Turns out, unsettling from the old place was much harder than settling into the new place. Luisa told me that I shouldn’t worry if, for weeks after the move, I still wondered when we’d finally go back home. That’s just what I expected to feel. But those final weeks pre-move were so stressful and sleepless and unsettling that by the time we unpacked everything, the place already had started to feel like ours.

It helps that 24 hours after move-in, we were fully unpacked. That’s my leading lady: she’s extremely efficient, she hates transitions, she wants it donedonedone. So it was.  By Sunday morning, I was back to weighing coffee beans, pouring the slow stream of hot water over my filter, setting my favorite mug on the counter. And exactly one week after that, with both my brother and old friends in town, we managed to host some folks for brunch.

Save for a few old jars and nubbins of past-prime vegetables, the contents of our fridge made the move with us. Among the contents: half a stale baguette, most of a bunch of kale, and the end of a log of goat cheese. This is practically the holy trinity of strata, so strata it was. It’s simple, really: stale bread, some sauteed vegetables. A not-very-large quantity of milk, a not-very-small quantity of heavy cream. Layer; bake. Poof: the house smells like home.

And speaking of recipes that bring us home, I need to tell you about a book. [click to continue…]

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This was the big weekend, the one where home changed locations.

I keep trying to remember the day we moved out of our first apartment in this city, into a slightly larger, slightly quieter one four doors up the block. I can picture the movers — one in particular, who carried a very tall bookshelf on his back around three flights of curved stairs like it was a pocketbook. I remember our first night in the new place, marveling at how much of a difference four doors west could make for the noise level. Everything was so…quiet. But before I picture all of this, my mind skips two steps backward, to the day I moved us into that first apartment, on the corner of a quiet street and a busy one. The apartment with the big bay window, the Formica counters, the incredibly-hip and not-totally-practical lofted bedroom, the wall I insisted on painting pink. Move-in day was just me – D was still in Michigan – and a pile of cheap furniture I’d found on Craigslist. One of the two front doors was stuck shut, so I spent the bulk of the day jamming the legs of various tables in the small front opening, then around and around that three-flight twisted staircase.

That was eight years ago. Since then, we’ve accumulated five more bottles of bitters (current favorites: Fee Brothers black walnut; Jack Rudy aromatic), and a pantry full of last year’s preserves threatening to take away my canner for the season if I don’t use them up soon. And of course, now we’ve got our daughter, too. She comes with her own accumulation: books and toys and tall stacks of hand-me-downs that could last beyond her first birthday. There certainly was more to pack and move this time around, which caused several nights of sleeplessness, 24 hours of mild turmoil, and lingering fatigue. But even more daunting than the actual move is the prospect of trying to hold onto memories from three homes. I don’t want to lose any of it.

Our kitchen has been dark for much of the past month, save for a couple meals over father’s day and a last-hoorah birthday dinner for our friend Jana. But before we shut down operations entirely, I cooked a batch of porridge from Ottolenghi’s newest book, Plenty More, for breakfasts.

In a week full of transitions, that porridge was the perfect thing. Comforting and familiar, like a good bowl of oatmeal. Fresh and intriguing, from fragrant marinated orange segments and a pile of sugary, crunchy sesame seeds. The new and the old, together. That is how we will proceed.

[click to continue…]

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Fennel frond pesto + what to do with those pesky stalks

June 22, 2015
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I love fennel, especially the bright, beautiful bulbs available at my farmer’s market right now. But I do feel a small pang of guilt when I buy whole fennel, because the bulb? It’s so small. And — at least in my case — the stalks are so big. I mean: So you see what I’m dealing […]

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Vegetarian Bahn Mi Sandwiches

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It seems like only a few weeks ago that we finally finished our new kitchen. It’s actually been a couple months, but time flies when you’re parenting a six-month-old (!). Back to the kitchen: it has a butcher block, which we “reclaimed” (can you do that if it was yours to start with?) from an […]

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Ramps ‘n’ Eggs Biscuit Sandwiches

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Ramps have ridden the wave of foodie obsession. In years past, from the moment the green bundles made their season debut in Instagram feeds, fanatics and curious innocents would rush to the market to purchase their share. The next few days would see post after post of ramp-infused everything. I’ll own it: I played the […]

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Asparagus Toasts with Pistachios and Mint

April 21, 2015
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I think I speak for all of us on the east coast when I say, FINALLY. Winter can see its sorry self out the door for another nine months or so. I’m preoccupied by my true loves, the asparagus that have arrived,* and I can’t bring myself to talk about much of anything else. *As […]

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Eggplant-Walnut Pâté + Passover Ideas

April 2, 2015
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D’s birthday falls on Passover this year, which means I can’t get away with thrice-a-day matza brei as our only sustenance. For the first time in a long time, I will be cooking a meal on Passover in actual, non-disposable pans, and serving food to actual friends on actual plates. This small feat makes me […]

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Best Mushroom Pizza (or any white pie, really)

March 25, 2015
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I’ve been on a bit of a library bender. Did you know you can borrow Kindle books from the library? Like, without leaving the house? I’m working my way through the Goldfinch and My Brilliant Friend. Both highly recommended. And, in case two books isn’t enough to juggle, I’m also casually reading a real-life paperback copy of The […]

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