Sassy Strawberry Sorbet

When strawberries are season (like they are now), you have a few options. Option one: eat them raw. Option two: eat them raw dipped in homemade whipped cream. Option three: Strawberry Shortcake. All of these are totally reasonable options — especially option three (which I plan to make this weekend for a friend’s birthday) — only, are they the most strawberry-forward options? Well, the raw strawberries, yes. You don’t get more strawberry-forward than a raw strawberry. Or do you? What if you blend them and perk them up with sugar, lemon juice, and a few other secret ingredients and then give them a spin in an ice cream maker? You’ll wind up with something even better than a raw strawberry. You’ll wind up with my sassy strawberry sorbet.

Best Sticky Buns Ever

sticky buns

Hyperbole on a food blog? Well I never! Look: I’ve eaten many a sticky bun in my day (that sounded dirty) and the best sticky buns I’ve ever experienced were the ones that I ate in my kitchen just two days ago when I made the Sticky Sticky Buns from Joanne Chang’s essential Flour cookbook. But, to quote Reading Rainbow, don’t take my word for it. When Joanne Chang went on Beat Bobby Flay in Battle Sticky Bun, these buns went home with the trophy. They’re as much a Boston landmark as Faneuil Hall — I ate one when I visited Craig last summer. But nothing can compete with eating them warm out of your own oven. They really are the best sticky buns ever.

Brioche for Beginners


I’m currently listening to Julia Child’s memoir, My Life in France, on Audible. I’m embarrassed it to say that it took me this long; I suppose I thought I already knew the story because I’ve watched both Julie & Julia (multiple times) and Julia (which I really loved; I interviewed the showrunner, Daniel Goldfarb, on my podcast). But there’s something undeniable about hearing Julia tell her story in her own words. The wonderment that she felt upon arriving in France and experiencing not just the famous sole meunière but the cheeses and the sauces and the breads totally reignited my own Francophilia. And that’s why I found myself, on a Saturday afternoon, whipping up brioche from scratch like a real boulanger.

Seared Scallops on Sugar Snap Cacio e Pepe

seared scallops

There are certain culinary rules that people memorize like they’re gospel, even though they’re not really rules and those who adhere to them are doing it more out of fear than logic. Case in point: cheese and fish. “In Italy, you never put cheese on fish!” No less an authority than Lidia Bastianich has disproven this on her show where she explains traditions regarding fish and cheese have more to do with geography than gastronomy. (Don’t believe me? Here’s her recipe for a seafood gratin.) Generally, I never put cheese on fish because fish is so delicate. But every so often, if there’s seafood involved with a pasta, I may sprinkle on a little Parmesan. And thus this recipe for seared scallops with sugar snap cacio e pepe was born.

Chicken and Rapini Stir-Fry

chicken rapini stir-fry

Some people collect matchbooks from restaurants, others dinner napkins. Me? I collect cookbooks from the restaurants I’ve been to. On my shelf, you’ll find a Spanish language version of the El Bulli cookbook we collected on our trip there. There are cookbooks from Prune, St. John, Mozza, Lucques, and so many others, too many to list here. One that I bought last summer was the Myers + Chang At Home Cookbook which I bought after our terrific dinner at Myers + Chang in Boston. Not only is a restaurant cookbook a great reminder of your dinner there, it’s full of recipes that’ll conjure up that meal through similar flavors, textures, smells. Like this chicken and rapini stir-fry.

Reverse-Seared Ribeyes

reverse seared ribeyes

Remember that scene in Mary Poppins where they all go up the chimney and come out all sooty? That’s what my dinner guests usually look like when I cook steak. The whole kitchen fills up with black clouds as I sear the meat in a large cast-iron skillet, flipping and continuing to cook while frantically taking the temperature to make sure I stop in time to hit medium-rare. Sometimes I get it right on the first go; other times, I serve the steak and somebody politely says: “Ummm, sorry, but is it supposed to be blue inside?” That all changed this past Saturday when I cooked my usual steakhouse dinner for our friends Marcos and John, only this time the kitchen wasn’t full of smoke and the steaks came out absolutely perfect. The secret? Reverse-seared ribeyes.

Spicy Merguez with Spinach and Borlotti Beans

spicy merguez with spinach and borlotti beans

Every so often you encounter a recipe that grabs you by the throat and won’t let go. That was the case when I was thumbing through an old book in my collection: Daniel Boulud’s Braise, which he co-wrote with Melissa Clark back in 2013. This is one of those books that’ve survived many a cookbook cut because (a) braising is my favorite cooking technique (so much reward for such little effort); and (b) the recipes in it are fascinating. Like this recipe for Spicy Merguez with Spinach and Beans. It’s not that shocking to imagine lamb sausage, spinach, and beans together; but the technique is what left me shooketh.

Wining and Dining Our Way Up the California Coast, from Los Angeles to Sonoma

We’ve lived in Los Angeles for twelve years (moved here in 2011!) and in all of that time, we’ve only taken one legitimate road trip up the coast… and that was during the pandemic when we escaped to Washington State to see my husband Craig’s family. On that odyssey, we stopped in Carmel, which was a beautiful respite from the monotony of our apartment, though it was also stressful because we were all in masks. That’s why, with the big news that we’re moving back to NYC in September, we decided to take a totally spontaneous road trip from Los Angeles to Sonoma. And we had such a blast, I thought I’d lay it all out for you here, in case you happen to be in L.A. and are craving a road trip of your own.

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