November 3, 2015


The celebration of friends is one of life's great pleasures, isn't it? Today I'm doing just that.... celebrating the creations of some amazing friends I admire and whose work I think you'll enjoy.

First and foremost, I'm so excited to tell you that Josh Vogel from Blackcreek Mercantile has a book on the way! Any of you who has spent time here knows what a fan I am of Josh's work. His lovingly made wood cutting boards, kitchen tools, stool, bowls and butcher block are some of my most treasured (and used!) items in my home. I have no doubt that our Blackcreek pieces will become heirlooms that Otis and Lilah will haggle over one day.

In The Artful Wooden Spoon, Josh looks at the art, craft and history of the wooden spoon - one of mankind's oldest tools. For those of you who fancy the idea of doing your own carving (I must say - I'm quite tempted!) Josh walks us through the steps to make our own spoons. Makers aside, this book is really for anyone who appreciates handmade beauty, craft and design. (Seth and Kendra Smoot shot and styled the book and it's a stunner.)

Josh, and his wife Kelly, are coming to Northern California to two of my favorite shops - so if you want to meet them and get a signed copy of their book, now's your chance. I'm going to their launch party at March on November 5th. And they'll also be at Shed in Healdsburg on November 7th. For more info, check here.


Since I haven't been able to be here regularly these days (A full schedule of photography work is keeping me extremely busy. Happily busy!) I wanted to take a moment to continue this theme of celebrating friends by sharing a few other wonderful new books...
  • Emma Galloway's incredible first book, My Darling Lemon Thyme is finally coming to the US! Emma's cookbook is packed with amazing healthful recipes (and they're all GF by the way). I'm particularly fond of her Eggplant with Tomatoes, Feta and Pomegranate Dressing.
  • Homemade Memories is by another fellow blogger friend, Kate Doran. Kate's gorgeous book is all about modern recipes for indulgent (and nostalgic) sweet treats. My kids are drooling over this one.
  • Finding Yourself in the Kitchen, by my buddy Dana Velden, is a different sort of read. A former Zen priest, Dana writes with profound warmth, grace, and comfort about the pleasures (both mundane and sublime) to be experienced in the kitchen.
  • This is Camino is from one of our favorite local restaurants. Russell Moore, the chef/owner is magic in the kitchen and Camino's new cookbook welcomes us all into Russ' delectable world.
  • Heidi Swanson's latest book appeals to both the traveler and cook in me. Beautifully photographed as always, Near & Far takes us on a journey to some of Heidi's favorite places - India, Japan, Morocco, Italy, France - and luckily for us, we get to see and taste our way through her delicious pages. 

Disclosure: Some of the items in this post have been gifted to me but I wanted to assure you that all opinions and enthusiasm are my own!

September 3, 2015


Oh my, it has been a while since I've shared with you here. I'm sorry. Summer totally got away from me. Between travel, photography work, kids home from school, and a family health crisis, the past couple of months have slipped by. Yesterday, the last of my brood went back to school, I breathed in the empty house, and within minutes was cooking up this post for you. It's really nice to be back!

Earlier this summer when I needed a quick appetizer, I wrapped peach wedges in bacon and tossed them on the grill for my in-laws. Within minutes, everything had been devoured so I figured... this is a recipe worth sharing. With Labor Day coming, I thought this easy, crowd-pleasing concoction could come in handy if you're cooking for friends this long holiday weekend. Bacon is always good and here it hits a pretty darned transcendent note when it's wrapped around peaches and nectarines all warm and juicy from the grill.

I started the summer with a stone fruit recipe and I'm ending the summer with another one - delicious bookends.

serves 4 as an appetizer, or you can double/triple the recipe to feed a crowd
  • 2 medium ripe, but firm peaches and/or nectarines 
  • 8 slices of bacon (I really like the thinly sliced bacon here)
  • olive oil
  • 16 fresh basil leaves
  • aged or reduced balsamic
Preheat a grill to medium heat. Or preheat a cast iron grill pan over medium.

Slice each peach/nectarine into 8 wedges. Cut each slice of bacon in half. Wrap each peach/nectarine slice with a strip of bacon (if you carefully wrap the bacon around the peach and let it stick it to itself, I find that you don't need a toothpick to hold the bacon in place). Lightly brush the outsides of your wrapped peach/bacon with olive oil to prevent sticking to the grill.

Grill wrapped peaches/nectarines for about 5 minutes per side until the bacon is crisped to your liking. If you use a thicker cut bacon, adjust cooking time accordingly.

Top with a fresh basil leaf or chopped basil, and a drizzle of balsamic. Eat right away.

Happy Labor Day!

June 17, 2015


You know that feeling when you bring home a new cookbook and as you flip through the pages, you find yourself bookmarking recipe after recipe? To me that's the first sign of a great cookbook. Confirmation of greatness comes when the recipes deliver delicious results. Well, Yogurt Culture, by my buddy Cheryl Sternman Rule, is that kind of book. There are so many recipes I want to make, I've lost count. And every one I've tried has been simple and fantastic.

Yogurt Culture is about yogurt of course, but it goes way beyond what one might expect of yogurt recipes - yes there are wonderful lassis, smoothies and tatzikis, but with well over 100 recipes, Cheryl tempts us with Smokey Egglant-Tahini Dip, Coriander-Lime Grilled Chicken (our family loved it!) and Regal Creamy Beef Curry, just to name a few.

The first recipe I made from Yogurt Culture was this delectable Honey-Mascarpone Frozen Yogurt and I knew I had to share it with you. Cheryl's clever additions of mascarpone, lemon zest, olive oil, and vanilla bean elevate fro yo to a heavenly level of sophistication, yet the recipe couldn't be much easier to make. Cheryl suggests drizzling a bit of olive oil over the frozen yogurt and I readily second that notion. My favorite concoction is a kind of summer sundae -  Honey-Mascarpone Frozen Yogurt with slivers of donut peach, marcona almonds and that splash of olive oil. I think you'll love it too.

INGREDIENTS from Cheryl Sternman Rule's Yogurt Culture
  • 2 1/2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone
  • scant 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • scrapped seeds from 1/2 plump vanilla bean
  • finely grated zest of one lemon
  • optional for serving: sliced peach or nectarine, salted-roasted marcona almonds, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together yogurt, mascarpone, honey, olive oil, vanilla, and lemon zest.

Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. You can serve the frozen yogurt in this soft serve form, or transfer the frozen mixture to a small baking dish and place it in the freezer to harder further.

When you're ready to serve the frozen yogurt, take it out of the freezer 10-20 minutes before serving to allow the yogurt to soften a bit.

I suggest topping the frozen yogurt with peaches or nectarines, marcona almonds and a light drizzle of olive oil.

 Serves 4
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