I believe in the miracle of kind, unexpected gestures — to forge relationships, to build community, to create good will. Especially satisfying are those made with our two hands.
This simple granola recipe is a great excuse to not only flood the kitchen with the sweet aromas of banana bread, a hint of spice amid toasty oats + walnuts, but also to extend a special + nourishing act of kindness. Plan to at least double the batch.
Each time I open the refrigerator door, a substantial bag of miso stares me down. Even being a frequent guest at meals in our kitchen, the umami-rich soybean paste needs only smidgens to get its deeply savory point across. A teaspoon here, tablespoon there barely adds up, and I couldn’t bear the thought of watching it languish.
Little did we know that my proclivity for preservation would yield a recipe to make miso even more interesting.
Cold weather I can do. Cold weather partnered with an unrelenting dampness — this pervasive chill that creeps in through thin walls and windows of a home not designed to withstand it, bee-lining its way to the very core of my bones — leaves me helpless. And I’ve shivered every minute of it.
Not that I’m being dramatic, but it is still winter, and this business of really warming one’s self is a job for soup.
Like this creamy cauliflower number topped with oven-charred masala-spiced florets.
Cooking + mashing red-skinned apples makes the prettiest sauce. Gently blushing pink, there’s something very heartening about it. Je vois la vie en rose.
Perhaps unsurprising then to learn that apples are actually part of the rose family, Rosaceae. And while they may be common by today’s standards, the ancient Greeks considered apples symbols of beauty, intertwining the shapely fruits with matters of love. To wit: An apple caught by one lover from another signified the acceptance of a marriage proposal.
Food prepared and shared with others is among the most powerful bonding methods we humans have. And for me, risotto has a special place permanently tattooed onto my heart, connecting to memorable moments throughout my adult life.
+ Somewhere between poring over mountains of thesis research + the cooking/baking/espresso drinking/solitary rambles through southwest Minneapolis that otherwise kept my grad school self occupied/sane, an online ping from a friend of friends in high school. The note, in response to a photo of the previous night’s triumphant first risotto, challenged me to a long-distance culinary throwdown. My drawn-out reply was returned in kind, and so it all began.
+ Strolling along the Gulf Coast at daybreak, me snapping photos of shorebirds as an angry ocean roared and the salmon-hued sun rose up from behind billowy clouds. Down on one sandy knee he caught me by surprise, a dainty ring in hand, making me his fiancée. The best surprise, to which we popped a bottle of bubbles for drinking + adding to a crispy prosciutto-topped asparagus risotto.
+ Calm, pleasantly warm and sunny, a few feathery wisps of clouds leading the way down a grassy aisle in the rolling countryside on a fifteen-year Wisconsin day — our wedding. The reception held in a century barn a mix of rustic + elegant, with pumpkins, wheat, cornstalks and gourds as decorations; wine bottled and labeled by his aunt and uncle; the meal, threedifferentrisottos, prepared in front by our groomsmen, dads, uncles + new brothers-in-law as speeches were made, more bubbly was toasted, a new married life beginning.
From the first conversation I knew he was something special, and had a feeling we’d be together, making risotto — this, the fateful recipe — for many years to come.