the beauty of butchering

It’s taken a few days to absorb the incredible two days I spent in the company of Kate Hill and Dominique Chopolard. Kate is, of course, the generous sponsor of Charcutepalooza’s grand prize, a week at her butchery school in Gascony. She and I had spent plenty of time chatting on Skype, kitchen to kitchen, but nothing prepared me to meet this wonderful woman in person. She’s fabulous. Just marvelous. And Dominique? Everyone who met Dom immediately fell in love. He’s a great guy and completely owns the look – that black beret, a world-class mustache and a true, honest to goodness, twinkle in his eye. Both Kate and Dom are engaged and thoughtful on all matters meaty – watching the collaboration of farmer, butcher […]


chicken tikka masala

Yes, snow is still on the ground in many parts of the country, and we’re expecting an inch on Sunday (seriously?), but I’m ready to fire up the grill. I made these indoors, on my grill pan. What can I say. It was raining… One of my favorite quick grilled meals is Chicken Tikka Masala. Use this basic marinade and sauce to make up your own tikka masala – yes, with chicken, but also with tofu, beef, pork or lamb. It’s easy, you probably have most of the ingredients already, and when you add my Indian spiced broccoli and potato, and lentil daal, you’ve got a complete dinner, ready in a flash. If you have a few extra minutes, you can even make flatbread. You’ve […]


my own cherry blossom festival

Right now, Washington DC is putting on her Spring finery. All over town, cherry trees are bursting into bloom. If you’ve never been to DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival, you’re missing one of the most beautiful expressions of Spring. The official party starts this weekend, but at my house, it’s already in full swing. The fabulous arborists from Bartlett Tree (a company I’ve been using and recommending without reservation for 15 years) are working on all my large trees. The river birch, a beautiful 40′ specimen after twelve years, was bent to the ground during one of the wet snows, and will now need cabling to be safe. So a bucket truck pulled up to the front of the house and rigging commenced. The […]


wildcard merguez

What a fabulous surprise I had today. After a frustrating, round the city errand run in way too much traffic, I came back to my office, checked in with the world of Twitter, and lo and behold… My lamb merguez recipe was selected as a Wildcard Win on Food52. I’ll win some nice prizes and who doesn’t like that? And the recipe will be included in the second Food52 cookbook. I’m tickled pink. Thank you, Amanda & Merrill!


charcutepalooza april challenge. hot smoking.

It’s time for another Charcutepalooza challenge, and this time, we want you to get in touch with your inner McGyver. We’re taking all we’ve learned from salt rubs, salt cures, and brines, and we’re adding fire. It’s Hot Smoking time. And once again, Kim and I are saying, “Poor Dennis,” at least once a day. My wonderful husband, a mostly-vegetarian fan of simple foods prepared simply, is extremely patient. And loving. And not a fan of smoked foods. (Or cured, for that matter.) Dennis tells people the secret to our happy marriage is that he “lets Cathy be Cathy.” And he means it. But for four days last week, it was tough going. Twenty seven pounds of meat sat brining, salting, curing and otherwise bleeding […]


spring in my step, shad roe on my plate

Yes, friends. She lives. It was touch and go there for awhile, with both of us sick, but things are definitely looking up. The tea recommendations were taken to heart, as were the suggestions for additions to the chicken broth. But mostly I listened to my body and responded to the cries for rest, the desire for long, hot baths, and ultimately, as I got healthier, the food cravings. Do you read Glutton for Life – the lyrical blog from Laura Silverman? If you don’t know it, spend some time exploring her way with words. With life, actually. I love the blog’s header, and the way three lovely items are placed there with each post – like a  virtual still life. Do you make little […]