#KALE

IMG_4366

Did you ever imagine I’d be writing about kale chips? I sure didn’t. I might be going through some sort of a weird food phase. I’m bored? It feels adolescent, like I should be yelling at you: It’s not a phase! I’ve been making a lot of vegetarian food that you might find on Pinterest. Like, I actually made one of those pizzas on a cauliflower crust (It was really delicious, but had absolutely nothing to do with pizza.). I also made this vegan olive shake that Kenji wrote about over on Serious Eats (It’s great!). We normally eat vegetarian food at home, but it’s usually the same sort or salad/bread/cheese/veg combos. Lately I have been tackling recipes that are fussier, veganier. I’m just trying to keep things interesting.

IMG_4456

(Maybe it is a phase.)

read more+++

Detroit

IMG_4173_2

I recently visited Detroit. It was either snowing or below freezing the entire length of our stay, and yet I had the best time and fell in love with the city. Like all modern cities, Detroit is complicated. It seems impossible to talk about Detroit without acknowledging its struggles, which are certainly evident to visitors. But they’re not what I will think of when I think about this beautiful Rust Belt city. I’ll think about all of the friendly people we met, the beautiful things we saw and the delicious food we ate.  Its coolness and potential seem unmatched in American cities. I can honestly say it was one of the most interesting places I’ve ever visited and I cannot wait to return. It is another reason to love the middle of our country.

We packed a lot into two days, here are some of the highlights:

IMG_3622_2 read more+++

Caramelized Crepes Filled with Fresh Cheese

IMG_4345

On one of our first Valentine’s Days together, Bryan and I decided to go out to dinner. He made a reservation at a local French bistro that we ordinarily enjoyed. The thing I remember most about that night was the embarrassing horror of it all—of the spectacle of public displays of romance. We were surrounded by couples trying desperately to have a romantic dinner, everyone was wearing red and awkwardly pulling out chairs for each other. There was this hope in the air that this would all begin to feel really romantic. Which is, of course, that last thing that is going to happen at a restaurant on Valentine’s Day. Romance rarely happens when it is supposed to (the exception perhaps being sunsets?), especially when there are dozens of other couples there trying for the same thing. We survived the dinner, and I remember being really happy that Bryan also found it objectionable. We vowed that year to never go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, unless we were going to Taco Bell or some other place that can’t help but feel romantic. read more+++

Cranberry + Sage Pie

IMG_4063

I am here to suggest you make someone you love a pie. Maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s a member of your family, maybe it’s Jamie Dornan—I don’t really care who it is (unless you actually know Jamie Dornan, in which case please send my regards along with the pie). It’s February. Love is in the air and what better way to show it than with a homemade pie? read more+++

Flour Tortillas

IMG_4160

I know it’s not cool to like flour tortillas. I don’t care, I love them. I would go so far as to say I prefer them to their corny siblings. Lump it into the pile of uncool things I enjoy, like early dinners, certain One Direction songs, and thinking about what foods are or are not cool.

read more+++

Spiced Carrot, Pistachio + Almond Cake

IMG_4229

It’s 2015, you guys! I hope everyone’s year is off to a great start.

You know how sometimes when you stop doing something it becomes harder to start up again? You lose momentum. Like with new years resolutions, you start off exercising everyday, or flossing, and then you stop and you can’t imagine starting again. Sometimes it is like that with blogging. I took a little break for the holidays and I am now having to throw myself back into this. Not because I haven’t been cooking and wanting to tell you about (I have! I do!), but because it has been a while and so I now need to squeeze it back into my life. Squeeze it into the time slot that has been filled with things like bad tv and good books.

Processed with VSCOcam with b4 preset read more+++

Rugelach, Redux (Again)

IMG_3925

I’ve already shared two very wonderful rugelach recipes on my site, so who do I think I am writing about a third? Well, this one is my favorite. I think. Who knows, I’m fickle. But the world can never have too many recipes for rugelach.

These are from the Bar Tartine book (which I love, see Gift Guide), though for various reasons I had to adapt these to work for me, lil ole’ me without kefir butter or home dried fennel flowers. To be honest, no stages of the recipe worked as smoothly as I would have liked them to work, and there is a major typo in the recipe that is published in the book. But despite all of that, here I am. Maybe that will convince you of how delicious these are? I hope.

IMG_3932 read more+++

Lottie + Doof Gift Guide 2014

IMG_4043

My favorite fragrance company (D.S. & Durga) is now making candles and I am totally freaking out over them. This candle, man. It brings me back to the 80′s and being cuddled up in the backseat of a car with my mom and her fur coat. As the creators describe it:

On saffron tanned leather seats, in clothes that look like rugs, singing “we must never break the chain”. Lacquered chestnut paneling with puffs of burning fuel.

DAMN.

IMG_3687

Jessie Mott and I went to grad school together, and since then she has been working as a successful artist (Whitney Biennial, yo!). I was most excited when I discovered she was printing some of her weird/wonderful animal drawings on baby clothes and selling them. Perfect for the kids in your life.

IMG_3944
The Tartine empire continues to rule. This is easily my favorite book since the original Tartine, and features the compelling recipes from Bar Tartine. By next year at this time we will all be dehydrating everything, trust me. The book is smart, thorough, and aspirational. The first half of the book is a guide to the preservation techniques the restaurant uses (spoiler: many of them involved drying of fruits, veg, herbs, etc). I don’t know how many of these techniques I will actually follow, but I am really glad to know about them. The books feels fresh, which is rare in a cookbook. (caveat: My only wish for the Tartine crew is that they were more careful about editing their books. I always find errors, this one included. BUT! Don’t let that discourage you. The errors are usually easily detected and forgiven.)

 

IMG_3861

Spice blends had always struck me as unnecessary, until I tried the work of Lior Lev Sercarz at La Boîte. Really sophisticated blends that you probably could not recreate yourself. I am an especially big fan of Orchidea, which is great in baking and sweets. Try using it in place of cinnamon in your favorite cinnamon/sugar donut recipe

.IMG_4036

Nic Newcomb makes beautiful ceramics that I have admired from afar for years. These plates, though, I had to have. Like a sad rainbow. Also a good canvas for plating food.

 

IMG_3705
I am using this to keep track of recipes. I think it gives me a real edge. read more+++

Cookbooks

IMG_3514

I’m really honored to be included in a wonderful series about cookbook over at Serious Eats. Maggie Hoffman has been interviewing some of my favorite people (Luisa! Amy! Dorie!) about their cookbook collections, I have been eagerly following the column since it started and so it was a real treat to get to talk about my own collection.

It has made me curious about your collections. What are the cookbooks on your shelves that are your absolute favorites? What am I missing?

Also, I promise to have my gift guide (including some of my favorite cookbooks from the past year) up by the end of the week. See you then.

IMG_3526

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

IMG_3595

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.

IMG_3645 read more+++