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These past few weeks can be summed up as an epic attempt to fill our freezer with as much ready-to-eat food as possible. I’ve frozen unbaked scones in little zip-top bags. I’ve filled about ten containers with Persian beef-rice stew and carrot-ginger soup and plenty of chicken stock. I’ve even baked and frozen whole loaf cakes, to defrost for unexpected company. A couple hours this morning and a long day in a low oven produced a batch of Lisa Fain’s chili, which is officially in the freezer.  Still on the cooking wishlist: This lovely eggplant tagine from Blue Apron, which my friend Rachel raved about and for which I have procured all the ingredients. (Stay in, baby, just a little bit longer!). Previously on the wishlist: cookie dough (rolled into balls and frozen unbaked, you know, for emergencies). It was a nice-to-have, but then I woke up at 5 and couldn’t fall back asleep and, well, the cookie dough happened. Thanks, kiddo.

But the whole cook-to-fill-the-freezer thing isn’t new. In truth, my attempts to fill our pantry began back in late summer, when I got to sneak a peek at the galleys of my dear friend Cathy’s book.

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Do you know Cathy? She is Mrs. Wheelbarrow, canner, cheesemaker, charcuterie queen, and general goddess of the larder. She was one of the earliest contributors to my beloved Food52, and has penned some of my favorite recipes on the site. She teaches cooking classes out of her home, where I’ve learned to make canned tomatoes, salsa, and all sorts of other canned goodies, as well as goat cheese, feta, and even Camembert. She’s also a hostess extraordinaire, and I’ve been lucky enough to attend many wonderful parties courtesy of her and her husband, Dennis.

Cathy

Now, after years of blogging, posting on Food52, and writing for Washington Post, New York Times, and more, Cathy’s finally got her own corner of the universe: a book, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry.

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Since this pregnancy, I’ve taken a rather uncanny – you might call it obsessive – interest in apples. I buy them by the bushel, which is silly when you consider that we’re still only two of us (excluding the wee thing) and my fridge isn’t even regulation-size. But it’s true: I buy all of the apples, often seconds, still: there are never enough.

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I’ve been a Honeycrisp girl for the past couple years, but this fall, I think I overdid it. Now I’ve taken up with the Mutsus and the Jonagolds: they’re crisp, sweet, and still plenty tart. I’m hooked.

I hauled home a batch last Sunday without remembering the drawer full of apples in the fridge, an occurrence not uncommon for me these days. And if you’re with me – and I’m thinking you are, because, well, you’re here – you know that the most logical solution to this so-called problem is to spend a bit of time baking up a batch of apple-cheddar scones. Of course.

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Easier Rugelach

October 29, 2014
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Growing up, toward the end of Saturday morning services, we kids would lurk in the social hall of the synagogue, near the refreshments. Ostensibly, we were there to help set up. In actuality, about 5% of our effort went to helping out, while a round 95% we spent angling to be near our favorite snacks. […]

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Nutmeg Apple Cider Doughnuts

October 24, 2014
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It’s Friday, which means it’s almost the weekend — which, in my strange wonderland, means it’s time to choose weekend cooking projects. I’ve got my eye on this lovely, meringue-topped walnut cake from Food52, and possibly homemade bagels. I’m also contemplating steeping bourbon with some apple peels, a cinnamon stick, and some star anise, for […]

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Tuscan Kale and Chickpea Soup

October 20, 2014
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I have a (very cynical) theory that for every 10 vegetarian soup recipes out there, 9 of them had authors who sneaked in some chicken stock when no one was looking. I often read these recipes incredulously: you’re telling me your meatless soup is deep and complex, and yet it contains no miso, no tomato […]

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Menemen – Turkish Eggs with Tomatoes and Peppers

October 14, 2014
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It must have been 2005 when I first fell for shakshuka, the Israeli dish of eggs fry-poached in a spicy, oniony tomato sauce. For a few years, I obsessively sought it out at restaurants; eventually, I taught myself to make it at home. There are a few places – like the kitschily named but legit Dr. […]

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Gingerbread Apple Right-Side Up Cake

October 3, 2014
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‘Tis the season for apple picking. Or, if (ahem) you’re in denial about that certain season, and also about the veryveryimminent life changes you’re anticipating, you might spend Sunday mornings gallivanting around the farmers’ market in all-too-summery yoga clothes, enjoying the sun and stocking up on way too many “second” apples at 99 cents a pound. It’s […]

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Okra Curry

October 1, 2014
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A long while back, I got into a major Indian food kick. I made dosas (but really, really good dosas), eggplant curry, sambar, mushroom muttar curry, and more. I bought and made chutneys and stocked way too much ghee and ate as much Indian food as I could get my hands on. Summer seems to call for […]

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