avocado “louie”

Let’s not get all grumpy about the weather and January and forget the happy feelings from gathering with our friends and family over the holidays. I declare 2014 the year of hospitality. I love having people over, and I’m going to do as much of it as possible this year. And I’m going to be using my pantry to make it easy, with recipes like Avocado “Louie”, a lunch my mother would make us back in the ’60s. Having company over for lunch is a treat. I suppose, because I work from home, it’s the equivalent of going out to lunch versus eating at one’s desk. So, whenever someone is going to be stopping by, I like to suggest lunch. There are a few stand-by […]

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 […]

a miracle involving gin

Gentle reader, Today, I bring you a tale of a Christmas miracle. It involves gin. Bill, my step-(may-as-well-be-my-)Dad, lives in a small (tiny) town in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. He is a spry 82, still teaches one class each semester at Trinity College, has a lady friend who lives down the road and around the corner, regularly goes to the gym, prefers movies without gore, blood and sad stories, and generally, wants for very little. Exchanging gifts is not necessary, but can be nice. If I can, I like to get a sour cherry pie to him for his July 10 birthday. (My friend Christine actually baked him a pie once, delivering it to his front porch and startling him. Whoops.) Bill always gets […]

one simple change, the perfect stocking stuffer

I don’t know about you, but January 1 never fails to be a day of self-recrimination. Every year, I swear it will be different. I will exercise every day. I will mail more (handwritten) letters. I’ll cut back on sugar. I’ll keep my office tidy. I’ll blog more, pitch more stories, take a stab at that novel. I’m very hard on myself. I’m guessing some of you recognize this behavior. After this last year of book-writing, once it was over and I had some breathing room, I could tell my life was out of balance. So many areas of my life  took a backseat to writing, and it’s taken a toll. For the last few weeks, I’ve been making (and breaking) promises to myself about […]

books for gifting (or keeping) and more giveaways

Before we go any further, congratulations to Bernice, who won the cookie box! There are so many fantastic books available this holiday season. Whether shopping for your family, or yourself, tis the season for new publications. Here are a few I highly recommend. In the Charcuterie. Boetticher and Miller. Beautiful book with excellent instructions and impressive recipes. Pati’s Mexican Kitchen. Pati Jinich. I reach for this book all the time and it never disappoints. Pati’s recipes are approachable, delicious and inventive. I’ve written about it in detail here. The Heart of the Plate. Mollie Katzen. I adore this book. It’s full of sensational, flavorful vegetarian recipes. It’s really pretty, with Mollie’s marvelous illustrations interspersed with the photographs. Vegetable Literacy. Deborah Madison. A completely novel way […]

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 […]