The 2016 Great American Cookie Election

If you're like me, you want something happy to read about aside from the endless campaign coverage. So I decided to hold an election on something of critical, national importance. Cookies. Holiday baking season is coming up, after all. Like many individuals, in times of crisis, my husband and I often turns to baking. So, if you've got a great cookie recipe online, send it to me. I'll collect links to the recipes online, … [Read more...]

Class: Performance for Writers (Aug. 20th)

I've been wanting to teach a class like this for a long time. Why? I'm a trained actress and comedian, so standing up in front of a crowd is not only easy for me, it's the highlight of any day. But we do not live in a world where one can sit in a dark room, craft a book and call it day, at least not anymore.  Although writers tend to be bookish types, at some point you’ll need to discuss or read your work in front of an … [Read more...]

Class: How to Write a Non-Fiction Book Proposal

In fiction, you have to write the whole book to sell it. In non-fiction, agents and editors want a book proposal. Whether you're planning on writing narrative non-fiction, memoir, cookbook, historical non-fiction or even a how-to book, you need to put together a non-fiction book proposal. In this six-week class starting July 20th, I'll provide you with the tools and insight you need to help you develop a rough proposal … [Read more...]

Vinaigrette Basics [video lesson]

Do you have so many bottles of vinaigrette in your fridge that when you open the door it sounds like wind chimes? Vinaigrette is one of the first things that any home cook should master for a couple of reasons. One, it's expensive to buy and tends to be loaded with ingredients. I did a survey of eight popular brands of "Italian-style" vinaigrette. They averaged 17 ingredients. The basic recipe below has six. Most people … [Read more...]

Provencal tomato spread

This recipe first appeared in The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry. It's loosely based on a dish that I learned to make while studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. During the heat of summer, I probably make this once a week and if I have to take something to a party, this is my go-to dish in the summer. You can use as it a spread for crackers or bruschetta, and also as a sauce for simple pan-seared fish or chicken. … [Read more...]

Recipe: Salade Niçoise

I first encountered  Salade Niçoise in a most embarrassing way -- by reading about it in a cheap romance novel the summer I turned 14. The scene was typically evocative of a dime store read. A beautiful protagonist perched at a table under a striped umbrella on an immaculate beach in Cannes waiting for a murky character. The server brought her a bracingly cold glass of chablis and Salade Niçoise. At this point, the … [Read more...]

Recipe: Salmon cakes with avocado basil cream

If you live in Seattle, it’s nearly required by state law to eat wild salmon during the summer. Lately, I’ve been grilling more than we need in order to use the leftovers for these fragrant salmon cakes that I developed last year when faced with a pile of leftover salmon after a rained-out BBQ.  They’re simple to make and freeze well, and offer a healthy alternative to fish sticks. They’re easily dressed up by a simple … [Read more...]

Shelf Life: 15 Food Books of 2015

For years, I've been threatening to start a podcast. In October, I attended an inspiring weekend hosted by Feet in Two Worlds and promptly went and bought a Zoom H5, a mic and started contacting food writers I admired to come sit in my kitchen and chat. I'm launching the podcast in January, but I decided I couldn't wait to share the books crafted by some of the lovely folks who I've talked to already for the audio show, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Popovers from ‘The Homemade Kitchen’

 I've long been fascinated by popovers and for this, I blame Dorothy Parker. For those unfamiliar, Dorothy was a fabulously wry writer who was among the founding members of "the vicious circle" of writers who made up The Algonquin Roundtable in New York. Starting in 1919, the group of thirty newspaper and magazine writers met almost daily for lunch over the course of about ten years to share gossip, jokes and … [Read more...]

Fearless Thanksgiving: Turkey FAQ

That's me, age four, stuffing a turkey. I've been doing this holiday dinner thing a long time. So much information exists on the humble turkey, a curiously popular bird. Here are simple answers to common questions from reliable sources. [Updated November 2015] Q. Why do we eat turkey on holidays, anyway? A. Great question. As this terrific column in Slate explains, back in the day when people grew their own meats, … [Read more...]