Hello dear friends! A year ago this week I was in the kitchen at the White House, making holiday cookies with Ashley and Molly and oooohhh just the White House Pastry Chef. Exactly 1 trillion things have happened since that time. Just all the stuff that makes us cheer and cry, scream and wonder, and hopefully act more generously with our empathy and genuine curiosity for one another.
I feel like we’re far enough past pumpkin spice season to really cozy into gingerbread time. Beyond cookies and breads, we can get gingerbread flavors with a thin battered, fluffy and puffy Dutch Baby pancake. It’s simple and thank goodness for that. A Dutch Baby is a perfect weekend activity because with minimal kitchen efforts, you can have a warm, doughnut-like pancake to hustle over to the couch to enjoy like the world is your own. Here’s how we do: A Dutch baby, this giant, fluffy, oven pancake is really pretty simple to make. We’ll start by making a very thin pancake batter, pour it into a very hot cast iron skillet, and finish my slicing very large pieces onto our plates and into our hearts.
Earlier this year I discovered the wonders of a warmly spiced savory meat dish. It was too long a time coming, but moussaka is in my heart to stay. This chili, some of you from Cincinnati are no doubt nodding your head with knowing, is a cinnamon + chili + cumin and clove spiced meat dish served two ways, three ways, or FIVE WAYS: over spaghetti pasta topped with diced white onions, grated cheddar cheese, and kidney beans. I’ve seen some of traditional, Mediterranean spiced Cincinnati Chili recipes that also include dark chocolate but this recipe opts out. I can only go so far where spaghetti and cheddar are involved. This recipe bring on opinions. It’s not often you combine ground cinnamon and ground beef without ruffling a feather or two. The combination warm and comforting and the spice bring such an unexpected roundness to this hearty chili situation. This recipe is from our girl Ree’s latest cookbook Come and Get It!
Hello friends! It’s December 3rd and we’re off to the races! Or we’re in the races. That’s more like it… It’s December 3rd and here we are barreling towards the end of the year. This time of year invariably has me taking stock of the things I’ve done in the last 11 months, in the last few weeks, in the last five minutes. The highlights include: publishing my third cookbook this past spring, launching workshops at my space in New Orleans, and eating cold rice with my fingers out of the pot on the stove. It’s a full life, ya know?
There’s not much I won’t put in a tortilla. This comes with plenty of early training. I think I came home from fourth grade and everyday made a peanut butter and jelly ‘sandwich’ in a cold flour tortilla. It took me a few months to navigate how to keep the precious filling from slipping out the end after biting through the tightly rolled peanut butter burrito. It took me another few weeks to figure out that tortillas don’t work well in a toaster, but do fair well over the flame of the stove burner. But, we’re here to talk about other tortilla things now that I’ve mastered what to put in a tortilla and how to get it in my face. Sweet potato and bacon tacos. They could be dinner, they could be lunch, maybe add some scrambled eggs and call them breakfast.
There are some things I do with great ceremony in the kitchen. Work butter into a pie crust, chop carrots for a soup, butter up a whole chicken for roasting. It can all be pretty precious.
Hello sweet friends! Tell me you’re deep into this weekend feeling your finest! I’ve indulgently got the heater running, and so far have the Christmas lights up on my tree. It’s been one of those weekends with lots of joy and gathering, some chores and some sorrow, but here we are greeting another day with gratitude. Here’s some of the links that struck me this week. I hope you find a handful of food reads: • All the garbage comes and goes but be happy, be thankful – getting old helps.
This is me, creepin up behind you while you’re whisking together your Thanksgiving gravy tomorrow. This is me, whispering in your ear as you’re pouring gravy into the gravy boat. This is me, asking to lick the gravy spoon. This is me, encouraging you to set aside (hide, really) some Thanksgiving gravy to transform into salty-sweet caramels this coming weekend. WHAT?
I’ll tell you now that, as a former bakery counter girl at The Cheesecake Factory (heeeelllppp), I know my way around a tiramisu. When I say I know my way around a tiramisu, please know that I mean, I would happily thaw out a tray of their frozen tiramisu and take the first, freshest slice all for myself. No shame in the game.
Hello sweet friends! Do you already have your Thanksgiving turkey? Are you making some sort of vegan turducken with eight different kinds of squash?
Hello friends! One of the most satisfying hobbies I’ve taken up this year is making paper flowers. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see them speckled throughout my life. I’m playing with everything form dainty tissue paper roses to grand and sculptural magnolia flowers. Most recently I’m making crepe paper poinsettia flowers to decorate my Christmas tree. Poinsettias naturally come in a surprising array of pinks, creams, and salmons that feel more fresh and have more depth and variation than the traditional red flower. Together with my personal paper flower guru, Suzonne Stirling, we’ve put together a crepe paper poinsettia tutorial for you. Here are some things to keep in mind if this is your first dip into the paper flower craft: • it’s addictive- making something so beautiful from humble paper • like anything new, paper flower making feels foreign and daunting at times- but anything beautiful is worth working through. • don’t feel like you have to buy every paper on the list below. One or two colors for the bracts (these are what poinsettia petals are called) and two colors for the center • get a friend in on this hobby too!
Hello my friends! Happy Sunday! How are you doing? How are we doing? How many men have told you to smile this week?
I’ll tell you what, there aren’t many problems that can’t be solved with a hearty bowl of warm cheese sauce. At least that’s what I’m telling myself lately. I made this cheese sauce for a big ol’ pretzel party I held at The Bakehouse a few weeks back. We went through it. I can’t be sure some people didn’t double dip but really, could you blame them?
There’s a certain type of autopilot I have to go on in the grocery store in order to not buy every eight dollar juice and bag of dark chocolate that my grumbling belly is asking for. My autopilot leads me past the avocados for a squeeze test, past the onions and garlic with a grab for both, and inevitably I end up strolling past the carrots and placing a bag in my shopping cart. Honestly, I don’t know why I buy so many carrots. I definitely don’t need all these carrots. My produce drawer runneth over. SO!
Hey it’s Sunday, let’s have some cake. Along with the extra hour that we get today as a bribe for having the deal with months of short days and Winter darkness… let’s just go ahead and eat cake too. This Pear and Pecan Skillet Cake is a riff on the Fig and Almond Breakfast Cake I made a few years back. Obviously what I’m trying to tell you is, pick a fruit and a nut and just go for it. Cake is very approachable.
I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty standard breakfast person… you know, a scrambled egg, toast, and orange juice sort of situation. Simple.
Listen… I LOOOOOVE a baking project. Catch me on a Saturday morning at 10am and it’s dang possible that I’ll have at least a dozen bagels coming out of the oven as a result of a wild hair / intense craving that woke me up before the sun. The warmer and breadier the project, the better.
My friends! Welcome to another Sunday. Let it be easy. Maybe enjoy a warm bagel and sneak in some Halloween candy.
Sometimes the question is…. what can’t I put in a pie crust. Prompted by Erin McDowell’s new book The Fearless Baker (GET IT!
Friends! It’s the best time of year in the kitchen, don’t you think? It’s that time, just before what miiiight be holiday madness, where we have the time and brianspace to hustle out the cooling racks and baking sheets and cake decorating tips enough to make a big mess on the counter in working towards this grand goal of cookies + cheesecake + pumpkin spice.