Time to make the doughnuts!

Free Projects, Kitchen

This is my favorite doughnut recipe – but surprise! It’s actually a no-knead brioche recipe! This recipe stunned me the first time I tried it – far and above the best doughnuts I have made, and they consistently delicious every time. And I have been using this recipe for almost 10 years.

The recipe is large, so I usually 1/2 it, and that still makes enough doughnuts for 2 days of breakfast. And yes! Doughnuts for breakfast because I make the dough a day or two in advance. Roll them out, cut them out, give them 20 min to rest, and then into the oil they go.

Last night I mixed in some of my sourdough starter, too – I just followed the written recipe (yeast and all) and at the end I added about 1/2 cup of starter. Sourdough doughnuts with homemade grape jelly? Wow. Just, Wow. (Tomorrow we are adding in Nutella!)

Find the recipe here on Artisan Bread in 5

Summer Storms


We have had storms many afternoons – intense storms that make me fill up our water jars, just in case the power goes out. And we stand in the front doorway – the only door that is under cover – and watch the rain pour sideways.

Mixing up an evening cocktail, something inspired by a Dark & Stormy, I made something a little bit lighter, and then made it again the next night, since another storm was coming our way.

1.5 oz lime juice
2 oz dark rum
1 oz ginger simple syrup
seltzer (to taste)

makes 1 cocktail
Serve over ice in a high ball glass
and garish with a cucumber slice

Greens in the Window

Free Projects, Homestead, Kitchen, Plants

For a bit of greenery indoors and a future meal from out windowsill, we have been growing pea greens. They are simple to grow, take about 10 days until harvest, and when it’s time to harvest, my kids snip them with scissors. Then we let them regrow for a second harvest!

I use Dwarf Gray Peas from Johnny’s Seeds, in a pinch you could use the pea seeds from the garden center (you won’t find Dwarf Gray, but it would still work), but I usually grow 1 cup of peas at a time so I buy them in large quantities. Pea seeds don’t need any soil, but they do need something that will retain moisture – I have used soil and fallen leaves and unbleached paper towels as a growing medium. I often use an old Pyrex pan, but plastic take-out containers and their lids both make great growing containers.

Day 1: Soak 1 cup of pea seeds in 2 cups of water — they will double in size over the next 12 hours.

Day 2: Find a wide, shallow pan – I use a 9x13inch Pyrex pan. Sprinkle some soil on the bottom, or use two layers of paper towels. Drain the peas and spread them in the pan. They can be tightly spread, but if it’s more than 2 layers deep, find a bigger pan or divide them between two containers.
Water the seeds.
Cover the pan with a plastic bag – this will create a mini greenhouse and keep in the moisture for the first two or three days of growth. Some air will help keep mold from growing.

Day 4: Remove the plastic. Give a little water if it looks dry.
Days 5-10: Water once a day, or twice if your home is very dry.

Harvest the peas when the leaves are open. You can harvest all the greens at once, or harvest over a few days. Use scissor to cut the stems, leave the roots in place and keep watering, they will regrow and you can harvest a second crop.

Home grown food definitely calls for my fanciest bowl and grandma’s salad tongs.

July 17, 2019

Kitchen, Mending

What I am making:
Lots of 1 inch and 2 inch English Paper Pieced squares, for a class I am taking with Jude Hill

Mint Extract (I made the Instant Pot version, pictured above)

What I am reading:
The Life-Changing Magic of Making Do, by Benjamin Leszcz

Several years ago, while living in London, England, my wife met Prince Charles at an event associated with the Prince’s Foundation, where she worked. She returned with two observations: First, the Prince of Wales used two fingers – index and middle – when he pointed. Second, Charles’s suit had visible signs of mending. A Google search fails to substantiate the double-barrelled gesture, but the Prince’s penchant for patching has been well documented. Last year, the journalist Marion Hume discovered a cardboard box containing more than 30 years of off-cuts and leftover materials from the Prince’s suits, tucked away in a corner at his Savile Row tailor, Anderson & Sheppard. “I have always believed in trying to keep as many of my clothes and shoes going for as long as possible … through patches and repairs,” he told Ms. Hume. “In this way, I tend to be in fashion once every 25 years.”

