Recipes

homemade irish cream

Look, we all have to draw the line somewhere. I have over the years insisted that making some things from scratch were just crazy, best left to others, and one by one come around and worse, as if I’d forgotten my repudiation of five minutes earlier like some sort of toddler, extolled the virtues of doing so. Cases in point: Graham crackers, marshmallows, bagels, dulce de leche, pop tarts, rainbow cookies, goldfish crackers, apple strudel, fully from-scratch hot fudge sundae cakes and Russian honey cakes but if you were to suggest I should make my own yogurt, croissants or sushi, despite the fact that I would be delighted if you made any of these things, doubly so if you brought some to me right now, I would probably rather unpack the last box from our last move (two-plus years ago), not even jokingly labeled “Unfiled Files.” Look, we all have to draw the line somewhere. I mean, what’s next if I cross these lines? Milling my own flours? Smoking my own pork belly? Making our own Bailey’s-style Irish cream?

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Recipes

union square cafe’s bar nuts

Four years ago, when I was home for a couple days between book tour stops and I had about 3 gazillion errands to run but I was also hungry (because proper meals are the first thing to go when I’m busy) and really craving a great salad (because vegetables are the first thing to get stiffed when you travel a lot) and I didn’t want to eat it out of a takeout container or on my lap or in a hurry, I wanted to sit down and eat it off a plate like a civilized person with water in a glass, not a plastic bottle, and the want for this was overwhelming and I looked up and I was right in front of the Union Square Cafe and thought, “Why not?”

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Recipes, Gift Guides

chocolate caramel crunch almonds + new kitchen favorites

Mostly because I have little interest in telling you how to part with your hard-earned money, this isn’t a gift guide. However, ahem, I do purchase a few kitchen-related items each year and thought I’d mention some of the standouts from 2016. [Here’s 2015’s list, all still in heavy rotation.] Most are remarkably basic, either because I had necessities to replace (coughclumsy) but a lot are simple just because I’m incredibly stubborn and it really has taken me this long to buy a second set of measuring cups and spoons, some aprons and a coffee-making apparatus. Not all of these may pack up well in boxes with ribbon — well, except that deliciousness at the end, of course — but I can promise you that they’re getting a lot of mileage in a heavy-use kitchen, and as always, I bought them myself.

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Recipes

spinach sheet pan quiche

I know we all associate December with cookies, cocktails, yule logs and latkes, but what about the smaller, enduring festivities that often go overlooked, namely workplace and other potluck luncheons? Because my “coworkers” are basically a laptop and occasionally these wild things, my current participation level is limited, but I know that usually what happens is that it’s rather easy to bring cookies and cakes but as nobody wants to drag a roast on the subway and then heat it up in the breakroom microwave, main dishes are harder to nail down.

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Recipes, Tips

brussels sprouts, apple and pomegranate salad

Things I Learned Hosting My First Friendsgiving

On logistics

• As I realized last week, what makes big meals (we had 16 people) scary isn’t the cooking as much as the sheer volume of it all and the logistics required to manage them. I mean, who here has a kitchen that was built to feed 16? Trust me, it’s not you, it’s your kitchen making things hard.

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Recipes

root vegetable gratin

Last year, I proudly announced my intentions to host a Friendsgiving dinner for our crew and we would do it up. About 15 minutes later, I remembered that I had an infant and a zillion other less cute things on my plate and came to my senses. This year, I am a woman unwaveringly of my word, and I have 9 days to get my act together.

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Recipes

apple strudel

Because I don’t say it often enough, do know that one of my favorite things about this site is the way your presence, whether active or lurking, quietly provides the encouragement I need every time I want to tackle a dish or recipe that daunts me. Like bagels. Or Lasagna Bolognese. Or Baked Alaska. Or Russian Honey Cake. But I’m not sure that any of these dishes have struck terror in my heart — laced with impending doom over inevitable failure — over a dish as much as this.

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Recipes

broken pasta with pork ragu

At the end of July, a generally broiling, sticky month in New York City best experienced somewhere far enough away to catch a breeze not recently emitted from subway grates, I spied a recipe for a pork shoulder braised in chicken stock, aromatics, celery and thyme then torn into bite-sized shreds and tossed with broken-up pieces of lasagna noodles and finished with butter, lemon juice, parmesan and arugula that sounded so good, I had to make it the very next night for dinner. Even though it was 82 degrees out. Even though we’d been to the beach that weekend. I regretted nothing.

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