pineapple papaya salsa

I’ll admit, I struggled with the name. It’s a little jammy in texture, but acts like a condiment. Whatever it is, I’m in love with this pineapple papaya salsa (a word which, by the way, just means sauce, so I call this salsa, ok?) Honestly, I’m not even sure if it falls in the savory or sweet column. Tropical fruit always calls to me around this time of year. It’s bleak and gray and precipitating outside. Walk into the grocery store and there are faux tiki carts in the produce section. What am I supposed to do when they taunt me,  filled with pineapple, mango, banana. Plantains often end up there. Ugli fruit and other citrus. I hang around the cart wishing for a daiquiri […]

radish toast

how to eat (a lot of) black radish

About a million years ago, long before I ever thought I would write a blog, let alone a book, I was invited to a friend’s home for Passover. Jean had a family, two kids, a dog, a house and school pickups and all those other things that I, single girl, city dweller, didn’t even have on my radar screen. The dinner was sensational. The foods, some traditional and familiar to me, others new experiences. The dinner was better than any I ever had at my grandmother’s table (sorry, Gran). (Except maybe the chopped liver because that was my grandmother’s God-given gift: the lightest chopped liver in the world. Sorry, Jean.) Jean served a black radish spread/condiment before the meal, alongside the chopped liver. I couldn’t get enough […]

cubed paneer cheese

palak (spinach) with homemade paneer cheese

A few times every month, I like to cook up an Indian dinner. Never just one dish or two, I crowd the table with daal, grilled flatbread or rice, chana masala and this, my all time favorite dish, palak paneer aka spinach with cheese. [But first! Today (Monday, Jan. 19), I will be joining Carla Hall on The Chew! Please tune in. And if you miss it, I’ve been assured the segment will be online. If you are joining me here because of the show — WELCOME!] Paneer is one of the easiest cheeses to make requiring nothing more than whole milk and lemon juice or vinegar. It’s very straightforward and always delicious.This entire dish, start to finish, takes less than an hour to complete. I usually […]


I supersized Carol’s sensible skillet souffle

From time to time, Dennis says “I’m too tired to watch you cook.” Sometimes this means “Let’s order Thai food”. but it’s also  code for  “will you make Skillet Souffle?” I first came across  this Andrea Reusing recipe on In Medias Recipe, my friend Carol ‘s blog full of beautiful photographs from the Santa Barbara farmers market and gorgeous  dinners from her table. A skillet souffle is not unlike a frittata or Spanish tortilla, except for the genius inclusion of baking powder that puffs this pretty thing up in a tall, firm sliceable, pie that serves up in slices. I count on this dish, making it two or three times a month. Satisfying, refrigerator-clearing, easy to reheat, this dinner is on happy repeat. I have to fess up, though. I’ve changed up the original recipe quite […]


a batch of granola

Today, the year stretches ahead languidly. It seems so grand and broad and big sky on January 2. But I know and you know, time passes quickly. I will not be surprised by this next December. I want to be prepared. There are only 357 days until Christmas, after all. I made granola this morning as my coffee was brewing. It’s one of those things I have been making week after week for the seventeen years Dennis and I have been together. Sometimes I measure, sometimes I wing it.  Cupboards open and shut. The familiarity grounds me. I have rejoined my life, already in progress. The book is behind me. It’s published. Out there. What’s next? I’m making plans. I will be on the road speaking, reading, signing books and teaching classes and (hopefully) […]


chocolate pimente d’espelette caramels and dreaming of Basquelandia

For the last several years, I have made Laura ‘s caramels (she writes the glorious Glutton For Life blog.) It’s a terrific recipe, just a little spicy, a little salty and perfectly chewy. The most challenging  part of the whole endeavor is cutting and wrapping  250 caramels. This year, I’ve adapted Laura’s recipe (and added a few hints to the instructions) for a chewy caramel that reminds me so much of being in Basqulandia with Kate Hill and sipping hot chocolate at Laia, I got misty eyed. The same pan you use to make jam will probably work perfectly for caramels. At least 5 quart, heavy duty (like Le Creuset). If you don’t have a candy thermometer, don’t attempt these candies. Seriously. But if ever there were a perfect stocking stuffer, […]