onions 101.

We spend a lot of produce-shopping time gasping at the variety of vibrant, shimmery things: berries, for instance. Or tomatoes – more on those, actually, in a future post. But we completely overlook the massive variety of onions we have right in front of us. Are they too common? Maybe: ours are shoved in with the the other nearly-round neutrals – potatoes, garlic – unadorned and far away from attention-getting leaves and fruit.

What I realized in writing this particular column was how much I under-appreciated onions; and I love onions. I’m the one who scoffs at recipes calling for one “onion,” usually making some snippy remark about how all onions aren’t the same and it’s folly to act like their is. In some cases, it’s a recipe-ruiner: using a red onion where a yellow onion should be, or vice versa, can yield some pretty meh results. Those of us that cook on a fairly regular basis tend to know which onions to reach for for which projects – but do we know why?

Answer: Sometimes we do: often, it’s what we’ve used for that recipe or category of recipe in the past. Or it’s what we like. These are all fine reasons, but I feel like I added a layer of confidence to my own recipe development and cooking knowledge by learning what each onion does best.

*Sweeps hand dramatically from one side to the other* So I’ve made you this informative guide! I’ve said it before, but writing both of my columns is a learning experience, but these deep-dives into things have been super helpful in my cooking life, and I hope they are in yours as well. This installment covers a little bit about:

  • different types of onions you’ll find anywhere, including what to use them for and how they fit best into your cooking adventures;
  • how to dice an onion – because yes, most of us have done this, but is it the most efficient way to do it?
  • how to caramelize onions, three ways: blonde, golden, and brunette (dark brown, just kidding);
  • A near-perfect recipe for creamed onions you’ll want to eat over and over;

and as a bonus, I talk about why exactly onions make us cry in a very science-y way. Because I’m helpful, I sent this visual explainer to my editor, who promptly died laughing and shared it around the office. She loves me like, a lot.

If you’re into onions, head here, because I did a bunch of work for you. I’m going to go over how to caramelize in the next post, but that’s in there too, and so is this recipe for creamed onions, which is indulgent, but absolutely comforting and divine. Every one of these photos was taken by Jennifer Silverberg, because she is my partner in crime and food writing/photography forever. She’s doing a print sale on her website right now to support her crew during all of this. That’s the thing about photographers and artists: they generally have assistants, and if she’s not working, neither are they. Many of these prints are of my work, actually, so if you’re into some breathtaking photos of food, very cute farm animals, or landscapes, head here: you’ll be supporting some really great people, I promise you.

You want to see the entire magazine? I don’t blame you: head right here to virtually flip through. It’s gorgeous, and I just realized in all this mess that I didn’t pick up a hard copy, which is a first, and something I won’t be repeating in the future.

Happy day to you! See you soon with more onion things.


desperation ranch (dressing.)

It’s the 98th Friday of quarantine, people: welcome to it. At this point, it’s a real effort to not eat cheese popcorn for breakfast, not gonna lie. I’ve resisted thus far, but my comfort-food-to-healthy-food ratios are, shall we say, off.

I nearly used this leftover buttermilk to make pancakes – mind you, it was left over from pancakes, so that was my first red flag that I could do better. Plus, at last glance, my freezer was half filled with 5 half-loves of bread, and – you guessed it – more pancakes. So!

I made this buttermilk ranch dressing, using only things that I had on hand, and it’s really delicious, so I’m sharing. Jenn Silverberg and I shot (safely, at a distance, with masks, in a sterile studio) our June columns for Feast, and tomatoes were on the agenda in a big way. It’ll be a few weeks before the magazine prints, but in the meantime, I’ve been inundated with tomatoes at the house that I refuse to let go to waste. I know – it’s a tough problem to have, but I’m managing.

Tomatoes need nothing but a little salt, but I have two favorite things to do with them that never get old. First thing? Piling them high on toast slathered with mayonnaise. I love it so much, it’s become a frequent breakfast for me here, because it feels healthy enough to counteract the carbs from my inch-thick slab of toast. Second? Douse them in fresh buttermilk dressing. Not the gloopy bottled sort either: I mean fresh-fresh, from your mixing bowl ranch dressing.

