general information and events

you’re invited: academy awards party 2015.

February 26, 2015
 you're invited: oscar party 2015.

par·ty1  /ˈpärdē/

 noun  
1. a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking, and entertainment.
2. a word used by socially awkward individuals to describe something which happens in the privacy of their own home, usually with very few guests, typically involving decorations and much more food than is necessary.
Such was the case of my most hallowed minor holiday: you can have your Valentine’s Day and your Mardi Gras, so long as you leave me my Academy of Motion Picture Awards Party, a.k.a the Oscar Party.

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sides

celeriac-turnip gratin with herbed maple cream.

February 18, 2015

celeriac-turnip gratin with herbed maple cream.

Yes, it’s fantastic, because roots swimming in maple cream softly spiced with nutmeg and cayenne, then tossed with fresh rosemary and thyme. What part of that could fail? No parts. It’s perfection and we’re going to get to that. Stick with me, because I manage to work the phrase “a family of anthropomorphic foxes” into my dish description. Continue Reading…

desserts

valentine [or anytime] vanilla sandwich cookies.

February 12, 2015

valentine [or anytime] vanilla sandwich cookies.

I still remember how I spent last Valentine’s day. Okay, not really, but I clearly remember what I did leading up to that most sacred *cough gag* of days: throwing a ton of effort into a cake I thought I’d be stoked about, and having it be way less than what I was expecting.

That’s lame.

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feast magazine article, sides

feast magazine, february 2015: warm potato salad + ‘nduja vinaigrette.

February 6, 2015

'nduja for feast magazine, february 2015.

Vegetarians and vegans, avert your eyes: this month’s Feast ingredient is definitely not for you.

A little peek inside the inner workings of this column: I have zero idea what I’m doing. It’s one of precious few areas in my life where I fly by the seat of my pants. I don’t pick these ingredients based on some vast, specialized knowledge of food, no no: I pick them because they look or sound interesting, or totally strange, and I want to know more about them. Continue Reading…

desserts, general information and events

mochi cake.

January 19, 2015

mochi cake.

You guys: 9 people died over the new year in Japan, with 13 more people in serious condition due to mochi cake. Last year? 4 deaths, with 2 deaths the previous year. Seems as though mochi cake is so dense, so chewy, and so delicious that people consume it en masse this time of year, and sometimes too fast, which can lead to accidental choking.

Here’s the thing: I can see how choking could happen, but if you live in Japan and eat it all the time, I don’t know…be careful with your mochi, people, because it’s a dangerous and uncertain world out there. Japanese authorities recommend you chew it a bunch prior to swallowing, cut it into bite-size pieces before giving it to little kids or the elderly, and  – perhaps most importantly – never be alone with your mochi. Continue Reading…

general information and events

resolutions for 2015 – because, resolutions.

January 13, 2015
resolutions, 2015.

my ultra-sophisticated office, also known as “the dining room.”

I witnessed a breakdown happen in mid-December, just before the holidays really kicked into gear; it was abrupt, tense, and filled with emotion…and it was on Instagram. I don’t know this food blogger/Instagrammer personally, but it seems she was overwhelmed by the pressure to live a perfect, beautifully-lit, gorgeously photographed “life” on social media. It seems as though she had a big plan to push her brand into the spotlight, but it had somehow fallen apart, dramatically and publicly, and now there’s zero trace of her anywhere – account, deleted – shortly after she posted all of this.

I can’t stop thinking about it. For me, it’s a cautionary tale, and it’s also more than that: If I’m 100% honest with myself and all of you, variations of these thoughts have crossed my mind, and I would bet (and I know) they’ve crossed some of yours – bloggers, Instagrammers, Guardians of the Social Media Galaxy – because pressure in this business? It’s everywhere, on all levels, and from all sides. Mostly, though, the pressure we place on ourselves is what takes us out. I should say here that I’m actually not winding up to have my own breakdown in this post: quite the opposite, in fact. So let’s chat about life. *pats chair* Continue Reading…

appetizers

feast magazine, january 2015: Opo squash fritters with smoked salmon and watercress herb salad.

January 4, 2015

opo squash fritters with smoked salmon and watercress herb salad.

Happy New Year!

Is it terrible that by the time the January issue of Feast hit the stands, I had completely forgotten what I had done for the column? I remembered nothing: not the ingredient, not the recipe. It’s the curse of working 2 months ahead combined with all the holiday distractions in recent weeks, I suppose. As it turns out, I did actually write a column for January, and it’s about Opo squash. If you’re longing for that bounty of zucchini we Midwesterners are so lucky to see during the summer, read on. Continue Reading…

desserts

italian tricolor [rainbow] cookies.

December 21, 2014

italian tricolor / rainbow cookies.

Okay, so Tricolor / Rainbow cookies – you knew these had to show up this week, right? It’s the quintessential Italian-American bakery treat: those colors aren’t supposed to denote christmas, people, those colors are to celebrate the Italian flag. And they look a little tricky to make, so obviously…here I am, like a moth to a flame. And I brought charts.

italian tricolor [rainbow] cookies.

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desserts

baci di dama (gluten-free chocolate-filled hazelnut cookies.)

December 17, 2014

baci di dama [chocolate-filled hazelnut cookies].

Baci di Dama: Italian for “disturbingly tedious cookie balls.” Even for me, who relishes a difficult task. And not just part of the process, either: every single step is rife with things which can and will irritate you. Easy to make? Nope. Fun? Not in the slightest; no one is going to throw any Baci di Dama cooking-making parties anytime soon, at least not around here. If you’re interested, hazelphiles (and I know some of you are), this one’s for you. Hopefully my little tutorial will eliminate some aggravation, and you can get right to the best part: popping them in your mouth, one by one, ad nauseum. Continue Reading…