Reading 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
Film 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
I 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
Winter may feel endless just now but the season for red pomelos is way too short. Only a few markets in my neighborhood carry them and I all but missed them last year. Sweeter than other varieties with a thick white pitch or albedo, pomelos are perfect for making dulce de toronja and I‘d been waiting all year for them to come back around. Read more
Some posts take longer to write. That’s how it was with these capitolios – vanilla cupcakes topped with meringue, dipped in chocolate, and shaped like Havana’s Capitol building (hence the name). Our parents used to buy them for my sister and I and for years she’d been asking me to make them. Since her birthday falls in May, she always plans something outside and this year she chose a spot under the Brooklyn Bridge and next to Jane’s Carousel for a picnic. I had no idea what to bring when she reminded me that I’d never gotten around to the capitolios. Read more
This year I did a short series of Christmas posts for the Cooking Channel’s Devour on traditional holiday dishes served in Latin America. This meant spending a lot of time speaking with friends’ parents asking them just how they made that thing I had at their house that one time. One of my first calls was to my friend’s father Oscar Marin who generously gave me his recipe not only for the buñuelos Colombianos but the natilla con panela they serve with it. I’ve always loved joining friends for their novenas but it wasn’t until I spoke to Oscar that I realized how lit up Colombian Christmas can be. Jump here to read more. Read more