My friend, Stephanie, from ComposedCo called me last week and asked if I could make a gluten-free, dairy-free vanilla birthday cake for her son’s 10th birthday party. Hmm. Before agreeing, I presented the following caveats. First, I don’t generally eat gluten-free so I have no idea what the bar for great tasting gluten-free (more…)
Sunday mornings are not complete without perusing the New York Times’ What to Cook This Week Column. This luscious tray bake is inspired by Melissa Clark’s Tarragon Chicken. I love tray bakes because they are super easy and lend (more…)
Everybody’s happy when these hit the table. I started making them for the kids but now I make them for me. They are addictive. I dream about them. I usually double the recipe and freeze half since breading and frying is a bit of a mishigas so if you’re going to do it you might as well make it count for a second dish. Speaking of second dishes, I turn leftovers (more…)
My children have some eating preferences that drive me insane. While I am trying to push their little palates towards the gastronomic light and make them try everything, sometimes it’s too painful to spend hours in the kitchen making something I love that someone is going to complain about. (more…)
I was so ecstatic the day I made these doughnuts that my 9-year old daughter said she’d never seen me this happy in her life. The look of wonder on her face as she watched me pound the countertops and repeat “Oh…my….god” reminded me of the first time I saw my parents drunk. Her face betrayed a confused smile that bounced between enjoying the spectacle of my exuberance and concern that something might be seriously wrong with me. I blame nostalgia.
It still completely blows my mind that a tiny speck of matter bursts through the soil and produces life in such abundant and varied forms. I get how it happens, I know the science, but that by no means eliminates the sheer wonder of it. This year, I’m growing as many things as possible from seed. Some plants are no brainers and easily sown directly into your garden like beans and squash but I’ve had mixed results with tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Germination and the hardiness of the plants compared to store bought transplants just wasn’t as good. I suspect it is my fickle nature that is to blame. I get all excited about planting from seed and then I manage to forget about those reused six packs with unseen potential sitting in a corner of the garden. My attention is drawn to the visible plants that more obviously beg for attention. In the end they have been undone by uneven watering. Or life gets too busy and I miss the window for starting seeds all together. Each season I vow it will be different next time.
My husband likes to take the piss with friends back in Scotland by casually referencing our mild California winters. If you’ve ever been to Scotland, where I swear it rains sideways, you’ll know that a creeping damp cold plagues a good portion of the year. His favorite dig when he skypes home from California is that the morning was so cold he had to put socks on. So we can hardly complain about the weather. (more…)
If you told me when I was 20 that checking the rising temperature of a pile of leaves would be the highlight of my day, I would probably have said “shoot me now.” But it has happened and I don’t regret it. Geeking out on the insanely intricate and intelligent processes of plant biology brings me serious joy. Depression and anxiety fighting type joy. This crazy world temporarily seems to make sense kind of joy.
Leaf composting is just such a process. When trees drop their leaves, they decompose and the nutrients they contain are returned to the soil. The soil in turn is made both nutrient rich for the tree to feed on but also for a host of micro-organisms that live in the soil and magically do all kinds of good things for it. Think worms and vermicomposting times a million. Mother Nature ain’t no dummy.