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Cinnamon Scones with Maple Glaze + A Community Giveaway

IMG_4818Reading  Donna Bell’s Bake Shop Cookbook inspires me to share my New York origin story –  or more importantly how I met Darren Greenblatt  – one of the writers and co-owners of the eponymous bakery. My older sister’s best friend went to FIT with Darren so he was one of the first people I met when I moved up here to go to school – not that I think I made much of an impression. I was too intimidated by their hard won city cool acquired over the 4 whole years they’d lived there before me.

Part cookbook and part memoir, DBBSC is all about first meetings as it tracks the friendship history between Darren and his partners Pauley Perrette and Matthew Sandusky. It’s very much about being young and new in a city and the families you form. If they get along with your parents (and everyone gets along with the Greenblatts), then they’ll always know where you’re coming from. If they help you build a bakery to honor your mother (Donna Bell’s is named after Pauley’s mother who was a wonderful southern cook) then you’ll always have something in common. Read more

A Brooklyn Boy

photoA blog by its nature is a revealing, intimate view into someone’s every day life – some would say too intimate, and many more would say its the end of civilization as we know it. Not with a bang, or a whimper, but with lots of over-sharing until we’re all sick of each other.

But as much as we share, there’s a lot we leave out. Lifestyle blogs in general, and food blogs in particular are often cited as the worst offenders. Transparently opaque, we filter images and stories to present a just so life. While I’m always honest about my stumbles in the kitchen, I’m selective about whatever private troubles I bring into my posts. Regularly telling people about your breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be personal enough so I always reserve the right to leave some things out.

That changed for me this weekend, when I lost Orfeo, my sweet pup of 13 years. His illness came on suddenly, so I’ve spent the last few days apologizing for last minute cancellations and no-shows while I focused all my energy on making him as comfortable as possible, showing him all the love I wouldn’t be able to give him in the years ahead, and being strong enough to let him go (he was stronger). What I hated was how apologetic and even embarrassed I felt while this was going on. I worried that the person I was making excuses to, wondered what all the fuss was about. I soon realized there were people who appreciate what that bond is like and people who didn’t quite understand how important our animals become to us. Luckily, I now know that I have a lot more of the former in my life. Read more

Taking on Mexico: The Cookbook

IMG_4556A few years ago, I found myself climbing El Cuauhcalli, an Aztec Temple of Eagle and Jaguar Warriors. They called it a pyramid but it was really a series of narrow steps and terraces carved into the mountainside built on the Cerro de los Idolos’ ceremonial – now archeological – site in Malinalco, a small town southwest of Mexico City. The security guard at the entrance swore it would take a brisk 2o minutes to climb the 400+ steps.  I still don’t know why he lied to us. We’d arrived late and the ferocity of the midday sun almost stopped us before we began, until we saw a group of pilgrims, dressed completely in white, who were doing the same hike, singing and blissfully barefoot. There was no turning back – we followed the ghosts.

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Arepas de Queso con Huevos Escalfados y Perico

IMG_4522I find an excuse to visit the Publix near my mother’s house almost every day that I’m in Miami. And it’s not for the daily free chocolate chip cookie their Danish bakery has for every child (and shameless adult) who asks – though that doesn’t hurt. When every recipe I attempt in New York turns into a scavenger hunt or compromise, I love the everydayness of seeing these things in a large chain grocery store. Most markets have strong Caribbean or Central American sections, but only in Miami do you see Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and the West Indies represented as well. It’s like shopping in the a pan-Latin future as imagined by dancing dolls of  It’s a Small World. Read more

Catching Up in Winter

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It has been a long time since I’ve written one of these catch up posts. It’s probably only because we’re deep into the snow-globe months that I’m able to now.  Seeing the links I’ve flagged over the last few weeks, it’s clear that each one has been an escape from black and white (or blue) days:

Since virtual travel is my only option these days, I’ve been spending a lot of time getting lost in Roads & Kingdoms. There’s an amazing scale to the photographs and balance in the stories that’s really lovely.  This Colombia’ Bloom Boom story is just one example.

I also loved reading this story about Puerto Rican chefs, purveyors and activists reinventing farm to table in the tropics (via the New York Times).  I had no plans to visit but this has me plotting a return.  In the meantime, there’s this Saveur round up of recipes from the island.

I’ve never had a problem with French waiters. I personally enjoy their polished but short-fused manners. But if you do, this article in their defense provides some context for the haughtiness.

Trying to go beyond understanding to actually making myself understood, I’ve been flipping through the Farm to Table French Phrasebook by Victoria Mas. It’s my latest attempt to build on the spotty movie French I’ll likely never use with some solid food French that I absolutely will.

I stop to read anything by or about Patti Smith but this brief interview in Medium ended with a surprisingly powerful description of her mother and her famous potato salad.

I rarely want to go out when it’s this ugly-cold which means I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about changing up anything and everything in my apartment – #cabinfevermakeover.  For inspiration, I’ve been looking here, also here, and sometimes here. When it’s time to actually time to do something about it, I’ll want to go here but will most likely end up here.

I’m also obsessing over DIY/start from scratch projects. I keep pricing pasta makers then remind myself in Carroll Gardens you’re always a block and a half away from freshly made pasta by people who know what they’re doing.  Low tech tortellinis,  however, are still on my list.  Tasting Table has been putting out great videos lately but this tutorial featuring Giovanni Rana has become a favorite.

Everyone was talking about the dress last week but it seemed like minor news compared to the discovery of tetrachromats among us, capable of seeing 100 million colors at once. I can’t imagine what that must be like but the incredible exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic gave me some idea of what it could look like.

Finally, it’s Lent but I haven’t decided what I should give up (though apparently I’m in good company).  My sister Carmen is doing a #somethingbeautiful series on instagram this year. I’m always amazed at the quiet moments she captures – especially when she hits Brooklyn. You can follow here.

Mendl’s Courtesans au Chocolat

FullSizeRender.jpg-4Film was my first love but it was never an easy relationship.  Early prep days were always my favorite time, when you were crewing up and you could anticipate any and all problems – or not.  No one ever sets out to make a less than perfect movie but there are so many elements that can get away from you that it can be a heartbreaking process.  It’s lovely to see good work  rewarded and I’m excited to see friends making movies being honored this weekend.  What’s isn’t so great is not seeing it recognized, and it was equally disappointing to see so many frozen out this year. Read more

Pascal’s Manale Bread Pudding

Pascal's Manale_IMG_4393I can’t decide if this post is too early or too late for Mardi Gras.  I’ve always associated bread pudding with Lent for some reason although there is nothing ascetic about pudding drowning in butter and bourbon.  While friends’ feeds filled with street scenes from the parades, I spent Sunday morning, on what felt like the coldest day in Brooklyn, standing over an enormous of red beans with smoked sausage and filling an enormous pan with bread pudding. Read more

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