salads, sides

sassy asian chicken sesame salad (for when you can’t adult.)

How much more adult can that salad get?!

You ever get the feeling like – no matter how hard you work at it – you just can’t get it together? Do you ever feel like I can’t get it together? No kidding.

I’ll dispense with the “It’s a new year'” intro because yeah; it’s March, and I’m just now working on my 2017 goals; I know some of you can relate. Goal Numero Uno is to get back to this, to here, to writing – I need the practice, but I need the time, and that’s been lacking so far this particular year. Continue Reading…

Baked Occasionally, desserts

Baked, Occasionally: whipped shortbread cookies (for those holiday cookie trays.)

whipped shortbread cookies. | a periodic table

You know what makes holiday cookies great? Variety, general appeal, and ease of use. I don’t mean that last one as “look how easy it is to eat these bad mamma-jammas,” I mean that cookies on a cookie tray need to be – for the most part – extremely easy to make.

Or else it’s just no fun, right? Fussy cookies are for other times of the year, or maybe you compromise and include one fussy one in a sea of easy ones, but really, you need to keep it simple if you want to enjoy your holiday too. Continue Reading…

feast magazine article, mains, salads, sauces, sides

Shannon’s Thanksgiving Wonderland (aka the Feast Thanksgiving Feature, 2016)

Classics Rock - Feast Magazine, November 2016.

Hang onto your pants, people.

That’s my dining room table. I made you Thanksgiving already. I am my own Bon Appetit / The Kitchn / Food52 this year, and maybe I can be yours as well, because not only did I make all the Thanksgiving foods this year – twice, because photo shoot – but I also came up with what I think is a pretty handy guide to your entire holiday. Continue Reading…

Baked Occasionally, desserts

baked, occasionally: election day palmiers.

baked, occasionally: election day palmiers.

There’s a quote I heard randomly while watching 2012’s national election coverage. Tom Brokaw, who is probably my most favorite newsperson of all time, said this at the time.

“What I love about the process, and what I love about this country and the way we govern ourselves…is that [people] will get up this morning, they’ll go to the voting booth, and they’ll decide who they want to run this country for the next four years; and they won’t do it at the point of a gun, there won’t be any tanks in the street. It’s an amazing process that we’re about to go through, it really is.”

Things had gotten a little crazy-tastic, it was election morning, and it really resonated with me, because it puts something many of us take for granted sharply in focus.

If our 2012 selves knew what was coming in 2016, election morning would have looked like a walk in the park. Continue Reading…

Baked, Baked Occasionally, breakfast, brunch, desserts

baked, occasionally: peanut butter + jelly muffins.

Baked, Occasionally: peanut butter + Jelly muffins.

C’mon guys: it’s October. We all know this could be a pumpkin post, and yet IT IS NOT.

What do I think of when the weather starts to turn chilly in the mornings as I eagerly add my sweaters and boots back into regular rotation? I mean, yeah, pumpkin things, but also, peanut butter and jelly. Why? Because here, the onset of crispy fall weather reminds me of school. It has for years, and I haven’t been in school for…well, let’s say awhile, shall we?  Continue Reading…

Baked, Baked Occasionally, desserts

baked, occasionally: nonnie’s blueberry buckle.

baked occasionally: Nonnie's blueberry buckle. | a periodic table

August is not a month for baked goods, it seems: at least not in the Baked Occasions book. For the first time since Natalie and I began this project, I was underwhelmed by my choices. There was a birthday cake offering which I had basically done in its Sunday Night Cake form (indeed, it’s the same yellow cake, scaled down and paired with a slightly different chocolate frosting), a salted caramel souffle which seemed much more at home in autumn, brioche ice cream sandwiches (homemade brioche in the middle of summer? nope!) and chocolate chip hush puppies. I don’t know about you, but frying things in August seemed like a bad idea, plus I have a difficult time wrapping my head around what exactly this would taste like. Continue Reading…

salads, sides

vinegary carrot ribbon salad with sesame and cilantro.

vinegary carrot ribbon salad with sesame and cilantro. | a periodic table

I am not a lover of carrots. The possible result of decades of limp carrot coins and five hundred too many vegetable trays, I’m just not a huge fan. They seem to lack something: you expect something more from a bright orange vegetable than their often bland, distantly soapy flavor. Roasting them in recent years adds something I like, but still doesn’t push them into “yeah, I want that right now” territory.

As it turns out, all carrots need is vinegar and a little sweetness to turn them into an irresistible treat. Continue Reading…