Dark & Stormy Caramel Corn


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+++

Recent Acquisitions: October Superiorous

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+++

Buttermilk Cake with Sour Milk Jam and Gin-Poached Cherries

Last month’s issue of Bon Appetit was devoted to the country’s best restaurants. It included a recipe for a buttermilk cake that sounded delicious. But when I got to the end of the recipe they instruct you to tear the cake up into little pieces and carefully place them on a plate along with little dollops of cherries and milk jam. Sure enough, I turned back to the photograph (see!) and it was a sparse plate of carefully arranged bits that is common enough in restaurants, but that would be very absurd in my kitchen. I imagine that I would feel like a first-class tool if I presented someone with a  plate of torn up bits of cake. Also, I would be laughed out of the room. read more+++

Tomatoes with Crisp Fried Eggplant and Burrata


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.

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Marriage Equality and Some Random Pies


I am DJing at The Hideout next Monday. As one does.

I’ll be playing some of my favorite music at Chicago’s legendary Hideout, to support the campaign for marriage equality in Illinois. I’m proud to be a part of this fun night that includes guest DJ’s, a team of awesome hosts and some of our local politicians—in addition to a cakewalk (Floriole! Rare Bird! Rustic Tart!), a silent auction, and lots more fun. We’re all gathering to generate awareness, raise money, and recruit volunteers for the campaign to give gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. It will be a great night that supports a cause that is very close to my heart. Bryan and I were married two years ago (in Massachusetts), and we would like to see our commitment recognized in our home state. We would also like for other couples to have the option to marry the person they love in Illinois…and for freedom to ring loud and proud across the country.

I hope some of you will come out and support the cause. It would be fun to meet you there. Also, I have never DJ’d anywhere other than my living room, so I could really use the support!

Monday, September 16th from 7-10pm. More information (and tickets) HERE.



Raw and Charred Zucchini Salad


Before summer slips away, we’ve been trying to pack in some fun. This weekend Bryan’s parents were in town and we took a road trip up to Harbor County, Michigan. It was nice to get away for the day, walk on the beach, and enjoy the charming beach side towns that make up this stretch of southwest Michigan. One of my favorite Chicago restaurants, Pleasant House Bakery, has opened a second location in Three Oaks, a small town that has a surprising number of great things to see and do (and eat!). How many towns of 1600 people have a cinema showing independent/art house films? We had a fantastic lunch at Pleasant House (the beer they’re brewing at this location is really special) and we found a mirror we should have bought but didn’t at Ipso Facto (such regret!). I also really liked AP in Lakeside, which was recommended by a friend (thanks, Emily!). The shop sells women’s clothing, but also some home goods. It is a beautifully designed little world that I was happy to spend time in. I picked up some linen tea towels. Ariane at AP recommended the Sawyer Garden Center for some local fruit, and it turned out to be a great stop. We left with local peaches, plums and blueberries. As we drove back into the city and sat in the usual end-of-the-weekend traffic, I was scheming how best to make the most of these last few weeks of summer in the kitchen.

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Hoosier Mama


Chicago is lucky to have a small (but mighty) pie shop called Hoosier Mama. I knew this the first time I sat in their tiny storefront shop and ate a slice of warm apple pie with a cup of coffee on a rainy autumn afternoon. I am reminded of this good fortune every time I pick up a pie from their stand at the farmers market. And I was reminded of it again last week when I bought a copy of their wonderful new cookbook, The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie.

Paula Haney and Allison Scott managed to translate everything that is charming and wonderful about their shop into a cookbook that includes the recipe for every pie I have ever seen them sell. It is an impressive (and generous!) collection ranging from sweet to savory. There are also handpies, quiches and even suggestions for what to do with dough scraps. Techniques are carefully laid out and encouragingly explained. The book is the perfect kitchen companion and one that I know I will return to often.

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A cake for midsummer


I made this cake last summer, but somehow never got around to writing about it even though it was perfection. Who knows what happened—something distracted me or the moment passed. It is a Nigel Slater recipe (if the title didn’t give it away), and it needs to be made every summer from now until the end of time. I am resurrecting it here with the hope that you all have some raspberries and apricots at your market and can throw this together over the weekend. I sure will.


Sometimes it is nice to talk about something other than food. Which I do a lot of in my real life, but not as much of in my internet life. I was honored and pleased when Rebecca Hernandez from The Women Take Over asked me to answer some questions about feminism and equality, two things I care deeply about. Rebecca is one of the folks behind that fantastic You Don’t Own Me PSA during the last election. The Women Take Over is a great website that profiles feminists and feminist issues, with the goal of inspiring young people. I love it. I hope you will take the time to check out Rebecca’s site and follow along. Yes to feminism! Check out my interview HERE! read more+++

Blueberry Shortcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese


Sometimes all I want to say to you is: MAKE THIS NOW. Sometimes there isn’t much more to say than: This is a good recipe, and you should make it if you like eating delicious food. This is one of those times. Blueberry biscuit shortcakes with whipped cream cheese don’t really need any more explanation, so: MAKE THESE NOW! read more+++

Minted Snap Peas


Summer is here! On Saturday, at our farmer’s market, I had a moment of panic. Looking at all of the fresh fruits and vegetables finally available to me, I felt frustrated that I couldn’t cook and eat it all. There is just SO much right now: berries, peppers, greens, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs! In a couple of months it will all be gone, at least the stuff that grows locally. Time is of the essence.

This summer I have been gravitating toward recipes that don’t require much work. In part because it is easy, in part because it allows me to prepare more food in a shorter amount of time. This simple preparation of snap peas is a good example. Adding some mint oil and salt to a cup of snap peas transforms them into one of the best snacks I have ever eaten. Honestly, we couldn’t stop and this recipe that was supposed to serve 6 people was devoured by Bryan and and me over the course of the afternoon. One of Bryan’s least favorite things is when people say that a particular food is “addicting“. So I’ll just say again that it is very difficult to stop eating these snap peas.

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