getting started

You guys just blow me away. Thank you so much for your kind words, your links and tweets and retweets. I had no idea that last post would hit home for so many of you. I think my heart grew three sizes this past week. Truly, thank you.


Speaking of giving thanks, and Thanksgiving, ours, aside from a bit of a plumbing emergency, was pretty fantastic. We had beautiful weather, a delicious meal, and we have just about finished the last of our leftovers. I made gumbo and sandwiches, and a dish I called the “hot mess” casserole. It was homely as heck, but delicious.


I got to watch my kid eat pumpkin pie for the first time. Which was pretty awesome.

it's here!

And a little something fun arrived in the mail.

we made a cookbook. again.

You guys. We made a cookbook. Again! Big congrats to all my fellow cooks and the whole food52 team. I’m so honored to be part of your community.

And to all of you reading, I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was as full of smiles as ours was.

the bird, out of the oven

Our 2012 Thanksgiving Feast (with links to recipes, where applicable):

Tuscan Chicken Liver Paté
Russ Parsons’ Dry-Brined Turkey (a.k.a. The Judy Bird), with a cider-spiked turkey gravy
Mrs. Wheelbarrow‘s incomparable Challah, Mushroom, and Celery Stuffing
mashed fingerlings
my Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Warm Cider Vinaigrette
roasted sweet potato rounds with fried sage
Canal House’s Cranberry-Port Gelée (holy cow, was this good – and we’re not big fans of the sauce, usually)
Meta Given’s Pumpkin Pie
Le Cinsault par Familongue


after the storm


Like many New Yorkers, I’ve been engrossed in the media coverage following Hurricane Sandy. My heart has sunk more each day, as each new piece of news brings a fuller picture of the damage and destruction left behind. The area was hit with a nor’easter right after the storm, and though last weekend brought a brief respite from the cold, temperatures have continued to drop, and more rain is expected today. For those still in the thick of piecing their lives back together, it must feel completely overwhelming.

Two weeks after the storm, co-workers are still trickling back in to my midtown office, sharing their stories and the stories of those close to them who were affected. The office itself was closed for nearly a week, sustaining damage after a corner-office window blew out, taking down ceiling tiles and spewing glass, water, and debris all around. Some friends and co-workers were without power or heat or both for a week or more, some of them with pets or small children. Others find themselves harboring friends or family who have lost everything. It’s heartbreaking and sobering.

Personally, we were lucky – we had wind and rain, but we never lost power, only briefly lost our cable internet, and the biggest challenges we faced were a few days of screwy commutes, trying to avoid downed trees and tree limbs in the neighborhood, and keeping Julian from going completely stir-crazy while we were homebound in the days immediately after the storm. We have absolutely nothing to complain about and so very much to be grateful for.

So many have lost so much, and the road to recovery looks to be a long one. Thanksgiving is a little over a week away, and thereafter, the days and weeks will blur as we move through the December holidays. My heart breaks to think of those New Yorkers whose holidays will never be the same, and I sincerely hope that they won’t be forgotten in the weeks and months ahead.

There are already some terrific wrap-ups of who is doing what toward the relief effort and how you can help, but I’d like to throw a few more links out there:

First, I’ve been incredibly inspired by what people in all corners of our dear city have done in these last two weeks, how they’ve organized and mobilized and have Gotten Shit Done while FEMA and the Red Cross have been, from many reports, largely MIA. Ben Heemskerk of The Castello Plan in our neighborhood has been particularly active in commandeering the troops around here and sending caravans of buses loaded with food and supplies out to communities in need.

And as you well know, we here at LND are big softies when it comes to the fuzzy creatures of the world. I was heartsick to read about the devastation many stray/feral cat colonies experienced in storm-damaged waterfront communities. The folks from North Brooklyn Cats, Neighborhood Cats, and the SI Feral Initiative, Inc. continue to do heroic work to care for these animals, often at great personal expense.

Finally, there is the Occupy movement. Their swift and focused response has taken my breath away, and I think their use of Amazon’s gift registry is simply brilliant.

