One person’s invader is another person’s honored guest. A friend of mine wages war against the rangy “mountain strawberry” plant that creeps into her Colorado lawn every summer. Despite the cute little berries, she considers this native plant an invasive pest and she works hard to eradicate it from her garden. But last week, during my visit to Sun Valley, Idaho, my aunt Sandy delightedly pointed out the very same plant in her garden and rejoiced over the many miniature strawberries dotting the vines. “The French call these fraises des bois,” she gushed, “and they’re considered a real delicacy because of their concentrated flavor. One of my French friends couldn’t believe we had them growing wild on our patio!” That afternoon, Sandy’s gardener harvested a cup or two of the precious berries. I made Sandy’s “best-ever” shortcake recipe, and she whipped up her special version of fresh whipped cream (secret ingredient: sour cream). That night for dessert, we feasted on Mountain Strawberry Shortcake. Shortcake recipe (originally from Bon Appetit, July 2006): 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 8 tablespoons sugar, divided 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 …
I’m psyched that a piece I wrote for Sunset magazine’s blog is now on the site! Titled “Why you can’t trust every recipe on the internet,” it’s a lighthearted look at a common problem — published recipes that may or may not work in a real kitchen — plus tips on what you can do about it. Though online recipes are proliferating faster than you can say “gluten-free cupcakes,” the resources for testing those recipes are drying up. As the LA Times asked in a recent article: “Is recipe testing a vanishing art?” I’m afraid the answer is yes. Needless to say, this can be frustrating and costly for the home cook, so I hope the blog gives you some useful guidelines in your own recipe adventures. And please leave a comment about recipe sites or publications that you particularly trust. I can say from experience that Delicious Living and Sunset are both excellent sources.
It started with the chocolate souffles. No, that’s wrong. It started about 16 years ago when we moved into our house and I noticed that our oven could use a cleaning. Didn’t do it. During the years of family cooking and recipe testing, the oven’s entire interior eventually turned solid black (roast chicken is my favorite dinner). A couple of years ago, I noticed that every time I cooked something at 425 degrees or higher, the oven smoked fiercely, filling the house with gray haze and setting off the smoke alarms. Because I mostly roast foods during winter, opening the doors and windows in sub-freezing temperatures became problematic. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to clean it. I hate caustic chemical cleaners and, given the 1/8-inch-thick layer of black grime, it seemed impossible to clean without going nuclear. What about the self-cleaning function? According to our appliance repairman, employing that feature in old ovens like ours often makes the door seal shut — permanently. So it stayed black. And anyway, what’s a little smoke among friends when roast chicken is on the menu? But then, last week, I made …
Did you know that the ancient Greeks had a word for celiac disease? Or that research indicates gluten might not be the only culprit for millions of people with gluten sensitivity? Or that treatments beyond a gluten-free diet might be on the horizon? In March, I co-presented a talk with John Gildae, PhD, at Natural Products Expo West 2015 on The Evolution of Gluten and Gut Health. My part covered the history, current state, and future projections of celiac disease and the gluten-free movement. Dr. John followed up with a science-based look at how gluten affects the gut, current statistics regarding its effect, and in-the-works treatments for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. (For more about his work, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.) Several people have asked me for a review of that talk, so here it is, along with my slides.
I look forward to Natural Products Expo West all year; I really do think it’s the most fun business event on the planet. (OK, I may be a teensy bit biased because Delicious Living‘s parent company, New Hope Natural Media, owns and hosts the show.) Experiencing Expo West is like trying to take a sip from a fire hose; there’s simply too much to see and do. Even so, I’m always inspired by new innovations in healthy foods, educated by interesting speakers and interactions, and incredibly impressed by the logistical magic-making of New Hope’s Expo team. Click here for my Storify summary that shows a few of my favorite moments, impressions, and new products from this year’s show.
Yesterday my colleague Allison told me that this gallery of 10 surprising gluten-containing foods that I created for DeliciousLiving.com somehow had a viral moment and got more than 10,000 page views! That’s the Internet for you; things live on (whether you want them to or not). The idea for this gallery originated from a blog I wrote a while back about my son’s experience with gluten in sushi, which was a complete shock to me at the time. Have you discovered other sneaky gluteny foods? Let me know!
Time to get busy! There’s nothing like good food to light a fire in your heart (not to mention your kitchen). I created this gallery of passion-inducing foods on DeliciousLiving.com; check them out and add your own ideas for stirring up trouble this Valentine’s Day.
As a professional editor and writer, I love crafting stories about people, places, and experiences in all their beauty and complexity. As a former food editor, I’m passionate about cooking and eating healthy, tasty food for long-term happiness.
I’m also a chaplain; for SpiritualEldercare.com, click here.
I am the first to admit that I am not a happy baker. Baking is too precise. All that measuring just so. Plus I don’t really like cake; I’m a fruit-pie girl. And don’t get me started on trying to figure out high-altitude adjustments. (Boulder stands at 5,300 feet above sea level — enough to make muffins cry.) But when I saw this January 2015 cover of Sunset magazine, I felt an irresistible urge. I had to make this Corn Flour and Orange Blossom Chiffon Cake. My “you’re not a baker” voice tried to talk me out of it. “Are you crazy? It’ll never work.
Last week I created a Delicious Living gallery of the 21 most popular recipes on the site, based on 2014 metrics. A bunch of them are great if you’re in the mood to detox after all that holiday indulgence! My favorite is the Lemony Quinoa Tabbouleh.