A little something new

As of last night, we have a working oven.

To reward my hard-working husband, who brought this glorious moment to fruition, I am going to crack open a new cookbook.  I bought it because the Barefoot Contessa said that it was her favorite new cookbook. In the kitchen, I do what she says.  Success inevitably follows.

Huckleberry Cafe is a beloved Los Angeles hotspot, and the new Huckleberry cookbook from owner Zoe Nathan gives up the goods. It’s all fruit-filled crumbles and egg-topped melanges and brioches rolled around oozing blueberries.

Every page looks utterly diabolical. I cannot wait.

I also now require a trip to the Santa Monica bakery itself — a favorite of Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner, to boot.

I believe I am going to start with the Blueberry Cornmeal Cake, reputed to be one of Huckleberry Cafe’s best-sellers. Look at this thing.

Recipe here.

And then next week we can discuss the diet and exercise program I will begin, because this stress-eating comfort-food business is going to make for an unhappy summer.

But first, cake.


By |2015-02-19T07:03:58-07:00February 19th, 2015|Recipes|0 Comments

Lemon Yogurt Cake of Doom

I suspect that the universal adoration of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, has something to do with her gift for making  us all feel like everything is going to be OK. These are the lessons of reading her cookbooks and watching her show: if you roast a chicken for your husband every Friday, the weekend will contain joy.  If you have lemon cake waiting in your freezer, you can handle unexpected guests and unexpected things. The Barefoot Contessa calms me.

And I now have a freezer full of lemon-yogurt cake, so bring it on, world.


This is the recipe. Do not depart. It’s the best lemon cake imaginable. Better than Starbucks lemon loaf, for sure.


Yes, you need all of this lemon zest. It tastes like sunshine and is always my favorite thing to add to anything in the kitchen.




#Prettytrash. Send the lemon rinds down your disposal to clean it and fragrance the house.


One recipe departure: poke holes all over your cake to help it better absorb the lemon syrup. Not the icing — the syrup. Yes, there’s a reason this is so moist.



I’m ready.

And speaking of lemons, have you tried my lemon crepes? Or lemon bars? This lemon cake is also fantastic — another Barefoot Contessa iteration, sans yogurt. I like the yogurt cake even more.

By |2013-05-15T05:29:40-07:00May 15th, 2013|Recipes|1 Comment

I got mail from the Barefoot Contessa

Big, swoonish, tried-to-play-it-cool-and-bombed moment: In September, I interviewed Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. I drooled all over her through the phone, sent her Hatch chiles, exchanged emails with her, and completely lost my mind. She’s the patron saint of my kitchen, and she’s also in town to sign her new cookbook in Scottsdale tomorrow (Wednesday). You can read my story about our chat right here. And you’ll want to, because she divulges the secret to a happy marriage, which is so small, and so right, that I’m emulating my relationship AND my dinners after her now. I know. It’s a lot.

Maybe you’d need Justin Timberlake to make your brain turn to mush, or LeBron James, or the Countess on Real Housewives. (Why, people, why?) But I lost my head over Ina.

During our chat, we talked about furniture and brownies and that dishy hunk T.R. who is always on her show. (He let me be his friend on Facebook. Told you. I’m obsessed.) Anyway, we were having a great time. And I was giggling like a fool. And she told me I was the most fun interview in years, and we got to talking about Arizona, and Arizona ingredients. It was Hatch chile season, and I was crazy for them, and asked her if she’d ever tried them. She hadn’t, so I said I’d send some.

“Really?” she said. “Would you?”

“YES!” I squealed (probably).

She said she’d cook with them — put them in cornbread, maybe — and a fantasy took hold. I thought of an exclusive Ina chile recipe for the Republic. Imagine — what a coup! I thought of Hatch chiles in her next cookbook. And I thought of myself,  in her Hamptons kitchen, helping her make green chile soup. Fantasies aside, sending Ina Arizona ingredients to try would make for an excellent newspaper story.

And here’s how it all went down: it took me f-o-r-e-v-e-r to find mild chiles for Ina. When I finally did find them, it took me forever to figure out how to send them. I wrapped them in burlap and black and white striped ribbon. I bought ice packs. I sent two dozen tortillas from Verde to go with.

And by the time they got there, she was on book tour, on the Today show, filming her Food Network series, and there wasn’t enough time for my grand plan. Or cornbread. Or even a taste.

But she did send me this:

I had to act cool in the newsroom when I saw that Hamptons address in my mailbox, when I tore open the envelope and saw the elegant paper and orange lining. I had to act, you know, like an unbiased reporter.

It was really hard.

(If you want to meet her at Sur la Table in Scottsdale tomorrow, details here.)

By |2010-11-09T12:25:28-07:00November 9th, 2010|Stories|2 Comments


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