If you’re thinking there’s no way you can make this right now, you’re wrong: everything in this recipe pretty much uses up things you most likely purchased already, because they’re basics that are good to have around right now. Buttermilk? always good for biscuits, adding to dips, pancakes, etc: buttermilk makes our list every other week, and I use every drop of it. Beyond that, it’s garlic (a must), dried dill (which is excellent to have on hand, because it hydrates so well), lemon or lime juice (either one! truly, and whatever amount you need to thin it and give it some zing), and some scallion greens in for where I’d normally add chives. If you’ve got some chives in your garden right now, by all means, use them: they’re awesome in here. Same goes for fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil, etc: you make it your own, but there’s not a single fresh herb in this jar, and honestly, you’d never know it.

If you’re like me and need something enticing to make your daily vegetable intake happen, look no further: this is it. A little goes a long way, and keeping it on the thin side (the way I like it, and the way this recipe is written) will give you a pow of flavor without all the heft.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Yield | 1 pint |

  • 2/3 cup fresh buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp scallion greens or chives, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried dill (or use 1 Tbsp or so of fresh fronds, chopped)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • a dash or so of tabasco sauce or hot sauce

| Preparation | Whisk buttermilk, yogurt, and mayonnaise together in a small bowl until smooth and combined. Whisk in garlic, scallions, dill, salt and pepper until incorporated, then add citrus juice to thin – add more or less to suit your individual tastes. Add in tabasco or hot sauce if using, check for seasoning, and serve.


Portuguese-style sweet potato rolls.

How was your weekend? I imagine we all celebrated different things in different ways: maybe this year our celebrations overlapped a little bit more than usual as we reflected on our health and how our individual communities have come together – in big and small ways – during these past few weeks. Either way, I hope it was a weekend filled with good.

We spread our Easter out over the weekend, with “Easter lunch” happening both Saturday and Sunday, because why confine it to one day when no one is coming over, right? Mr. Table usually plays golf over the holiday weekend, which didn’t happen this year, but we made up for that with a homemade 6-hole mini golf course around the main floor. We got Animal Crossing for our Nintendo Switch, which is a huge mistake, because I’m now eyeballs-deep in a home loan on a mystery island filled with cherry trees, wasps, and not much else. That said, I’d be collecting bugs and fish right this very moment, but my kid went back to Upstairs School in the study and I’m trying to set a good example. With the video game, if nothing else.

Other stray thoughts:

Highly recommend streaming Amazon’s Tales from the Loop, especially if you’re into pensive, melancholic television that will both warm and break your heart at the same time. Did you love the pace of Sundance’s Rectify? Do you dig gloomy, seventies aesthetics? This is the show for you. Described as “dystopia with hot chocolate” and “a sci-fi feelings machine,” every episode feels like one very deep, drawn out, satisfying sigh: cathartic, and I love it to bits.

I live a life of nearly non-stop music here at the house – a privilege given to those of us that work from home, to be sure. I’ve had to tone it down in recent weeks in terms of what I listen to, because although I’m definitely not aboard the CensorShip, I do recognize that some things are better left to adult ears. I’ve been rediscovering my love of artists like Peter Gabriel and Billy Joel, among others: ones I took for granted / dismissed / underestimated when I was younger, deep-diving into their archives and listening to whole albums I’ve never heard before. It’s been a pleasure: if you have unhindered access to Spotify or another streaming service, do yourself a favor and take a listen to artists you remember liking. Dance in your living room. Play it louder than you should. Do not even begin to care about what other people think.

Like everyone else, I’ve also been ramping up my bread production here: it makes me feel good. I’ve fielded a lot of texts from friends about carbs by now: seems as though all of us agree that we’re consuming way too many. Which begs the question: how many carbs is “too many” at a time like this? Who’s going to be the judge of that, exactly? Here’s what I think: I think we’re all in a situation none of us have ever been in, that none of us maybe even thought possible. We are helping kids get through daily schoolwork, relocating offices to our sofas, not seeing anyone for maybe months at a time, dealing with a constant, looming, unquantifiable fear that has no definite timeline. So! Keep moving your body around in your space. Stick your face in the sun. Eat the carbs without fretting about the carbs right now: we’ll all have time to get back to our hangups and insecurities once this is over, don’t you worry. *wink*

May I suggest my favorite carb? It’s these buns, by a mile. From a past issue of Milk Street Magazine, they started life in this house as a “oh, those look fun to make!” baking project and swiftly became an essential item. They’re simply fantastic; you simmer a sweet potato with honey butter until everything is soft, mix it in with some flour, salt, and yeast, the dough that comes out supple like a sweet dough, and so easy to work with.

