One can never have too many shortbread recipes.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
One can never have too many shortbread recipes.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
One of my best friends came into town for Thanksgiving and we were going to pick her up at the airport. I knew she’d be hungry so I baked these muffins. Sure enough, her first text when her flight landed was: Hungarian. Which is, of course, how we tell each other we’re hungry. After finding her in the holiday airport traffic behind an Alamo bus she settled into the back seat of our car and ate the muffin. She loved it, and I loved having her back in town. It was a great start to the holiday week. read more+++
Monday, December 2, 2013
Here we go, friends, the annual gift guide. My apologies that this is coming so late, with Hanukkah almost over. Hopefully you saved your gelt and can go shopping for yourself. As always, these are all things I own and love.
Honestly one of the best jams I have ever eaten. Such a pure and beautiful plum flavor, and perfect packaging.
I like everything that Fort Standard makes and was eager to get my mitts on this cutting board. It is as beautiful hanging on the wall as it is on your table.
Who doesn’t like boobs?
These amazing geodes with pyramids carved into the top are one of my new favorite things. Chicago’s Asrai Garden is where I buy most of my rocks, and many of my holiday gifts.
I’ve always wanted to take a photo of myself holding something up against a blank wall. People seem to love it so much, and so this custom photo book provided me with a great opportunity. Artifact Uprising is a wonderful company in Colorado that makes beautifully designed and produced photo books and calendars. We gotta start printing our photos, people! This is a great way to start. And for the record, taking photos this way is just okay. read more+++
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I sat down to write this with Tradition! from Fiddler on the Roof in my head, which may or may not have something to do with Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlapping this year. Bryan does a pretty mean Tevye, I suggest you ask him to sing Tradition next time you see him. He studied Russian for a semester in college, which adds a certain gravitas and authenticity to the performance. But I digress. Tradition! read more+++
Friday, November 15, 2013
One thing you probably don’t know about me is that I am very interested in the occult. I’ve been this way since I was a kid. I would have been Goth, if I was capable of taking myself more seriously (and was willing to give up wearing navy). Instead, I was a preppy and fairly cheerful kid, drawn to the dark, supernatural, and mysterious. I would read books on vampires, freemasons, and the history of witchcraft. I liked the idea of secret rituals and magical powers. As adolescents we’re all a little power hungry.
I was particularly interested in witches, or in the idea of witches. I dressed as a witch to attend a cub scout Halloween party in the 80′s (it was an unusual choice in that crowd). The witches in the Wizard of Oz both terrified and delighted me. In middle school, The Crucible had a big impact on me and the idea of witch hunts was potent enough to ignite my developing sense of injustice and feminism. I was married in Salem, Massachusetts, under a very old tree, in solidarity with my brothers and sisters who were given such grief there (you’ve come a long way, Massachusetts!). Bryan recently told me he could imagine me having powers, which satisfied (witch satisfied?).
Now it will not come as any surprise to you that I am enjoying this season of American Horror Story: Coven. I liked the first two seasons of American Horror Story, but I did not love them. I love Coven, in part because it manages to combine so many things that I love: witches, voodoo, Stevie Nicks, New Orleans, Patti Lupone as an evangelical Christian, Jessica Lange as anything, and all of this vengeance fantasy shit that is hard to resist. It is also beautiful to look at, I want to live in Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies—let’s be honest, I also want to attend school there.
All of that to say, I have been thinking about witches a little more than usual. It is easy to conjure their image in the kitchen. We stand before our cauldrons and practice our particular forms of alchemy—turning ingredients into something new, different, potent. Cooking does make you feel powerful, that is a lot of what I like about it. We’re all magical witches in the kitchen.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to be DJing at the Hideout at an event to support the campaign for marriage equality in Illinois. It was a fun night (see playlist below!) full of cool people, and we raised an impressive amount of money. I’d been nervous about the DJ gig, so I brought my friend Gabe with me.
One of the best things that happened to me in 2013 was the birth of my best friends’ baby, Gabe. Babies are some of the coolest people in the world, and it has been a real pleasure getting to know this little man who is about to turn seven months old. I consider him one of my best friends, though he has had very little say in the matter and doesn’t even know what a friends is…or a best is.
I thought he might be into DJing because he definitely likes music, and I was right. He proved to be a great sidekick, though to be honest he fell asleep pretty early.
On Tuesday Illinois became the 15th state to approve extending marriage benefits to same-sex couples. My marriage (performed in the great state of Massachusetts!), will finally be recognized in my home state. I am glad to have supported the cause, and I very much like the fact that Gabe’s first political act lead to success. I am also happy to know that I live in a state that has prioritized this issue and made progress in supporting equal rights.
This kind of thing means a lot more when you are friends with a baby. read more+++
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Remember a while back when I posted about that apple cider cream pie? Well, it remains one of my favorite recipes and it comes from the pastry genius that is Allison Kave of First Prize Pies. She and a partner (Keavy Blueher) are raising funds to open a dessert and cocktail bar in Brooklyn called Butter & Scotch. This sounds like a real dream to me, and so I was super excited when Allison agreed to preview one of their recipes here. And not just any recipe, a recipe for Dark & Stormy Caramel Corn that manages to combine one of my favorite cocktails with one of my favorite sweets. read more+++
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
We haven’t done this in a while!
This beautiful fragrance called Pale Grey Mountain, Small Black Lake (so good!) from my friends at D.S. & Durga has become a new favorite of mine. The scent reminds me of my childhood basement, and also of the ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland (smoke and water?), as well as walks I have taken in England. They, of course, are more poetic about it. This is also one of the most perfect package designs I have ever seen. That box!
These beautiful bronze nails were a birthday gift from Bryan. He knows how much I like triangles. I’m using mine to hang a necklace on my wall, but I keep coming up with reasons to buy more.
I’ll buy every book Nigel Slater publishes. I am at the point where I can’t wait for the US version, so I order the newest from the UK. Eat has everything we love about Slater packed into a small and flawlessly designed package. read more+++
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Monday, September 16, 2013
I’ve spent almost all of my adult life working at universities. For me, the year starts over again in September. This time of year always feel like a fresh start to me—anything is possible! There is a chill in the air, and scarves are just around the corner. I love it.
It happens to coincide with the height of market season in the Midwest. It is truly harvest time, and the market stands are a veritable cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. On Saturday at Oak Park’s market we saw everything: apples, raspberries (and strawberries!), tomatoes, corn, peppers and squash. It is nuts. It is the closest our markets ever get to the produce section of your local supermarket. It is hard to take advantage of all of this goodness, so try to concentrate on what is important. For me, that is usually tomatoes.