It’s unfortunate that we’re not supposed to eat sugar anymore, because at this time of year I’m zesting citrus like mad and there’s nothing like a little (or a lot of) sugar to tame the delectable bitterness of orange and lemon peels. Think marmalade, think lemon-olive oil cake, think whole wheat quick bread with orange zest and brown sugar. Need more ideas? I loved this recent post from Food In Jars.This isn’t a recipe so much as a good idea: before the next time you peel or juice a (washed, organic) lemon or orange, scrub off the zest with a microplane first. Zest the fruit directly into a bowl to catch every drop of oil and essence from the peel. Add sugar. For this batch I added 1/2 c. granulated sugar to the zest of one orange and half a lemon. Mash it around to help the sugar absorb the flavor of the zest, then leave the bowl uncovered at room temperature for a day or two, stirring occasionally, until the zest is completely dry. Transfer to a sealed jar for storage. Continue reading
If your house is anything like mine, your floor is littered with hearts and stickers, confetti and sparkles, the uncontainable detritus of the month-long operation that consumes our home at this time every year: making Valentines. The glue! The glitter! The little girls cutting hearts and hearts and hearts and hearts, and the thousands of tiny scraps of paper that float to every corner of the floor! The never-ending sweeping….
I mostly try to just smile and nod, enjoying the spectacle and vaguely hoping that we’ll manage to reclaim the table in time for dinner each night. As you probably know, I prefer to make my own messes in the kitchen.
With Valentines Day coming up this week, if you’re like me, you might like to know that you don’t have to settle for crumbly, flavorless conversation hearts with pre-printed messages. Since I’m rarely organized to make holiday treats before the day itself, I’ll refer you back to a post from last year: Make your own easy DIY conversation hearts and express your true feelings instead!If that’s too extreme for you, though, you should probably at least make your Valentine a plate of cookies.Hope your homes are full of sweetness this week!
There’s a new category of food in our house these days that I like to call “decadent vegan.” Regular vegan food, as everyone knows, is steamed quinoa with shredded carrots and a squeeze of lemon, but decadent vegan food is different. It’s this creamy, hearty pasta, and my first experiment with deep-frying and that addictive roasted squash salad that we’re still making every chance we get. In truth, a lot of recipes on this site fall into the decadent vegan category, but for some reason I hadn’t thought of them that way before. This year, I’m making a conscious effort to cook more vegan meals. Decadent, delicious vegan meals.
What are your favorite recipes or ideas that fall into the decadent vegan category? Please share!
If you keep a jar of caramelized onions in the fridge, as I’ve been doing lately, this recipe can be prepared in the time your pasta takes to cook. And if you don’t keep a jar of caramelized onions in the fridge, I encourage you to start. Continue reading
Well, hello! Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we? As I recall, we were enjoying lots of good food and the people we love and life in general, and then I went on a very long vacation. I hope you did too, or that you stayed home and snuggled your family and drank hot chocolate, and that either way you’ve had a restful and happy end of one year and beginning of the next.
So happy new year! I wish you a year of good health and simple pleasures.And what, after all, is as healthy and simple as an egg? I think of the egg as a secret weapon in my kitchen: it cooks in seconds, it’s cheap and filling, it makes leftovers into a meal. And I owe another debt of gratitude to the egg: it’s the thing that got me started writing this blog a year ago today, in an effort to branch out from my cooking regimen of scrambled eggs and scrambled eggs. I’ve managed to diversify a bit this year, it’s true, but there’s still always room for a good egg in my kitchen.
Boiling an egg is an economical preparation: the shell holds it tidily, no added fat is required, and you needn’t even exert your wrist with whisking. You only need water, a pot, a few minutes of patience and, preferably, a pinch of salt at the end. You can leave the yolks soft to smear over toast or cook them through to creamy perfection for a composed salad. Continue reading
Some days more than others, cooking is a dance.
“I’ll be there in a minute, honey!” I crank the oven, scrub a butternut squash, lean in toward the counter, hack the peel away. (Some people eat it, do you?) Losing patience, my big girl comes over to talk subtraction, negative numbers, first grade math, the number line. The squash falls away from my knife in isosceles wedges. I show one to the girls.
