Grapefruit Honey Sorbet + the Ripe Cookbook

three grapefruits

It’s a quiet weeknight at home, and Tim and I are sitting Indian-style on the leather sofa, facing each other, our knees barely touching. I flip to a new page of the glossy hardcover on my lap, reading its words aloud. “People avoid chard,” I say to him, lifting the text from a dark green page opposite two criss-crossed leafy stems. “They see it at the market, with its big, imposing leaves, and think: If I bring that home, it’ll overrun the crisper and suffocate the carrots in their sleep.” The image makes us laugh, mostly because we know our own fridge is currently packed to the full with kale and lettuce and, indeed, enormous chard from our first week’s CSA. “Actually, you want these larger leaves for making stuffed chard,” it continues, “which is my favorite way to eat this pretty green vegetable.” We sit like this for a while, the two of us, reading page after page as if it were a novel and not a cookbook perched across my lap. That’s because this book, written by Cheryl … [Read more...]

Raw Berry Cream Pie + Raw Chocolate Crust

raw berry pie + raw chocolate crust

There are days when a story chases you, when you feel like it’s falling out of you or like you have to write it, in that moment, before it’s gone; and then there are days when it doesn’t, when you sit, staring at your keyboard and photographs, searching for words like you’re hunting for lost gold. All it means is that you're a writer. Everyone from Anne Lamott to Elizabeth Gilbert will tell you this. For most of us, creativity is less a kitchen faucet, turned on and off like we please, and more a gust of wind, unpredictable and sometimes violent. While there are those of us who tap it well, who know how to do their rain dances of disciplined writing times and creative writing exercises to produce results, for a lot of us, it's not as simple. We stare at a lot of blank screens, spend a lot of afternoons escaping for want of inspiration, do a lot of wrestling with paragraphs like we're fighting stubborn pieces of clay. That's how it goes. Because I've heard them say … [Read more...]

Tim’s Mostly Raw Chocolate Ice Cream

When we started registering for wedding gifts last summer, there was one thing Tim really wanted to add: an ice cream maker. And where I (the impatient, get-it-done type) probably would have just clicked the first version I saw at Target or Williams and Sonoma and rejoiced to have checked something off my list, this man I married is different. He does research. So it was in those final few months before our wedding that we had at least three different conversations about ice cream maker options: the kind where you have to freeze the bowl ahead of time, the kind with the freezing mechanism already inside; small ones, large ones; ice cream makers from Cuisinart, ice cream makers from Italy. Because this was around the time when I was off for a weekend to Oregon, I even remember talking to Kim and Tyler Malek from Salt and Straw about the ice cream maker(s) they use and recommend and why, jotting notes in my notebook to share with Tim. My Tim loves ice cream. I mean, … [Read more...]

Brown Butter Cranberry Hazelnut Tart + Chocolate Tart

I never thought much about what our first Christmas would be like---which is funny because, for a classic overthinker like me, it's rare not to think about something. Maybe it was because of how big October seemed and how faraway December felt. The first week, we bought a six-foot Fraser fir, purchased from a giant red-and-white tent outside Home Depot, a tree that smells like the forest and sheds needles every day. We stowed it in the back of Tim's car, alongside a poinsettia and a fresh wreath from Aldi, and put it in our living room, inside a plastic stand Tim hadn't used for four years and topped by white bulb lights I'd hung at that blog birthday party I had in 2009. We hung a homemade advent calendar (inspiration: summer harms) on our dining room window, made of leftover wedding kraft envelopes and filled with holiday activities each of us wrote on slips of paper, mixed together and inserted randomly. The first day was kisses every hour; the second was a … [Read more...]

Soft & Chewy Salted Caramel

Two years ago, I made my dad caramels for his birthday. They were hard and crunchy, like gold-wrapped Werther’s, the kind that would crack like glass when you bit them. While I’d been after something a little more chewy that time, since that's how Dad likes them most, it turned out candy-making could be something of an art, especially when you were new to it, so all I could muster were those smooth caramel stones, best for placing between your tongue and the roof of your mouth and slowly melting away. I gave them to him, presenting them proudly, and I put my candy thermometer away. But then this year, when Tim and I were up visiting a few months ago, talking to my dad in the kitchen about dinner plans or about something we’d baked, Dad, almost out of nowhere, asked if I’d thought about trying caramels again. Maybe soft and chewy this time? he'd asked, hopefully, like it would really mean something to him if I could. Now I know a lot of people would say their dad is … [Read more...]

Coconut Cupcakes (+ Xylitol!)

Thank you all so much for your congratulations and excitement on the last post! I told Tim, getting engaged feels like this giant burst of love from everyone who's known you---and even some that haven't. Thanks for sharing in our joy, every one of you. You are the best part of blogging. And speaking of the best parts of food blogging, let me tell you about another one: namely, getting exposed to new and interesting ingredients---like Xyla (Xylitol), for example, the alternative sweetener I used in today's coconut-packed cupcakes. Before an email from Xylitol USA found its way into my inbox a few weeks ago, I had heard a little bit about this "un-sugar." I knew it was popular in chewing gums, but, actually, it turns out it's been used in the dental field for more than sixty years, praised for its plaque- and cavity- fighting abilities, as well as power to fight demineralization of tooth enamel and mouth infections. Even beyond dental benefits, Xyla has a long list of … [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...]