Speedy Chicken Tikka Masala (dairy-free, gluten-free)

Huntsville Alabama

Sometimes I don't feel like talking about food. I feel like posting a pretty picture. I took the above shot last month in Huntsville, Alabama, the town where my college roommate Kim lives and where I met her for the afternoon one Saturday. She treated me to high tea at this fancy little shop, and then she drove me around the area's historic neighborhoods, letting me ooh and ah at the architecture, and to this park off the highway, where we climbed into the woods and looked out through leaves at the parking lot and, off in the distance, the hills of her hometown. Tim was away in New York that weekend (you'll remember his happy homecoming here), and I was missing him, so when I came back to the empty house that night, I was glad to be so tired from driving and touring and eating little scones, because at least that meant I would fall fast asleep, a skill usually reserved only for the male half of this little family, and fall fast asleep is exactly what I did. The next day, … [Read more...]

Cheeseless Crustless Quiche (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

cheeseless-quiche

There are recipes you make because you like the way they taste (chicken pot pie, carrot risotto, thin and chewy pizza crust); there are recipes you make because you're trying to show love (hot chocolate cookies, homemade cheesecake, soft and chewy salted caramel); and then, also, there are recipes you make for another reason, one not unlike the reason to get a new job or start a garden or build all your furniture yourself: Because you didn't think you could. Maybe this is how climbers feel about new mountains, or runners, about setting a new pace. When my brother says he wants adventure, and we end up at the top of the Arcadia National Forest in Maine, maybe this is why. Because the thing about a challenge or, more specifically, about meeting one, is that it makes you feel powerful, like you can do things. And when we defeat something we didn't think we could, we learn to be less afraid. In a 2008 CNN article titled "The Spirit of ... Adventure," Brigid Delaney … [Read more...]

Sweet Tomato Jam + Grilled Cheese

tomatoes in a bag

I am sitting here at my computer screen, imagining you, at the office or on your iPhone or skimming through your Reader, asking myself what I can possibly say to accurately communicate to you the importance of today's recipe, and I'm thinking about the reality that you are probably doing ten other things right now, that while you are deciding whether or not to keep reading or click away, you've also got a Word doc up; your email inbox, open; if your kids aren't crying, they're about to. You and I both know that just because it's Friday, that doesn't mean there isn't a to-do list, physical or not, on your mind for today, and you're trying to remember things and wanting to go get jobs done, so when you click here for a second and I ask for your attention, even with a photo like this top one, I know it's not an easy sell. I know what I'm up against. But listen, please hear me on this one if you've never heard me before and will never hear me again: You want to hear about this tomato … [Read more...]

HOT Chocolate Cookies (+ BIG Announcement!)

Yesterday morning, I had an entirely different post planned for you today. It wasn't about cookies, it wasn't about Nashville, it wasn't about the person who likes these cookies most. But plans change. You might remember over a month ago, when I brought you these thin chocolate cookies and ice cream sandwiches, how I mentioned being on the hunt for a crisp chocolate cookie, the kind that was like a cocoa gingersnap, spiced and crisp, sharp and crunchy. What I didn't tell you then was that it was really Tim who wanted this cookie, Tim who had mentioned it and sent my mind to work. And so it was, last week in Chicago, that I first tried this new recipe, an adaptation of Mexican chocolate cookies I'd found online, while Tim sat in my parents' dining room working on his computer and I worked in a light-filled kitchen, hoping for crisp, spiced bites of chocolate. That first experiment was such a hit, I made the recipe again Monday, so I could bring them over to Tim's house … [Read more...]

Mama’s Meat Sauce

I come from a long line of women who can cook: My great grandma, I'm told, made legendary pasta. My grandma rolled her own cannoli shells. My mom, a woman who loves to say, Oh, it's so simple (particularly when her only daughter asks for clarification on some new recipe trick), has a vast cooking repertoire that ranges from bakery-worthy apple strudel to hot chicken curry just the way my dad likes it. And as with a lot of things in life, I feel there are different ways to approach this kind of heritage: Embrace it. Or resent it. I'll let you guess which way I tended towards for most of my childhood and only say this: it's amazing how we can turn blessings into curses, how we can choose to be intimidated by that which can help us grow. You may call it perfectionism; I call it ugly. It's like, say, when you have the opportunity to start working from home: This is such an obvious good (especially as it is the thing---the very thing---you have wanted and worked towards for … [Read more...]