I made this little dessert as an ode to moms, but specifically my mom. I wanted it to have a touch of rose, for the bountiful gardens she tends. It had to be multi-layered, for the way she has constantly re-invented herself through the years, from a young wife supporting her husband through graduate school, to a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, a successful business owner, a teacher, and a community leader. It would need a variety of toppings, for she’s worn many hats throughout motherhood, as maker of our home, nurturer, provider and role model. It had to be something solid but with a rounded softness and lots of give, for the many ways my sisters and I have depended on her and the countless ways she is giving to everyone around her. Continue reading
I love wholesome dinners that come together in under 30 minutes and use fresh seasonal produce. I can’t get enough of asparagus! Here it’s cooked up quickly with the pasta and combined with pan-seared salmon, peas (I used frozen, since we don’t have spring peas yet), and a creamy tarragon sauce. This one is easy enough for a weeknight (even our pre-schooler ate seconds!) but fancy enough for a special occasion.
The sight of crocuses and daffodils sprouting up always cheers me, not only because they signal the arrival of spring, but also because they seem to defy all odds. How something so delicate pushes through the hard earth is beyond me. Yet every year it happens, those bright petals bursting forth without any trace of winter weariness. A triumph of the softer side.
An old acquaintance of mine once treated me to a homemade curry dinner. He had lived and worked in rural India and recounted how he learned about spices and herbs from the locals as he traveled from village to village. During monsoon season, he said, there was nothing to do but wait out the rains inside the villagers’ houses, and it was then and there he learned to cook curry. Since his time in India, he continued traveling the world, bringing along stashes of his prized Indian spices everywhere he went.
I remember a bowl of tomato soup I had once, in a little square called San Barnaba off the beaten path in Venice. I was cold, tired, and my life had just shattered. I suppose there is no better place to be heartbroken than in Venice. Every meal I had there, every bowlful of goodness, restored me just a little bit. The soup I had that day was served with a hunk of toasted crusty bread in the middle, soaking in the flavorful tomatoes and covered in a blanket of shaved parmesan cheese. By the time I got to the bottom of the bowl, the last morsels of bread had softened and thickened the soup like a rustic tomato-bread soup. Continue reading
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child
Some days I wish Julia Child were with me in the kitchen. By nature, I am the kind who studies a problem from all sides, reads up, prepares. And when nothing goes according to plan, my despair and doubt come flooding in. What made Julia Child so admirable and endearing is not simply a je-ne-sais-quoi attitude, but rather a defiant “je-ne-sais-quoi-but-I-sure-as-hell-can-handle-whatever-comes-my-way” kind of take on life. It’s an attitude I can only aspire to, both in the kitchen and in life. Continue reading
I had forgotten how temperamental caramel can be. And eggs. Perhaps I should call this “How Not to End Up with a Hardened Sugar Lump and Scrambled Egg.” Continue reading
Fall is definitely in the air. Strolling through backstreets of Berlin, I see yellowing leaves swirl and tumble from the trees and crunch underfoot. Another hearty, warming meal with seasonal flavors of fall is in order tonight. Continue reading