the best, World Wide Web.
I love this video. Watch a little bit if you have a second:Read More
In the spirit of love and collaboration, my husband Gus has decided to guest post this week. Don't believe a word he says.
Believe me, I am as shocked and pleased by this as you are. I was definitely not expecting my wife Sam to invite me to do this guest post for Valentine’s Day. First of all, I assumed that she already knew how to make hot fudge. I have to admit that I am a bit surprised that she doesn’t, even after graduating from culinary school and so forth, but I am very happy to help her learn. It is so fun to team up as a couple! Love comma cake indeed!Read More
I recently fell asleep at the movies. I think I've entered a new stage of life. The I’m-perfectly-rested-but-now-I’m-old-so-if-I get-too-comfortable-I’m-going-to-pass-out stage. Strange. I didn’t feel the transition.Read More
The other day my husband looked at my Instagram feed and told me that everything looked brown. Don’t I know it? The winter is darn long. Tan. What do you expect? Now is the time for chocolate, caramel, coffee etc. Brown flavors. Delicious flavors but monochromatic nonetheless. While I’ll always be a big fan of chocolate, right about now I'm really missing all the other colors of the rainbow.
Remember peaches? Think back on blueberries. Can we talk about rhubarb? I know I should really be getting into winter-loving citrus. I’m working on a kumquat recipe as we speak. We’ll get to citrus. But right now I just want to think about summer cherries.Read More
If you close your eyes, can you imagine the sound that chocolate cake makes? I can. It’s one of my favorite sounds in the world. And it’s very specific. Nothing makes a sound quite like chocolate cake.
I'm talking about the sound of cutting a chocolate cake. Rich, audible decadence. Soft and squishy. I especially love the muffled, chocolatey knock of the knife hitting the plate. So deep and promising. My mouth waters just thinking about it.Read More
The sight of dough takes my breath away. It always has. When I see, it I want to touch it. To smell it. To put my face on it. Many years ago, a vision of hundreds of puffy round loaves rising on speed racks touched my heart. I was just a tiny person watching scenes from a bakery on Sesame Street and I heard my calling. I can actually remember that moment. I saw that dough and I knew that we were meant to be together. Soon thereafter I declared my plan to become both a baker and a librarian. (I'd always loved reading.) Books and dough. I wanted to be surrounded by both. I still do.Read More
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I usually don’t, but this year is going to be a big one for me, so I thought I’d psych myself up. My resolution is to show the meringue who’s boss.
Let me explain.Read More
The outside of our refrigerator is wallpapered in clutter. A ridiculous caricature. (Who are those weirdos?) Sweet baby Agnes’ birth announcement. An outdated Christmas card with our cute nieces running amok. An ugly magnet that touts the benefits of green tea that I like to gaze at while drinking my coffee. It's anything but sleek and stylish, but each strange artifact makes me happy.Read More
Mmm. Cookies. Buttery, fruity, nutty cookies. Bejeweled cookes. Perfect for curling up with a book cookies. (Truth be told, I like all my food with a side of book.)
If you’d like to know a little bit more about these shortbread delights (including how to make them) pop over to Big Girls, Small Kitchen where I’m guest posting today. The lovely Cara Eisenpress asked me to share a sweet treat with her readers and I couldn’t resist. Cross blog pollination. It’s a wonderful thing and I’m touched to have been invited to partake.Read More
I want to tell you about my mom-in-law Deborah’s orange buns. They’re deluxe. Pillowy soft, swirly, orange-scented dream rolls. Deborah doesn’t glaze them and I think that’s right on because they’re really perfect just how they are. Simple, orange-zested magic. They live in that land somewhere between breakfast and dessert and they rule the kingdom. Just decadent enough to feel like a treat but not so out of control that the indulgence becomes uncomfortable.Read More
“Where'd God go?” I wasn't having some type of existential crisis, or pondering the meaning of life. No, it was an honest question, and I expected an answer. I was six and a bit confused.
We were attending a Buddhist almsgiving at a friend's house. The prayers had ended and the feasting was about to begin. The priest who had been leading the ceremony had wandered out of the living room and out of my sight, and I wanted to know where he'd gone. I can't remember if I thought his name was God, or if I believed that He himself had decided to make a visit to Connecticut and lead us in prayer. The latter seems more likely.Read More
This tart is for my dad. It’s right up his alley. Come to think of it, it’s right up my alley as well. I am my father’s daughter after all.
My dad is a like a squirrel when it comes to nuts. He’s not storing up for a long winter ahead – although you wouldn’t know it. He cracks me up. When I go home to visit, I’m always rummaging around the kitchen cabinets for a snack. I could attack the chocolate drawer. (Yes, our house has a drawer dedicated solely to chocolate. It's always stocked. It's always dangerous.) But sometimes chocolate just won't do. So I turn to my dad's special cabinets. At first glance, you'll see a bunch of old Nescafe jars and maybe some big bottles of aspirin or Metamucil. If you don’t know my funny dad, you might just keep on looking for a snack thinking, "there's nothing here for me." But let me tell you, the man is sneaky. Tucked away in all those old plastic bottles are treasures. Nut treasures. Sweet. Salty. Roasted. What have you. It’s all there, hidden away behind the empty promises of supplemental fiber and pain relief.Read More
Generally speaking, my husband and I aren’t competitive. We’re big supporters of each other. When we jog together, Gus always runs at my pace, encouraging me along without complaint, even if that means he never breaks a sweat. But all of that changes in the kitchen. Near a stove, our ugly side tends to come out. It’s simple. We’re both sure that we’re the stronger cook. (The fact that I cook for a living doesn’t deter Gus one bit. Of course he’s wrong…but I sure do love his confidence. ) This year we decided to rebel against the spirit of generosity and community that usually accompanies the Thanksgiving season and settle the ongoing dispute with a little cookoff. Welcome to Cranberry Challenge 2013.Read More