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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Leonardo da Vinci —
While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.
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photos by gluttonforlife

11.5.14 Age of Enlightenment

First things first: Thank you all for commenting on my last post. It's wonderful to see you all come out of the woodwork! The winner of Amy Chaplin's At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well is "eb" (Elisabeth Bentz). Congratulations! Please send your mailing address to me at gluttonforlife at gmail dot com. I can't wait for you to start cooking from this beautiful book!

With the change of season, my thoughts inevitably turn to death and dying. What? you cry. How maudlin! And I can't deny that it's with a slightly melancholy turn of mind that I watch the garden wither and decay, for this is such an evocative reminder of the passage of time. Oh, spring will come again—the rhubarb will poke its gnarled pinkness up from the cold ground and the lilacs will bloom in a purple haze—but my own spring's awakening happened long ago and my winter years are soon upon me. Reading this piece by the wonderfully wise Dani Shapiro, I was comforted to know that I am not alone in wanting to acknowledge the inevitable, and to let that open me up to appreciating the moment even more. It's so important to embrace all of life's experiences. If we bury our heads in the sand and allow ourselves to by ruled by fear, who knows what we might miss out on?
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Marcel Proust —
Illness is the most heeded of doctors: to goodness and wisdom we only make promises; pain we obey.
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photos by gluttonforlife

10.29.14 Kindred Kitchens & a Cookbook Giveaway

I cook a lot and I own a vast number of cookbooks but, paradoxically, I don't cook from them very often. Mostly, they serve as inspiration for new ingredients, new techniques, new flavor combinations. There are exceptions, of course. Anything to do with baking and I need a recipe. Everything I know about Southeast Asian cuisine, I learned from Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, and I have cooked my way through Suzanne Goin's entirely wonderful Sunday Suppers at Lucques. Come fall, Braise by Daniel Boulud is always at hand, as is Tadashi Ono's invaluable Japanese Hot Pots. Nourishing Traditions is a touchstone. These favorites are now dog-eared and annotated, their pages stained with drips and spatters. But it's not so often that a new cookbook becomes part of my weekly repertoire, much less captures my heart. And yet, less than a month after it arrived in the mail, Amy Chaplin's At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well has managed to do both. Read on for the juicy details and a chance to win your very own copy.


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