Before I’m mired in Thanksgiving shopping and to-do lists, I’m taking the time to pause. Thanksgiving at its best is about gratitude and calls for a little reflection. This year, even more than most, I have much to be grateful for. My work on the blog and elsewhere has been going swimmingly, Brian has a new job he loves, and the girls are healthy and happy. There are a few struggles on the horizon for those I love most, but optimism still rules the day. With all this in mind, I’m planning to prioritize gratitude on Thanksgiving by exchanging the stress of an epic feast for something smaller, simpler, and more considered. I’m trading perfection (which I’ve never been great at anyway) for presence. [Read more…]
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My favorite time of year is upon us. Chilly weather is still intermittent, but enough to remind us of winter’s approach. The natural world reflects the shift in temperature and season as leaves flutter down from colorful trees, birds careen in the brisk wind, and an immense groundhog shuffles about the yard brazenly. In the human world, it’s a time of duality – preparing to turn inward and hunker down for the winter, while also fitting in quick trips, time outside, and gatherings with friends.
Just ahead of the season of feasts and festivity that mark the transition from fall to winter, Brian and I decided to host a small harvest dessert party to celebrate this moment before. As usual, we kept things simple – a pear galette, chocolate chess pie, and a cheese and fruit plate with a quick Moscato pear jam.
I have a list of beloved recipes for fall, the holidays, and beyond, and pretty much stick to them, especially when things get busy. Also, I don’t like change. Even so, sometimes an idea or book comes along that changes my ways and pushes me to re-imagine even my very favorite things. Samantha Seneviratne‘s The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking is just that kind of thing. In it, Sam moves beautifully between engaging family stories and insights into baking, spices, and the history of how such far flung ingredients made their way into our kitchens. It’s also overflowing with perfect recipes. Just enough sugar to be delicious and with an admirable restraint – rather than the typical cinnamon/clove/nutmeg/ground ginger wall of flavor, Sam achieves culinary splendor by thoughtfully highlighting just a few ingredients in each dish. Think of it as the anti-pumpkin pie spice. [Read more…]
It shouldn’t be this way, but my fridge ends up as the warehouse of all the projects I want to complete, those that I have put off too long, and remnants of past projects – jars half full of sauces, ketchups, salad dressings, pickles, syrups, and caramel – it’s the debris of work and life all jammed up in that (thankfully huge) white box.
A few weeks back, I spotted a table of blackberries at the market. The late berry harvest was in – some of the last fruit of real deal summer – and I had to pick up a couple pints. But the fragile fruit wasn’t even up to the short walk home, and already smushed ones had to be rescued as soon as I got home. Quick action was needed. [Read more…]
I like to make tarts this time of year.
In the early days of this blog, I made tarts all the time. (Really.) Then, my tart thing dropped off – maybe because pie is more showy and the internet really likes showy things. But for a recent dinner party (I’ll have more details on that tomorrow!), I needed something as simple as it was delicious. Time to break out the tart pan. [Read more…]
Grocery stores often label the popsicle aisle “Frozen Novelties.” In a world of extreme buffalo chicken pockets and microwave breakfast sandwiches with waffles for bread, being singled out as a field of food notable for novelty is a big deal. Luckily for those of us who like to push limits, there’s a vast expanse of popsicles entirely unexplored by the giants of ice pop manufacturing, probably due to their own uptightness and that of our legal system. We’re talking about boozy popsicles. [Read more…]
Our family started the holiday weekend with pancakes and a walk along the river. Last night, we went to a cookout. Today, July 4th itself, projects to be gloomy, so we’ll enjoy the sun breaks, get some charcoal, and do our best to grill up a feast. This time of year, dinner mostly serves as a way to get to dessert – I live for seasonal fruit and delight in all the delicious summer possibilities. [Read more…]
My first job in New York was in Washington Heights, almost at the top of Manhattan and about an hour by train from my place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. That long commute made for a tough morning routine. No time to brew a pot and check the news before I hopped on the subway. So I had to settle for a burnt cup of “coffee” from a food cart, a habit that I reluctantly continued later when I worked in the Flatiron District. Then, one day, right there on 6th and 22nd, the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck appeared. My immediate concern wasn’t ice cream, it was coffee, which they also sold and it was good! Not burnt, freshly brewed espresso with quality cream. I was in love.
On weekends, Brian and I would head to the Van Leeuwen ice cream shop in Greenpoint with the kids. Their ice cream is indisputably amazing. [Read more…]
Until last Thursday, I had exactly four trophies to show for my time on earth. Runner-up and then winner of the school speech contest in fourth and fifth grade, and two from the Enid’s Apple Pie Contest, also runner-up and then winner, which I secured well into adulthood. But now, there’s a shiny orange Le Creuset pepper mill in my collection; on it hangs a tag that says: Brooklyn Supper, Winner Editors’ Choice, Most Delicious Food. You guys – we won! [Read more…]
Sour cherry season came a little early this year. May was incredibly warm – excellent cherry growing weather, I guess. I’ve yet to find a market source for sour cherries in Virginia, but it doesn’t matter because I have friends with five sour cherry trees in their backyard. We had big plans to head over to their yard with the family to pick cherries and hang out, but our oldest came down with what turned out to be strep on Sunday, and my twee photo shoot dreams disappeared. So, just like last year, Brian headed out solo for the cherries, this time with a big bag of greens from our garden to trade. [Read more…]