Watermelon agua fresca

2 October 2014 Beverages
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If, like me, you wistfully bought a watermelon recently, because it’s still warm where you live and you’re in denial about the sun setting earlier each day, only to find that the watermelon was only holding up a good face on the outside but inside its wan and pale flesh knows that summer is truly […]

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Oven polenta – and breaking bread

22 September 2014 Food
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I’m all about breaking bread these days. Not necessarily in a literal sense, since no one but me seems to eat wheat anymore. But in a figurative sense, breaking bread is increasingly how I like to think of eating with loved ones in my home. It’s the antithesis of entertaining. No elaborate preparation, stress or […]

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Zha jiang mian (noodles with meat sauce)

12 September 2014 Asian
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If the title of this post does nothing for you, stop for a minute and listen. The sounds you hear are squeals of excitement and moans of hunger from all the people for whom the three words zha jiang mian evoke yearning memories of their favorite comfort food, a deeply flavorful noodle bowl from childhood. […]

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Yogurt at home

29 August 2014 Breakfast
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If you don’t make yogurt at home, you may wonder why anyone does. Sure it’s cheaper, but yogurt is not expensive and you’re probably not eating enough to care. For me it’s the taste (pure and natural), the health benefits (DIY probiotics) and the digestibility (low/no lactose). You can’t buy the equivalent at the store […]

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Grilled peach and mozzarella salad

13 August 2014 Food
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It might be okay that I’ve discovered the perfect summer salad after summer fruit season is past its peak. When peaches are at their juicy prime, the kids devour them before I get a chance to cook with any. Now it’s my turn. I’ve had this salad five times in four days, and I can’t […]

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Melon divination

5 August 2014 Food
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A melon purchase is a commitment in a way that buying an apple, say, is not. A mealy apple can be philosophically tossed, but a mealy watermelon is a sloppy, head-shaking disposal project. Summer is the season to practice melon-picking skills, since your risk of getting a total dud is low. Even so, shipments vary […]

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Discovery blogiversary

23 July 2014 Discoveries
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I need to start thinking of my birthday the way I think of my blogiversary. Now that I’m on the scary road past 40, I’m not sure what it is I’m supposed to celebrate on birthdays anymore. But as I mark four years of this blog’s existence, the reasons to celebrate are happily clear: another […]

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Blondie bake-off

15 July 2014 Food
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She looks normal, my friend Jenny – slim, medium height, blond and cheerfully energetic – but she’s the Takeru Kobayashi of sugar. I have a sweet tooth, as does my husband and all of my kids, but in a sugar-eating contest the six of us would be groaning with pain under the table while Jenny […]

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Chopped taco salad

9 July 2014 Food
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At the end of our friends’ visit to Ohio last summer, Paul left wistful for more pie, and Venus dreamed of Jeni’s ice cream. This year they came again for a longer stay, and we indulged in so much pie and Jeni’s that by the end, the only food they wanted more of was this […]

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Kitchen geekery

27 June 2014 Favorite gadgets
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The fact that I cannot buy anything casually is tied directly to my hard-knocks immigrant training not to throw useful things away. Anything I buy, I’m likely to keep forever – which means I’d better love it. So the things I geek out over in the kitchen are multi-use, smartly designed items that are priced […]

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