Walt Whitman —
I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones.
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photos by gluttonforlife

12.17.14 Down to the Bone (and a Caramels Giveaway)

I fell down a deep well last week. G was away for a few days, it was bitter cold and night seemed to descend before each day had barely begun. A weighty cloak of despair settled over me as I sank into the couch in front of the dying embers of the fire. I questioned my purpose. I listened to the sneering voices that crowded my mind. I grew listless and small. I sent a text to my husband: I feel frightened and disconnected. And then I realized I had not left the confines of our tiny cottage in four days! I forced myself outside, spent nearly an hour chipping away with a shovel at the ice on our front stoop and then made it to yoga for the first time in a week. When I got home, I was a new woman. Light and movement had managed to penetrate that bleak darkness. Dear reader, I was SAD—as in suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. It was no joke, but I am better now and committed to going outside every day, no matter what the weather has up its wicked sleeve. 

I'm also done with nuts, chocolate and sugar for the season. Enough! Those things are particularly bad for my constitution. They bring me down. Instead, I have stocked the fridge with pomegranates and sweet-tart clementines, a gorgeous block of Stilton and some fresh chestnuts. And, as always, nourishing bone broths. Don't you love it when something that has been around for millennia—fasting! kale!—suddenly becomes a trend? So it is with bone broths, which are on everyone's lists for "what's hot in 2015." 

Before we go any further, let’s consider how stock differs from broth, often merely a question of semantics. A general consensus seems to be that stock is a relatively clear, unsalted liquid made by slowly simmering bones and sometimes vegetables, which is then used as the basis for sauces and soups. Broth is a simple soup in itself, more highly seasoned than stock and perhaps containing bits of meat. In most recipes the two can be interchanged, though stock is more neutral, with its salinity, strength and seasoning dependent on how it will be used.


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Quentin Crisp —
Los Angeles is just New York lying down.
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photo courtesy of the line hotel

12.8.14 The Sun, the Moon & Thou

I was born in Los Angeles. In Van Nuys, to be precise, which is in the valley and not very glamorous. Flying towards LAX, you gaze out over the vast urban sprawl punctuated with gawky palms, framed by stately blue hills and filmed with a dull yellow haze and you realize just how unsustainable it all is. Between the fault lines, the fracking, the pollution and the drought, can this desert dream really be long for this world? And yet, once you're on the ground, you are blinded by the sunshine and beguiled by the balmy air and you want it to go on forever. I have a soft spot for the City of Angels, even though it was here that my husband died of cancer and grief invaded my bones. I don't return with the same frequency I once did, but my visits always include sweet reunions with dear friends and family, hikes in the canyons and hills, and as many new food experiences as I can cram in. This time, we started out with a few days at The Line Hotel, a new boutique hotel in Koreatown where we had a room with a view (above).

Before we get into that, though, I'm a bit late announcing the winner of my giveaway copy of Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving. It's Jonathan Epstein! Please email your address to me at gluttonforlife@gmail.com. I can't wait to send you this wonderful gift.
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Buddhist saying —
"Enough" is a feast.
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photo by Christopher Hirsheimer (remaining photos by gluttonforlife)

11.20.14 Yes, I Can, Bacon Jam & a Giveaway

Cathy Barrow is a "can do" sort of person. I first crossed paths with her online in the early days of Food52, where she has lately been featured sharing recipes from her recently published cookbook, Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving. She's been a landscape designer, a retailer, a marketing consultant and the founder of Charcutepalooza—and I'm positive she's brought to each role the enthusiasm, creativity and competence that characterizes her every move. But I think she's going to be wearing this current hat—should I say toque?—from here on out, because if ever anyone had a calling for the kitchen, it's Cathy. We're all really lucky that she decided to create this preserving bible, because it's loaded with ancient ways and modern techniques for putting food up, plus wonderful ideas for using what's in your stocked pantry. Her recipes don't shy away from plenty of salt, fat and sugar, but she'll also teach you to can your own stock, make pickles of all kinds and even get started making cheese at home. Speaking of salt, fat and sugar, I made her bacon jam. Yes, I said "bacon jam."
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Ralph Waldo Emerson —
Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
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photos courtesy of Blooming Dream

11.17.14 Naturally Beautiful

I have known Suzinn Weiss for well over 20 years and she seems to grow more creative and vital as time goes on. Though originally from the east coast, she headed west for college and took to the light and open spaces. After earning an MFA at Parsons in New York, she moved to Portland, Oregon, and there began her love affair with gardening. She turned her artist's eye to designing lush landscapes and it was the amazing fragrances that rose up from these gardens that inspired her latest venture. For Blooming Dream, Suzinn creates small-batch body oils and natural perfumes in oil or alcohol bases, using organic, fair trade and sustainable materials wherever possible. Her wonderful efforts have been rewarded with many fans (of which I am one, of course), as well as a silver medal at the 2014 San Francisco Fragrance Salon for Top Artisan Perfumer and a gold medal at the 2013 Seattle Fragrance Salon for Best Ingredient Combinations. I jokingly call her a "plantaholic," but it is her love and appreciation for the beauty and healing power of the natural world that makes her fragrances so special. If you're looking to support small, artisanal businesses this holiday season (who isn't?), Blooming Dream is an excellent choice.
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Aesop —
Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.
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photos by gluttonforlife

11.14.14 November Hot Links & Thanksgiving Recipes

Nothing says Thanksgiving quite like a sheet pan full of scarlet cranberries, richly spiced and roasted to caramelized perfection. Unless perhaps it's that tidal wave of panic that starts to consume you when you realize hordes of relatives will be descending on your home with all their neuroses and dysfunctions fully primed. I'd be curious to know how many of you are cooking the feast this year and how many will be dining elsewhere. Leave a comment below and let me know, and you just may get a jar of my favorite St. John chutney in time to slather on your slice of (hideously dried-out) turkey breast. For now, I've compiled some tried-&-true recipes to get you started thinking about a menu. As I think you know, I am a steadfast advocate of planning ahead. It decreases stress exponentially and helps you budget your time and energy so you're not utterly depleted when the day is over (or just beginning).
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