Kale salad with honey-mustard peanut dressing

22 November 2016
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This shredded kale and cabbage salad, coated in a sweet honey-mustard dressing and generously showered with crushed peanuts, has a cult following at Hillstone restaurants across the country, from Houston’s to Bandera to various Grill outposts, such as Cherry Creek, Bal Harbour, Palm Beach and Rutherford. You see it on almost every table, as starter, […]

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Pumpkin bread with chocolate

16 November 2016
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I have a beef with pumpkin breads that aren’t pumpkiny. A drier bread makes for easy cutting and tidy presentation, but the pumpkin bread I want to eat is a little soft, with big sticky crumbs, and super rich with pumpkin flavor. In Ohio we live for pumpkin bread, from a little bakery called Beehive […]

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Comfort in pancakes (banana chocolate chip)

11 November 2016
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When I’m stressed, I don’t want a beer, I want a bakery. Or to bake something. Science backs me up on this: sugar reduces the stress hormone cortisol in our systems (don’t try to substitute fake sugar, it doesn’t have the same effect). Even before eating, the warm olfactory combination of flour, butter and sugar […]

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The best yellow birthday cake

26 October 2016
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I’ve had a best chocolate cake recipe forever – easy and reliably fantastic – but it took years of trying before I finally found the perfect yellow cake. When we lived in Ohio with my husband’s side of the family, chocolate was the only cake we ever needed. But in California, my Chinese family likes […]

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Grand Canyon’s quieter east entrance

10 October 2016
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My parents avoided the crowds and tension of cities, so we rarely traveled to urban areas on family vacations, unless we did the Asian thing and stopped for a college tour. To their immigrant eyes, the wonders of America were not in cities but in the immense protected landscape of the country, unusual in a […]

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Sliced green bean and ground turkey stir fry

23 September 2016
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One recipe, two ideas here: First, that you can use ground turkey in a stir fry. Second, that when you have older, thicker green beans, you can transform them by cutting steep diagonal slices that will absorb a fantastic amount of flavor. My mom has made green beans like this for years, so it always […]

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Eggs and zucchini in tomato sauce

15 September 2016
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Daily dinner in my house probably isn’t what you imagine. With four kids in three schools, and an activity or two per kid, every day is a lot of screeching around corners in my loaded minivan hauling people hither and yon. I might use a brief stop at home to rummage around and prep, but […]

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Matterhorn macaroons (and a belated 6th blogiversary giveaway)

31 August 2016
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Coconut macaroons are a humble cookie compared to their French macaron cousins: one pale and bumpy with shredded coconut, the other smooth with finely ground almond, two delicate pastel-tinted rounds sandwiching a creamy center. But there’s a down-home charm to the unassuming coconut macaroon, and a deeply satisfying chew from the rich, dense pile of […]

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A local’s guide to San Francisco

23 July 2016
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I would never trade summers in the midwest with family, but I’m always a little heartbroken when far-flung friends email, “We’re coming to San Francisco this summer!” and I have to write back, “Sorry, but we won’t be there…” Good friends came to San Francisco for the first time this month, and when they emailed […]

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Corn and black bean salad with chipotle dressing

29 June 2016
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Clever growers have extended the seasons for most vegetables, even tomatoes, but truly fresh, sweet corn on the cob is something we still get only in the heart of summer. This time of year I want to eat it as often as I can. I’m loving this no-wilt corn and black bean salad for Fourth […]

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