I planted camellias in my front garden (a humble but mighty two food wide, eight foot long patch in front of my house) last year. Last year, as it turns out, just AFTER camellias were in full bloom. I’m not much of a gardener, obviously. I buy something beautiful, or with the great potential for beauty, and hope I can convince it to live long enough to share its beauty with me.
I planted my camellia bush last year with the great hope that I could keep it alive for a year and that when camellia season graced us yet again, my little plant would have a flower for me.
When I arrived in Paris, I was surprised to see pink grapefruits as objects of such adulation. Métro billboard ads extolled the virtues of pink grapefruits, with ones from Texas being the most prized. Of course, it was a marketing campaign, but those grapefruits are rather good. When I lived in California, we didn’t just have grapefruits, we had everything, from Oroblancos, to tangelos and pomelos.
In the past few years, places such as Terroirs d’Avenir in Paris, which supply us with French-grown citrus, including oddities you don’t see often here, like limequats and Buddha Hand citrons.
Continue Reading Grapefruit Vermouth Marmalade…
Good afternoon from vacation. We don’t need to talk about it. If you told me you were on a sunny beach with fine white silky sand between your toes, fluffy aqua waves lapping at the edges, palm trees swishing back and forth, scooping aquachiles onto tortilla chips and marveling at the range of available papaya hues while I was shoveling out snow for the nth time this year, I would smile politely and comment “How amazing!” on your Instagram but I would silently pout, as I probably will be a week from now. Let’s… not.
A week or so before I left, because the treadmill seems as good a place as any to think about what you want to eat next, I was overwhelmed with a craving for cauliflower cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. Gobi matar masala (cauliflower, peas, spices) is a a classic vegan North Indian recipe that fit the bill; the dotting of sweet peas adds is wonderfully complementary. When I came home and started looking through books and websites for recipes I realized that it’s more often a dry curry, made with a few tomatoes but most of the liquid evaporates, leaving a more concentrated mixture. The first time, I made it this way and it was fantastic, but my craving for a saucier version — more of a sabzi, if I understand correctly — remained. A friend confirmed that, like most traditional dishes, there’s no one agreed-upon way to make it and some days you may want it to be more of a stew than others. Feeling liberated, the next time I made it, I added a few cups of canned tomato puree and it was exactly what I’d hoped for. We ate it with rice but it would also be delicious with chapati, roti, or another flatbread.
I’ve just done a bit of reflecting and counted up legitimately four places in my house (outside of my kitchen) where I’ve stashed little bits of chocolate. My guest room has a vase (no joke) oh Hershey’s kisses on the third shelf to the right. There is a container of chocolate covered almonds next to the large mixing bowls. There are a few chocolate bars in the drawer next to the extra silverware for dinner parties, and a small bag of peanut M&M’s in my bedside table.
The thing is, if I have too many chocolate options greeting me every time I open my pantry, I’m liable to make only one choice: chocolate all the time. With the chocolate spread through the house, it’s like going on an Easter egg hunt every time I have a craving… which is, not infrequent and also not a crime.
My friend Maggie’s new book A New Way To Food respect our deep need for chocolate but frames her recipes along side her journey towards a healthy and nourishing relationship with food. Her recipes are thoughtful and decadent, treats for wholesome meals everyday. I’ve made a handful of her recipes by now (tacos from scratch, a fermented crudito, and ricotta from almonds) and it’s been so fun experimenting with new techniques and new-to-me ingredients – and the food has been stellar! I can’t recommend this book enough. The words are honest and encouraging and the recipes are playful and approachable and exciting!
And today – we’ll make brownie thins about it. Let’s!
We’ve got simple and wholesome ingredients before us.
• olive oil (I used my new favorite California olive oil: Enzo) instead of melted butter or a more neutral oil because I like the depth of flavor.
• maple syrup as sweetener.