A thing I have learned over the last 10 years (!) here is that people have fairly bifurcated opinions of eggplant.
Although I will happily eat burrata -- that lush mozzarella-on-the-outside, creamy-ricotta-center cheese from Puglia's Razza Podolica's cows by way of skillet craftsmen -- with a knife and fork, quartered on a plate, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic, flaky sea and pepper with or without a few tiny tomatoes all around and sometimes even some basil from this day until the end of days and never want for anything else, two small things about this will forever plague me: this is an expensive undertaking and when I'm done, I will still probably be hungry for dinner.
Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl, happy and in love. He liked chocolate and cheesecake and peanut butter and coffee and she, rather luckily for him, liked to bake.
If you go to Mexico City and leave without a pressing, relentless craving for melon, or really just about any fruit, sprinkled with tajín (salsa en polva), a branded seasoning powder comprised of chiles, lime and salt, I think you need to go back because you did it wrong.
When I moved to New York City 16 years ago I am pretty sure that on some level I believed if I went far enough above 14th Street with money I did not have, I'd reenter some gauzy version of New York from the past, you know, stuffy restaurants with tufted leather banquettes, paintings in gilded frames, black and white tiled floors and stories about when Sinatra was a regular.
Stop what you're doing. Dinner tonight is the very best kind there is: it has five ingredients including the ones to make the pizza dough.
For some of us, classic French toast -- not particularly French or toasted, to be honest, unless we're speaking of pain perdu -- is sufficient on a weekend morning to make it feel exceptional.
This is not a recipe for eggplant caviar, but caught up in an adoration of July eggplants too lovely to roast just to grind up, it is loosely inspired by it.
That was close. We almost went half the summer without a new pie recipe. I do solemnly swear to never let that happen.
Oh, hi, I am ready for summer now. What did I miss? Because the first half of this summer was so busy — a manuscript due, a redesign set off into the world, a birthday, and a zillion other bits of happy work/life chaos — I’m in this funny position of looking up for the first time mid-July and realizing that no mysterious person has arrived while I was buried in winter recipe testing and font fine-tunings and filled my freezer with popsicles, put a bowl of heirloom tomatoes on the counter, ready for their caprese closeup [realistically, this doesn’t happen even if I had been paying attention, but let me enjoy this rose-colored Pinterest fantasy just the same] and beach?
There are parents that sew their kids’ clothes, carry them in an Ergo until kindergarten and take them to Disney World at least twice before they even reach 2nd grade, but if you don’t mind, please don’t tell my kids that such people are options, at, like, the Parent Store.
9.85 years ago, I decided that I was going to start a home cooking blog and that I would design the site myself, which is hilarious because my HTML and CSS skill level is equivalent to that thing you do when you don’t know which circuit on the panel blew so you just flip them all up and down until the right thing comes back on.
For one week every spring the local Catholic church, an otherwise unassuming dot on the landscape of my suburb, turned their property into magical kingdom of lights, music, cotton candy and so many rides it was impossible to remember that all other weeks of the year it was just an empty field next to a parking lot.
I’m currently in a swarm of many behind-the-scenes things that I genuinely couldn’t be happier about even if it would also be okay if they didn’t all fall in the next few weeks (the deadline on the next cookbook, the launch at-last-so-overdue-hooray site redesign, a hopefully very cool new project or two, the first birthday of this fiesty love, all of the end of the year chaos that comes with a school-aged kid), that if there were a textbook definition of Bad Times To Take a Vacation, my June might be under it.
Did you know drinking buttermilk is a thing? I wasn’t aware until a few years ago when I took a baking class and remarked to the teacher that buttermilk is pretty amazing in baked goods for something that smells so rancid and he told me that his mother drinks a glass of it warm every afternoon.
Pasta salads get a bad rap but I find that the more I think of them as room temperate summer dishes and the less as mayo-slicked bowls of suspicion and dread, the more inviting they become, not only for cookouts and picnics, but (ahem) a gorgeous Tuesday night.
If you’ve been following Smitten Kitchen outside this url recently, you might have noticed that a terrible, dangerous thing has happened: I revisited the epic, consummate even, chocolate chip cookies from David Leite via The New York Times, mostly because I was tired of looking at the unpalatably blueberry-ish photo of them atop the 2008 post, and eight years later, in basically the rom-com of cookie sagas, realized the thing I wanted most in a chocolate chip cookie was was there the whole time.
Last week, because we are edgy, rebellious and pretty much the dictionary definition of renegades, we broke the law.
If you needed another reason to add to the list of why you’d probably never want to be cornered at a party with me, I should tell you I’m more than a normal level of fascinated by the intersection of tomatoes and cucumbers in salads around the world.
One of the primary pieces of advice my grandmother imparted on me — besides the fact that she thought I should be a writer, an absurd idea I promptly ignored — was that one should always leave the house looking the best they can.