Around here, winter is a novel thing. We’re still shaking off an extended fall, and the recent foot and a half of snow that fell in Charlottesville is equal parts wondrous and exhausting. Wondrous for all the reasons you can imagine – the world suddenly transformed into a snow globe, the intense coziness of a multi day snowfall, sledding followed by popcorn and lots of hot cocoa. But it’s exhausting because experiencing and shoveling and just walking through that much snow is really hard work. [Read more…]
Over the weekend, a friend asked me what I like best about my work here on the blog. My answer surprised me – I told her I love playing with the ingredients. Before I had editorial schedules and deadlines, this blog was my place to experiment. Over time, external forces and an internal drive have pushed me to be better, more professional. I also have less time – the sun’s always setting, the food’s always wilting, and the girls always, always want me to drop the camera and make them (another) snack. Photographing raw ingredients comes at the beginning – before the sun has begun to dip, before the final dish has been made, before the girls are home from school. This conversation made me realize that I missed playing with food, without pressure (both outward and self-imposed), and resolved to make more time for fun and invention. [Read more…]
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The first holiday party invites arrived before Thanksgiving. For a few weeks anyway, I resolved to ignore them – Christmas planning makes me panicky. The obligations of the season – the cooking, driving, shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, recitals – can quickly become overwhelming. Before they do, I’m reminding myself that the trappings of Christmas are supposed to make the holiday fun; when they do the opposite, it’s time to step back and focus on the joyful moments – putting a Christmas record on the turntable; pouring mugs of apple cider and sitting on the couch with Brian; listening to the girls read their (hilarious) wish lists. These are the moments that make the season. [Read more…]
I did my first round of Thanksgiving shopping yesterday. Navigating the crowded market with my youngest in tow was a little overwhelming. I left my cart unattended for a moment while I grabbed carrots and celery and returned to find someone had taken it and ditched my cranberries in a bin of Brussels sprouts. My young companion went to the bathroom twice. And I forgot at least one ingredient. But I took solace in the fact that, one or two odds and ends aside, the horrors of the grocery store are over. We’ll be picking up the rest of the ingredients for our meal from small, local shops like JM Stock Provisions and MarieBette Bakery. [Read more…]
This recipe began on a cold, rainy morning. A scratchy old records and black coffee kind of day. As the rain fell, things inside were cozy and fragrant with the scent of roasting citrus. The rich jewel tones on the plate vibrated against gray skies and the golds and russets of the water-soaked landscape.
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In the kitchen, my second great love was Indian food. The first was muffins from a box, a love born of the fact that they were something my seven year-old self could make without a grown-up’s help (that it was sweet was a bonus). After the thrill of muffins wore off, I moved on to trying to figure out Italian food and so-called hearty soup recipes dotted with undercooked bits of grain. For a long time after that, it was cans of pinto beans and boxed mac mostly. And then, Indian food.
Last weekend’s sudden freeze was right on time, but caught me off guard anyway. I’d given up on the tomatoes, but was still holding out hope for the only watermelon to survive the groundhog and my fall plantings – most of which are just tiny seedlings peeking up from the soil. I also had big plans for the figs growing in friends’ yards. Now, I’ll just have to take comfort in the pumpkin, gourd, and squash army I’ve amassed. [Read more…]
Last night, I pulled up my tomato plants. The growing season is winding down as the autumn chill creeps in. That chill coupled with the East Coast deluge a few weeks back mostly put an end to tomato season and peppers will follow shortly. And while greens, squash, and roots are all abundant, for the first time in months, my fridge holds a manageable amount of produce. It’s nice to have a little calm. [Read more…]
Years ago now, there was a fire in our building in Brooklyn. Nothing serious, but even so, the city cut electricity and gas to the building for six weeks and our family (then consisting of me, Brian, a single daughter, and a very cute dog) moved into the Affinia Hotel on 7th Avenue, directly across the street from Madison Square Garden. In February. Save one beautiful snowstorm, our days in that hotel were bleak – walking the dog in Midtown and needing to go blocks to find even a tiny patch of earth, making the long trek to the foreign world of the Madison Square Park playground, cooking for three in the tiny kitchenette, and other catastrophes major and minor. We’d occasionally get back to Brooklyn, and coming out of the subway I’d always be stunned by all the light there. The low-rise buildings that made up the Brooklyn skyline (especially back then) left more room for the sky. Even though it was frigid out, I started to bring my sunglasses. [Read more…]
High summer is a scattered time. We’re getting work done, but in the gaps – late nights or early mornings, with days spent at the park or pool, on the road, in a plane, or wandering just about anywhere. It’s how it should be. [Read more…]