I love a lazy summer day with trips to the pool and hikes on the shady trails outside of town. But lazy summer days make for treacherous summer evenings as Brian and I race to put together a dinner that uses up as much CSA produce as possible and then shepherd our tired, hot, always hungry children through dinner and tooth-brushing and stories before they melt down. Occasionally we succeed. [Read more…]
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Today’s the day. I’m planting the herb, tomato, and vegetable starters I ran out of time to grow from seed. While I’m late to the game, other gardeners and farmers are harvesting the first strawberries and vegetables of the season.
I’m looking forward to those tomatoes, though folk wisdom holds that they won’t arrive until the Fourth of July. In the meantime, bright red, drippingly sweet strawberries are a perfect consolation. [Read more…]
This post is sponsored by Reynolds Kitchens.
With grill season upon us (and the warm breezes blowing and bright green leaves unfurling all around mean it is definitely upon us), it’s time to start tinkering with my cookout staples. The past few years, that’s meant upping my potato salad game, perfecting the layers of lemon and onion and mayo. But this time around, I’m taking a good hard look at slaw instead. Since I started fermenting at home, I’ve been intrigued by the depth of flavor cabbage can accommodate and have realized slaw can (and should) be much bolder than it’s normally allowed to be. [Read more…]
Depending on the day, making something fresh for dinner ranges from easy to impossible. Sometimes, I hit a wall and just taking a head of cauliflower from the fridge, chopping it, and throwing it in the oven feels completely undoable. Other days, nothing feels too complicated and dinner is a breeze.
Fermentation is a mysterious alchemy that’s intimidated me for years. The idea of harnessing bacteria to create my favorite foods felt like something only an expert could pull off. I was also pretty sure it would smell terrible.
Then my friend Autumn Giles’ book Beyond Canning, New Techniques, Ingredients, and Flavors to Preserve, Pickle, and Ferment Like Never Before landed on my doorstop. Autumn quickly allayed my fears, showing me how simple fermentation really is and walking me through the process step-by-step. I was ready! [Read more…]
When we lived in Brooklyn, February was my time of discontent. Like clockwork, I’d corner Brian, list all the things I hated (basically everything), and suggest that we should leave New York immediately. He’d hear me out and kindly remind me that it was February and I went through this every year. Now, in Charlottesville, my February mood manifests as a more general darkness, a sort of dissatisfaction and gloominess that doesn’t reach the level of inspiring major life changes.
And as usual, the longer days and kinder weather of March have improved my outlook. [Read more…]
The challenge of getting a good dinner to the table leads to a lot of round-ups of dinner hacks or 3-ingredient this and 15-minute that. But that kind of food writing leaves me cold. Racing the clock to heat up the smallest amount of food that can be called a meal with a singular focus on efficiency is no way to close out a day.
For me, good dinners are about bringing together ingredients I love in a way that feels nourishing and tastes delicious. [Read more…]
In the world of cake, I’m accepting of a wide range of crumbs. I love the slightest bit of crackle on the outer edge of a 1-2-3-4 cake. I love slicing into the silky fudge of a flourless one. Dense, moist, or spongy, I’m into it. Fake vanilla pudding cake with grocery store buttercream? Same.
Despite my egalitarian approach, there are a few favorites I turn to again and again. And this simple vegan chocolate cake might just be my most go-to of go-to cake recipes. Its light, springy crumb makes it a cake you can count on. And, with a simple list of pantry ingredients – flour, cocoa, baking soda, oil, and vinegar – it’s a cake you can easily make. Like, right now. [Read more…]
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…]