Creamy and Colorful Raw Kale Salad

The other night, when Tim and I ate this salad, we'd just come back from a few hours of driving through neighborhoods. Tim and I do a lot of driving through neighborhoods. You could say driving through neighborhoods is our thing. I guess that's good---that there's a thing we have, you know, together. When my friend Julie got married in 2006, I remember the pastor saying something in his homily about how every couple ought to share a hobby of some kind. "Tennis or cooking or sports," he'd suggested, right there at the front of the church filled with people and flowers and music. I hadn't yet met Tim that day, standing up there with three other girls in blue dresses with cap sleeves, but I still like to think about the hobbies we were already sharing, even so. In 2006, for example, I was baking batch after batch of biscotti for favors at that friend's sit-down wedding reception. Meanwhile, the Ohio man I would someday marry was rolling out and topping homemade pizza crusts to keep in … [Read more...]

Chicken Waldorf Salad Wraps

These wraps, which I've had for lunch for the last three days, illustrate one of the best parts of working from home. Because, are you ready? When you call your kitchen table your office, this is what happens: you pull open your Google Reader on a casual Tuesday afternoon, see a recipe you'd like to try and, instead of just bookmarking it for later, you walk to the kitchen right that moment, pull out ingredients and, in minutes, see exactly what it tastes like. Like I said though, that's just one of the best parts of working from home, and since a couple of you have been wanting an update on the self-employment situation anyway, it's probably time I told you about some of the other benefits. First of all: It's been almost five months, can you believe that? Five months since I set my alarm for the same time every morning. Five months since I said, Oh, I can't; I have to work. Five months of setting my own schedule and working fewer hours (and, admittedly, also making less … [Read more...]

here is what you do (whole wheat bread pudding)

Listen to me: This is what you do next time you have leftover bread, the kind that’s sitting around on your counters, clogging up space, suddenly as rock-hard as a baseball bat, tempting you to throw it away. It's what you do when you want to whip together dessert and do it as mindlessly as possible, using up things you already have. And, most importantly, it's what you do when it's the second week of January and there's snow all around you, covering the roads and the trees and the people and freezing on your car and making you wish you lived in Florida---until you remember hearing they're having bizarrely cold weather, too. You make bread pudding. … [Read more...]

the best things we do

If fall is a reminder of gradual change, these doughnuts are a reminder of comforting tradition, of the way clouds and sun streaked across the horizon above the pumpkin patch in the late afternoon last fall, of rows of cornfields and bins of fresh-picked apples, of taking a hayride with friends. We’re going back to Kuiper’s again this year, probably later than is best again, so the apples may already be in bins and we may need extra layers of clothing when we walk through the orchard, but I am going with a friend, and, I’m finding, those things I do with a friend are the best things I do, you know what I mean? Like last weekend, which was a people-filled one, from Friday night bakery and Greek food with my brother, to Saturday in the country with a group of food-loving strangers and Alicia and then cake at my friend Michele's, to a Sunday morning listening to Truth and singing with an auditorium filled with people, to lunch in the home of friends, where their two-year-old … [Read more...]

A Pie in the Hand

I don't have anything against pie. Really. It's just that, well, there are so many things that can go wrong when you make a pie---especially the crust, and, honestly, it takes a lot of time and skill. What if the dough is too flaky, not flaky enough, lacking flavor? Who wants to have wasted all that work? You know what I mean? And there's also another reason I don't make pie, a bigger issue, and it's not pie's fault in the slightest. This problem is with me. I have a terrible, unconquerable habit of picking things to make at the worst possible moments. From a lengthy long-rise yeast bread to a process-filled batch of cookies, I like to choose the most time-consuming recipes at the latest times of night. Case in point: these hand pies. I saw a recent post over at Smitten Kitchen for Bourbon Peach Hand Pies and thought they were so adorable, a finger-food version of the classic, and I wanted to make them. At 8:30 PM, last Friday night. Now, see, with a lot of desserts, starting at … [Read more...]

And, Apples.

Apples

Sunday afternoon, some friends and I drove out to the country, where on either side of the highway, green acres stretch as far as you can see. There was a lot of talk about farms, about milking cows, about which of us would be first to admit the whole country-living thing sounds appealing. (Personally, I think I'd like very much to eat from my own land, to work with the earth, to wear blue jeans and t-shirts every day. At least I think this now, having never done it.) And after miles of corn fields, sprawling estates and one high school, we came to our destination: Kuipers Family Farm, which convinced me that I really would like it, this whole rural thing, even more. There's just something about an apple orchard. The kind of something that makes you feel young again, like you're a kid, like there's nothing in all the world as important as filling your bag with fresh fruit and biting into the juicy flesh of a golden Honeycrisp. This time of year, most of the trees have been picked at … [Read more...]