If you’re still looking for a way to help, maybe you could send these folks, and those they’re working so hard to help, a little love.

[We’ll be back to the food here soon, I hope, with an update on our first 12 Months | 12 Dishes project… I’ve just had a hard time summoning up the enthusiasm to write about cooking with everything that’s going on in our beloved New York. We sincerely hope you and yours are safe, warm, dry, and well.]

Better With Butter

I am unable to resist.

I feel like this summer has all but passed us by. Between our move, getting settled in our new home, keeping up with an increasingly mobile and ever-changing soon-to-be-one-year-old, and last weekend’s trip to see Mike’s family in Indiana, I feel like we have had very few of those “lazy days” people talk about. No trips to the beach, not a single lobster roll, no barbecue or bluefish.

But we do have tomatoes. Every chance we get.

baby heirloom tomatoes in brown butter

Some of the best tomatoes we’ve had recently were these brown butter tomatoes. I saw the post on food52, and I couldn’t not try it. But tomatoes and butter do not a complete meal make, so I spooned them over some herbed farro, and topped each serving with a ball of creamy burrata.

Dinner: August 29, 2012

I may never eat another caprese salad again. (Julian was also a fan.)

“Bon appétit!”


Back in April, I received an email about the JC100, the online celebration of Julia Child’s life and work on what would have been her 100th birthday. Like most of what lands in my blog-related inbox (especially since our little guy arrived), that email was read and left unanswered, forgotten until yesterday, when I started seeing remembrances posted nearly everywhere.

Tomato mania!

Julia’s show was the first cooking show I remember watching, and though it would be many years before I ever cracked open a copy of Mastering the Art, I feel that she was a big influence on me as a home cook. She was large and loud and kind of endearingly dorky – all of which I could relate to quite well – but she had this incredible self-confidence, and in watching her cook, I felt that I, too, could take even the humblest of ingredients and turn them into something both delicious and elegant. She did what she did with love, she seemed to get such true joy from feeding herself, her family and her friends, and she never seemed to let a little kitchen mishap get her down.

Dinner: August 14, 2012

Mike has almost certainly cooked more recipes straight from those iconic books than I have; I’ve never had the patience for classic French technique. But every time I step into the kitchen, set a cutting board in front of me and pull my knife down from the wall, I can’t help but feel that Julia’s spirit and influence is guiding my way.

Happy birthday, Julia, and thank you.

A Legacy of Food

Market Haul, April 23, 2011

This week, the folks at food52 have challenged members of the community to submit one “Recipe You Want To Be Remembered For.” This contest theme got me thinking, of course, being 20 weeks into this pregnancy, smack dab in the middle of building our little boy on the best food I can give him. I’ve thought a lot about what I’m eating now – not just what health and developmental benefits I hope to provide for our son through my diet, but what (if any) impact the foods I’m eating will have on his future likes and dislikes.

spring vegetable salad

I probably spend even more time musing about what and how he’ll eat as he gets older. What will food mean to him? What will he look forward to eating, love above anything else, wrinkle his little nose at? Will he have my allergy to oranges and grapefruit, or share his father’s aversion to melon? What will he remember when he’s all grown up and he thinks of me and his dad and the meals we shared as a family?

second season

I can’t tell you how many times over the last few months Mike and I have been sitting at the kitchen table and the conversation has turned to our son and food. We talk about how we can’t wait for Sproggy’s first taste of fresh spring peas, of raspberries picked from the vine, of a tiny tomato bursting with juice and still warm from the sun. About taking him to the farmers’ market and introducing him to the wonderful people who grow and produce so much of our food. About how best to express gratitude for what we eat and the work that went into making it. We talk of rituals, of holidays and gatherings, of our family traditions, of how they might change and evolve over time, and how this little one will be part of them.

