Profiteroles with Tahini Brown Butter Cream, Sesame Cashews, Caramel and Halva

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There are a few restaurants in this world that have become iconic for me. Places that manage to provide everything I dream a restaurant could provide. Some of them are in Chicago, and I am grateful for that. Some are further away and I pine for them. A restaurant at the top of my list is Ana Sortun’s Oleana, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The restaurant has been there for a while and received heaps of praise since its opening, but we only ate there for the first time a few years ago. We were in Massachusetts to be married, and so of course that colors all of our experiences with a warm glow. But the meal blew my mind. Plate after plate of food elicited wows and mmmms and sometimes silent awe from us. It doesn’t hurt that we were sitting in the beautiful garden behind the restaurant and that the service is among the the best I have experienced anywhere. The staff is friendly and charming and eager to teach you about the food. Bryan and I both agreed it was the perfect restaurant.

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The Shortbread

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My friend Marjory started The Shortbread, a new online project about food. It features interviews with a diverse collection of people about their personal relationships with food. I love it and I am really looking forward to following along. I was honored to be included in the project, you can read an interview with me here. xo

Buffalo Cucumber Salad

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Someone on the internet mentioned a Buffalo Cucumber Salad and I was like: WHA?

Frank’s RedHot Sauce (or Frank’s®RedHot® according to their website) is one of the great products of Western Culture. I am very devoted. You can imagine my excitement at the idea of this salad. A quick search taught me that this salad was served at Parm in NYC and that the recipe had actually been published by Lucky Peach. I LOVE THE INTERNET. read more+++

Espresso Burnt Sugar Shortbread

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It’s cookbook season, and new books are hitting the shelves (and my mailbox) daily. Most of them are just okay. And then once in a while a book comes along that, for a variety of reasons, really speaks to me. I had never heard of Ovenly before opening this book. It turns out it is a bakery in New York. According to the cover of the book it is “New York’s Most Creative Bakery”, which is a ridiculous thing to claim. The bakery was started by two friends, Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin, who met in a book club, both with Eastern European roots and a serious interest in baking. I really liked the introductions written by the owners, they both seem thoughtful, charming, and passionate about what they do. My first flip through the book had me wanting to bake everything, from Nutella and Banana Coffee Cake to Bloody Mary Scones and Jelly Donut Muffins. These are the sorts of things that you actually want to bake at home.

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Turn and Face the Strange

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Public Service Announcement: David Bowie Is is the name of an extraordinary touring exhibition that originated at the Victoria and Albert Museum and is currently making its only United States stop in Chicago. It’s an incredibly moving and inspiring show that I hope you all get to see (seriously, come to Chicago!). I am famous for how quickly I move through museums. I spent almost two hours in this exhibition and would have probably spent more time if I didn’t have plans to see it again. The show includes music, costumes, hand-written lyrics, artifacts (including the crystal ball from Labyrinth!), and videos, all tied together through an audio experience that seamlessly guides you through the exhibit. I generally feel ambivalent about museums. While I am optimistic about their educational possibilities and their role as collectors/protectors of culture, they often feel dead and I feel bored. It was nice to be in a museum space that felt alive. Crowds of people swaying to the sounds of Space Oddity. I left wanting to make things. I also left thinking about how much awesomeness one person can bring into the world.

Crisp Baked Tofu

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We’re always freaking out about what to eat for dinner. Not on the weekend, on the weekend we enjoy the question, but during the week it is another story. At some point during the workday one of us will text or e-mail the other something along the lines of: WTF dinner?

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I like cooking, but like many of you I have a 9-5 (ish) job and a commute on either end of that day. I don’t have the energy to do too much for dinner. We tend to eat a combination of pieced together pantry/fridge meals, pick-up, and occasionally eat dinner out. You would not believe I had a food blog from my typical weeknight diet. It consists of a lot of improvised salads, fried rice, and the occasional pizza bagel. But once in a while, we’ll put in a little more effort. We might even plan ahead and make something on Sunday that will last us a few days into the week. This tofu is a good example.

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The Torte

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Make this cake.

In case Deb, Amelia (whose enthusiasm inspired me), or the scores of others who have written about this cake did not convince you, I am here to repeat that this is one of the best recipes ever. If you don’t consider yourself a baker, this will change all of that. It could not be easier, and the results could not be more impressive. It looks like something you’d find in a rustic French bakery and tastes even better. Seriously, people, make this cake. read more+++

Provincetown

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We recently spent some time in Provincetown, the town precariously perched at the sandy tip of Cape Cod. It is easily one of my favorite places in the world. If I could, I would spend time there every year (hopefully someday). Provincetown is everything: a gay mecca, an artist colony, a place of extreme natural beauty, a family vacation spot, a town full of eccentrics, and a picturesque east-coast seaside village. read more+++

Horchata

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After a few weeks of house guests and travels, I am about to get back into this. But for now, please make yourself some horchata. Apricots will be gone before we know it. This is delicious as a mid-afternoon snack or even for dessert with a shortbread cookie. The recipe for this apricot horchata is here. XO

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Tabbouleh

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A couple of weekends ago we had some friends over for lunch. We live on the top floor of a 100-year old building and during the summer it is hot. Turning on the oven is not an option when we are entertaining, so we tend to serve things that can be prepared in advance. In fact, I am developing quite a repertoire of recipes that can be prepared in advance and served cold or room temperature. This farmers market tabbouleh is being added to that ever-growing list. I was inspired by something I’d seen in the Morito cookbook, an assortment of tabbouleh that adapt to the seasons.

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