treasure hunting in gascony and basquelandia

Last week, the New York Times published this story about packing for 10 days in a carry-on bag. It’s impressive. When I read it, I was, at that very moment, cramming Every Single Thing in France into my suitcase. I had long since given up any thoughts of staying below the 50 pound limit and was only worrying about getting everything to fit. I thought about it before I left DC. I knew I would shop. In fact, there were a couple of items already on my list, and I was open to so much more. So, really, I should have known better. Bringing a wee little bag with me was short sighted. I needed a duffle bag. Or more. Hello, my name is Cathy and […]


Ham Heaven

Seven days ago I left Washington, D.C. to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. I arrived at Kate Hill’s gastronomic slice of heaven, Camont, and moved into the little gypsy caravan I have called home once before. After five quiet days alongside the canal, eating well, drinking Gascon wines and visiting with friends, we left yesterday to trace the Ham Trail in Basque country. We drove through four styles of architecture and as many types of  agriculture until we reached a small, charming hotel at the base of the Pyrenees. Basque country spreads out before me in the valley. Sheep and pigs and stocky horses roam the hillsides. There are hams hanging everywhere, even over last night’s dinner table. There is so much to say, but […]

how to cut a mango

mango coconut macadamia conserve

So, did I mention I’m going to France? I’ll be visiting Kate at Camont where I hope to putter in her beautiful gardens and go brocante-ing with her sister Stephanie (check out her Etsy shop of fabulous vintage French household goods). I’m going to  scritch Bacon the big dog and soak up Kate’s Gascony. It’s paradise. When Elaine joins us next week, we’ll be heading to Basque country, south and towards the sea. Still France, almost Spain, a land all its own. (Elaine is continuing work on her project This Little Piggy. I’m tagging along.) We’ll be on the seashore. The eastern shore of the Atlantic. I’ll wave! (You can follow my adventures on Instagram. I don’t know how much social media you can expect when I’m […]

Tamari Almonds

tamari almonds and a party from the pantry

We’re very popular these days and it’s all about a little gray dog. Everyone wants to come hang out with Morty. Whenever anyone comes to visit I like to create a little nibble using something from the pantry. Saveur grabbed my attention with their Spring Cocktail Party and I realized I could make three of the recipes by buying only a bunch of scallions. I call that a win. I highly recommend Batter-Fried Scallions. They’re fabulous, easy, and very snackable. I might want a nice garlicky, anchovy laced aioli the next time. Fondi di Carciofi (Bacon-Wrapped Artichokes) were tasty. A little frustrating to fry, but tasty. I had my own canned artichokes and wrapped them in three kinds of cured meat: pancetta, smoked duck breast, and lamb ventreche. I think […]

Biscoff Crumbs 2

biscoff cannoli tart

Two things arrived in the mail this week. The nice people at Lotus Bakery sent me their Biscoff cookies with the understanding that I would post a recipe on their site. I confess. I have a soft spot for Biscoff cookies, also called Speculoos. The whisper of cinnamon and shortbread crumb just send me. I made a delicious tart recipe using these cookies awhile back and posted it on Food52. It was scrumptious, and at first I thought I might just make it again and post it on the Lotus site. And then my dairy godmother handed over another package of ricotta. For weeks, I have been fantasizing about two specific treats. Ricotta pie and cannoli. I know there must be someplace in DC to […]


ricotta & spinach stuffed shells and my dairy godmother

I’ve been making cheese for just a few years now, mostly playing with cheese that works with pasteurized, non-homogenized milk. This is the type we find in glass bottles at Whole Foods,  or from our local dairy, South Mountain Creamery. South Mountain delivers milk (as well as meat, eggs and cheese) and is a terrific choice for many households. Because I like to make fresh cheese, I convert South Mountain’s whole, cream top and even skim milk into cheeses, and make a lot of the butter we consume from their cream. But I’m getting spoiled. I’ve got a dairy godmother — I can’t reveal her identity because of ludicrous raw milk laws, DG occasionally leaves me a gift of dairy products from her lovely, well […]