Category Archives: DIY

Rustic Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel Topping

I always make at least one apple pie a year, on Thanksgiving, with the last of the apples from our trees that are tucked away in the fridge.  I always use this recipe.Today, Election Day here in the U.S., seemed to call for an extra apple pie.  There’s the Americana kitch of apple pie, of course, and there’s the fact that a pie is always welcome at a potluck.  But making a pie is also meditative, soothing, distracting.  By the time I arrived at our usual Election Day party with three little girls and a warm pie in my hands, I was calm and confident and I had stopped obsessively refreshing polling data on my phone.  This was our fourth Presidential election in a row with the same savvy, snarky, deeply caring group of friends, and I rather think that we all deserved an apple pie tonight.  So do you. Continue reading

Banana Bread with Bittersweet Chocolate, Whole Wheat, and Olive Oil

I’m not going to disappoint anyone by telling you that banana bread is really cake, right?  And this banana “bread” is no exception.  It has a couple of healthful flourishes, yes–whole wheat flour replaces some of the white flour, and olive oil and yogurt stand in for butter–but it remains a sweet, dense, chocolatey cake.

And to be honest, I like whole grains in sweet baked goods at least as much for their hearty flavor as for any health benefit they confer (I mean, we’re still talking about cake here).  These whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, this rye flour zucchini bread (also a cake, of course)—the whole grains add a layer of flavor and texture that leave more refined baked goods tasting rather insipid in comparison. Continue reading

Roasted Squash and Tahini Dip or Spread

We are far away from the hurricane that’s raging tonight, but our thoughts have been on the storm all day.   Our East Coast family and friends are drenched but well, and the storm gave us the gift of my sister- and brother-in-law stranded with us for an extra day after their flight home was cancelled.  I hope that you and yours have fared as well.  (I’ve been seeing the photos of flooding and fires and hospital evacuations, though, so on top of just hoping that everyone is well I also made a donation to the American Red Cross.)

I’m thankful to be warm and dry tonight, and to have my big family gathered around the table for dinner.  It’s getting to be the season for cozy holiday meals, and, as always, I aim to equip you with a bountiful table of vegetarian and vegan options. Continue reading

Creamy White Bean Dip or Spread

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s a good time to have a few secretly-healthier foods in mind to sneak onto the table alongside the traditional fare.  This white bean puree works equally well as a spread for crostini or as a dip for crackers and veggies, and its creamy texture belies the fact that it’s just a fancy (and still vegan) alternative to hummus. Continue reading

How to Make Applesauce

I have a book in which I record, from time to time, the big and small adventures in our family’s life.  I mean to write in it every day, just a sentence or two.  More often, weeks or even months go by between entries.  I try to catch the important stuff, though, when I do sit down to write–milestones and anecdotes from our daughters’ lives, travels we want to remember, loving moments with our extended family.  And, of course, what’s happening in the kitchen.Our family’s book begins with applesauce.  It was an October when I started the family journal (abandoning, in the process, my girls’ individual baby books) and we had just turned our three trees worth of apples into a year’s worth of applesauce.  So in a way, I think of making applesauce as the beginning of each new year.  At this time of year I often flip back through the years contained in my book and marvel at how fast life changes.  And how each chapter is even better than the last.

Applesauce, though, is a constant in our lives.  Every year we lighten the groaning branches of the apple trees in the fall, piling box after box of apples into the house.  We sort the apples, setting aside the unblemished best for eating and sharing.  We eat and bake and dry as many apples as we can.  And the rest become applesauce for the year ahead. Continue reading

Apple Peel Tea

We have peeled many, many apples recently.A few years ago this handy little gadget came into our lives.  It peels, cores, and slices the apples all at once.  These functions are handy, of course, but the thingamajig’s real value lies in its ability to produce a lengthy, swirling, snaking apple peel that can stretch clear across the kitchen and be used as a jump rope. Continue reading

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

Have you made this tomato sauce?  People swear by it.  People LOVE it.  People think it’s genius.  I am completely undecided.

The sauce has only four ingredients.  One of them is butter.  The sauce was so fine-textured that it clung delicately and evenly to each individual noodle.  Its flavor was the summer flavor of the good tomatoes I used, enriched with butter and salt.

With very little effort, this recipe produced a refined and tasty dish.  Which made me notice that refined and tasty aren’t necessarily enough for me.  Continue reading

Tomatillo Pizza with Cilantro Pesto

I don’t think of myself as a huge fan of fusion food, whatever that is.  I like a certain harmony in the flavors of a meal, and I think that can be harder to achieve when you bring wildly diverse cuisines onto the plate at once.  But every once in a while I go there.  And every once in a while it works.  Take this pizza.

Continue reading

Homemade Celery Salt

Waste not, want not, and all that.  So I’m sure you’ve been aching for a novel way to use up your celery leaves.  There’s making vegetable broth, of course, but this is better.At this time of year I’m getting crisp, leafy heads of celery in my CSA box, which inspired me to make this batch of celery salt.  But a leafy bunch of celery yields approximately an endless supply of celery salt, so don’t be deterred if you can only unearth a few handfuls of leaves from the depths of your celery heart.  It’ll do. Continue reading

Caramelized Onion Hummus

I see, scrolling down the page here, that I haven’t been feeding you anything too substantial lately.  A little of this, a little of that.  A few different kinds of bites cobbled together can make a meal, though.  Especially when of the little bowls on the table is a bowl of hummus.This caramelized onion hummus is light and a little sweet.  It’s addictive by itself but it also keeps nice company with a spread of tzatziki, tomato jam, and a pile of pita bread.  A salad on the side–hopefully a Greek salad, in these last days of good tomatoes and peppers–and dinner is served.  If you want to get fancy, serve a few stuffed grape leaves as well.

Now is a time that you’ll be happy to have cooked chickpeas on hand.  If you don’t, start a pot now or open and drain a can.  If you have caramelized onions defrosted from the freezer, you can have this dip on the table in five minutes.  Otherwise give yourself an hour and five minutes to allow time to cook those onions nice and slow before you make this otherwise-quick dish. Continue reading