Sage-Candied Walnuts

I have never cared much for nuts. I know there are women who count small handfuls of almonds as a satisfying afternoon snack. Alas, I am not one of them. The addition of walnuts and macadamias have long been reason enough to snub my nose at salads and muffins alike. But I am starting to change. I blame it on a shop near my apartment, The Nut Box. I only stopped by in the first place because the store looked so.. well, organized. Blonde wood compartments house rows upon rows of neatly packaged and clearly labeled nuts, and I am the kind of person who stops into The Container Store for fun.

I was throwing a party over the weekend, so I thought, “what’s the harm in picking up a few things?” (Answer: there is never harm in picking up a few things, especially when “things” are obscure food items. Bonus points if you have no clear idea when or how to use them.) Read more »

9 Bites to Serve at Your Next Holiday Party

If you are anything like me, when you cook for others, you tend to spend more time in the kitchen looking after the food than you do looking after your guests. In my mind, the best way to ensure my invitees are having a great time is to serve them the best possible meal. Still, this tendency of mine drives Paul nuts, and besides, it becomes more difficult the more people I pile into our apartment. To combat this issue, I have been working on some hors d’oeuvres that can be made a few hours ahead, piled onto a serving platter and forgotten until the first guest arrives. Most of these will work for any number of occasions, but as the holiday season is upon us, why not try them out now? Read more »

Foie Gras au Gros Sel

My boyfriend and I are currently spending our second Christmas together at his family’s seaside home on the western coast of France. (I know, I have a really terrible life). We have only been here one day, but already I find myself one luscious recipe richer. Tonight we leave for his grandmother’s house, where I am hoping even more recipes await. Oh, they joys of Christmas!

While it might be shameful to admit, before last night, I never considered that one could prepare foie gras at home. I thought surely it was one of those things rendered by magical elves with fantastic meat-related powers. Surely it required chicken wire and microscopes and a secret family formula jealously guarded over five centuries. Read more »

Pear and Cranberry Cake

This is a family recipe, no denying it. It was my Aunt Martha’s creation, but quickly became a holiday staple in my house as well. I distinctly remember eating this cake as part of our Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, and then again the next morning for breakfast; a huge treat for my sisters and I. Now I make it too (although the pears are a recent addition), because it is mixed and in the oven in under fifteen minutes, and because it makes my kitchen smell divine. The flecks of mild, sweet pear and bites of sour cranberry are little gems, lending this moist, citrus-spiked cake a distinctive holiday look and taste. Read more »

Sautéed Kale, Roasted Sweet Potato and Poached Egg Holiday Toast

I entered this recipe in a “your best holiday greens recipe” contest on, and had the following to say:

When considering holiday recipes, I try to embrace versatility. After all, holiday dining is not confined to one meal period. Equally important is the time in between the ceremonial, family luncheon—breakfast and lunch the next day, the four o’clock snack. Since the holidays almost always involve feeding more mouths than usual, I think it is essential to assess mileage as well as flavor. This toast is colorful and hearty in its own right, but it also serves the handy function of putting leftovers to good use, particularly if you make the sautéed kale and roasted sweet potatoes as side dishes for a big holiday meal. This way, you get three dishes for the price of one!

Since it is currently the end of August though, I will say a few more words to convince you that you need not wait until December to try this recipe. To me, this is kind of the ultimate autumn, brunch/late night comfort food. (Poached eggs and cheese…. need I say more?) It’s a bit more filling than what I typically crave in the summer, and I the colors also recall fall. The use of ginger and nutmeg help to place this dish firmly in the winter-is-coming category too, I think. Read more »