I’d even recommend this to the non-bakers, or the sporadic ones: you can’t mess this up: trust me, I’ve tried. I forgot about one batch for hours, and it just sat on my counter, very fat, waiting to be baked: everyone said it was my best batch yet. The sweet potato combined with a nice dose of salt hits a perfect sweet/savory balance: by now, we’ve eaten them for every meal. I’m always surprised by how much the honey and the potato come through in this: you use a relatively small quantity, but you get big flavor at the end.

So make your carbs. Make these carbs. There’s a vegetable in there, and honey is great for combating seasonal allergies, if you need some excuses. They’re perfect and you’ll want them all the time.

Burning question: will this loaf? I think it will – I also think it’ll make lovely non-skilleted buns. I’m testing the loaf theory this week, and buns in the coming weeks, so I’ll let you know.

Portugese Sweet Potato Rolls

Adapted very slightly from the September-October 2019 issue of Milk Street Magazine. Lots of “highly recommend” stuff in this post, and Milk Street certainly fits into that category.

Makes | 8 |generous buns, or double it easily for 16

  • 12 to 14 oz organic sweet potatoes, peeled, in 1 inch chunks (that’s 1 medium potato, or 2 small)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, in pieces
  • 1 Tbsp good quality honey
  • scant 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 411 grams bread flour (it’s about 3 cups, but I’ve taken to weighing my flour to match recipes, because it’s the one time it really matters)
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)

Notes | The recipe calls for instant yeast, but I’ve made it with active dry nearly every time and never detected a difference or issue. In this time of scarce yeast, I say you use what you have. Do double this recipe if you wish: we run through these so fast that a double batch has become essential.

| Preparation | Add potato chunks, butter, honey, salt, and water to a large saucepan and heat over medium high. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook until potatoes are really tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the contents of the saucepan into the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit for 30 minutes until warm.

Coat a large bowl with olive oil. Using the paddle attachment, beat the cooled potato mixture on low until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Add flour and yeast and mix until a dough begins to form, about 1 minute. Exchange the paddle attachment for the dough hook and stir on low for 4 to 5 minutes, then increase speed and knead for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until very soft and smooth. Remove from bowl, form into a ball, and transfer to the oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot in your kitchen until dough is doubled in size, 1 hour or so.

Once your dough has ballooned, preheat oven to 350˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn dough out and cut into 8 equal pieces (like cutting a pie; triangles work here.) Tuck ends under and cup your hand around the dough ball, firmly rolling against your countertop until a nice tight ball forms; place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining pieces. Use your palm to flatten the dough to about 1/2 inch thick on the sheet pan; cover with plastic wrap again and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium until thoroughly heated; a drop of water should sizzle on contact. Place 3 to 4 rounds in the skillet, seam side up in the pan, and cook until deeply golden, about 2 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook the opposite side until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer back to the sheet pan, seam side down, and repeat with remaining rounds, evenly spacing them apart on the pan.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until cooked through; centers should be 200˚F, but I never use a thermometer here. Remove and transfer them to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes or so before serving.

poofy lemon cookies.

I’ve been working out with more frequency and consistency than I have in ages; I’ve also been baking bread and desserts and eating them at roughly the same rate as my workouts. Any fitness dreams I had are not materializing, and right now, I’m okay with that.

I had a fierce craving for lemon cookies the other day. Actually it was sweet lemon anything; I wasn’t about to be picky about it. I had lemons in the fridge that needed to be eaten, so a quick google by my mom and voila: a surprisingly great, really soft and poofy lemon cookie I highly recommend if you’re looking to treat yourself.

The lemon flavor blooms as they sit, but they don’t get stale or hard: they’ll stay just as soft as they were on day 1. By all means, use more lemon: this isn’t my recipe, and if I had to do it over again, I’d pile the lemon zest in there with abandon, but that’s how I roll when it comes to citrus.

