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This recipe isn’t exactly my culinary Mount Everest. It’s more like, say, pilates: the thing I know I’d like if I did it but can’t quite get it up to try. Let’s break it down: there’s the separating of onions into layers, which looks at the outset like a royal pain. There’s the filling, which involves meat and lots of spices and raw rice, which – would it really cook in the sauce? I couldn’t be sure. And of course, there’s that sauce, which calls for tamarind puree, which I don’t always have just lying around the house. In sum, enough reasons to look longingly at a picture of the finished product, then turn the page — again, and again, and again.

Perhaps we should chalk it up to the refreshed ambition that comes with the turn of a new year. Or perhaps, a more likely story, I’m looking down the road a couple months and seeing little other than nursing, and diaper changing, and maybe fingerscrossedplease some sleeping, but not a lot of cooking. Whatever the impetus, I had been convinced. If ever there were a time to see whether Persian stuffed onions are worth the fuss, it was now.

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Late summer is a predictable season around here. There are tomatoes on the counter, which we position strategically to keep fruit flies at bay. (I can’t say we necessarily succeed – those fruit flies are such a nuisance.) There’s a glut of second nectarines and peaches, perfectly ripe and 99 cents a pound from Toigo, which we consume somewhat recklessly and with pride. There are Italian plums, which find their way into this famed torte and this less famous but quite tasty cake. And then, of course, there is all the corn.

The corn is also from Toigo. It’s the sweetest corn available – so sweet that Beth (wife of Jeremy, he of Andalusian gazpacho and fried squash blossoms) made a corn soup last week and fretted that it was too sweet, that it needed some lime to cut the sweetness. If you’re into corn ice cream, you’ll want to start with Toigo’s corn.  But even if you’re making something savory, as I typically do, sweet corn is a good place to start.

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No-Knead Breadsticks

August 21, 2014
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In recent years, seemingly in complete indifference to logic and better judgment, I’ve settled on and stayed loyal to a bread recipe that’s a royal pain in the hinder parts. That recipe is Tartine’s Country Loaf, which I make plain, but also with olives, or cherries, or semolina and sesame and raisins (a favorite to get us through […]

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Easing Back In

August 18, 2014
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We’ve just returned from a week at the beach, full of silky sand and mid-afternoon beach chair dozes and lots of home-cooked meals. As anticipated, the bounce-back to real life is taking its time. We got back from Saturday lunch both ready to crash – what, we can’t take catnaps every day? – and the […]

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Zucchini-Currant Bran Muffins

August 6, 2014
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In a month where you can find sweet, dribbly nectarines and burstingly juicy tomatoes pretty much everywhere, you might not be jonesing for zucchini. And considering you can pile those nectarines into a bowl of yogurt, or put some of those tomatoes on your morning toast, you’re definitely not seeking a way to eat zucchini for breakfast. Convincing […]

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Fuchsia Dunlop’s Pantry Noodles

July 30, 2014
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There are days – you know the ones – when you must make a meal out of nothing. In winter, my go-to is Jen’s Linguine with Sardines, Fennel, and Tomato (often with onion instead of fennel, since that’s always around). In summer, it’s slices of sourdough and perfect tomatoes and some sort of cheese. When it’s […]

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Reading: July 2014

July 28, 2014
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Turkey’s on my mind this month, since my brother has spent his summer doing research and meeting interesting folks in Kurdistan, Tel Aviv, and now, Istanbul. I spent a week in Istanbul back in 2006, but according to my brother, so much has changed since I visited. I feel like I missed at least half […]

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Absolutely Perfect Bittersweet Chocolate Eggless Ice Cream

July 23, 2014
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In trying to avoid hyperbole when sharing this ice cream, I have rewritten the first paragraph of this post twice. I started to try and tell you about why I made it, about what I was looking for, and about how I was pleasantly surprised by the results. And then I decided that my measured approach […]

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