Posts tagged food styling

This summer, we traveled to Italy on a dime (ie. cheap seats)—then ate our way through markets, grazed on thin, crackly-crusted Roman pies and piles of peaches and plums. It was bliss. Almost every meal was exceptional—-well-researched and worth the long treks across town for all the most renowned pastas, pizzas and gelatos (I promise to share my must-do-in-Rome list, soon). But one day, when we’d walked all the way from our charming Air-b-n-b, Monte di Pietà to the Colosseum, carrying my four-year-old son on our backs, passing his limp, jet-lagged body back and forth from parent to parent, we found our way to the restaurant we’d most been wanting to try, a recommendation from my instagram friend, Elvira Zilli, who calls Rome home.

She may have mentioned something about making sure to call first to make sure they were open—it was August in Italy, afterall; many smaller mom-and-pop places close for summer holidays. But I had forgotten that little detail. So I did what any respectable, exhausted mother in Rome would do when she has only five days to conquer all the delicious things —I called a Uber (don’t do it, cabs are much cheaper than Ubers in Rome!) and climbed into the plush leather seats, AC and all. We’d walked for four solid days and it only felt fair, to all of us. I instructed the driver to take us to yet another far-flung corner of the city, crossing my fingers we’d find another gem, when my husband asked, but, where do you eat lunch? He started listing places, as I hurriedly pulled each one up on Google, cross-referencing penciled lists from bloggers and friends who live or lived in Rome, stuffed into my purse. Finally, he mentioned Pizzeria Emma, where he said he had eaten lunch that very day. It didn’t ring a bell, but something in me said to take him up on his offer to drive us straight there.

There were no spots in the sidewalk cafe, but he talked them into giving us a table inside, where we found none of the charm of Sora Margherita, nor the raucous laughter at Da Buffetto (an absolute Rome, must!), nor the date-night glam of Roscioli. It was a little too shiny, too much AC, and our son was definately the youngest diner there. Yet—-yet!

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For Labor Day weekend, you don’t need something fancy, and certainly nothing laborious, that pulls you away from soaking in the last bits of summer, that eeks into your good long chill in a hammock or the chance to catch the way the sun hits your daughter’s pink, freckled nose. No, this weekend you need something easy and—without a doubt—you need something make ahead. Because after all, even summering hard until the back to school bell rings on


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A couple of years ago, around this time of year, we had some of our dear friends over for am impromptu dinner in the backyard. I didn’t have anything planned, so while dinner cooked, I ran out to our prolific rhubarb patch, picked a bunch and sliced and tossed it together with a pint of raspberries I had tucked in the fridge. I pinched together some oats, butter, flour and walnuts—in no particular order, abiding by my grandmother’s pinch of this and dash of that rule (salt, sugar) until it felt just right.


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The other night, I went searching for an old photo of gooseberry pie by using the keyword “PIE” on my iPhone’s photo search bank. Exactly 249 images came up of pies or tarts I’d made between 2012 and today—Chocolate Silk Pies and Triple Berry Pies, Apple Tart Tatins and Huckleberry Galettes, Blueberry Lattice Pies and Sour Cream Apple Tarts, Double Crust Cherry Pies and perfectly custardy Pumpkin.

I know pies. But today, fast and unapologetically unfussy are my calling card. Take a rhubarb galette….


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There is so much I love about chocolate cake, starting with the fact that I’m sure it’s the first cake I ever ate, the kind of cake my mom always, always baked on our birthdays as children, and later, carted to us across the country (literally) in her double decker Tupperware cake carrier when we moved far from home.

Too often, I find the kinds of chocolate cakes at birthday parties or events spongy and bland, not chocolaty enough to satisfy, not toothsome in the way I believe a cake absolutely should be. Not so this cake, which comes to us from Odette Williams, from her new book, Simple Cake. Skip on down for the recipe, below.

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Imagine your dreamiest chocolate sweet—the thing you’d eat with abandon if you could do so without consequence—if toothaches and stomach aches and snug waistbands were just the made up things of terrible fairy tales. Mine would be a Flødeboller, these chocolate dreams pictured above—though, I only recently learned that is what they’re called. I knew it in childhood simply as a chocolate-coated marshmallow treat—but not just any marshmallow—it would have to be an pillowy, airy, freshly made marshmallow without even the faintest resemblance to the kind you find in a bag (I’ll skip those all together, thank you). And not just any chocolate coating—the chocolate coating would be thin and snappy, and give to the slightest pressure from the tooth—made with the highest quality dark chocolate you can find (I link to one of my favorites for baking, below).

