How to Make the Perfect Apple Strudel

After three attempts, two days and one satisfying result, I can honestly say I know something today I didn't know a week ago---well, make that, I know a lot of somethings, and they all have to do with one thing, the kind of thing that's no small feat, especially when you're a slow learner (hand raised!) and prone to catastrophe (why yes, that was me that put wax paper in the oven on attempt #1)---I now know how to make the perfect apple strudel. There are bigger accomplishments to be made in life than this, I know, but there are few I'd be more happy about and few I'd be more excited to share with you. So here is the story. You could say things began last Saturday, at an evening wedding on the lake, where all the tables in a big white tent in Michigan were topped by gorgeous, green apples and a certain beautiful bride insisted we take a whole basket home with us, because have you read her blog? she's always generous like that and, our arms full while we walked to the car, we … [Read more...]

thin, chewy pizza crust

You remember what it was like when you were a kid and you hated to go to bed? You could have just had the best day in your life---a birthday party, playing with friends, swimming, riding bikes, building pretend houses, eating fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, whatever---but when the sun went down, you knew what was coming. No matter how great the last few hours had been, no matter how much joy you'd been offered---and especially no matter what anyone else had told you about thankfulness---there was only one thing on your mind when your mom said to put your pajamas on, and it was a disheartening thing indeed: all this fun had to end. That's a little how I feel this morning. It's funny to think about, really. I mean, we all look at a child throwing a tantrum before bed and see precisely what he doesn't, the very factors that would take his fear away: Morning will come, we want to say to him. There's more fun to be had. And besides, you have to rest; you need it. We know he … [Read more...]

coconut flour pancakes (+ thoughts on the survey)

You guys are really something. Thank you so much for completing the survey yesterday---and for maxing out the limit of free responses within like 24 hours! The good news is we are all on the same page: I really love this place we have, as so many of you said you did. I love talking to you like old friends and dialoguing in the comment sections of posts, I love writing about my life here, I love getting to know so many of you while you get to know me. If anyone ever doubts the community of blogging, they need only read your survey responses, I mean it. Thank you. And thank you, too, for giving me some great ideas with your constructive criticism---ideas which I think can make this site better. You hit on some of the very same flaws I see here, which is good because it means we both see them, and you also brought up some questions I didn’t know you had. I’d like to address as many of these issues as I can in this post, starting with a pretty big one: The new ingredients of … [Read more...]

Would you take a quick survey?

[Update: 9/22 - Unbelievably, we've maxed the limit on survey responses, so I can't read any more of your answers. You're welcome to e-mail me directly if you have any thoughts to share. Thanks everyone for the great feedback!] … [Read more...]

Curried Coconut Chicken & Peanut Butter Noodles

Listen, it's not like I never do adventurous things. I mean, you know: I ride roller coasters. I cut 11 inches off my hair. I launch out into self-employment. And hello, there was that mountain in Maine I won't let anyone forget about. Remember?! But when it comes to my kitchen and new types of cuisine, even I will admit that I stick pretty close to the basics: American, Italian, sometimes Greek, but pretty rarely anything outside that. And if it weren't for my friend Stacey, who came over Tuesday night to, at her suggestion, try making Thai food, that would all be exactly the same. Our plan of attack was simple: pick two recipes, adapt the ingredients to be fully natural, follow the instructions and cook. … [Read more...]

Fried Zucchini

There are days when you don’t feel like cooking. You spend the morning writing, you spend the afternoon not buying a dress at the mall, you do a conference call, you head to a meeting, and you think: I’m hungry, but I don’t want to put any effort into it. You don’t want to cook, but you want to eat (you always want to eat), so you pull something out of the fridge or off the counter, be it an apple or a cookie or a large piece of bread, and it is enough. There are many days like this. Maybe most days are like this. On the better of these many days, you come home and you see a zucchini on the counter, one you bought at the farmers market---the same farmers market that you will miss come winter, if only because it puts fresh and local vegetables in your kitchen each week---and you think with your lazy heart that you’d like to eat it without much work. So you slice it into rounds, and you sauté them on the stove in coconut oil and butter until they’re crisp and golden, like … [Read more...]

Interview with Honey Cafe

Back in February, when Jacqui and I first stepped inside Honey, on an afternoon where there was muddy snow on the ground and we wore winter coats, I knew right away we’d found something special. It was either that visit or our next where this café filled with Amish chicken, grass-fed meat and organic greens had me fully won over, slapping the table and saying, New life goal! I’ll try every single item on this menu, just wait! Seven months later, after more visits with Jacqui, several lunches with friends, weekend breakfasts, random takeouts, a great dinner date and a quiet birthday brunch, would you believe it, I am more than halfway there. In fact, since I last told you about it, Honey’s become a part of my regular life, that place where I celebrate and enjoy conversation and always want to bring friends. We’ve now spent three seasons getting to know each other, the way you want to do when something (or someone) has really caught your fancy, and I’m happy to tell you this: … [Read more...]