Cottage 790 xxx
house & garden photos by george billard; food photos by gluttonforlife

6.17.14 Outside In

This is summer upstate: Tiny hummingbirds perched on the branch of the redbud tree, their scarlet throats glistening in the morning sun. Thick hops vines twining up the barn. Rising early to the impossibly loud birdsong and air so fresh it's like a cool hand on a fevered brow. Lazy dinners in the screened-in porch, as the sky darkens and the fireflies wink. The hot thrill of bear sightings. Ticks, ticks, everywhere. The sound of ice in the cocktail shaker announcing the end of the workday. Cold cherries. Shades of green so various the mind boggles. Whole fish on the grill. Canoe trips across the reservoir to the waterfall. Hands plunged into the damp earth. Foraging for wild berries. Memories of summers past—camp, swimming holes, fresh corn, cookouts, family picnics. Nostalgia, penetrating and bittersweet. Let me take you down...
Unsheathed 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.23.14 Armed & Dangerous (& January Hot Links)

I know you're probably expecting more posts about the Oaxaca trip, and I promise those are forthcoming, but my re-entry has been a little wobbly so I'm trusting you'll bear with me. Yesterday was my birthday and the evening before I hosted a "suprise" dinner party that was the final celebration of G turning 50 earlier this month. I use the quotation marks because evidently I am not as sneaky and clever as I thought. Anyway, it was a fantastic multi-course meal at Momofuku Ssam Bar that culminated with beautifully tender and crisply lacquered rotisserie ducks presented with Bibb lettuce, scallion pancakes and all the trimmings. (Incidentally, if you live in New York, the "large format" dinners that Momofuku offers are a great value and a marvelous way to dine with a big group.)

My own birthday celebration was a bit quieter, though I was inundated with love and good wishes (especially on Facebook - one great reason to join) and I was treated to a delicious lunch at the new Gotham West Market. More on that later, as well as details on my favorite present, featured above, and an assortment of links for you to explore and enjoy.
Tuna 790 xxx
photos by george billard

12.27.13 Auld Lang Syne

Oh, the feasting! There is nothing like gathering with friends over an elaborate meal to make spirits soar, especially as the years pass, the relationships deepen and the tradition solidifies. Christmas Eve at Beaver Dam is now something to look forward to every year. The house, with its incredibly high ceilings, skillfully composed lighting and ever-changing array of eclectic furnishings and artwork, is meant for parties and really adds to the festive mood. (Speaking of adding to the festive mood, Susan K, you are the winner of the beautiful caviar spoons! Please send your address to me at gluttonforlifegmail.com. The Grand Holiday Gift Extravaganza is now officially over for the season.) This year, we again created a menu of multiple small-plates courses, a la minute cooking that we enjoy eating standing together around the kitchen island, very informal and friendly. This time, we got inspired by the idea of the Feast of the Seven Fishes...except we had a ham. Tomo started things off with perfect little rounds of toast topped with tuna tartare.
Caviar 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

12.24.13 Deck the Halls (& the Final Giveaway)

And so we've come to the final installment of the Glutton for Life Grand Holiday Gift Extravaganza. There were nesting bowls; there were caramels; there was the Shizzle with its own salt cellar; there was a collection of 7 cookbooks; there were homemade preserves, which, by the way, are going to Nikki! (Please send your mailing address to gluttonforlife@gmail.com, Nikki, so I can get these jars out to you asap.) And now, there are these very beautiful spoons, handcrafted in mother-of-pearl with carved silver accents, that are just the thing to spoon up a little caviar. This time it's a very quick turnaround, so if you'd like to be in the running to win these, just leave a comment below by midnight on 12/26 telling me how you plan to ring in 2014. I'll announce the winner in my last post of the year on the 27th. With the solstice behind us, the countdown to the year's end feels imminent and time is of the essence.
Caramels 790 xxx
photo by gluttonforlife

12.9.13 Wrap It Up (and a Caramel Giveaway!)

First of all, to those of you who left comments on my last post, thank you so very much for sharing your wonderful memories and appreciation of your most treasured gifts. I was really touched and heartened to see that the ones that truly matter are those that come from the heart, that are carefully considered and laden with emotional significance. (Through random selection, the winner of the set of Mirena Kim nesting bowls is Janet Prince! Janet, please email me your mailing address at gluttonforlife@gmail.com.)