You probably have everything you need right in your pantry right now, which was part of the draw to this recipe: we needed to find something that didn’t require a trip out. I’m in no mood to recipe test or quibble over ingredient lists or ratios right now, so it’s an almost-straight copy of this recipe right here.

In other news: I’ve been repeatedly nailing this recipe for white sandwich bread, but my sourdough starter was a catastrophic failure – probably because I didn’t name it. I’ll embark on another one in a day or so, hopefully with better results. We’re also going to talk more about these magical rolls very soon.

What are you all doing for Easter? Hopefully keeping your butts home like you’re supposed to. We’ll be celebrating with a fun-but-modest spread of wee sandwiches and toppings, relishes, some roasted carrots, a salad, some fresh fruit, and a few simple desserts. Thinking about it makes me miss my normal overly critical pick-through of fresh vegetables for all the spring side dishes, but this year, I’m really just grateful for our health and some sun on my face – in the backyard, but hey: it’s still sun.

Poofy Lemon Cookies

by Baked by Rachel, original recipe here.

Makes | 20 to 24 cookies |

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • zest of 1 to 2 medium lemons, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

| Preparation | Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Continue mixing until well combined and no streaks remain.In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter and 1 cup granulated sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down bowl and add lemon zest, juice, egg and vanilla; beat for 1 minute. Scrape bowl as needed and add flour mixture; stir on low until just combined and mixture is homogenous, 45 seconds to a minute. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, roughly 2-4 hours or overnight. 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Use a medium scoop to portion dough. Shape into smooth balls. Coat well in remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Space at least 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Allow cookies to rest on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to several days.


pork loin, two ways.

We tend to chuckle at the buying habits of humans during a minor emergency – an impending snow day here, for instance, will immediately empty all market shelves of bread, milk, eggs, and sometimes frozen pizzas. Actual emergency shopping isn’t funny, but it’s interesting to observe. I know enough about food and human behavior to know what people gravitate towards: chicken breasts were unfindable for a minute around here, while red meet of any sort was semi-plentiful. Cheese stayed in good shape, but veggie burgers cleared out, as did the chips. Cereal was living life like it was 1985 and there were still prizes in every box, but yogurt didn’t move at nearly the speed I expected it to (probiotics, people…probiotics!)

One thing people seemed to avoid/be hesitate to buy was larger cuts of meat, pork loin among them. Odd, considering how much you can do with a pork loin, including…yeah, chop it up into smaller pork sections and cook it. It’s not hard: in fact, it’s one of the easiest things I cook, and it’s super affordable, but I’ll admit: I forget it’s an option most days as well.

Yes, that’s me up there, trying not to burn down my yard; photos by the amazing Jennifer Silverberg, my permanent partner in crime. If you want to read up on grill tips, head here for the digital issue of the August 2019 Feast Magazine.

Did you grab a pork loin? Smart cookie. If you did, here’s two really easy ways to prepare it. The one above is one I did for a grilling article about a year ago for Feast – it’s the newest column I write, called Crash Course, which I’ll be talking about more here and there in the next few weeks. As it turns out, when you don’t post for a long time, you’ve got a ton of backlog stuff to tell people about. #whoops

This particular recipe is designed for outdoor grilling, but you could easily transition this to indoors by simply marinating it and then using the recipe directions below for how to cook it. it’s got a lot of flavor with a nice amount of heat: not overpowering, but it’ll hit you in all the right ways. Throw any vegetable next to it, maybe a little rice, and you’re set. Or hey: just get on out to your yard and fire up the grill, if you can. It’s a nice respite from being inside all the time, and so long as you don’t have to run out for charcoal, it’s a nice way to maintain a little spring normalcy in your life.

This pork loin is the one I was working on last post: It’s not an official recipe so much as it’s a “just put some things together” non-recipe: grab some herbs, garlic and mustard, a little salt and pepper, and you’re good to go.

Pork Two Ways

For my Gochujang-marinated Pork Loin recipe, head over here: if you’re doing it indoors versus grilling, come back to my instructions below for how to oven-roast.

