Tag Archives: Orangette

List Love


  • Forever and always, my first favorite food writer. And thank goodness she’s on Instagram, because I can’t get enough of her wide-eyed, curly mopped, cherub-cheeked baby June.
  • I’ve really been wanting to make a tomato pie lately (I’ve never made one). I’m really intrigued by Deb’s recipe for corn and tomato pie, and also this one, which I think is breathtaking, with all the multicolored heirlooms. Reminds me I have a luscious big ole Purple Cherokee waiting for me in the kitchen, just dying to be sliced up for a BLT…hold tight buddy, I’m comin’ for ya.
  • I locked myself up with Orange is the New Black and you should too. In case you haven’t been convinced you need to watch it yet…read this.

I know I said it last time but I’ll be darned if I don’t say it again. I’m still obsessed with this show, which I devoured like I would a bag of Peanut M&M’s, after a juice fast. For the record, I’ve never done a juice fast, but I imagine I’d want to devour a bag of Peanut M&M’s immediately after…if I even made it through…which I probably wouldn’t. Coincidentally I finished the last episode today—the same day they wrapped the first episode of season two. I find that very appropriate.

I can’t stress enough the admiration, fondness, even affection I have for these women and how they look out for one another. Being an avid fan of picking “favorites,” I struggled to determine which of them was my favorite. 13 episodes and much deliberation later, I still can’t decide. I realized that’s because I love them all (well, with the exception of Pennsatucky because she’s so real and awful, she just terrifies me). I don’t just love these characters; I love these actresses. I love their bravery, their humility, their gusto. I want to be friends with these women and I’m not sure if I mean the actresses or their characters. Maybe both. The LA Times was right on the money when they said, “This is the most impressive group of female characters ever assembled in a series.” Best of all, when they said “Each woman has a story, and that story will be told.” And you should listen.

Needless to say this and all its adorableness made me very happy.

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Something Good

Well my…this is a little embarrassing.  Here I’ve been, cooking and baking up a storm this month and October is almost over and I’ve only blogged once.   I’ve been writing a little for Good Bite, working too much, and experimenting like a mad woman scientist in the kitchen for Food 52’s contests.  They bring out the competitive, perfectionist in me.  In a good way I think.

You know how almost every great chick flick has one of those cheesy, guilty pleasure, iconic fashion/shopping/makeover/couple falling in love montages?   That is what I am about to do…but with food pictures.  Because that’s my kind of montage.  Here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

First there was the Boston Cream Cake… my first time making one – I used the yellow cake recipe (my favorite) from Smitten Kitchen, a chocolate ganache icing from David Lebovitz and a pastry cream from I forget where (but it’s not important because I was rather disappointed with how that turned out).  Next time, I intend to use Tartine Bakery’s recipe.  I pine and dream of this bakery and yet I’ve never even been to it.  We will alas meet one day sweet Tartine, it’s in the cards for us.

Enter Gwyeneth Paltrow’s Turkey Ragu from her website Goop.  This is my ultimate cool weather, sock wearing, hunker down and hibernate comfort food.  It’s simple, elegant and your whole house will smell of savory deliciousness and piney rosemary for approximately three hours.  Trust Gwyneth.  Trust the ragu.

Then came the nutmeg doughnut muffins.  Oh boy.  These were, make your mouth so full because you can’t just take petite, modest, dainty bites because they’re too luscious and they’re beckoning and evil and will make you consume 3 in one whole setting doughnuts.  I had been wanting to make these for awhile and finally one Sunday morning I did, and they were even just as good the next day.  Day old doughnuts get stale.  Doughnut muffins do not lose their luster.  They’re just another reason for me to adore Molly Wizenberg.  Make these!

Slow-Braised Beef Short Ribs, courtesy of Cecilia, for lending me her beautiful candy apple red Le Creuset dutch oven and Wolfgang Puck, who does not mess around.  Make these for people you really like.

Then we got really crazy and made gnocchi, which proved to be the perfect vehicle to serve and enjoy the short ribs with.  We’d never made gnocchi before.  (It’s not as hard as you think).  We didn’t know that and we still dove right in and had fun doing it!  They didn’t hold their shape well but I’m sure with practice…

We also had rosemary caramelized parsnips (Sara Foster’s recipe and one of my go-to fall favorites – though we failed to get a picture).  The salad consisted of mixed greens tossed with fig balsamic vinaigrette that I made, toasted pine nuts, dried bing cherries, red pear slices and goat cheese.  YUM.  Dessert was also a Sara Foster recipe (from her “Fresh Everyday” cookbook) – “individual chocolate pudding cakes,” that I drizzled with warm homemade salted butterscotch sauce and cream.  Also YUM.

For fear of photo montage overload, I’ll post the rest tomorrow or Sunday and for now, I’ll leave you with a list (because I love making lists).

Things I am Enjoying Right Now:

  • Australian musician Sarah Blasko and her cover of “Something Good,” from The Sound of Music.
  • Curling up on the couch with Indian food and Harvest Curry bread from the bakery (for dipping of course), a puppy dog and Something’s Gotta Give.  Diane Keaton is so honest and exquisite in that movie.  She’s so effortlessly classic and cool.
  • Modern Family as always, but especially this past week’s Halloween episode and how it made me laugh so hysterically to see Mitchell in a Spiderman costume.
  • Sneaking M&M’s from the trick or treater’s Halloween stash.  Seriously, I need to stop or they won’t have any candy come Sunday.  Oop’s…
  • This adorable sweater that is currently en route to me and reminds me of something Emma Pilsbury would wear, even though I’m not really into Glee, I think she’s precious and want to raid her character’s wardrobe sometimes.
  • Having my English cup of PG tips in my black & white Metropolitan Museum of Art mug, standing over the kitchen island, eating a cold, dark chocolate Mcvities digestive.

