tsoureki! [greek easter bread.]

tsoureki.

Hello, and welcome to perhaps the only recipe I’ve ever made which makes use of not one, not two, but all three of your stand mixer’s standard attachments. Hooray! It’s like the Holy Grail of Baking.

People of Greece: I want to thank you for this bread. Thank you for making this an essential part of your Greek Easter celebration, thank you for its incredible flavor, its delightful sweetness, and most especially for my ability to make it on my very first try without utter failure. I would have cried had it not worked out, because just the scent of the dough was enough for me to long for it. Seriously, this may be my most favorite sweet dough ever. And I’m going to show you how to make it. Continue reading →

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spring vegetable salad + miso tahini dressing. also, a wee book review.

spring vegetable salad + miso dressing.

It. Is. Spring. If I just keep repeating that, will it become true? I certainly hope so, because it’s April, which means I’ve crossed over into full denial that it’s still chilly here. Warmth has become a state of mind more than it is an actual reality.

I’m wearing tee shirts.

I’m packing my scarves up.

I’m making this salad.

Because it’s 2 weeks to Easter, and there’s fresh produce everywhere I look, and it’s about time we kicked the chilly weather to the curb, even if right now that means eating like it’s 80 degrees and sunny out. Continue reading →

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feast magazine, april 2014: jerusalem artichoke + sundried tomato spread.

feast magazine april 2014: sunchoke spread.

Yes, it’s April 2nd, and typically I have my Feast article out at the crack of the new month, but “better late than never” is my new “on time,” at least for right now. This month, I’m pretty stoked about the recipes inside the April issue: so joyously springy, which at least for me was no small feat considering those of us who create recipes had to have our contributions in by mid-February. In case you’ve blocked it out, at that point we were snow-covered and frozen. Some recipes I think you’ll love (besides my humble contribution): Continue reading →

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The New York Times chocolate chip cookie.

the new york times chocolate chip cookie.

it’s like the earth, but with caramel-toffee flavored dough.

You know those articles that give you “5/10/12 Ways to Improve Your Chocolate Chip Cookies?” Cool. I can improve your cookies in 1 step.

Make these chocolate chip cookies. Done. Improved. Rejoice!

You guys. You know I don’t love using the words “The Best” or “Perfect” in post titles. Because, truly, who am I to say that something is the best? I’ve probably not ever had every version of something, nor are my taste buds superior to anyone else’s. Furthermore, everyone’s idea of “the best” varies from one to the next: maybe this person likes a certain thing this way, where another likes it that way. Who knows. I’m not the foremost authority on anything; however, I am fairly well-versed in one thing.

Cookie magnificence.

Continue reading →

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the just one question project: question five.

the just one question project: question five.

Why did this post take so long for me to publish? Lots going on plus me fleeing the entirely too-cold Midwest for the warmth of a Florida beach. I’m home again, and semi-ready for action. The last question asked you to compare yourselves to celebrity chefs or cookbooks, or to tell me who you aspire to be (and for bonus points, you could compare some of the rest of us to famous chefs or cookbooks). Here are your answers: this was harder for everyone than I meant it to be, but in retrospect, asking a bunch of regular people to compare themselves to famous ones doesn’t always go smoothly. I loved your answers, and I also enjoyed seeing the contrast in who you most identified with versus who you aspired to be.  Let’s take a look: this first chart shows who you compared yourselves to, and also who your fellow bloggers compared you to: Continue reading →

feast magazine, march 2014: cheese-filled pannenkoeken + lemon-blueberry sauce.

cheese-filled pannenkoeken with blueberry lemon sauce.

Full disclosure: I’ve fled Saint Louis for the sandy beaches and international octogenarian culture of southwest Florida. Everyone is down here, friends: license plates from almost every state were represented in a downtown parking lot yesterday, including some from Canada. I hear there’s another round of bad weather headed for you, so I’ll spare you the weather report from here; it would just make you angry. My own personal weather report, however, is warm and happy, with a sun index of 9 and a 5% chance of returning to my homeland before May. Winter may not be over, but I’m pretty over winter. Continue reading →

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[virtuous] fig + millet donuts.

[virtuous] fig + millet donuts.

I looked out the window the other day around 5:30 pm and saw something foreign: the sun. it was still light outside, even after 5 pm. Granted, this is wonderful news, but so much more is expected of you when the days are longer and it starts to warm up, right? You have to dig out from under your mountain of blankets, for one. You probably have to stay up past 9 pm; saying it “feels later” because it’s been dark since midafternoon just doesn’t work as well when it’s not dark. Perhaps most importantly, you need to start thinking about putting on actual pants. Sans stretch. With actual waistband. Whatever shall we do?!?
Continue reading →

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cookie throwdown: bouchon boxed mix vs. cookbook.

chocolate chip cookie throwdown.

I did something exceedingly stupid the other day: I purchased food products at Williams Sonoma. Not spices or sprinkles, mind you, which I could easily play off as “necessary” or “practical,” oh no. Instead, I walked out of that hallowed place with two things I had no need for: a box of Bouchon Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix and some Vanilla Wafer Butter. I’ve turned the former into an experiment which we’ll be discussing today; the latter I refuse to discuss at all. Still ashamed.

Continue reading →

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feast magazine, february 2014 [part two]: spicy peanut gochujang cookies.

spicy peanut gochujang cookies.

Although black walnuts were my big project this month in Feast, this is not to say that I didn’t write my regular column as well. I did, and I sort of wish it had been in a different issue, because it may be one of my favorite/weirdest recipes I’ve done so far for Mystery Shopper. I am as proud of it as I am the black walnuts piece, and my goals with both articles are the same: I want you to incorporate odd things into your regular baking and cooking lives. With these cookies, however, I want you to do more than just traditional things with a twist: I want you to get your adventurepants on.  Continue reading →

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feast magazine, february 2014 [part one]: black walnuts.

black walnuts.

So: black walnuts, otherwise known as the nut I was tasked with creating recipes around for this month’s Feast magazine: let’s talk about them. When I was asked to do a feature article on black walnuts, I was obviously elated: me? write a feature? Yes, please: I would love that. I am honored. I am utterly geeked out by your request yes I will do it. But then it dawned on me: black walnuts?

I know nothing about black walnuts.

Now, you could argue here that my entire columnist life is centered around ingredients I largely know nothing about until I work with them for the magazine, but that’s 1 recipe: this time, they were asking for a full writeup and 6-7 recipes. Add to that the direction to balance sweet to savory and make it all winter-centric, and you get one nervous writer.

Continue reading →

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