For my slap-it-together oven-roasted pork loin with herbs, mustard and garlic, here’s what you need:

  • 1 pork loin – about 3 to 4 lbs
  • 2 to 2 1/2 Tbsp of pork-friendly herbs – like thyme, rosemary, and/or sage
  • 2 Tbsp or so of a grainy mustard – spicy, Dijon, whatever you have. If you don’t have the grainy sort, a straight-up Dijon will totally work.
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp high-heat oil, like grapeseed or vegetable
  • 1 large cast iron pan, or a large, shallow dutch oven – something heavy and high-quality that you can fit the loin into comfortably

Gather those things together, and it’s off to the races! First, make sure you let your pork loin sit out for an hour or so to take the chill off: meat always cooks better and more evenly if it’s not fresh from the fridge. While you’re waiting, chop any herbs together finely and stir them in with your mustard, garlic, salt and pepper: add more or less as you wish of any ingredient, but ultimately, you’re looking for a nice thick paste which will stay put when you smear all over the loin. You can’t mess this up.

Once you’re ready, simply preheat your oven to 400˚F. Rub your pork loin all over with your herby mustard paste, add the oil to your cast iron or baker of choice, and set that pork loin right in the middle of it. Throw it in your oven and roast until your pork is cooked but still juicy – I like to go to 140˚F (use the meat thermometer in the thickest center part), take it out, and then tent it to let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.


I made a bread!

Last post, I was embarking on two bread projects: one was a no-knead crusty loaf done in a Dutch oven, and the other is an attempt at a sourdough starter. I went with King Arthur Flour recipes for both, because I trust The King implicitly…swear their website has never let me down, not once. Right now, it’s all about trust, because I’m not about to screw around with my flour and yeast supply.

I’m happy to report my crusty bread was a success! I mentioned before that I halved the recipe, because 7+ cups of flour is massive, even for me. The loaf itself turned out great: crusty as promised on the outside, nice and tender on the inside, but sturdy enough to make a fabulous garlic bread or to hold the tomatoes I plan to perch atop a fat slice once I can get out to get some tomatoes.

Things I would do differently:

Halving the recipe worked just fine in my 6.5 quart Dutch oven: it makes a wide, low-profile loaf with oblong slices. Would I make a whole loaf next time? Yes! I feel confident enough in my execution to use all that flour at one time. Alternatively, I have a 2.5 quart Dutch oven that may be fun to make a rounder, perkier halved recipe.

I would not skip / ignore the dusting of semolina flour. I know it’s in my pantry somewhere, but said pantry has been commandeered by dry goods, vinegar, and other essentials, so I swept past it, choosing to just oil the bottom and sides. Wrong move: I had to launch the bread out using a rubber offset spatula because it stuck to the bottom. It came out fine, but it took some muscle. Lesson learned: use the semolina or a nice dusting of cornmeal if you’re lacking in semolina.

Best thing about this was the no-knead part. I actually enjoy a good knead, but I have to be in the right mood, and yesterday, I wasn’t there for it. If you’d like to try it, the recipe is right here.

A note about the Dutch oven part of things: there’s lots of info out there that tells you NEVER to heat a dutch oven empty, lest it crack or explode: it’s simply not made for that sort of task. I was too afraid to tempt fate with my own Staub, so I employed this method: you make the bread in a Dutch oven, but without the preheating, which is way safer on your cookware, and makes a lovely, crusty loaf.

Sourdough starter update: I had my doubts yesterday – day 2 of 5 – because it just didn’t look like it was doing anything. I resisted overthinking it and followed the KAF instructions (here), so divide / discard half / add more flour and water / let it be. Today, things are looking surprisingly good! It has a few bubbles, seems smoother and smells like it should according to The King – fruity, and indeed, it does smell a little like ripe bananas with an undercurrent of general berry. I’ll keep you posted, but if tending to a starter sounds like self-care right now, here are the King’s basic guidelines. My biggest hurdle in this process right now is that it’s cold here, and my kitchen isn’t the warmest place in the world. Find a solid warmish spot and you’re halfway there – for any yeasted bread projects, really.

On the agenda today: I did some layered stocking up of food and essentials over the past few weeks, and in that stocking up, took note of what I currently had in my deep freezer. I always think master lists are helpful when you have large amounts, so we have one of all our frozen meat, vegetables, dry goods, cans/jars, etc., listed out so I can plan meals around our fresh ingredients.

