The bright colors and bright minds I found in Ixtapa convinced me that I needed to brighten and clean up my blog.  The grays and and boxes were heavy and that combined with this winter that’s already too long, made me hunger for a lot of clean white space.  So I asked my friend Joe to give me that.  I also put one of my favorite kitchen tools as a graphic because I love the lines of that spoon.  Often I’ll read something or hear something that I want to get down or get out and it doesn’t really fit in a regular post.  So Joe created place in the right column for these kinds of smaller thoughts.  I don’t know if it will prove useful.  Comments are such an important and valued part of Read On »

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I posted yesterday on twitter that I began cooking because I was hungry but continued to cook because I loved to eat, and it got me thinking.  There are so many different reasons to cook, as a number of twitters pointed out.  Self-defense was a good one!  And with the state of our processed food, one that every cook can claim!  Can I encourage other bloggers to post about why you cook?  Spell it out.  Writing it down forces you to know what you think.  When I was nine, I cooked because I was hungry and making things was fun.  Today, age 46 and devoted to family, I cook because: —I want my family to have great food all the time that’s tasty and good for their body and brains. —I cook because it relaxes Read On »

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James and I made popovers Sunday morning and sprinkled them with vanilla sugar, and this sugar made the popovers appealing in a surprisingly effective way.  Like fleur de sel on caramel.  It brought the flavors and textures together without overtly calling attention to itself.  When I’d posted a while ago in a recipe to discard the vanilla bean, I got what amounted to a scolding from Shuna, who found it appalling that one could so easily waste an opportunity for the pleasures of vanilla sugar.  She was right to scold. I had never really taken the time to appreciate the wonderful aromatic flavor of sugar but now I always will.  It deserves a place in the spice rack.  That it is born of economy makes it all the more enjoyable. If you’ve just made some Read On »

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“There’s no cream in anglaise sauce,” the beachcomber said.  He spoke with what sounded like genuine disdain. “What do you mean there’s no cream?” said I, waves lapping at my ankles, cold mojito in hand. “There’s no cream.” “How do you know?” The man paused as if this were self-evident.  “Alice told me.” The man was David Lebovitz, for many years a chef at Chez Panisse.  (David just emailed to clarify: Alice did not say cream was verboten, but rather that she liked a very thin Anglaise.) Our conversation did not devolve into a Thomas-said, Alice-said schoolboy spat, though it did make clear that vanilla sauce, crème Anglaise, deserved another post.  I wrote Vanilla Sauce In Black and White last spring (mainly to show off Donna’s awesome B&W photographs that spotlight texture) and I’m told Read On »

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Photo by Keith Farris/CIA Tonight at 10 pm eastern, Travel Channel. I haven’t seen any of the footage from this and so am a little nervous about what was going on with the High Tea and that little boat ride. Original post here. All comments welcome.

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