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Prince of the apple towns

May 20, 2009

Apple season in Southern California always takes me by surprise.  In boarding school, we’d eat apples not in May but in the fall, from wooden crates that the faculty had set up outside (the school, in Ohio, was also a working farm with an apple orchard) for mid-class snacking, and later in the season we’d [...]

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3 ways of looking at vanilla sugar

May 15, 2009

Vanilla beans are pricey, but they’re well worth it. Especially if you consider what they are: the hand-pollinated, hand-picked, cured, dried and fermented fruit of an orchid.  One of the ways to get the most out of every Mexican, Tahitian or Bourbon-Madagascar bean is to save the pods–after you’ve scraped the seeds from them or [...]

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Amaranth cookies

April 16, 2009

Yesterday was a milestone day. Not because it was tax day (although I did drink a cup of tea in honor of the sitting president) but because Kim finished developing the last recipe in our cookbook.  It was an amaranth cookie, made with amaranth flour and ground hazelnuts, cut out in bee shapes, baked and [...]

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Rhubarb tarts on a doily, or not

April 15, 2009

When you’re testing recipes for a cookbook, you generate a lot of food.  For the last weeks and months, the assembly line of breads and cookies and pies and muffins coming out of my kitchen has been astonishing, like an unlicensed bakery that sporadically opens to manic over-production.  So this past weekend, after I pulled [...]

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Ode to a copper bowl

April 5, 2009

For dessert last night, I made a very simple thing: whipped cream, served with a bowl of strawberries.  The cream was very slightly sweetened with vanilla sugar (sugar ground in a food processor with an old vanilla bean husk).  The strawberries were Chandlers from the farmers market, hulled but otherwise untouched.  This was all very [...]

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