Kitchen Projects

a mountain of meyer lemons. limoncello and crema di limoncello

I’ve been working through a glorious box of Meyer lemons from the Lemon Ladies. Every year, I treat myself to a box of lemons from California and their lemons are the most beautiful, floral, bright sunny yellow fruits I’ve ever seen. I made lemon possets, of course, because they’re just about the best dessert in the world. Serve with gingersnaps. I made lemon curd because it is a food of the gods. I’ve toyed with a dozen recipes for shelf stable lemon curd, but I just don’t feel good about putting dairy and eggs in a jar and canning it, even pressure canning, so I put lemon curd in the refrigerator, where it lasts about three months, or in the freezer, where it will keep […]

hidden eggs (our holiday breakfast)

Do you have a special breakfast you make only on holiday mornings? One that takes a little extra time. In this house, Hidden Eggs appear only two or three times a year and every time we ask, “Why don’t we have this more often?” I learned to make Hidden Eggs in Tepoztlan. They were served for breakfast only once and it started a fire in me (literally – that’s a very spicy sauce). I had to learn to make these magical eggs. The lovely Tere, cooking the little treasures with ease, was clear with me. Before I could make hidden eggs, I had to learn to make tortillas. If you’ve never made tortillas, this is one resolution worth making in 2014. (Don’t worry, I’ve got […]

gratitude, sweets and a giveaway

Happy Thanksgiving. I adore this holiday, especially for the reminder to count my blessings. It’s that time of year. The gratitude days. Today, I am feeling particularly grateful for this space, and all of you who come to visit me here. I am grateful for my kooky dog who leaps into my lap at the most surprising moments. I am grateful for lazy mornings and apple fritters with Dennis. Gratitude extends to good novels (The Goldfinch. Read it. No kidding) and afternoons spent knitting, watching movies on Netflix. I am breathing again. Remembering what I do when not facing a massive list of obligations. For the first year in ages, we’ll have Thanksgiving elsewhere and will forego our annual Dead Poultry Society party. It didn’t […]

apricot gelato from the practical pantry

Today, winter came to stay. The wind is blowing and I’m watching leaves leave. The backyard is ankle deep in crackling colorful oak, hickory and dogwood leaves, the trees now stripped bare. The Japanese maples are the last to turn, and the last to let go of their leaves. When we moved in to the house nearly fifteen years ago, this maple at the top of the stairway took my breath away. We constructed the stone wall with the maple in mind, and I paired the squat miniature spruce with the range of colors the tree produces. I adore this laceleaf beauty, all gnarled and structural in the winter when I prune away all the tiny dead branches with miniature clippers. In spring, little bright […]

facing heaven peppers and a new hot sauce

This story starts on our 14th wedding anniversary. For the second year in a row, we opted to have dinner at The Source, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in DC. I have had the pleasure of working with Scott Drewno, the imaginative and curious chef, and every single morsel of food I’ve had at The Source has made me gasp in sheer delight. Scott is a magician with a dumpling, an artist with duck, and a really nice guy, to boot. Because the cuisine lends itself so seamlessly to a vegetarian diet, it’s the perfect place for our celebration meals. When we arrived, I looked at the table, the Reserved sign placed, just so, and a mason jar of peppers gracing the center. It was startling, […]

the perfect condiment. cherry tomato confit.

The end of summer garden generally falls into one of two categories. So abundant the gardener is making stealth visits to neighbor’s homes with zucchini the size of baseball bats and bags overflowing with tomatoes or, unfortunately, the other option, sad and desolate with a few hardy chiles and cherry tomatoes in among all the vigorous vegetation. I’m going to make a huge admission. The potager, started with great enthusiasm, has been treated like a unwelcome houseguest for the last few weeks. My garden is getting on my nerves. All the heirloom tomato plants filled with promise in June have been overwhelmed by volunteer cherry tomato vines. Where are my Cherokee Purples? What about Mr. Stripey? Lost to the Sweet One Hundreds and the ever abundant […]