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Dove and Syrup and the Powerful Temptation of a Chocolate Bundt

I love that right now I smell of a combination of the new package of Dove (beauty bar) soap I just opened in the shower today and maple syrup from the southern brunch I just devoured at Smith Street Diner.  The Dove always reminds me of my granny, since she’s used that soap for as long as I can remember.  It conjures up memories of me visiting her adorable, southern house in Nicholasville, Kentucky, that is so filled with various antiques that its practically a museum.  You can barely maneuver a corner without elbowing an old barrel or stubbing your toe on a little toy wagon or stool.  I’ve always loved that house and how it smells and will forever associate Dove beauty bar soap with the house and my granny.

I read Luisa Weiss’s (of The Wednesday Chef)  latest blog post this morning and literally sighed out loud after I completed the last sentence.  Her prose always seems so effortlessly whimsical, lovely and honest.  I then realized that even though I may peruse more than a few food blogs during my daily web surfings, there are four that I check like clockwork each day, when it really comes down to it.  These are the four who, when upon checking their blogs each day, my heart lurches and flutters every time I find they’ve revealed a new piece of their world in a post.

  • Molly Wizenberg’s Orangette : because she is first and foremost my favorite food writer.  The first food blogger/writer I was ever really exposed to.  Who’s words I was transfixed by and who’s recipes and photos I was inspired by and salivating for.  She is humble and funny and extremely gifted and both her blog and her book – A Homemade Life have left such an important impact on me.  Lately, I’m especially enjoying hers and Matthew’s  Spilled Milk podcast because it’s pretty much just 15 minutes of solid, hysterics and laughter between two friends who discuss the most random food-related topics a little in the middle.
  • Joy Wilson is Joy the Baker and boy is she funny.  I love her because she’s so relatable (at least to me).  She’s honest and hilarious and real and she has a serious sweet tooth.  Her writing is so brave and candid and delivers a strong sense of what type of person she is – one frankly, I’m sure I’d have a blast hanging out and baking with.  She also makes me feel better about eating dessert every day.   I had the lucky opportunity of interviewing her over the phone a few months ago and she was incredibly kind and helpful and this little old article/interview was what came out of it.  (Unfortunately my byline is no longer there, since the site has recently turned over, but hopefully it will re-return soon, as it is still being worked on).
  • Ree Drummond is The Pioneer Woman and what I love about her is that she too is hilarious and very candid.  She also has an affinity for humble comfort food dishes that I am such a sucker for.  I’ve made quite a few of her recipes now and always consult her blog when I need something unpretentious and more on the simple side.  Something that will warm and feed my stomach and my soul.  She seems like a rosie the riveter type.  She’s got balls.  Also, I think she looks like Malin Ackerman with auburn hair.
  • Luisa Weiss – The Wednesday Chef,  is also one of these women food bloggers I admire most.  She makes me feel adventurous and inspires me to want to cook out of my comfort zone.  She’s also the one who posted Marcella Hazan’s recipe for tomato sauce with onion and butter, which I have become obsessed with.  Luisa is humble and writes such elegant, honest, personal prose.  Reading her blog is almost like reading a letter to a long lost friend.

Reading any of these four inspires me to be a better writer and for that, I am eternally indebted – which is why I decided I had to blog today.

This past week was a mildly ambitious one for cooking and baking.  I was consumed with work and slapped in the face with a cold, which I am still in the process of nursing out the door (a nightly dose of spicy Indian korma and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo seems to help).  Last week was the week however, that I spent $6 on a very petite package of mushrooms.  Dried porcini mushrooms from Oregon to be exact.  They smelled heavenly when I let them steep in a hot water bath and made Jamie Oliver’s version of chicken tetrazzini.  I adore mushrooms that way.  Just to clarify, I am that type of girl who spends $6 on mushrooms instead of getting a manicure.  Manicures are a frivolous expense; dried gourmet mushrooms for my dinner are necessary.

Last week was also the week I was experiencing an intense chocolate cake craving  and came straight home from a long shift at work, to make a chocolate cake from scratch.  For some odd reason, it was a chocolate bundt that was haunting my thoughts.  I swear, whatever my last meal on earth would be, it would have to include some chocolate cake.  We’re a very contented pair.  I was eager to try this recipe from The Big Sur Bakery cookbook.  It looked lush and sinful and seemed like it would live up to the craving.  Believe me, it did.  It was incredibly moist and flavorful, due to generous measurements of buttermilk, vegetable oil and coffee.  I had no intention of icing it with that beautiful sour cream ganache concoction, though I’m sure it’s fabulous.  What I had in mind was more simple – just a happy dusting of powdered sugar.  But then I cut myself a big hunk and whipped up some awesome (and quick) hot fudge, which I then doused it in, and topped it with vanilla ice cream, to make hot fudge cake.  I take my cravings seriously.  Apparently.

This week, I plan to make some adaptations to develop my own recipe to enter in Food 52’s latest contest for “Best Autumn Pie,” and make an apple pear pie with gruyere crust.  Exciting and intimidating!

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