Today, I’m rubbing a pork loin with some fresh rosemary and thyme, a little grainy mustard and garlic, and roasting it. If it sounds extravagant, it’s not: I found the pork loin hanging out in the freezer from a little while ago, and the rub ingredients are all leftovers from other things too. Bonus? It’ll feed us for several days, and I can switch out the sides to make it more interesting.

Also, grilling some chicken breasts for lunch salads: I neglect proteins sometimes without meaning to, and these were also hanging out in the freezer. So that’s me today! Hope you all are staying well.


pickled carrots + onions, for anything.

So, here we are: in varying degrees of social isolation. You’d think it would be an introvert’s dream: as it turns out, you tell this introvert she can’t see anyone in person, and all she wants to do is…see everyone, every day. Check in on people. See how they’re managing. TALK.

I think about all the play dates and get-togethers I postponed because we had too much going on – remember when we had “too much going on”? Anyone says the word “activities” to me and it’s like I’m remembering some distant past life, when in fact exactly one month ago me and 20 other moms were hosting a chili cook-off at my kid’s old school. All of us, together, slinging chili and laughing and not realizing how good we had it. 

The same goes for this space, maybe: we all wrote to each other for years and years, got married, had kids, had more kids, switched jobs, switched cities, built houses, and talked about all of it. Talked through it. and with a few exceptions, we never were in the same room (same country, same state) as each other. And it worked.

Maybe it still works: I don’t know. I’m a poster child for inconsistent communication skills: I know some of you are like “that girl can’t even reply to an email” – you’re right. I’m the worst.

Or I was: I’m working on reopening this space in the hopes that you’re all still out there. I’ll be honest: at some point – we’ll say around 2016 – life started to feel really intense, and I struggled talking about food here b/c it seemed like there were massively more critical things happening all around. I felt like an idiot pushing my homemade cookies and ingredient-laden salads when the world felt like it was skidding to a halt. My focus on maybe the more enjoyable, optional parts of my life got diluted; it felt like a luxury i shouldn’t indulge, I guess? It’s hard to figure out how to put that. The world felt sucky, and my food ramblings felt trivial by comparison. As a person who has always felt pretty burdened to make a difference, small or big, I didn’t feel like i was doing that.

But maybe I was making a teeny difference. Or maybe I could, just by being here. I underestimated the power of friendship and connection and the impact it has on the world, even in a small way. How talking to each other matters. After all, you all still matter to me: my poor communication skills notwithstanding, i still think about every single one of you more than you’d imagine. 

So here’s what: I have no idea what this  blog is going to look like, but it’s going to look like something. If you’re here, yay! You’re more dedicated than I’ve been to this space, but I’m hoping that changes. On the agenda: 

Streamlining –  Blogging seems to be all about social media now: it wasn’t like that 7 years ago when I started. If it had been that heavily reliant on constant content-pushing, i doubt i would have ever started. I can not stand social media anymore; you’d think I was allergic to it. Because of that, I may just rid myself of my Facebook page for this space and continue on with Instagram and Twitter. I haven’t shut it down yet, but at this point, it’s an albatross I’d do better without. 

Posting – Re-starting a food blog during a time of crisis seems really…hard? So we’ll navigate that one together. I can say this: I have learned a lot about myself and my ability to crisis-navigate with food and other supplies, and i am GOOD, people. So maybe for awhile I just share what I’m doing at my house to keep semi-interesting meals on the table and ingredients from spoiling. So TBD on what i’ll post, but i’ll be here talking about food in a round-about way. Maybe we talk about TV or movies or books too…who knows. 

People-ing – Expect emails, friends: I’m going to try to touch base with as many of you as I can. My work email has always been out there, but because of that, i get a FLOOD of nonsense “business” emails that drown out emails from people i like, and I can’t wade through them at this point. So! New email address for here is aperiodictable@gmail.com. Friends, change your contact info for me, because I’d hate to miss something. Please forgive/forget how crap I was at replying/keeping up and email me, if i don’t get to you first: i’d love to know how everyone is doing. If you’re going to tell me about how i can improve my online presence, bots, stay away: anyone that truly knows me knows I would never want to do that. Also, I’m going to do my level best to catch up on those of you that are still blogging: I’ve been absent completely from that, so be patient.