“Do you want your squash in big pieces like this or little squares like squash candy?” You can guess the answer. I dice the last third of the squash, sling the pan into the oven, sweep the peels and seeds into the freezer for making broth, correct math homework, give in to the baby’s demand for a cracker.
Back to the recipe. I scoop tahini and squeeze lemon, press garlic, whisk, text with an old friend about soup, recite the memorized words from a favorite children’s book that we can’t find today. And then, in a moment of calm, I give my full attention to the stove, stirring, for the three minutes it takes to toast pine nuts. Success. They don’t burn.
Sweet roasted squash and red onions, a generous drizzle of tahini dressing, those salty toasted pine nuts, a shower of za’atar. I taste a piece of squash, then stop doing everything else. J wanders in at that moment and I hand him the plate and two forks. We sit down in the middle of the chaos and eat every bite. Continue reading
And just like that, the moment is gone.
I go’ FLY, Mama, she warns me, arms outstretched.
You can fly? I ask. She gives me a serious nod.
Ready SE-GO! I FLY! She lowers her head like a baby goat and charges across the room to me, arms wide as wings. Even though she expects nothing less, she chortles with surprise and delight every time I catch her up in my arms and swoop her over my head. Then she wriggles to the floor and we do it again.
One two free FLY!
Fly to me, baby. I have caught you, and your sisters before you, a thousand times. My arms will always be waiting (although I’m learning from your sisters that I won’t always be able to lift you overhead so effortlessly). One two free FLY!Sometimes change is hard, like knowing that someday soon I won’t have a flying baby anymore. And sometimes it’s easy, like switching up the latke routine at the tail end of Hanukkah. Continue reading
This is a beautiful dessert all around. Eating it, you’ll notice the tart’s elegant flavors and presentation. But as the cook, you’ll appreciate that it comes together quickly in one pan, which later doubles as the baking dish. Serve a slice hot with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream melting into the sweet collapsed grapes and pooling with the caramelized grape juice, olive oil, and hint of black pepper.
You probably imagined that I’d move on from oatmeal after yesterday’s savory Oatmeal with Mushrooms, Parmesan, and Thyme. I mean, two days in a row? Oatmeal?! That just isn’t done.
Oh, but I’ve never been one to play by the rules. At least not always. Well, at least not that one rule that I just made up about the acceptable frequency for discussing oatmeal. In any case, I give you one last savory oatmeal to get you through the winter.
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I think it’s safe to say that J and I have made hundreds of pots of oatmeal in the past decade, if not more. Now I wish that I had counted, so we could celebrate that 1,000th pot properly. It’s coming soon, if it hasn’t already come and gone unnoticed.
Oatmeal is good for you, I know. And I love oatmeal. Oatmeal with berries, apples, bananas, raisins. With brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, peanut butter. I like a sweet bowl of oatmeal as much as the next person. But you know what else is good for me? Variety. I can’t get enough of these savory oatmeal combinations right now. So did you make the Savory Oatmeal with Curry, Greens, and Caramelized Onions? Did you make the Savory Oatmeal with Black Pepper, Blue Cheese, and an Olive Oil Fried Egg? Am I getting to be a broken record here? Good news, friends, I’ll be moving on soon, I promise. To…sweet oatmeal!
And now, ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present the next contender in my happy lineup of drab-looking-but-crazy-tasty soups. Oh, what’s that you say? The soup doesn’t look half bad with those perky green bits on there? Well, those are little kale specks that I sprinkled on for the photo because I had no dill or parsley in my fridge. For you, friends, a splash of color, since I have a feeling that all-brown soups, even if deserving, are not adequately appreciated by the food-blog-reading public. (Oh, I crack myself up. It’s hard to take my perceived obligations as a food blogger seriously sometimes. Most times. I mean, I can’t even get into Pinterest.) And those little green specks just scream, “this soup is deserving!”…don’t they? (Do they?)
In any case, the point is, I loved this soup. I think you will too. Continue reading