Showing posts from November, 2016

Infused Whiskey: 3 Ways

I got really inspired by the fine work being done by Jessica Merchant over there at  How Sweet It Is . Especially when that fine work involves bourbon or, in my case, whiskey. You see, she recently infused bourbon three ways : Apple Pie, Chai Spice, and Chocolate Orange. I made some major changes, swapped out bourbon, and stepped away from the Chocolate Orange. But in the end, I made three wonderful infused whiskeys, and I think you should, too.   Holiday season can be your excuse. But we both know you don't really need one, do you?  I didn't. We don't get autumn until late in Northern California. Isn't this fabulous? Okay, let me talk you through each one of these gems and then propose some possibilities for next steps.  Besides drink them immediately. Let's start with the recipes first, and then let's talk about what to do with them. 1.  Decide which one to make. Or... just make all three: Apple Pie Infused Whiskey Ingredients :

A Thanksgiving Round up

Friends, I have been writing this blog for six years now. It is one of the many joys in my life. If anything, I wish I had more time to write this blog. Wish I had more time to investigate the history of a preparation technique, the science of dish, the cultural significance of a food. I wish I had more time to craft stories around the foods I make--either stories relating to my own upbringing or to the global culture that we inhabit or the connections to the literature I love so much. I wish I were out there in the world interviewing and writing about the amazing people producing and creating food in my area. These are possible goals for my future. And while time is finite and I certainly wish for more, I must admit I have been so grateful to have you all along for the ride for what little time we have had so far--I am so glad to be a part of your lives, if only for a moment. With all of this in mind and given the time of year, I wanted to take some time to reflect on some

Hazelnut-Streusel Sweet Potato Pie

Sure, pumpkin pie is often trotted out this time of year, but let's not forget sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie's (usually) less-sweetened, less-spiced Southern cousin.  Simpler to make from scratch (no hassles of cutting a pumpkin in half), this velvety custard pie  makes no apologies for itself and does not try to cover up its tuber origins.  Generally, the spice profile in a sweet potato pie is a little bit toned down from pumpkin pie, which is usually just a vehicle for spice as it is. That said, I will admit, this particular recipe is a little more spiced than you'll usually find, but the spice note here is not ubiquitous "pumpkin pie" spice to be found in every latte in America right now.  Instead, it is heavy on the mace,  which is the sheath that covers a nutmeg kernel , and it is quite luscious and rich (blame the heavy cream in place of condensed milk). Fully ensconced in African-American culinary history, sweet

Holiday Roast Chicken with Cranberry-Fig Stuffing

Fifteen years ago, I came to the Bay Area for the first time. The husband and I lived in two different states (Utah and Colorado, respectively), and he invited me to California for what would be my first of many Thanksgiving dinners with his family. Of course, at the time, I didn't know that. I was a bundle of nerves, wanting to impress his family. I spoke little, was so polite I did not ask to eat any breakfast or lunch on Thanksgiving day. I minded all of my manners. I even sent a thank you note to his parents for their hospitality. And for years, his parents were concerned that I was "too nice." Nope.  Just terrified. During that first trip (ever!) to San Francisco and the East Bay, the then boyfriend and I did many of the requisite tourist activities, including but not limited to the Golden Gate Bridge, Baker Beach, and the Cliff House. It also included cat-sitting a 21 year-old-feline, driving around in a borrowed black Volkswagen beetle, attending a con


Oh my.  What a gorgeous drink from an equally gorgeous cookbook.  When this culinary treasure landed on my doorstep, I was hesitant to drag it into the kitchen for fear that I might slop some tomato sauce or coconut oil or just plain old water on it and ruin it. This may be a book for the living room table, not the kitchen table. Shane Mitchell, food writer extraordinaire and Saveur  contributing editor,  fills the pages with beautifully written essays that rival the photography of James Fisher. Each of the ten chapters focuses on global culinary narratives, from the food cooked on the  leitir  (the autumnal sheep roundup) in Iceland to the meals cooked by refugees and migrants in the Calais Jungle . Committed to documenting the traditions of (as she writes in her introduction) "people who are firmly rooted in their culture and landscape, in some of the most isolated or marginal communities, where keeping the food chain vital remains a daily

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Pear Butter

People, I had pears. Lots of them. And this bounty of pears had been bestowed on my school by one of the families who had oodles of fruit. He donated much of his fruit to Urban Farmers , which in turn donates the food to food banks and other organizations that will accept fresh fruit for those who need it. What he didn't hand over to these organizations, he dropped off in our faculty lounge. And so I packed a bag of under-ripe pears, pears that were (quite frankly) as hard as baseballs, and I brought them home, unsure of what to do with them. I spent a Saturday morning thumbing through cookbooks. Should I make a crisp? What about a chutney? And then I alighted on Marissa McClellan's recipe for slow-cooker pear butter, and it seemed the perfect solution for a rainy weekend. And you all know  how I feel about a rainy weekend. (Hint: Love.)  You may know McClellan from her jaunty blog Food in Jars , or from her three wonderful cookbooks , of