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photos by gluttonforlife

1.27.15 Squash Your Cravings

I turned 52 last week. It seems like only yesterday I was confronting the milestone that is turning 50. As much as I believe that age is just a number—as opposed to something that defines us, inside or out—it can feel a bit alarming when the clichés become increasingly relevant. When I texted a friend recently to ask him how his photo shoot was going and he wrote back complaining about "the concrete floors," I had to chuckle. Until being out snowshoeing for hours in the freezing cold resulted in my knee suffering from what I think might be a little bursitis. Tell me that word doesn't conjure up your grandmother. How do I weather the changes? With a sense of humor, a healthy dose of denial and a stockpile of resilience. Which is not to say I don't occasionally stare aghast at the loosening skin on my neck. But I think Nora Ephron covered all that more than adequately and so I'd rather talk to you about another thing I stockpile: winter squash.

a short film by gluttonforlife

1.20.15 Get Your Goat (& a short film by GFL TV)

I'm thrilled to debut a short film we made about goats. I hope it inspires you to learn more about these delightful creatures and to enjoy them in the fields and on your plate—remembering that, if you like goat cheese and goat's milk yogurt, you contribute to a more sustanainable system by eating goat's meat, too.


Here are a few recipes for cooking with goat's milk, cheese and meat:

Cajeta (Goat's Milk Caramel)

Phyllo Triangles with Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese

Birria Jocotepec (Mexican-Style Braised Goat)

Tagged — Mexico, video, GFL TV, birria, goat
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photos by gluttonforlife

1.12.15 Resolve

My resolve to not eat chocolate and sweets has stemmed largely from an awareness that my body seems to be showing signs of irritation and inflammation. Since I started on a protocol of Chinese herbs about 5 months ago, prescribed for my diagnosis of "damp-heat in the liver," my chronic herpes and gallbladder issues have happily been steadily resolving. But a couple of months ago, I began to get persistent outbreaks—small red pimples and a few deeper cysts—around my mouth, chin and jawline. This is extremely rare for me as I take painstaking care of my skin, so I found it puzzling and upsetting. I still do. I cannot seem to pinpoint the cause or solution, but I have begun eliminating things from my diet—chocolate, nuts, sugar, alcohol, dairy and now citrus—and I'm treating the area with my homemade calendula oil, which does seem to calm things down. I'm sipping bone broth every morning, trying to increase my water intake, getting plenty of sleep and exercising more. But what about that chocolate cake? you ask politely. Yes, well, read on...

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photos by gluttonforlife

1.6.15 Fresh Start

Happy New Year! On this day of Epiphany, the holidays are finally concluded with a resounding oomph. The weeks of chocolates, cookies, cakes, cheese, candies and Champagne (why do they all start with "C"?!) being relentlessly thrust upon us from all sides are finally over. I did my best to resist, but it's difficult not to buckle in the face of tradition. Who doesn't like a cup of eggnog on Christmas morning? Or a handful of sea salt caramels? Or a celebratory cocktail? Or a rich and complicated dessert to end a festive meal? I am not impervious to any of these charms, but the older I get, the more my body rejects them. I consulted a few different sources online and have determined that, in Ayurvedic terms, I have an excess of Kapha at the moment (you can read about the doshas here). So I have cut out all sugar and dairy, and am also avoiding fermented foods and soy. Even after just a week of this, I am feeling much better—more energetic, more optimistic, more rested. I have been making bone broths with fresh ginger juice and freshly grated turmeric stirred in; steaming bowls of kichari with a squeeze of fresh lemon; and lots of vegetables, roasted and steamed. For a treat, and to make the most of all the gorgeous winter citrus in my fridge, I devised an update of the Orange Julius that I think improves upon the original.

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photos by gluttonforlife

12.29.15 Get Lucky

Eat poor that day, eat rich the rest of the year. Rice for riches and peas for peace. So goes the saying about Hoppin’ John, the classic Low Country dish of rice and peas that’s a New Year’s day tradition in the South. Consuming a plateful is thought to guarantee a prosperous year filled with good fortune. The peas symbolize coins and the greens served on the side—usually collards—recall good old dollar bills. Add cornbread and you’ve got gold. Culinary gold, anyway.

As much as I cling to the idea of a random universe, I'm actually pretty superstitious. I've lived my life in fear of tempting the Fates: Clotho, who spins the thread of life; Lachesis, who chooses one's lot in life and measures how long it will be; and Atropos, who with her shears cuts the thread of life. Like some old gypsy woman, I avoid calling attention to my good fortune or the things I covet most because I dread attracting the evil eye. I remember my mother telling me about a moment she had, an ordinary Northern California moment of driving the car along a sunny road, when she was seized with the notion that her life was so wonderful—perfect, really—and then felt a chill pass over her heart as she realized this must be too good to be true. Shortly thereafter, my father's stomach cancer announced itself and my mother's own battle with a benign tumor on her spine kicked into high gear.

I masquerade as a rational being, but deep within I harbor superstitions worthy of a medieval sorceress. I hold my breath and lift my feet when we drive over railroad tracks. I say "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit" first thing on the first of every month. Because if there is such a thing as luck, I want some. What directs your hand to that winning ticket? Guides you into the path of your soulmate? Chance, fate, destiny, luck...I'll do whatever I can to tip the scale in my favor, won't you? So join me in embracing this bit of Southern lore on January 1st. C'mon, get lucky.

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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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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 I can't wait to send you this wonderful gift.
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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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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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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.