eat your vegetables giveaway and poblano tapenade

Fifteen years ago I met Dennis. He didn’t mention the vegetarian thing on our first date (lunch at a neighborhood trattoria). Instead he ordered a pasta dish with tomato sauce that did nothing to telegraph the truth. It wasn’t long before I offered to make him dinner and that’s when he dropped the news on me. My friends, all of whom were familiar with my passion for cooking [meat], were concerned. “How can you date a vegetarian,” they asked? It didn’t seem like a deal breaker to me. In fact, I married him. Those first married months were challenging. I was totally bridal, planning elaborate meals, setting the table with all the new pretty things, and fussing about every night. Planning meals took a long […]

fear and respect in the canning kitchen (and peach melba sauce)

Before I rant, and I am afraid you’re in for a bit of a rant (sprinkled with some pictures to soften the blow), I want to thank all of you for the great What-To-Do-With-800-Canning-Rings challenge. Congratulations to Flan who had the idea of using bungee cords. Done and done. Thank you, Flan. I’ll send an email, please send me your mailing address. Jars on the way! And, because subjective judging is so annoying, I promised a randomly selected winner for another pantry giveaway box, congratulations Madeline. I’ll send you some extra rings while I’m at it. Thank you all for the ideas.  My neighborhood listserv hooked me up with an art teacher who will take many many rings for her classroom. All’s well that ends […]

put a ring on it (another giveaway!)

We reorganized yesterday. It took several hours to move all the canning jars from the basement to the garage in preparation for  painters. Moving all those jars was definitely confronting. There has been a lot of canning going on as I test and test and retest every recipe for the book. But I’m not here to talk about recipes or testing. I have a bigger problem. Canning rings are taking over my house. There must be eight or nine hundred rings lurking in four boxes. I’m willing to trade jams, jellies, sauces and more for just one clever idea. Every canning safety site tells us to store jars in a cool, dark space WITHOUT THE RINGS. The idea is a simple one. If something goes […]

from the pantry: new fangled three bean salad

I wish I had some earth shattering news for you. Or some funny little story. Or a photograph of this terrific salad I made up. But I don’t. But how about that free form tart? This is an imperfect blog post. A collection of thoughts, things that I’ve done, learned, eaten. Honestly? Most of my words are going to the book these days. I’ve been writing and cooking and perfecting recipes, recording every step, measuring everything two or three or four times. This is a newly acquired skill. Before starting this book writing process, most of my recipes looked something like this: 2# apr/sour cherry ptd 4c wh sug/honey? 1/2 goosebry 3c rasp (no gold) 1.5#rhub frzn lemon juice And had titles like “June 23 […]

a new trick and a giveaway

I’ve been away from this blog for so long, I feel terrible. I have a million ideas for  posts, but can’t seem to take any photos in a timely manner, so the posts don’t get written even if I’ve put them all together in my head. I have a feeling I’ll be writing plenty once the book deadline has passed (a few more weeks) so look for a lot of new recipes coming soon. And while I don’t have a recipe today, I do have a horticultural tip to pass along. I heard about it at the grocery store. (I was eavesdropping.) Already it’s made me deliriously happy. Do you love hydrangeas? I think they’re the best. If you have them in your yard, or […]

developing an aesthetic

Rhubarb is coming into the markets, summer is just around the corner and I’m five months from my deadline date. Back in October, I started working on Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry (W.W. Norton, 2014.) Whatever I might have thought about writing a book, it’s much harder than I imagined, and much more rewarding. I’m going through old notebooks of recipe scribbles, testing favorite recipes again and again, and writing all the time. I love this process and I can’t wait to share the book with all of you. But testing and writing recipes are just a small a part of making a book. Nothing  happens without a brilliant team. My editor, Maria Guarnaschelli, is bringing her eagle eye to the project – sharpening the focus, […]