Artful Cookies in Italy

Cannoli, the popular cookies of Sicily, began as Carnival pastries (circa 1500's) shaped as cylinders around wooden canes, dipped in hot oil, allowed to cool then filled with smooth, sweetened ricotta cheese. They have changed very little except now they are often made with stainless steel cylinders instead of canes and their decorations include roasted ...

Cocoa Cookies in Pasadena

At the 10th Los Angeles Chocolate Salon, many chocolate configurations were on display: bon bons, chocolate vinegar, chocolate sauces, chocolate wine, chocolate: pure, bitter, sweet.  My own little table in this chocolate universe included books & this blog, a plate of Cocoa Cookies with Chocolate Buttercream as samplers, and Scandinavian Salt & Pepper Cookies to ...

Cacao in Hawaii

You don't get to see cacao pods in the USA unless you go to Hawaii, and even there they a rare sight. Cacao trees (from whence, of course, chocolate) Chocolates by Susie Norris - Photo by Jennifer Martine are cultivated only sporadically around the Hawaiian Islands. But Tony Lydgate of Steel Grass Farm on Hawaii's garden ...

Southern Green Beans in Appalacia

Late-summer cicadas craft the music of Kentucky with long rattling notes. My borrowed tee shirt has familiar Ashland Tomcats on the front. I don't remember ever having such a shirt yet it feels like mine. How did I conjure teenage dreams that led me up and out of this mountain town? How did I crawl ...

Tomato Pie in the Hudson Valley

Ruth Reichl's emotion-filled cookbook My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life includes a recipe inspired by James Beard's Tomato Pie.  She developed it and many others in the farm-to-table communities of The Berkshires and The Hudson Valley, havens for markets, farmstands and neighbors who drop by to share the riches of their gardens.  ...

Love & Lox in Norway

I don't fall in love easily beyond an occasional cashmere sweater at an end-of-season sale.  When I go someplace new and beautiful and hear my vagabond voice say "maybe you should quit your job and live here instead?",  I can usually shut that bratty inner child right up.  What about your family? Your friends? The ...

Brexit & an English Breakfast

You don't always have to drown your sorrows. Sometimes you can just eat them. english breakfast with eggs, tomatoes, bacon, beans, sausage and optional mushrooms In a rare moment, politics upstaged football's Euro 2016 on BBC World News this summer as results of the Brexit referendum swept the world. Markets crashed in India, China and New ...

S’mores in the USA

In Jackie's new book Our Great Big Backyard about childhood adventures in America's national parks (writers Laura Bush & Jenna Bush Hager), s'mores figure as one of the great rewards of camping and getting into the wilderness.  No argument from me, or from one of the nation's top chocolatiers, Michael Recchiuti of Recchiuti Confections in San ...

Something Fishy in Finland

Because it was selected as one of the top ten food markets ever by Food Lover's Guide to the World from Lonely Planet, my expectations for the Helsinki fish market were running high and the rest of me was running late. Finland was my first pass at discovering Nordic cuisine and its current incarnations, but the ...

Gypsy Cuisine on the Road

Mamaliga, a cornbread served with melted cheese and sour cream, is part of a nomadic gypsy culture through which we might see ourselves. Wood fires, communal cooking...not so far from the alfresco dining that you and I covet when we invite friends over for a BBQ.  Like polenta in Italy or southern cornbread in the ...