50/50 Sablé

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The whole grain trend that is sweeping the nation is alright with me. The health benefits of whole grains are great, but the flavor is what keeps me coming back for more. They just taste good, and they make even the simplest thing more interesting. Kim Boyce schooled us all a few years ago, and I am happy each time the lesson is reinforced.

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Angostura Sour

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We haven’t had a drink around here in a while. I don’t know what’s wrong. We’ve certainly been drinking, dranking even (Beyoncé reference—sorry, I can’t stop). Truth be told, it might be because once a delicious cocktail is poured I often don’t want to take the time to photograph it— I just want to drink it. I’ll try to be more patient and less selfish. read more+++

Another Year, Another Farro Salad

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It is -15°F in Chicago right now. That is the air temperature. With the wind they are telling us it feels like -45°F. In case you’re not sure, that is very cold. It is so cold that much of the city has shut down. When we went grocery shopping on Saturday our local Whole Foods was out of potatoes (?!) and many shelves were empty throughout the store. Everyone was stocking up with the hope of not leaving home for a few days.

The intense cold does have its perks—Bryan and I are home from work. Snow days (cold days?) are so fun because it is bonus time. You’re under no obligation to do anything. We sure aren’t. I’m not even cooking. read more+++

In California

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We spent the last weeks of 2013 in California visiting friends, family, and the ocean. It was a great way to end the year. I hope 2014 is off to a great start for all of you. I’ll be back shortly with food. xo

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I Woke Up Like This

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The end of the year is nigh, and I am going to take a little break. I intended to post one last recipe, but then Beyoncé up and released an album (14 songs! 17 videos!) on Friday and I have been watching and listening to it like it’s my job (I wish it were my job!). I feel like I’m in high school again obsessing over an album and having a hard time talking about anything else. I apologize to anyone who crossed my path this week because I definitely made you talk about Beyoncé with me. I mean, she samples a talk on feminism by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the album! So, Bey has distracted me from any cooking I might have planned on doing. Blame her! And then download the album and usher in the new year with Yoncé. Who needs food?

On a serious (and random?) cooking-related note, I also highly recommend these potatoes which are absolutely fantastic (and can be made in advance!). I plan on making them for every holiday dinner forever.

I’ll be back in January with more food and miscellanea. But I wanted to check in one last time before the new year and say that I hope 2014 is the best year yet, for all of you. Thanks for making this such a great place to hang out. See you soon! xo

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Multigrain Muffins

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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+++

Lottie + Doof Gift Guide 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.

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Plum Jam • Ayako & Family

Honestly one of the best jams I have ever eaten. Such a pure and beautiful plum flavor, and perfect packaging.

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Triangle Cutting Board • Fort Standard

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.

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Boob Pillow • Gravel & Gold

Who doesn’t like boobs?

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Sculpted Geode • Asrai Garden

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.

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Photobook • Artifact Uprising

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+++

Salty Honey

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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+++

Witchcraft

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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?).

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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.

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