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a meditation on biscuits

I’ve been messing around with buttermilk biscuits. As with so many good things that come from the kitchen, these musings started with butter. For those of you who have The Book, I detail a method for making butter. It’s a ridiculously easy thing, particularly with a stand mixer. I’ve written about making butter here, my friend Carol wrote about it, and I even did a podcast once.  I wrote a recipe for this month’s AllRecipes Magazine, too. Making butter led, ultimately, to making biscuits. I realize there is a world of biscuit-making talk from the likes of Nathalie Dupree & Cynthia Graubert, Virginia Willis,  and Sheri Castle. I love these women with all my heart and hope they know how much I respect them. Yet, here I go. Me. A Yankee-born, Washington DC-living, […]

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marmalade truths

Marmalade did not win. (shakes fist at the sky) When I was working on my book, my editor asked (more than once) why there wasn’t a marmalade recipe. It was hard to admit to her even though, a few years back, I revealed my deepest preserving secret here. Not only did I not like marmalade, I had never made it successfully. But I felt defeated. Unworthy. As a preserver, I couldn’t live with this failure. So, in January, while traveling through Texas teaching classes for the wonderful Central Market stores. (Three cheers for the fantastic people of Central Market and the welcoming Food52’ers of Austin, Texas!) I taught classes on making the most of the extraordinary fruits available during Central Market’s CITRUS FESTIVAL. Yes, a whole festival of citrus. Four pages of citrus […]

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fruity nutty honey nougat

Google what to do with egg whites, dried fruit and nuts, and you get nougat. What they don’t tell you is what an unholy mess it makes. Still, it’s worth it. Nougat is a sweet, chewy delicacy I first encountered in Italy, but have seen in France and Spain, and I’ve received gifts of nougat from friends after visits to Northern African countries, Turkey, Iran and Israel. Every country has their own version of this honey sweetened marshmallowy treat stuffed with nuts, always, and fruit, sometimes. Since the holidays ended, I’ve been working through the half bags of this and that, the frozen bits and bobs, all the little leftover whatevers from my holiday cooking and baking. There were macademias and pistachios, dried cranberries and cherries, almonds, pecans, walnuts. […]

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some favorite cookbooks (giveaway)

Psssst. I’m giving away 4 cookbooks to 4 readers. Read on. Dennis selected a superb tree this year and we doubled the number of lights so it’s very twinkly. It’s made me so happy to have light in the house. These early December days when it gets dark so early can be difficult, but with all this twinkling, I am feeling pretty cheerful. I have so many reasons to be grateful, and one reason is all of you, my dear readers. To get in the spirit, as I do every year, I embarked on the usual holiday cookie craziness. Just check my Instagram feed to see all the baking and candymaking. At the end of it all, we shipped out dozens of tins to friends near and far. Once I make all the […]

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kasha stuffed portabella mushrooms (thank you, maria speck)

Hello my friends. I just returned from my last business trip of the year. Ahhh. (If you want to read more about my year of book promotion, Dianne Jacobs invited me to write a post for Will Write For Food.) I closed my office door for the week and I’m taking a little time off. It’s one of my favorite weeks, just getting ready for Thanksgiving, nesting and digging into books I’ve been wanting to cook. And that’s why I’m thrilled to get this portobello mushroom recipe out to you. I was smitten at first bite and you will be, too. It’s from Maria Speck’s sensational second book, Simply Ancient Grains, another terrific collection of recipes using interesting, healthy, delicious often ancient grains. (Her first wonderful book, Ancient Grains for Modern […]

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merguez, shakshushka, and more. my fall kitchen projects.

Even if I didn’t have a calendar, I would know it was fall from the autumnal projects in the kitchen. In the market, there are pole beans and some shelling beans, a few chiles and peppers, potatoes, onions, leeks and fennel. Squashes and cauliflower. Kale and chard and spinach. The pantry is packed with jars of tomatoes and grape juice, dozens of different jams and jellies, pickles and pie fillings. For me, these weeks before Thanksgiving are full of activity. This year, instead of pushing through the last round of edits, or just back after from 22 grueling book tour days. I will be home for the holidays. I’m going to bring back some old traditions and create some new ones and I’m using the next four weeks to […]