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There is only one thing, in my opinion, that needs to be made on the week of Valentine’s day, and that is anything containing chocolate (and lots of it). It could be big or small, fancy or simple, but for my taste, it should come as close to an elevated form of a pure chocolate truffle as humanly possible. This tart is one I developed ages ago for my very first book, but it has stood the test of time, and lives up brilliantly to the call. Thanks to its press-in crust (no rolling or pastry mastery required), it couldn’t be simpler. The inside, little more than a glorified ganache, set and baked with an egg, is pure chocolate bliss. You’ll need a tart pan with a removable bottom, and the best chocolate bricks or bars you can find, and the rest is as simple as is gets.

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Guys (or, gals) I’ve been married for ten years. TEN YEARS. And, newsflash, I’m still in love with my husband (most days), and still cooking from the book I wrote about our lives the very first year we were married. Here it is, and I’d be over the moon to sign a copy for a lucky winner like you. Along with it, Chronicle is sharing some of their favorite sweet gifts for lovers. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO is leave a comment below, including one thing you adore about the one you love, one thing that makes them special or irresistible or uniquely yours. (kind + loving only, anything inappropriate will be deleted) . Let’s have some fun, and spread the love. xo

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I always want to give my post a poetic title, like Salad for One (if, you consider that poetic), but conventional internet wisdom tells me you want recipes, and you want to know exactly what is in them. The problem with a long recipe title is the same problem with a long ingredient list—it’s a mouthful, and perhaps at times, off-putting. Don’t let that scare you off. This is a gem, a real killer. I promise.

This isn’t just any salad. This is the kind of salad I skipped Saturday brunch with my family to put down on paper for you. One so good I didn’t even share a single bite with them the day I made it. And that doesn’t happen very often. Sure, I like a good salad. You might even say I love a crisp, bracing plate of veg—but not to the point of greed.

But, when you take the time to make a salad this fresh and good and nourishing—this SATISFYING—you might occasionally reserve the right to enjoy it all for yourself, too. You’ll see why. (Skip below for the recipe).

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It is not a mistake that a simple, arresting radish and parmesan salad appears on the front cover of my book FEAST (which came out 5 years ago) and that a radish, kale and citrus salad is headlining my journal today--feeling as fresh and new as ever. Radish salad never goes out of style.

t’s right at home in the middle of winter--starring dense watermelon radishes and shiny pink turnips shaved into wispy rounds, and elevated with juicy, fleshy citrus (above)--and yet it’s absolutely the right thing to do come spring and summer, when delicate easter egg and punchy globe radishes appear.

To master the art…

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A CLEAN START // 3 Simple PATHS to a Healthier YOU

Happy New Year! Hooray, it’s January, we get a fresh start, and we all want to make the best of it. We want to be our best, feel our best, look our best and EAT OUR BEST.

There are a whole lot of programs set up to help you adhere to a healthier lifestyle—most are thoughtful and well planned out (I love Bon Ap’s FEEL GOOD FOOD PLAN) but most are also too much work for me. My approach is more subtle, understated. To Wit: Last year, I vowed to myself to never drive somewhere I could walk to—including either of my kids’ schools—no matter the weather. And with a few exceptions, I stuck to it. It was a simple attainable goal. This year, my manifesto is: MOVE EVERY DAY. I’m not committing to 40 minutes or 20 minutes of running, I haven’t joined a new gym or promised I will make it to yoga three times a week. If I did, I might not keep up. But MOVE EVERY DAY? I can do that—it’s a simple as walk my son to school, and keep walking after he’s all settled in. All I have to do is walk, say, until my head is clear or my legs ache or my lungs feel deeply full of air. Emails can wait 30 more minutes....

I take the same approach to HEALTHIER EATING. It has to be SIMPLE, ATTAINABLE, and SUSTAINABLE (something I can keep up with WAY beyond January!) I’ve boiled my past successes down to the THREE EASY avenues that I suspect could work for any of you.

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