Tue May 26, 2009
Strawberry-Rhubarb Clafoutis catches some rays at breakfast
Sometimes I get a little over-zealous at the farmers’ market, especially in the late-Spring. I stock up on gorgeous gem-colored cherries, tangy-sweet blueberries, pints of radiant red strawberries, baby beets and rainbow chard, forgetting I made dinner plans or agreed to go to a wine tasting later in the week. As I’m unloading my bags and stuffing my crisper until it’s spilling out the seams like Jack Sprat, I realize I’ve bought way more than I’ll have time to eat without a little strategizing. (And sadly there are weeks I don’t realize this until I the strawberries begin looking like a fifth grade science experiment.)
Mon Feb 23, 2009
Beignets for Fat Tuesday
People who know me know this: I have very few secrets. Maybe I read too much Dr. Seuss as a kid, or maybe I was interested in psychology too early, but I offer up information about myself like a flower does pollen. So when I recently let it slip that I have an obsession with donuts, I think my fiancé Neal was a little surprised.
I wasn’t allowed to eat many sweets growing up, and there were rarely any in our house. My mom occasionally bought coffee cake or, my favorite, boxes of Entenmann’s Donuts. I loved the mildly spicy powdered cinnamon ones best. They were cakey and just a little sweet, and they would almost dissolve into a glass of milk. When the cinnamon ones were all gone, I would furtively sneak the plain cake ones, thinking no one would notice.
Wed Oct 1, 2008
Fresh bread, gorgonzola and quince paste
Fall is by far my favorite season and, since the trees here refuse to play dress-up in their crimson, persimmon and gold-colored October wardrobe like a stubborn child refusing to have fun, it’s the one I have to work the most to capture. Autumn comes in from the edges in Southern California. It’s most obvious in the morning—when the light is a little more slanted, illuminating the palm trees and mountains to the east with a pumpkin-tinge—and in the evening, when Orion rises in the sky, the stars on his belt sparkling like Paris Hilton’s bling. It creeps in at the farmers’ markets too, with apples and winter squashes peppering the farmers’ tables along with grapes and figs and dates.
Fri Sep 12, 2008
Homemade Granola Bars!
Work. It doesn’t go away. If you’re planning a vacation, you have to do more of it, in a shorter period of time, so that you don’t miss any deadlines when you’re gone. When you get back, you have to catch up on all the work you missed while you were away, quickly negating the relaxing vacation you worked so hard for.
Problem is, we’re a culture that puts way more value on hard work than we do on play. We talk about how many jobs we have or how busy we are with work like it’s a badge of honor, like our exhaustion is something to be proud of. We look at people who live to play with disdain, but their easy smiles tell a different story. I’ve lived among them. I’ve been one, albeit a bad one (I always worked at least two jobs), living in Tahoe for years. And I’ve got to tell you there’s a lot of work that goes into a playful life, it’s just tempered with more rewards, more balance.
Thu Apr 10, 2008
Strawberry Preserves with Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar
I can’t find my first sentence. Do you know where it went? I had it wrapped around my brain when I rolled out of bed this morning, but staring at the computer now, I can’t remember what it was. I had been dreaming about Top Chef again and Gordon Ramsey was the judge and Nancy Silverton had replaced Padma. We were getting ready to start the Quick Fire Challenge when G-Ram said…what?! Argh!
Sat Mar 1, 2008
Leah’s Crunchy Granola
The East Coaster in me hates the crunchy granola hippie part of me. It’s true. She thinks that the combination of rolled oats, dried fruit and nuts kissed with honey is silly. And weak. The East Coaster in me thinks I should eat egg on a roll. With Bacon. Every day. And I don’t blame her. By most accounts, a fresh Kaiser roll with fried egg, butter and bacon, dusted with salt and pepper, is a very satisfying way to start the day. It can be easily eaten on-the-go, out of a brown paper bag, and goes great with a light and sweet cup of coffee. But I’ve lived in California too long. I enjoy my leisure too much. In the warm California sun I’ve learned to sit quietly and listen as my teeth grind each cluster, sounding like rocks rolling in a polisher. I like granola out of hand on a hike in the winter green mountains of Los Angeles and served with tangy Greek yogurt and a drizzle of local honey at the breakfast table.But it hasn’t always been that simple. Food has always defined me–the urban intellectual battling the laid-back, outdoorsy mountain girl competing for dominance over my brain and stomach. Continue reading