This week, there will be another two giveaways, starting with this jar of my famous sea salt caramels in two flavors, very voluptuous vanilla and sultry chocolate-chile, the latter made with my favorite bittersweet chocolate from the awesome Askinosie. The gorgeous new packaging is the result of my collaboration with the groovy design team at Mother. Trust me, you want to win. Next year, these may be for sale in the pop-up shop, but this year, here's your only chance. Just leave a comment by midnight on Wednesday telling me your favorite candy from childhood. And now, read on for this year's gift guide.
Bowls 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

12.4.13 My Gift to You

Dearest ones, I'm afraid I've been neglecting you, but it's only so I can take care of myself, so I'm pretty sure you approve. At this time of year, I am usually a bundle of nerves (discreetly packaged under a cool exterior) as I quietly curse myself for biting off more than I can chew. But this year, this year of health coaching and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, I achieved something resembling balance. Sometimes I am still very uncomfortable accomplishing less, but I am sitting still for that and letting it happen. And I feel better. I do. One thing I had to relinquish this year was the pop-up shop on my blog. (Sob.) I developed some very beautiful things, including a whole line of ceramics with my beloved and talented friend Mirena Kim, who is starting to get some of the attention she deserves. I also worked with spice wizard Lior Lev Sercarz on a custom blend just for Glutton for Life. But there's always next year, right? And, in the meantime, I'm going to be giving away some very choice items every week between now and Christmas. That makes this a great time to subscribe, if you haven't already, so you'll get an email alert when a new post goes up. (Sign up next to the little heart at the top of the page.)
Milkweed 790 xxx
photos by george billard

11.27.13 Thanks & Links

Gratitude is one of the many ways we can lift ourselves up. In my quest for greater inner peace, I have come upon this notion of giving thanks regularly and often. As the German theologian and mystic Meister Echkart says, "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." So on a daily basis I try to say thanks for all the things I might otherwise take for granted: the clean air I breathe and the lungs that make it possible; the time to write and the hands with which I do it...start anywhere, the list is endless. I used to catalogue everything I had to do in a day first thing every morning. Sometimes it led to excitement, others to panic and despair. But it never brought me the same comfort and joy as when I lie in bed for a few moments upon waking and allow my mind to roam over all the blessings in my life. In this way, every day becomes Thanksgiving, at least for a little while.
Bee 790 xxx
iphone photos by gluttonforlife

9.20.13 September Hot Links

Here comes the fall equinox. It's actually slated for the 22nd this year. The harvest moon rose high in the sky last night, an enormous silver orb, the coin of the realm. (Listening to Neil Young right this very minute.) There's a snap in the air and the mornings are dark and cold. It's soooo tempting to roll over, hunker down into the luxurious warmth of the linen sheets and go back to sleep for another hour or two, isn't it? I love my cup of warm milk in the mornings now. I usually steep roasted soba tea in it, or warming chai spices. I use low-heat-pasteurized whole milk from our local dairy, but I'm thinking it may be time to pop over the border to Pennsylvania where raw milk is legal and available. 

I love this time of year. The change is so palpable. The earth seems to exhale a long sigh as it gives over to the new season, slowly relinquishing the bounty and beauty of summer, the leaves burning bright, the waning light. Take it all in. Walk outside. Feel the last of that yellow sun on your face. Make some soup. Get your boots out.
Crab 790 xxx
iphotos by gluttonforlife

9.4.13 Back to the Future

September has arrived and with it that bittersweet feeling full of nostalgia for the sweetness of summer, charged with anticipation for the fresh start that is fall. How I've missed you! This post will probably be a bit longer than usual because, in my month off, I have stored up so much to tell you.

I had many plans for the month of August, a long list of projects and goals. I wanted to make natural dyes. I was going to send out a survey to my readers. I had every intention of uploading all the content for the launch of my redesigned professional website. And guess what I did? None of that. Instead, I coped with having 5 herpes outbreaks in 6 weeks: a glaring sign from my body that all is not right. But your life is so perfect! you say. Country living, fresh food, walks in the woods—what could possibly be wrong? Actually, I am grateful for this wakeup call. I have clearly been pushing myself too hard, not taking the time to nurture myself and not really listening to my inner voice. You know the one. It tells us when we have reached our limit, when it is time for change.
Spoons1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.24.13 Spoon Fed

Ten years ago, I made the journey upstate to Sullivan County for the first time. I was visiting my good friend Scott at his beautiful off-the-grid cabin. I had just moved back from Los Angeles, still shell-shocked from the death of my husband, and the area had a profound effect on me. The winding mountain roads and tall pines reconnected me to my childhood in Santa Cruz, and the sights and sounds of nature soothed me. Scott, an absurdly talented stylist and designer, with a uniquely rich and eclectic sensibility, had opened a little roadside boutique where he was selling exactly what you would want in your country cabin: linen blankets, cedar-scented candles, fresh peach pie, local goat cheese, striped hammocks, handmade spoons. So, naturally, I went shopping, and the beautiful spoons and tongs I picked up then have literally served me well.