November 4

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

Last Friday I had the day off so after we dropped our kids at school, my friend Megan and I had big plans…a 1000 piece puzzle and making Samin’s salad from that last episode. M dubbed it “Friendship Salad.” There is a lot of joy to be had in cooking side by side and sharing a good meal. It was a fine day.

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I love this puzzle by the way. I’m a sucker for fonts in general but these collage puzzles are super satisfying because you can constantly make progress - the perfect balance of challenge/reward. I just picked up this one too

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I am excited to host a quiet Thanksgiving at home this year and have been starting to think about what I want to cook. I like to roast chickens instead of turkey and am going to go heavy on the vegetable sides this year. I just bought these gorgeous Staub baking dishes in matte black that I can’t wait to put on the table…

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Before Thanksgiving, I’m putting one of them to use to make this dreamy cauliflower from David Tanis. He’s so great and I love his latest cookbook Market Cooking that my friend Rita gave me for my birthday…

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

I also just bought a second Instant Pot, an 8 quart this time, to keep up with my stock making this year - though I’ll have no trouble putting two to use for more things than stock. Homemade stock is a game changer for everything and the Instant Pot really makes it quick and foolproof. I love Melissa Clark’s chicken and vegetable stock recipes. They are included in her newest book, Comfort in an Instant, as well as her original Dinner in an Instant

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I’m also starting to play with baking gluten-free bread and this is a great starting guide

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From making stock and baking bread, I’m all about cooking for cooler fall weather. But I also love dressing for fall too and have happily transitioned my wardrobe. My uniform is pretty much always a sweater, jeans and either hightop Vans or ankle boots. And my most favorite jeans right now come from AGOLDE. Even if high-waisted jeans go out of fashion, I will never go back! These are perfect…

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And these

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Lastly, I love everything about this look. I need to find that sweater…

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March 4

by Kelsi in , , , ,


 

Ah Sunday. My favorite day of the week. Just today I feel like the cold I've been carrying around the last two weeks is finally on its way out. Right now as I type, I have some blueberry sauce bubbling away on the stove, laundry ready to be folded and a fridge that needs to be cleaned out and a grocery list to be made. This is the stuff of my days off, the basic routines and rituals that make me happy.

Also on task for today, I am attempting to make preserved lemons for the first time with the help of Renee Erickson's lovely cookbook...

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The light this week has changed and it finally feels like Spring is nearing. My rhubarb thinks so too...

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My raised garden beds still need some fresh dirt and amendments to get ready for planting but the prospect of digging in the dirt and getting things going puts a smile on my face. I am even more enthusiastic after reading about Dan Barber's new seed companyRow 7.

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Dan Barber's On Being conversation is among my top five (I mentioned it back here) and in that conversation he spoke about why pursuing flavor matters...

***

MS. TIPPETT: Right. And this wonderful — I don't know why it's surprising, but surprisingly, between doing the right thing and doing the ethical thing, is also the pleasurable thing. And that sustainability is also about resurrecting flavor.

MR. BARBER: Yeah. And the most pleasurable thing and the most delicious, so that they're all run along parallel lines. I mean, that's the serendipity of what I do, which is that, you know, my shiv is like I want to cook good food and it's in the pursuit of great flavor. It just so happens that you're attached to great ecology by definition. I mean, this is one of those things that's so axiomatic we forget. I think it's part because of what you mentioned. We went through this period, especially in the United States, where we're so removed from how food was grown and where it's coming from and who was growing it that we forget just the most obvious thing is that a delicious carrot, a delicious slice of lamb, has attached to it these decisions in the pasture and the field that are both thoughtful and intensely ethical as well as ecological, that you can't have an unethically raised lamb, an unthoughtfully raised carrot, and have a delicious lamb and carrot dish. It's impossible. Even the greatest chefs couldn't do that.

AND THIS...

MR. BARBER: There's two things really quick. The first is that I think one of the things that's been overlooked in this issue that we've talking about is breeders. I'm not talking about bioengineering, genetically modifying seeds. I'm talking about old-school breeders. At Cornell, they're like the hippies that came in the '70s that are there and have seeds literally in their desk drawers that we've been growing now; unnamed varieties of tomatoes, unnamed varieties of onions, unnamed varieties of squash have been sitting for years in the desks of these breeders.

