Weekday Vegetable Soup

Weekday Vegetable Soup


Vegetable soup has become a staple lunch of weekdays around here. I like the idea that you can combine a good range of ingredients into one bowl of soup goodness, and I typically use whatever vegetables I have on hand, some beans and/or grains, and a few spice accents. When you invest the time to make a pot of soup, it rewards you with days of effortless, nutritious, substantial meals, and it saves us from eating lunch out more than we'd like. This relatively straight-forward version has a simple basil pistou finish - a vibrant streak of magic that elevates the rest of the bowl. Allow me tell you a bit about where we enjoyed it...Continue>>

Cocagne Bean & Artichoke Salad

Cocagne Bean & Artichoke Salad


My parents live an hour south of us in the house my sister and I grew up in. They built on a pretty plot of land in the suburban foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains in the 70s, when I was four, and they've lived there since. We got together there, as a family, for Easter this year, and I think it occurred to everyone that this will likely be the last holiday in Los Gatos. They're moving relatively soon, and will likely list the property sometime in the next few months. On one hand I'm excited they'll have a new adventure to embark on, on the other I'll miss being able to visit the place I grew up. More than anything, I love looking out from inside their house. It is flanked by an (rare) undeveloped stretch of hilly, open space that is a stage for all sorts of old craggy oak trees, deer, heron, and the occasional coyote. In the spring the grass is short, and electric green, and by late summer it is waist-high and pale straw in color. You can see the details of day from their kitchen window, every car coming down the road, every neighbor on a dog walk, neighborhood cats hunting in the distance, the mailman delivering letters.

This is the bean salad I made to take to Easter this year - pickled celery, chopped kalamata olives and toasted walnuts, along with tender artichokes, and lots of the white cocagne beans I picked up at my neighborhood farmers' market. You can substitute any white beans you like...Continue>>

Writing a Cookbook Proposal

Writing a Cookbook Proposal


I get a lot of questions related to cookbook proposals. There are a number of reasons to write one. Most believe it's the step you need to take just before pursuing a book deal, which is often true. You write a proposal to get a book contract. To this I say yes, but that's only part of it. I'd argue that a good proposal has the ability to do much more than land you a deal. A book deal is just one of the first steps in the long, very collaborative process specific to bookmaking. The real challenge, as an author, is getting a book at the end of the process that reflects your vision, or what you imagine as the collaborative vision - a book that is the successful melding of everything you bring to the project, along with the expectations and insights of your editor, publisher, and readership. This is a very tall order, and difficult to achieve. I'm completing my fourth cookbook, and I feel like I'm always learning more about the process. That said, it has become clear to me, the proposal is a critical piece of the puzzle. It's an opportunity to communicate exactly what I hope to work on, in a very specific way to the individuals I'll be potentially be collaborating with. And it is a document to refer to along the way if/when, you find yourself in the weeds. I thought I'd use the proposal I did for Near & Far as an example today, with the hope that aspects of it might be helpful to some of you... Continue>>


A Simple Asparagus Soup

A Simple Asparagus Soup


The markets here have shifted from yellow and orange orbs of citrus to banks of green asparagus, baskets of artichokes, bouquets of green garlic, and tiny favas the size of my ring finger. There are massive tangles of purple lilac and eggs for sale in shades of cream, pale blue, and soft mocha. I've braised baby artichokes every night this week, and made this soup twice. Spring it is. Do you remember the simple carrot soup I highlighted back in January? This is the asparagus version. I trade in asparagus for the carrots, then tweak a bit depending on what I have in the kitchen. But, really, it just goes to show how you can evolve your favorite recipes as the seasons change. For lunch I reheat it, grab one of the hard-boiled eggs I try to keep on hand in the refrigerator, and then root around for something crunchy - nuts, crackers, seeds.Continue>>

Green Curry Dumplings

Green Curry Dumplings


Big hugs. If you're up for a bit of a project, and you want to make something to lift the spirits, this is where you need to land. A few of you asked about these dumplings when I posted a snapshot of them to Instagram a couple of weeks back. They were a Friday night project after a busy week. Instead of going out, an evening of repetitive filling and folding sounded perfect. The filling was inspired strictly by the contents of the refrigerator, as a trip to the store would have defeated the entire purpose :) The filling: caramelized leeks, green curry paste, and cooked mung beans. Everything is thinned with coconut milk and then mashed and smashed a bit. I rolled out fresh dumpling wrappers (which we've talked about before), and decided on folding them into big hugs. Because really, who can resist a dumpling filled with green curry spiked deliciousness folded into big hugs?Continue>>

Favorites List (03.17.15)

Favorites List (03.17.15)


The Fall 2015 Ten Speed Press catalog did the dive through my mail slot the other day, and it looks incredible. I feel so fortunate to be in such good company. This is the point for me in the book process where things start to get very real. Behind the scenes, we're still putting some of the final touches on pages, tweaking little details here and there, but the catalog announces what is not far over the horizon. I took a few snapshots of the Near & Far catalog pages so you can see how things are shaping up (I'll thread them in below), I'm also chipping away at a post related to the cookbook proposal process that I'll try to publish soon. In the meantime, here are a few favorites - I've been sitting on some of the links here for a while, apologies, and enjoy! -h

Criterion top ten lists: Jane Campion, Lena Dunham, Andrew Weil, Rodarte

- To Visit: Oaxaca

- Watching: Ida

- Listening to: Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio (for ex: weather, drinking, flowers, moon)

- Palm necklaces & petite knives

- To drink: Coconut Citrus Sunshine Smoothie

Continue>>

Diana Henry's Uzbeki Carrots

Diana Henry's Uzbeki Carrots


This is the most interesting carrot recipe I've tried in a long time, and I'll start by attempting to explain why. In a single bite, you realize these carrots are drunk with a cooking liquid infused with fragrant spices like saffron, cumin, and cinnamon. They take on pops of sweetness because they are punctuated by dried fruit. Deep savory flavor balances out the sweetness and is developed through a lengthy simmer incorporating caramelized onions and tomatoes. You hit spots of fresh, green herbaceousness from mint, and chiles, and cilantro, and then crunch here and there from pistachios. I loved these carrots on their own. I loved them over fregola pasta (with yogurt). I loved them on sandwiches, and folded into toasted pita along with lots of arugula and shredded hard-boiled egg...Continue>>



For new recipes & inspirations