Sweet Potato and Tatsoi Soup

It’s hard to think that while this past Friday, November 2, was a day we’ll remember as the announcement of our little book, for many others, it's part of the painful weeks of hurricane disaster recovery and rebuilding. This is always happening in life: pain and sorrow hand in hand, celebration smashed up against heartache, joy against grief. Today, while I bring you sweet potato soup, for example, there’s someone else who doesn’t have a stove, or food, to cook with. While I nursed a cold this weekend, feeling pretty glum, someone else ran a marathon, feeling high on life. My friend's baby girl was born two weeks before her grandma died. Even as I post these thoughts, on America’s Election Day, many of you have polls and campaigns on your minds, while, simultaneously, others of you don’t. The world is big. We're all dwelling in our own small worlds, inside this larger one, and we know it's this way. It's a hard thing to wrap your mind around, the enormity of so many people … [Read more...]

Cozy Day at Home + Caramelized Apples and Onions

The first time I met Tim, he said something in passing about how he’d much prefer a night in, at home, to endless social activity, one party and get-together after another, and I couldn’t believe how much he sounded like me. They say it’s the opposites who are the ones to attract, but, almost one year into marriage, all I have to say is that it sure is nice to share life with someone who also finds pleasure in picking a new Netflix movie or testing orangettes or reading side by side, before falling asleep at night. If it weren’t for the great enjoyment we both also find in hosting big dinner parties and attending outdoor gatherings and making meaningful connections with other human beings, and mostly the growing desire we both have to stretch outside our comfort zones and love, I wonder just how easy it would be for us to settle in at home, something brewing on the stove and, stay there, content. It’s something we’ve thought so deliberately about recently that, in an … [Read more...]

Carrot Risotto (or, choosing whom you cook with)

top photo of carrot risotto

My brother hasn't been in the car with us twenty minutes before I hear him say something in passing about a spring pea risotto he's tried the week before, and before I can stop myself I'm exclaiming, "Risotto! I want to make risotto! How do you do it? Was it hard?” Then, to Tim, “Remember our carrot risotto in California?” That risotto we’d had at La Bicyclette, the highlight of our meal and maybe our entire trip, was the kind of entrée you never forget, so even though I ask him, I know Tim knows it, too: a carrot risotto so creamy and buttery, so cheesy and comforting, so beautifully bright orange the way things hardly ever naturally are, that I heard at least three other bloggers say they would tackle this recipe when they got home. Of course, I wasn't one of those bloggers saying I'd make it later, just so we're clear. I responded by saying how much I liked it, how warm and savory and amazing it was, but I didn't dream of going home and trying it myself because, … [Read more...]

the first one

I am going through a photo slump lately, the kind where I hate the places I usually use and hate the new places I try, so all of my photos are turning out just O.K., and I'm afraid to even submit them to Foodgawker or Tastespotting because a little more rejection is just not what I need right now; nonetheless, there's nothing wrong with my eating, as you can probably guess, so let's focus on that. I've joined a CSA. This is a fairly big deal. You probably already know what one is, but I didn't---not until June, when one of my favorite bloggers mentioned a shipment from hers, and I said something about being jealous, and she said, Doesn't Chicago have Community Supported Agriculture? And I said, Well, I guess we do. Here's how it works: you pay a flat upfront fee (mine was a reduced $180 because of a rough growing season in Chicago), like you're buying a share in the farm, and, in exchange, the farmers give you regular shipments of fresh produce. Actually I think it was fate … [Read more...]

tout français

If it seems cliché for me, a girl learning to cook, to want (and receive) a Julia Child book for Christmas, well, maybe it is. But, you know, not all clichés are bad. That one about how a penny saved is a penny earned? I kind of like that one. And you’re only young once? That’s true, too. Maybe you're thinking up some new year's resolutions: Get in shape? Save more money? I say, What the heck. Let's all embrace clichés. Julia Child is kind of The Great Famous Chef, the one who brought French cooking to American domestics, who seemed so excited, so full of gusto, she made you believe you could cook what she could, even from your little kitchen. (And that voice! Was there anything so endearing?) So I wanted Mastering the Art of French Cooking, like millions of home cooks have before and millions will after. To begin, I opened to the first chapter and set my hopes on potage parmentier or, leek and onion soup. Julia---we’re on a first-name basis now---says yellow onions are fine, and … [Read more...]