Carrie Havranek is a food and travel writer living in Easton, Pennsylvania. She’s a part-time baker who goes out of her way for farmers markets and yoga. Find her work in Edible Philly, Frommer’s, and on her blog The Dharma Kitchen.
Did you ever look at an ingredient in your kitchen and decide to challenge yourself with the thought, Hmm, I bet could do something funky with this? Well, that’s how these Biscoff cookies came about. Or, you could call it the recursive Biscoff cookie, a meta cookie — it’s made from the namesake spread, which in itself is made from the cookies. Whatever you call it, it’s brimming with brown sugar goodness without taking you to the brink of butterscotch overkill.
Sour cherries are one of my most eagerly awaited fresh fruits of the summer. Thin-skinned and tart, they aren’t really best for eating out of hand. We who love them use them as creatively and quickly as we can, putting their bright, acidic hit to good use in jams, cakes, pies, cocktails, and even in the occasional savory dish. Picture your classic cherry pie, bright-red and glowing with orbs of juicy fruit. Well, you’ve just pictured sour cherries.
Usually, food items in miniature form automatically generate oohs and aaahs. If baby carrots have taught us anything, it’s that cute and small veggies sell. But baby corn has never been able to capitalize off of its itty-bitty size. We’re taking a closer look in the baby corn cradle to figure out just why. Baby corn is basically corn that’s harvested when it’s immature and before it’s pollinated — almost right after the silk starts to appear.
Many of us are swimming in the same proverbial soup — that mad dash between activities after work and/or school, and the shrinking window of time in which to prepare dinner. This became immediately apparent when my children reached school age and began activities such as soccer and karate in the evenings. But through all of this, I cook. Maybe it’s stubborn, maybe it’s smart. It’s simply what feels right; it’s my default move.
In the month or so since I announced my intention to move more, we had a juggernaut of a snowstorm here on the East Coast. Perhaps you experienced that, too? Ironically, the snowstorm was good for my walking plan. Over the wintry weekend, I walked more than 25,000 steps (definitely above average) — and it was exhilarating! Of course, those two days were the exception to the rule, but I’d say my efforts have been at least moderately successful.
I’m not much for resolutions; they feel so inflexible and absolute, but also splashy and public. They’re not much my style. I’m more about setting intentions, which feels more introspective and personal. But a micro-resolution? That’s something approachable and sustainable. I can definitely get behind the idea that small changes can yield some significant, palpable results. And this year, I want to move more.
The romantic, magazine-fetishized notion of a holiday meal usually includes several generations of a family sitting together in one endlessly long table. The table is carefully effortless looking, just so — aglow with candles, swathed in autumnal colors, and set with matchy-matchy everything. Elements of nature are incorporated — gourds, leaves, driftwood — and children are expertly dressed and coiffed to the nth degree of cuteness.
Item: RawSpiceBar Spice Blend Subscription Price: $6/month Overall Impression: If you’re an adventurous home cook and like trying new things, RawSpiceBar is an inexpensive way to expand your repertoire. The spices are fresh and paired with global recipes hand-selected by chefs that celebrate the culture that inspired the spice blends.
If you believe the hype, you need a good baking stone in order to achieve a superior thin-crust pizza. I’m here to tell you I had one, used it, and got tired of lugging that clunker around my kitchen. When it cracked years ago, it was a blessing. I was initially motivated to use a baking stone when I moved from New York City — the gold standard for excellent pizza — to a destination without really fantastic takeout pizza.
As exciting as it may be to see table after table heaped with colorful fresh, local food during the growing season, it can also be overwhelming. And it’s nearly impossible to eat all the seasonal produce you encounter, unless you’ve got a clan whose hunger and numbers are sizable (and tons of time on your hands). You gotta have a strategy and pick out the things that really count.
The markets are flush with gorgeous produce. Instagram feeds are exploding with colorful strawberries and asparagus and greens galore. Maybe some of your friends have started picking up their CSA boxes and you’re thinking: Hey! I want my piece of produce paradise every week. I should join a CSA! Well, I am sorry, but I’ve got some bad news for you. You’re probably too late. And there’s a good reason why you can’t join a CSA in the springtime.
In my head, I’m giving cookies to everyone. All the time. Every day. When our babysitter recently had her first baby, oh, I wanted to drop what I was doing and bring her cookies. Something sweet and fresh, maybe with lemon. When my neighbor’s brother passed away unexpectedly, I wanted to make her some cookies, too. Chocolate chip would have served well — a generic, unfailing crowd pleaser. (What if she has allergies? Asking ruins the surprise.
After a few weeks of habitually disregarding the cereal collection in our lazy Susan, we were completely in the zone; we had expanded our repertoire, eating a lot of different things. I hadn’t bought a box of cereal in at least three weeks, and although I did not experience the revolt I was sensing in my previous post, I did occasionally get some questions in the morning as to whether or not we’re “still not eating cereal.
Before it came time to put my plan of kicking cereal to the curb into action (read more about why we’re doing this), I gently warned the boys (and repeatedly, out of necessity) that we’d all have to be creative and open-minded. I tried to get them excited about eating something different and turn the whole thing into an adventure; as any parent likely knows, it’s all in how you spin it, and they take their cues from us.
The breakfast landscape is full of easy choices. It’s easy to roll out of bed, shuffle into the kitchen, and pour yourself — and your kids — the customary bowl of cereal and glass of orange juice. But that which is easy isn’t always necessarily sustainable. And that which is easy isn’t always necessarily cheap, either. The costs add up — in all kinds of ways. I decided to make it my mission to get my kids off cereal.
I’m a devoted baker, and I love whipping up quick desserts during the week. I’ve been known to fly into action the second my husband cries out, “We need 20cc’s of cookies, stat!” But sometimes, you really want to go deep and challenge yourself. These kinds of baking recipes require ample time and patience — and fewer distractions! — so you can really get elbow-deep in flour and make a good delicious mess of things.
I’d like to introduce you to baobab (bay-o-bab). Have you tried this unusual fruit yet? Here’s what it tastes like, and what you can do with it. Baobab is a native fruit from an upside-down looking “tree of life”in Africa. The revered tree can live for hundreds, even thousands of years. It never burns and can store water in its trunk, which can be tapped for release in times of drought.
Many home cooks keep an aloe plant in the kitchen to soothe emergency burns and minor skin abrasions, but did you know you can drink it, too? I’ve long kept a bottle of aloe vera juice in my refrigerator as a go-to natural remedy for the occasional upset stomach. A friend from the Caribbean uses it as a pick-me-up whenever she feels sluggish. Some folks knock a bit back if they’ve imbibed too much the night before. It makes sense.