Dancing with ‘sugarplums’

Just what are sugarplums, anyway? According to Clement Moore’s classic holiday story poem, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” children had visions of them dancing in their heads. And sugarplum fairies flit magically in the most well-known and traditional of holiday ballets, “The Nutcracker.”

When I have done my own envisioning of what a sugarplum might . . . → Read More: Dancing with ‘sugarplums’

Baked Sunday Mornings: Brewing a Cinnamon Mocha

Sometimes, when you do a baking blog, it’s nice to make something a little easier, sans oven. In an arena of lengthy ingredient lists and stages of processes (creaming butter, sifting flour, proofing yeast, zesting citrus, chopping nuts, rolling dough, frosting layers, etc.), a simple cup of hot, warm comfort is just the ticket during . . . → Read More: Baked Sunday Mornings: Brewing a Cinnamon Mocha

In the Mix: Crossing the chai divide

People talk — and joke — a lot about pumpkin spice, but have you noticed chai spice showing up a-plenty, too, in recent years? It’s been a slow integration, this chai thing, but it now seems to be a part of nearly everything — from tea or coffee to desserts. Apparently, Oprah loves it! And . . . → Read More: In the Mix: Crossing the chai divide

Stirring up passion for apple butter

When I was a kid, I had all the cool chores. I got to shell the peas, gathered to the brim of a bottomless five-gallon paint bucket. I got to guard the rows of cabbages with a swatter, set to strike down any moths fluttering along. I got to lie down on my belly in . . . → Read More: Stirring up passion for apple butter

Bread of the Month: Revering an artist and a Rosca de Reyes

Beyond some of her work and her unforgettable image — dark-haired, piercing-eyed, flower-crowned — I didn’t know enough about the Mexican artist and icon Frida Kahlo until the 2002 biopic “Frida,” starring Salma Sayek, in a stirring performance examining her life. That movie, for me, ignited an admiration for the artist,who died in 1954 at . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Revering an artist and a Rosca de Reyes

Keeping the fire with cinnamon candy

Throughout my childhood, I was treated to a tale of candy. The imagination can almost act as the proverbial “candy store,” and I was the kid who went there, as my parents recounted a magical place. Next to a local movie theater, there existed a candy store where the proprietor not only made all the . . . → Read More: Keeping the fire with cinnamon candy

Bread of the Month: Spicing up a baked doughnut

I know that I’m not the only one who associates doughnuts with Halloween, although I suppose I could associate doughnuts with anything, given a chance. Sunset magazine also pondered the connection between the traditionally fried treat and our favorite fall holiday. In an online article, Sunset reminisced on issues of the magazine from the ‘50s, . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Spicing up a baked doughnut

Bread of the Month: Reaching for a star

I’ve been thinking a lot about stars lately, in part, because of the season, but even earlier in the year than that because I noticed a very bright star in the sky that I’ve come to look for every morning.

Sometimes this star is companioned by a crisp slice of crescent moon; sometimes it . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Reaching for a star

Writing her way into our kitchens

“Food is not fuel. It is not nutrition. It is fun, educational, horizon expanding, delightful. It is consoling, transporting and a comfort. If you want a happy eater, run a happy kitchen. These things take time, but so do all good things.”

— Laurie Colwin, “More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen,” (1993)

. . . → Read More: Writing her way into our kitchens

Yearning to churn pumpkin ice cream

Is it strange to crave ice cream in the fall? Is it odd that, as everything is cooling off (sort of), I want cold, cold items, as if to hasten my beloved chilly temperatures? Apparently not. Recently Saveur magazine posted an array of autumn-inspired flavors imbued with apple, ginger and spices (even pepper!). Ice cream . . . → Read More: Yearning to churn pumpkin ice cream