Current status: typing this. I have a loaf of bread proofing – it’s this one from King Arthur Flour, because I’m lazy and didn’t feel like kneading today. I halved it, because 7 1/2 cups of flour felt big. Also in the midst of creating a sourdough starter: i can’t think of a better time to do that, as i stocked up on all the yeast / flour / oil / salt at the store and committed myself to keeping my family in all manner of bread styles for the immediate future. 

Because everything happened really fast with layers of stocking up / preparing for social distancing and limited store trips, I still had some vegetables left over from a photo shoot. Before they went south, I used a recipe I developed years ago for pickling them: maybe it’s helpful your own vegetables. It’s a carrot and onion pickle to be used as anything, really: i developed it as a crunchy vegetable bite for tacos, but you could use them on sandwiches, or in salads. Whatever they’re in, they really amp up flavor and give you that hit of sour that I think everything needs. I had them on my turkey and cheese lunch sandwich today, as a matter of fact, and it added some welcome pep and just the right amount of texture. 

Here’s the recipe! Before you ask, yes; you can substitute. Must-haves? vinegar, water, salt, sugar, carrots, onlons: it would work just like that. I have cumin seeds in there, but coriander is nice also. Garlic is great, and if you have fresh hot chile of any sort, use it (bearing in mind its relative heat as compared to a Fresno.) No chile? A dash or two of chile flakes will do. No peppercorns? You’ll be fine without.  If you don’t have that much apple cider vinegar, sub in plain white vinegar, or mix the two together. 

Pickled Vegetables

Remember: you don’t have to go running out for any of this. You have carrots and onions you need to save? THIS. Tell your eyes to head up a paragraph for some substitutions if you’re missing one of these ingredients, or ask me! I’ll *whoa* actually be mindful of comments coming in. 

  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 lb carrots, sliced into long matchsticks
  • 1¼ cups paper-thin ring slices of red onion
  • 2 32-oz wide-mouth glass canning jars
  • 4 cloves garlic, divided
  • Fresno chiles, finely diced divided
  • 2 tsp toasted and cooled whole cumin seeds, divided
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns, divided

Preparation – Pickled Vegetables | In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add water, vinegar, sugar and salt, stirring until solids are dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat, add carrots and onion, cover and place back on high heat until mixture comes to a boil once again. Remove from heat, keep covered and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

In 2 32-oz widemouth canning jars, equally divide garlic cloves, chiles, cumin seeds and peppercorns. Using tongs, carefully divide hot vegetables between jars. Evenly divide pickling liquid over vegetables and allow to sit at room temperature, uncovered, until completely cool. Secure lids and transfer to refrigerator.


how to: poached pears.

Katherine wanted more details on how to poach pears, so here I am, because I love her. How-to’s are my favorite to write: a study on how to approach and succeed at something helps me as much as it helps all of you, because often I’m either learning or fine-tuning techniques right along with you. Feast has been brilliant this past year at letting me do this in a new featurette for the magazine, but that’s for another post: right now, let’s poach. Continue Reading…

breakfast, brunch

fresh peach scones (before the peaches leave.)

Bet you didn’t think I would post something in April and then be all “peace out!” until August, did you? Yeah, neither did I. “Time flies” seems a little too cliche of a sentiment, but it’s accurate: time really does fly, and we had an unusually large amount of random things going on this spring and summer, even for us. Without going into too much detail or complaint, I’ll just summarize by saying that I’m happy to have gone through it, proud we waded through, and even happier that it’s over. I owe a few of you long-overdue catch-up emails, because my communication levels have been at Level 5 Introvert lately. Continue Reading…

brunch, sides

asparagus + peas with lemon-mint gremolata.

I’m on a spring vegetable high, friends;  it’s the week I test-drive potential Easter recipes. I give myself a considerable amount of freedom with Easter side dishes, mostly because my family insists upon having ham as the main: It’s 2019, and still no one will let me roast a leg of frigging lamb. So I spend most of my time on the sides: vegetable-forward, fresh, bright stuff befitting the weather, which has been particularly nice this year. Like Thanksgiving, I could do an entirely vegetarian menu at Easter and be completely satisfied, so I take my sides (and desserts, let’s be honest) very seriously.  Continue Reading…