I have to confess that there’s a big upshot to my camera-flash-less existence, which I bemoaned less than 48 hours ago right here on this site.  I was whining (who, me?!!) about the fact that the practically Alaskan length of daylight going on right now in Chicago, combined with my need to photograph the food that I cook (it’s important!) and my desire to avoid my camera’s less-than-stellar built-in flash, has forced me to cram all my cooking into the hours between sunrise and sunset on Saturday and Sunday.  (Or to take photos in my office, which I’d like to avoid moving forward.)







While this leads to quite a weekend kitchen frenzy, it’s not all bad.  For one thing, I’ve been spending a lot of weekend time doing something that I love (and also, lest you worry, making time for other weekend things I love, like going to dinner with Kevin, wandering around the city on foot, and melting into my favorite nook of the couch).  But, even better, it’s meant that I make a lot of things in advance.  Soup is a natural here: eat on Sunday night and pack into tupperware for lunches throughout the week.   And, last weekend, lasagna fit the bill.  So, on Sunday, I assembled a pan and stuck it in the fridge, so we could bake it off during the week.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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I can think of a long list of lovely things one could do with herself on a fall weekend, such as the one that’s about to begin. Wander around your farmers’ market, which—if you live near me—is about to end for the year (sob!). Head to the nearest pumpkin patch and pick out a couple gourds for your front stoop. Have a picnic, letting rust-colored leaves shower down around you. Watch a football game or seventeen, preferably with a piping hot dish of artichoke dip in front of you and a slowly bubbling pot of chili on the stove. Get up early and take a walk for coffee, bundled in the sweater you haven’t donned since the final bitter days of last winter. Meander through an apple orchard, lazily plucking the fruits from the laden tree limbs.

And all these things are great and all, but have I got an even better weekend plan for you! It involves lasagna, which is just the kind of food—hearty and familiar and flavorful—that these early fall days demand, and this friendly piece of kitchen equipment:

That’s right! The pasta maker is back out. It takes a reverse hibernation, stashed away in the cool cupboards throughout the sweltering summer, while the rest of us are out and about and too busy and too hot to even think of eating, let alone making, homemade pasta. But, once September’s chill arrives, the pasta maker wakes from its summer slumber.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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A Second Chance

August 26, 2008

We’ve all got recipes that are inextricably bound to cherished memories or experiences. One, it seems, can hardly exist without the other. For me, Thanksgiving is just not right without my grandmother’s Thanksgiving stuffing. Similarly, nothing signals autumn like a burbling pot of chili on the stove. And I wrote not long ago how connected this recipe will always be to my wedding day and, now, my anniversaries. But the flip side of all this warm fuzziness is that there are also some recipes that are associated with memories perhaps best not remembered. A dinner party gone awry, for instance, or the meal you were tucking into when a great storm blew through. Today’s recipe holds the inauspicious status as one of these kinds of recipes.

When we lived in D.C., I made this pasta salad quite a bit. It’s a twist on a Michael Chiarello recipe and it’s also an excellent excuse to salami (which is a good thing, because Kevin needs absolutely no excuse to eat cured meats and I need some convincing, especially after reading Heat, which goes into some detail about the butcher’s craft). In the summers, we’d frequently make a big batch over the weekend and have it for lunch throughout the week, packed into tupperware containers and often eaten together in a park near our offices and across the street from the White House. I also remember packing it into a cooler for a day trip to the Shenandoah and for a longer road trip up the East Coast and into New England. All these memories, of course, are fine and good. But then

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Bar Food

June 2, 2008

At the risk of sounding like someone completely unfit to practice law, it kind of hit me on Saturday just how overwhelming this whole Bar Exam business is going to be. For one thing, I had a Bar Review class on a Saturday morning. The gall. And during the class, we spent exactly one hour “learning” a topic that I just spent an entire semester learning. In other words, there’s a lot to cover in a short amount of time and, well, it all felt a little daunting on Saturday.

So, when Kevin left for the Cubs game that day, I was all too happy to hole up with my books for the afternoon. By the time I emerged, my brain felt a bit swollen and my stomach was rumbling louder than the El train outside our back windows. Not feeling much like heading to the store, I took a gander in the fridge and pantry and threw together a quick pasta.

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Sad to See it Go

March 18, 2008


After all my whining about spring-this and summer-that last week, I suppose it’s only predictable that I’m now feeling quite sad that winter is slipping away. Cozy sweaters, roaring fires, steamy bowls of oatmeal, freshly fallen snow. I love all these things and will be sad to see them go. And I haven’t even started in on the cold-weathered food I will miss.







There are still quite a few winter recipes on my to do list. Even though I’m itching to use fresh produce and lighter, brighter flavors, I’m not so sure I’m ready to give up roasting, stewing, smothering or braising. So, I’ve decided to embrace the last stubborn days of winter. I will eat root vegetables, I will make as many pots of soup as possible and, by god, I will stuff things with cheese.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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