This time of year is a favorite of mine. The weather is changing, but only slightly. The air is turning from the warm humidity of summer—the sort that feels swollen and supple and tangible almost—to the crispness of autumn. But it’s still warm enough to wear shorts and sit outside in the sun. Just yesterday I bought two pears and an apple at the farmers’ market, crunching on one as I walked the ten blocks to pick up my car from getting serviced.Read More
Have you heard about the famous Marian Burros plum torte recipe? For 6 years starting in 1983, the New York Times ran the cake recipe before deciding it was enough exposure and putting a stop to the nonsense…or so they thought, until people rioted (kidding, but actually it sounds like they sort of did) and demanded its return. I’m with that crowd, because the cake is really and truly a keeper. Not only is it fantastic as is but it can handle just about any tweaking you can come up with. No plums? Use berries! Don’t feel like cinnamon? Try pear and cardamom. Want a sandier texture? Add a little cornmeal.Read More
Why vanilla is considered a neutral or negative descriptor is beyond me. It's treated as a non-flavor, as if its an absence of flavor. Perhaps it pales (PUN INTENDED) to richer, darker chocolate in some people's esteem, but I think vanilla is hard to surpass. Creamy and sweet, it can be exceptionally flavorful if you use the real stuff...and once you taste very good vanilla, you won't want to bake with anything else.Read More
Eclairs always looked so darn fancy to me when I was little. Honestly, they seemed almost too fussy for a five-year-old with an extreme sweet tooth. Give me frosting! Give me an ice cream cone! Give me an entire g-d sleeve of Oreos and leave me alone for 20 minutes! But I like to think I've become far more mature and sophisticated in my ripe old age, and my appreciation for eclairs has deepened.Read More
On the subject of comfort food, my mother is really an expert. Sure, I'm biased, but I think anyone who took a bite of her creamy broccoli pasta or had a slice of her potato bread, warm from the oven with a pat of fresh raw milk butter melting on top, would agree. But beyond the broad strokes genre, the real definition of comfort food is unique to each of us—specific and tied to our own particular memories and experiences and places.