Cooking at Home

02
Sep 2017
Lemon Verbena Inspirations

My lemon verbena is blooming like mad right now, so I clipped some yesterday to bring inside to accentuate the kitchen. As usual, I stripped spare leaves from lower part of the stems before popping them into the vase. So I stared at that pile of gorgeously aromatic herb leaves...hard to just toss in the compost when it offers so many possibilities. A syrup to use in cocktail? (One of ...

03
Aug 2017
Ad-Lib Salad for the Heat

Like my  close-up shot here giving you detail of this salad down to every grain of farro? It's not me trying to be arty or stylish. It was the simple matter of the fact that I'd gotten down to the last few bites left in the bowl before I realized I might want to capture it before all was gone. After my first bite a bit earlier I'd thought to myself, hmmmm, this is pretty good. (Particularly since it was leftovers ...

18
May 2017
A Most Elegant Burger

A couple weeks ago I had one of those better-than-average work days, which had me hanging out with other food writers at Tom Douglas' cool cooking school Hot Stove Society. Our host was the Washington Beef Commission, and our task to get some hands-on time with various preparation techniques for beef: trussing larger roasts, trimming tenderloin, marinating and grinding. My time at that latter station brought to mind the last time ...

24
Dec 2016
Crab Bisque with Celery Root Flan

A friend and fellow food writer/cookbook author posted this a day or two ago: "For the next 2 weeks, I'm going to cook whatever I want and I'm not going to write it down, save the receipts, or set a timer. So there!" Which, to the average reader, might not make much sense. Or if it does, might not seem like that big a deal. Pfft, such a thing to complain about. Writing things down? Setting a timer? Oh, but I shook ...

26
Aug 2016
Salmon and that White Goo

Yeah, it's not the most appetizing adornment. Hard to miss against salmon's rosy-orange flesh, the white gooey stuff that sometimes appears during cooking is certainly a visual distraction. And might leave you feeling like you've messed up somehow. Possibly ruined that glorious piece of salmon even. First off, not ruined. Maybe a bit overcooked (more on that shortly), but not a calamity. And you’ll be happy to know there are a couple simple things you can do ...

17
May 2016
No-Shuck Oyster Shells

It's no surprise that I've been talking A LOT about oysters in the past few months, since the release of Oysters: Recipe that Bring Home a Taste of the Sea. And no, I haven't gotten tired of the topic, I'm not sick of them yet! In the course of interviews I've been doing and classes I'm teaching, a frequent question I get asked is about my favorite way to cook oysters. I  ...

27
Apr 2016
The Kitchen Reno: Before and After

Even though the dust has settled and the workmen gone, I keep a comic strip stuck to the wall that really struck a chord a few months ago. In that timeless setting of the therapist's office, the therapist prattles on about how there are no quick fixes in therapy, it's a frustrating often traumatic process, it can be lengthy -- to which the patient replies "much like having your kitchen remodeled." Heavens. Could I relate. And we ...

09
Dec 2015
The Gift of Experience

As a culture we've gotten incredibly good at accumulating things. Buying things that we need. Things that we don't need. Replacing things with new things because we get bored. Buying shiny-pretty-ooooh-gotta-have-it things just because. And then trying to figure out where to put it all. So then, what are we to do when those holidays hit? Just shift gears and do the same for others. I'm not dismissing gift-giving altogether, of course not. I'm not that much a Grinch! Finding items ...

19
Nov 2015
The Joy of Thanksgiving

This time next week many of us will be scrambling around the kitchen, tending to a bird, popping a batch of rolls in the oven, trimming Brussels sprouts to steam, setting just-baked pies aside to cool. For some I know this can be a stressful occasion, whether it's because of pressure to not mess up the beloved meal, or in anticipation of the potentially-awkward dynamics around the dinner table later. (After ...

27
Oct 2015
Egg in Wine Sauce: Oeufs en Meurette

Eggs in your wine? I realize that concept may sound less than appealing at first. But leave it to the French to have put eggs in wine and made something glorious of it. Perhaps it doesn't hurt that there is also bacon, mushrooms, pearl onions. A bit of butter helping make a luscious sauce. If you've ever had oeufs en meurette--dug your fork into that pillow of poached egg, the yolk blending ...