2nd pie, resting

I get a little giddy when I think of our son helping Mike bake bread or make pizza, rolling out dough with chubby little hands, flour speckling his clothes. Every time I make tortillas from scratch – a skill I’m still learning – I think about doing so with him at my side, about the smell of toasty corn rising from a hot griddle, and how that scent transports me immediately to my grandmother’s kitchen. I wonder if that aroma, or others, will trigger such great memories for him someday.


We want him to know where and how things grow, to meet chickens and pigs and cows and sheep, to be accustomed to living in a home in which canning jars line the shelves, full of delicious things we’ve grown, picked, or put up ourselves.

But back to the original question – is there a particular dish or meal I that want our little boy to remember above all others? Meatballs, migas, macaroni and cheese, soft scrambled eggs, a lobster roll on a toasted bun, homemade pickles, the family rice and beans, or a crispy chicken cutlet? I can’t possibly choose one thing.

sardines, Triscuits, mustard

I want to share all sorts of food experiences with him, whether it involves meals we’ve cooked at home, or just sitting with him while we share one perfect cheese, a tin of great sardines with Triscuits and mustard, a juicy ripe peach, cold briny oysters, or a hot dog in the park. I look forward to sitting back and watching him figure out food and flavors, learn his likes and dislikes. I look forward to how he’ll inspire and influence me in the kitchen, and maybe someday, when he’s all grown up and I’m an old woman, he’ll ask me to make him his most favorite thing ever, and I will happily oblige.


But we’ve got a whole lot of eating to do before then, and I look forward to savoring every moment.

Big Stuff

sardines, fennel, tomato

I don’t know what to say.

It’s well into February and I haven’t posted here in what feels like forever. We’ve been cooking up a storm, working on projects in the kitchen, eating some truly wonderful things, but I just haven’t had it in me to post.

There’s so much to tell you. But I can’t talk about it just yet.

Dinner: January 22, 2011

I do want to talk about this pasta, though. It seems like every time I talk about this dish, something big happens. I last posted about it here in 2007, to an enthusiastic response.

Almost a year later, with Mike in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail and me at home in Providence, I watched wide-eyed as my site meter shot skyward, topping out at 12,127 hits – twelve thousand, one hundred twenty seven hits – thanks to a post on a Yahoo! Shine blog which linked out to that old Linguine con Sarde post.

And now my recipe for this dish, this humble pantry supper I’ve been making for us for years, is the latest addition to the second food52 cookbook.

As in book one’s scallop competition, I was up against the incredibly talented cook melissav, and today, I learned that my Linguine with Sardines, Fennel and Tomato came out on top in the voting. Sardines with pasta! People are cooking this, and enjoying it, people are eating sardines, and that’s not just big, it’s huge. I couldn’t be happier, or more proud.

To all of you who voted, who commented, who are a constant source of support and inspiration, THANK YOU.



I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it. We’re not yet done with January and we’ve had more than our yearly average snowfall. My commute has been awful – if the trains aren’t delayed by snow and ice, then switches are breaking, signals malfunctioning, rail cars creeping ever so slowly from station to station. I’ve missed my bus home from the train station every night this week, and tonight looks to be no exception, with more snow expected to begin this afternoon, continuing overnight.

Dinner: January 25, 2011

We’ve been on a steady diet of comfort food – a hearty pot roast Sunday night, an almost-meatless soup on Monday, loaded with creamy beans, pasta, and bits of pancetta (not yet our own, but we’re oh-so-close). Last night, I threw together this simple pasta dish, a combination of grated beets cooked down in butter with a healthy splash of white balsamic, the pasta par-cooked then added to the beets with some pasta water to finish, becoming infused with beet flavor and that lovely rich hue. There are similar pastas out there that include poppy seeds and mint, but Mike and I both wanted goat cheese, so I crumbled a bit of Vermont Butter & Cheese chevre on our plates, along with some chopped pistachios for a visual and textural pop. The vibrant colors and bright flavors chased my winter blues away, at least for a little while.

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere, you’ve probably already seen me proudly cheering on my cool friends Cathy and Kim, who are featured in the Washington Post today. If you haven’t, check it out. I’m there, too, on page two, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.