So these breeders — and they are largely retiring, at least at Cornell — are the ones who have literally a vault — literally a vault — of information that I think is going to be so important as we transition away from the conventional mindset of agriculture and into this more regional look at agriculture, which is going to rely on these seeds that can withstand the challenges of growing locally and in a diverse system. So I'm really excited about that and I'm working with Jack Algiere and with a lot of these breeders in trying to get them to stay on and work more with us. What they say to me over and over again is, "No one's ever asked me about flavor." I hear it every time from the breeders. It was like clockwork, it's so weird. No one asks me about flavor. They always ask me about yield and about disease resistance. They're just like all we have to do is select for flavor.

***

I  want to try them all, but am going to start with the Badger Flame beet, Robin's Koginut squash, that tiny beautiful 898 squash, and the 7082 cucumber.

Image from  Net-a-Porter

Image from Net-a-Porter

On the Spring fashion front, Trenchcoats are in and I like the way they're being styled. Time to pull mine out of the back of the closet. I have a great one from Everlane, but think this one from Zara is super cute!

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I also love these new little suede sandals from Loeffler Randall...

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I think I'm adding them to the wishlist...

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If you don't have anything in mind for dinner tonight, you should cook this simple and delicious dal with lime kale from Tejal Rao...

We devoured this last week and I plan to make it again this week. While you're at it read Tejal's guide on how to cook rice...

In fact, all the these NYT cooking guides are just fantastic resources. Even if you know your way around the kitchen, you'll learn some perfect little tip. 

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A few great ones...

How to Make Soup

How to Cook Asparagus

Basic Knife Skills

How to Use an Instant Pot

How to Cook Beans

My big plan for the evening is to sit by the fire and read my new book...

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A pretty perfect Sunday.

 

A WEEK OFF...

by Kelsi in , , ,


 
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My son was off from school last week for Presidents' break. I worked a bit but took some time off to hang out with him and friends and visit our favorite doughnut shop...

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Later in the week I was forced to stay home and rest with yet another cold. What is it with this year?! Sam Sifton's newsletter on Monday was so spot on it made me chuckle...

Good morning. It is Presidents’ Day and, for some of us, that fact comes just in time, after weeks of February grimness, always heading off to work in the dark, heading home in the same, going to the store, cooking and eating and cleaning and walking the dog, then pitchpoling into bed only to explore the house cautiously a few hours later, wondering: Which one of us is sick today?

If you don't already subscribe to Sam's New York Times Cooking newsletter, go do that.

I added Heidi Swanson's Instant Pot Dynamite Cold Tonic to my immune support arsenal. I added the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a bit more honey to my mug...

Image from  101 Cookbooks

Image from 101 Cookbooks

By the way, Heidi also has a fantastic Instant Pot guide. You'll find her own beautiful recipes like this mushroom stroganoff, and this minestrone (which I made three times in the last two weeks with a few tweaks) but also a compilation of other links, cooking guides and helpful tips.

While I was taking it easy I finally watched Zootopia and enjoyed it SO. VERY. MUCH...

photo from  Rolling Stone

photo from Rolling Stone

I thought Peter Travers summed it up perfectly:

The last thing you’d expect from a new Disney animated marshmallow is balls. But, hot damn, Zootopia comes ready to party hard. This baby has attitude, a potent feminist streak, a tough take on racism, and a  cinema-centric plot that references The Godfather, Chinatown and L.A. Confidential. The kids, paying zero attention to such things, will love it. But the grownups will have even more fun digging in.

But hands down the very best thing I watched this week was this gorgeous pair. They are breathtaking. I've re-watched their free program over and over. Their artistry together is just beyond...

I plan to spend the rest of my Sunday cooking something simple for dinner (most likely reheating leftovers), drinking immune support tea, slathering on a favorite face mask, and enjoying a long shower and scrub down with my favorite new discovery, this Kahina Moroccan Beldi Soap (also available on Amazon)...

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It is incredible lathered up using one of those fantastic little rayon mitts from the Korean spa. (If you have never been to the Korean spa for this experience, you can read a little about the mitt and the ritual here.) Scrub it all over for the smoothest and softest skin imaginable.