The love and gratitude I feel from this past weekend is still washing over me, settling into my consciousness in waves. They nicknamed themselves the Core. What they represent is my past, present, and future. They’re a group of women who have held my hand through triumphs and tragedy. They cheer me on, and are able to see a side of me that’s invisible to myself. The strength and beauty of their love is what buoys me to safe shores when I’m not sure of myself. Their laughter is electric, and ignites a smile deep within. And for that, I’m both humbled and eternally thankful. Continue reading »
I take my coffee very seriously. I prefer a real mug over paper “to-go” cups. Smaller mugs, with a petite handle that snugly fits my pointer and middle finger please when I’m drinking my normal cup of Joe (black, two sugars). Those mugs where you can barely slip one finger in—what are those all about? Does anyone find them comfortable?
If I’m having a cafe au lait, then I’ll reach for a big, deep mug—my favorite one is missing the handle, which means I can wrap my hands around it. I always close my eyes, and take a deep inhale above my coffee before the first sip of the day. I let the hot steam rush over my face, and the smoky, toffee scent envelope my senses. I wait until I drop the kids at school to have my first cup, so nothing can disturb that moment. See, coffee is a habit not because of the caffeine (I usually drink decaf, in fact). I simply love the taste of it, and the ritual of making it, whether I’m in a French press mood or go with my stovetop percolator. I don’t own a coffeemaker, and man did that drive M nuts when I got rid of it. Continue reading »
I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for over a month now, but something has been holding me back. I keep asking myself “do we really need another scone recipe in the world?”. If it were up to me, the answer would be yes. Scones are a great “get your feet wet” sort of project for those fearful of baking. There are no special tools, or pans, required, and the technique is very easy. Just mix some dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, etc.), rub them together with very cold bits of butter, and stir in a mixture of egg and buttermilk. In less than 30 minutes, from start to finish, you’ve got a rather satisfying breakfast, in my little ‘ol opinion. Continue reading »
It hit me in the middle of the day yesterday with an odd feeling of surprise. I’m talking about November. It seemed to tip toe in, and I appreciate the calm greeting. I hope it brings more peace than October. The leaves are defiantly clinging to the trees here upstate, showing off their shades of red, orange and gold with the fanfare of a peacock. I know how they feel, in a way. Letting go isn’t easy. Paying attention to the season changes is an important reminder that life is about loss and renewal; it’s a never ending cycle.
As we settle in for what is perhaps the busiest baking season, I wanted to share something that’s been on my mind for a while now. I’m going to geek out here for a moment, but please stick with me. I promise it’ll make for a better baking experience the next couple of months, in fact for the rest of your life. Continue reading »
When I met M, way back in 1995, he had a cat named Jane. She was the living definition of a scaredy cat, hiding on top on bookshelves, slippery as an eel if you dared to pick her up. Jane’s been gone about 13 year now, but I started thinking about her a lot after M died. I realized I didn’t know how Jane got her name. Back when I met M, Jane Says was often playing on his CD player, or in the car, on a cassette tape no less—he drove a little red Toyota Celica back then, and it had a—get this, a benzi box. That was back in the pre-Guiliani New York City; the days when you weren’t always guaranteed to find your car where you left it parked. Continue reading »
Once September hits, the rest of the year seems to fall into fast forward mode. It also feels like a quick succession of emotional hurdles, leaving me caught in a constant game of catch up. That means I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen than usual. I know, that seems hard to imagine, but it is true. The kitchen is where I retreat to when I need to find myself again. People often ask how I manage to stay in shape, and the answer is usually that I have incredible will power. That is until I started making these spinach & pecorino latkes. For those of you who haven’t tasted latkes, I must warn you they’re highly addictive crispy, potato pancakes. Continue reading »
I fell hard and fast for persimmons right around this time last year. The girls and I were visiting Todd and Diane, and there was a tree dripping with ripe, deep orange orbs. I mentioned to Diane that I bet they’d make an incredible cake, and she told me to help myself. With a sparkle in my eye, I looked at her and asked “are you serious”? I had no tried and true persimmon cake recipe in mind. This was a recipe development itch I’d be scratching, and didn’t want to feel as though I was wasting any of their bounty. Incidentally, Diane and Todd just came out with a new cookbook, aptly titled Bountiful, and this is a book you want to own. The photography is incredible, the stories they share are touching, and the recipes, well, they make Bountiful a win-win-win for me. Continue reading »
Finding some inner peace has been more challenging than usual lately. I’m so thankful I started running again before it all hit me. That time I carve out for myself every morning helps me reset my feelings a bit. Breathing in the salty, sometimes funky air rolling off the river as I run by Brooklyn Bridge Park wakes up my soul (and sense of smell!). The only other place that awakens me in such a way is the kitchen. So, lately my time has been filled with clocking miles and cooking.
A few days ago, I had turnips on my mind. They’re this week’s theme for Food Network’s Fall Fest, and it was a welcome distraction from the other thoughts in my head. Growing up, the only time I ever remember seeing my mom use turnips was when she made chicken soup. I’ll admit that they still aren’t part of my every day cooking repertoire, but I’ve certainly branched out from just using them to make stock. Turnips pose a creative challenge because on their own the flavor is rather bland, with a hint of bitterness if that makes any sense. In one way they’re a blank canvas, blending into the flavors of the ingredients you pair them with, but you have to pay attention to that aforementioned slight bitter quality. You want flavors that will tame it, not accentuate it. Continue reading »
Like the quick snap of a finger, October is upon us. Is it me, or did that seem to come out of nowhere? My mind is a jumble of confusion, not having settled into all the realities of 2013, and now there’s only three months left to it. If only we could press pause, and take a moment to catch up, but time is relentless.
I must confess, I felt downright annoyed when I saw people pinning pumpkin recipes in September. I wanted to scream from the rooftops to cut it out. Time pushes forward fast enough, with no need for us to nudge it along. And yet, what am I sharing with you today—a recipe for pumpkin scones. Thankfully I adore all of my shoes, making it easier to digest the proverbial foot in my mouth. In my defense, though, October is a perfectly acceptable month to talk pumpkin. Oui?
I just wanted to pop in here for a quick hello. Life has been one big rush since I got back from Paris last week. My feet barely touched the ground in Brooklyn, and I was packing a couple of days later to leave for Baltimore. It was a whirlwind 36 hours, doing a cooking demo at the Baltimore Book Festival on Saturday, and then up bright and early on Sunday for a 6:30am call time at WBAL where I made my apple breakfast bars on-air. I’m going to catch my breath a bit, and play around with some more new pumpkin recipes before I blink and the calendar turns to 2014. Continue reading »
I’m back to my bad sleeping habits, which only means good things for all of you. The good news is my running streak is still going strong. I feel so alive, and so healthy. I’m drinking more water, and actually eating less. The latter being very unintentional; I’m simply not as hungry as I was before. In truth, the hunger was more grazing from boredom. I know, the idea of me being bored sounds ludicrous, considering I’d need to clone myself in order to accomplish everything on my To Do list. Boredom can come in many forms, though, and for me I hit a wall emotionally, physically and mentally.
Paris was a game changer, for so many reasons. I started to feel more clear about the uncertainty of the long term. Unlocking this door has allowed me to focus on the here and now better. Not worrying about the far ahead future is helping me to appreciate the often overlooked moments that nourish my emotional appetite for happiness and peace. Continue reading »