weeknight porchetta 

Sometimes there’s nothing more fun than taking a whole day (in the middle of a huge snow storm, for example?) to make a spiffy and time consuming recipe. I do it almost every time we have a Saturday dinner party, half wondering why in the heck it takes me a whole day to make dinner and half absolutely loving it. But sometimes you want something that feels really special and doesn’t crowd everything else off of your to-do list. For those times, this weeknight porchetta–a pork loin wrapped in bacon and seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic–has got you perfectly covered.

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more booze than you’d expect from a quaker: grandma mary’s eggnog

I know this is going to sound absolutely bonkers, but I think you should add something to your to-do list this week. You should make eggnog. An eggnog that will take a (very) little effort over the next few days, and will reward you with something impressive and delicious and chock full o’ Christmas spirit (and also just chock full o’ spirits, let’s be real). I understand that eggnog is a very divisive treat, and I know a lot of folks assume they hate it / would never want to try it, but this is an eggnog to change hearts and minds. The recipe comes from my maternal grandmother Mary Taylor, takes three days to make, and requires ungodly amounts of eggs, dairy, and booze, but it is so deeply worth it.

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moving forward.

It’s been a little more than two months since I last wrote here, and for most of that time, food–and especially making it–has been so low on my priority list. When last I wrote, Hal and I were heading into the homestretch of wedding planning and my mother was very ill, though we fervently hoped she had turned a corner. Not quite two weeks later, my mother, as impossible as it still seems, passed away. This is a loss and heartbreak like I’ve never known, and it is still sinking in. And just over three weeks after that, Hal and I, with the support and encouragement of our family and friends, got married as planned on November 8th. Our wedding was such a joyful and love-filled day, and I felt my mother with me through every step. It feels unbelievable sometimes that the lowest lows and highest highs I’ve ever experienced should be so closely tied together by circumstance and timing, but here I am. A starry-eyed newlywed and a grieving daughter, working toward my new normal.
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one of my all time favorite mom+me pics, taken on our front porch.

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sweet on sweet potatoes

Have you ever neglected a particular food for so long that once you do eat it again you’re staggered by how good it is, and left wondering why the heck you don’t eat it every day? That happened to me recently with a veggie so basic it seems insane to have overlooked it for as long as I did: the deelish sweet potato. Until a few weeks ago, I don’t think I’d made them at home in almost exactly a year (when one left on my counter was nibbled by a mouse, cooling my enthusiasm), and other than some lackluster fries I haven’t even had them at a restaurant in ages. When Hal made a sweet potato and onion hash as part of a fancy dinner to celebrate our new apartment, I remembered how much I loved them, and resolved to get more in my diet immediately. Luckily, Hal overbought and we had extras hanging around, so I sifted through some recipes and got to work.

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literary cravings: homemade tortillas

I recently read Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses for the first time, and I love love loved it. The writing, the story, the way it made me want to run away to Mexico and work with horses all day…and especially the tortillas. According to Google Books (a source I at least mostly trust), there are 15 mentions of tortillas in All the Pretty Horses. According to me, I wanted tortillas pretty much constantly after I started reading. They just sounded so simple and good, whether the characters were eating them in the morning with eggs and beans before going out to break horses, or with “an anonymous stew” in prison (yes, Cormac McCarthy can make even prison food sound appealing). Descriptions of food in books have been making me hungry for years–the breakfasts Jeeves makes for Bertie when he’s hungover in PG Wodehouse’s stories, the elaborate teas Anne learns to make at Green Gables*, pretty much every food ever mentioned in A Year in Provence–but this was the first time I was actually inspired to recreate something at home. Tortilla descriptions plus Cinco de Mayo was too perfect a combination to resist.

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variation on a theme–more banana muffins

Like Laura, I love a banana muffin. And a banana bread. And a banana cream pie. And heck, even a plain ole banana. But we’re talking about muffins this week, thanks to some mysterious vibe in the ether that inspired us to make banana muffins at the same time. We tend to just check in with each other about what we’re planning on writing about in any given week, deciding who will post when-ish.  Our planned posts have clashed only once, when we realized that we were both fixing to write about pasta with sausage-that felt like a little much. But we figured the more the merrier when it came to banana muffins, and having eaten them for breakfast for two weeks, I still think we’re right.

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breakfast of (lazy) champions

I am not a morning person. Never have been. I love the fantasy I have of it–getting up earlier than I have to so I can take my time, eat a leisurely involved breakfast, and sip coffee from a latte bowl while I stare out of a window at some lovely view, thinking calming thoughts about the day ahead. In reality, I push the moment I get out of bed as far back as I can and still make it to work (just) on time, and my breakfast is the opposite of leisurely and involved. All too frequently, I grab something on the run, and I almost always eat it at my desk. Instant oatmeal, semi gross protein drinks I have an inexplicable fondness for, a toasted English muffin with peanut butter and honey if I’ve allowed myself a few extra precious minutes. All of these do the trick, but none of them makes me feel exactly great about my domestic prowess. What does, tho, is a homemade muffin.

good morning

good morning.

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