If only it were possible to bottle summer and store it away. Then, on a whim, you could open it to let sunshine, frozen desserts, and grill smells brighten even the rainiest of days.
When I was a kid, I almost had it figured out. I’d be at my grandmother Noni’s house in late summer — where time was kept in matches of badminton and meals defined by how many grilled scalloped potatoes you ate and I’d run about with a net and jar bottling fireflies. To me, fireflies were the epitome of summer because they’d dance about in the dark and make the room so bright that I could read Nancy Drew by their light. The next day we’d let them go and I’d inevitably be saddened because I’d remember that both the fireflies and summer were fleeting.
Now that I’m older, I take a different approach. Each season, I round up the season’s produce, get crafty in the kitchen, and lock in the flavor at its prime. Over the years I’ve pickled, preserved, candied, and canned all in the name of sealing the season tight in a jar. But this year, I took a different approach and started distilling those sunshine-filled flavors into shrubs.
Continue Reading: Summer, From Concentrate →
I really wanted to be Shirley Temple when I was younger. Maybe because we both had ringlets or because my mother strapped me into taps shoes the minute I could walk, but I always felt we were kindred spirits. My sisters and I would put on shows for our parents and their guests during dinner parties and I was the go-to girl for the Shirley Temple roles. Not that I ever objected. I would channel my best Shirley smile, don my sequined dance skirt, and eagerly attempt my best rendition of On The Good Ship Lollipop. Seeing as I was a fan of all things ST, I was naturally obsessed with her namesake drink and would ask for it every chance I got — with extra cherries, thank you very much.
Continue Reading: The Shirley Temple Sundae →
I hate goodbyes. I prefer saying “see you next time,” because goodbye has such a definitive ring that it sends me straight into the doldrums. Particularly when I’m bidding farewell to things I love. Like strawberries. Sure, here in California we’ll likely still have them in season for another month or so, but the best? They’re on their last leg.
I know so because my primo strawberry stand at the farmer’s market declared this weekend’s pick as the last they’ll bring to market. And, if they’re not selling, there’s no point in buying because they’ve got the nicest berries in town. But I know myself and I’ll probably still get a craving. So, I’ve come up with this quick-pickle berry recipe as a way to indulge in berries even when they aren’t at their prime.
Continue Reading: Pretty. Easy. Quick-Pickled Strawberries →
I have an extra large weak spot for good bread. In my utopia, I could nibble at baguettes, throw back crusty pizzas, and chomp down on chewy pretzels with abandon. But, of all breads, pretzels are my absolute favorite for snacking. I’m not a particularly choosy pretzel snacker as I crave soft buttered, hard sourdough, honey wheat sticks, and small twists equally.
So, when the crew at Eat Real Los Angeles asked which bread I’d like to do for a hands-on cooking session, it was soft pretzels. I first developed my pretzel recipe a few years ago when I dreamed up a pretzel grilled cheese. Since then, I’ve finagled, fussed, and refined that recipe to this one that’s soft in the middle, chewy, malty, and a deep browned exterior. The perfect homemade soft pretzels if I say so myself.
Continue Reading: Bread Winner: Buttered Soft Pretzels →
Every few feet or so I catch a whiff — it’s a campfire-esque smokiness that lingers about my head like the cloud of dirt surrounding Charlie Brown’s friend, Pig-Pen. Though I’ve washed my hair multiple times, it persists, but I guess that’s the price I pay for baking at a wood-burning pizza oven for hours on end. I spent the weekend teaching hands-on bread classes — on breadsticks and pretzels to be precise — at Eat Real Los Angeles and I logged in my fair share of oven hours.
Continue Reading: Trial By Fire: Pizza-Oven Breadsticks →
I was born to dig in the dirt. From an early age, I got into the habit of playing amongst the forest of potted plants that my mother meticulously maintained. Of course, I was more of a hassle than a help at first, as I usually made mud pies but it seems I was predestined to have a hands-on career and to end up in the kitchen.
Continue Reading: Dirt Truffles →
My group of friends here in Hawaii are a decidedly versatile bunch with a disproportionate amount of extracurricular hobbies and skills. One friend who designs jewelry doubles as an Iron (Wo)man-level athlete, another who is a graphic designer is also an internationally-ranked bodyboarder, and still another works as a mason and moonlights as a DIY foodie.
Continue Reading: ‘Twas A Chili Christmas →
I’m a toothpaste-tube squeezer through and through. You know the type: we force the tube into a contortionist act just to be sure we get every last bit. Well, suffice it to say that habit extends into the kitchen where I make the most out of every ingredient.
Continue Reading: My Pantry of Projects →
Follow-up files: behold the goods from the second lamb session. Over the course of the night, we mixed up some Merguez as well as this rosemary-garlic sausage and both they tied for the best lamb sausage I’ve ever tried. The technique is the same as with any basic sausage making and it goes something like this. To celebrate, I invited over friends and cooked up a sort of raid-the-pantry breakfast. Here are the deets:
Continue Reading: Lamb Session →
Often I ask myself, WWJCD? No, not the religious man, but the queen of food television, Julia Child. She was a pioneer who had a matter-of-fact, in-you-face approach to discussing ingredients — take, for example, her famous chicken episode where the focus of the first minute was a lineup of raw chickens. These days our food’s so anesthetized that most have only known chicken to be wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam. But with each episode of AA, I take a cue from JC and incorporate talk of raw ingredients so you know not just where your food comes from but also how to tell top quality.
Continue Reading: Breaking it down →