Move Over Salt — Pepper is the Sexiest Spice in My Kitchen

Our bodies require salt for survival, but I honest-to-goodness could not live without freshly ground black pepper. And while salt gets a lot of attention these days — with its fancy French names, people smoking it, people infusing it — we don’t talk much about trusty, often underappreciated peppercorn.

Continue reading “Move Over Salt — Pepper is the Sexiest Spice in My Kitchen”

One Of My Favorite Easter Crafts: Colorful, Candy-Filled Cascarones



Cascarones: Colorful, confetti-filled eggshells, unless you’re in my family. We fill them with candy, making them one of my favorite Easter crafts.

Cáscara is Spanish for “eggshell.” Normally filled with confetti or small toys today, cascarones originated in China and came to Europe with Marco Polo, where they were often filled with perfumed powder and given by men to women they wanted to court. The custom made its way to Spain and then Mexico, where the eggshells were decorated, filled with confetti, and smashed over peoples’ heads in celebration.

This past weekend, I got together with friends and family for a casarone-making party. Read on for instructions and pics! Continue reading “One Of My Favorite Easter Crafts: Colorful, Candy-Filled Cascarones”

Spring In A Glass: The O.G. Cocktail

On a recent trip to Denver, I lunched at TAG Raw Bar and tried a new cocktail. Intense orange flavor. Kick of jalapeño. It was spring in a glass even while snow fell outside. After some experimentation, I came close to the same flavors at home, and I’m so happy. (I now need a dependable, economical supplier of mandarin oranges — which are good for you!) Continue reading “Spring In A Glass: The O.G. Cocktail”

Vegan Recipes: Not Just For Vegans Anymore [Cookbook Review]

Artichoke and Fennel Salad

As you know from prior posts, I’m not vegan. But when I got an offer to review a vegan cookbook, I had an epiphany. I eat fruits, vegetables, grains, and pasta. And I love cookbooks. So I grabbed the chance. Good call!

Alan Roettinger’s cookbook, Extraordinary Vegan, is my first vegan cookbook but it won’t be my last. He starts by sharing a list of “extraordinary ingredients for your everyday kitchen” — with recommendations for pantry staples like chiles and chile powders, dried herbs and spices, fats, seeds, flavorings, and sweeteners. A set of fundamental recipes follows. I learned how to “fake” the aging of balsamic vinegar — by reducing it to concentrate its flavors — and how to preserve lemons. And I’m now addicted to roasted hazelnuts. Continue reading “Vegan Recipes: Not Just For Vegans Anymore [Cookbook Review]”