What I am eating:
Fennel Apple Salad with Walnuts

What I am learning (on guitar):
California Stars by Billy Bragg & Wilco
Old Shoes & Picture Postcards by Tom Waits

Locavore Munchies

Dirt Magazine, Family, Kitchen
pumpkin custard cups
Pumpkin custard baked in 1/2 cup mason jar. Portable and delicious.

Trying to eat locally and seasonally seems daunting when you are feeding the picky three-year-old or the perpetually famished 13-year-old. Even trying to explain it to them (and why they don’t get cereal for breakfast) seems tough enough, let alone trying to source, shop, prep and cook local meals for your family. I’m not going to lie, it’s way easier to get the same grocery items week after week, and avoid the extra effort and drama that variety brings.

But you and I both know why eating locally is important, both for our community and our family. The question is how you can still keep your children fed and happy, especially when they need an after school snack – five minutes ago. Is there local snack food?

Glad you asked. Here is a list of some of our favorite snacks that we can source locally and/or make at home. I have left out the obvious fresh fruit & vegetables, but you already know you can serve your kids carrot sticks.

  • Apple sauce
  • Baked apples or pears
  • Baked potatoes
  • Berries & whipped cream
  • Cheese & apples (cut apples into flat slices and eat it like a sandwich)
  • Cheese & tomato jam
  • Dried apple rings
  • Edamame (soybeans, steamed & salted)
  • Fruit leather (peach is our favorite)
  • Hard boiled eggs (or deviled eggs if you can manage mayonnaise*)
  • Homemade crackers
  • Kale Chips
  • Mayo (oil, egg yolk, acid and salt. Oil and the acid would require exceptions or thoughtful sourcing)
  • Oven fries
  • Peaches and cream
  • Pickled cauliflower (fermented, takes well to any spice mix – my favorite is curry)
  • Pickled green beans (I ferment them in a salt/water brine, easier than cucumber pickles)
  • Popcorn (use lard or butter, plus salt and dried dill)
  • Popsicles (fruit, yogurt & honey)
  • Pumpkin custard (like the pie, but without a crust)
  • Pumpkin ice cream
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Smoothies
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Yogurt with maple syrup, jam or honey

Originally published in Dirt Magazine, Sept/Oct 2017

All Together in the Kitchen

Dirt Magazine, Family, Kitchen

Right before the beginning of the school year, a friend and I got together to cook up eight gallons of chili. The pot was big enough to fit one, maybe both, of my kids — a holdover from Linda’s years in catering.

Just that morning I was trying to get a few kitchen tasks out of the way, while my kids made each other miserable and the floor a mess. I was trying to do seven things at once, which meant that I left my coffee cup in the laundry room, a pot burning on the stove, and when I ran down to the basement I couldn’t remember what I was there to get. I was caught in a web of negative thoughts and miserable.

So imagine my surprise four hours later when I was singing to Old Crow Medicine Show and chopping 10 pounds of carrots, feeling happy and relaxed in Linda’s kitchen. The to-do lists were out of my mind and I was focused on our task at hand. We got a few other things cooked up while our kids played inside and outside. We were trying to get ahead on our meal planning and we froze quarts of chili for weeknight meals. This has to become a monthly ritual, we agreed (secretly hoping we could do it more frequently).

Then, a week later, another friend came to my house (with two kids in tow) and we made granola and some sauces in preparation for Dirt’s Eat Local Challenge. It was just as much fun — kids playing, mamas chatting while we worked, a satisfying stack of prepared food for the week. While Linda and I were cooking, she remembered the tamales of her childhood — one of her favorite holiday foods and made by a kitchen full of family. In my family, we celebrated Shabbat with a special meal every Friday. But my mother never liked cooking, and while we had a full table, the kitchen was often empty but for my mother.

I have been in a kitchen slump all summer — I expected the fresh fruits and veggies of summer would save me from it, but it was company I needed. Adult company, to be precise. Our time together felt more like a holiday, more like a celebration of food, and I went home with a head start on our meals for the month.

Originally published in Dirt Magazine, Nov/Dec 2017