In the past month, I’ve made this recipe for creamy one-pot pasta with leeks no less than five times; it hails from the kitchen of Ashley Rodriguez, the voice behind Not Without Salt, and is nothing short of wonderful and easy. 
Part cookbook, part social and cultural history” and Bloomsbury, this is the kind of book I’d like to write myself one day.
A version of this cauliflower has been making its rounds on the internet for the past few months and seems like an ideal veggie centerpiece. It’s on my must-try-and-soon list.
Speaking of veggies, for those of us drowning in carrots thanks to CSA boxes and the like, this salad may sound like a fair amount of work, but also an inviting way–avocado, sour cream!–of getting your daily/weekly/monthly fix of beta-carotene. 
I don’t always feel that I’ve got a good palate for wine tasting (I know what I like, but never taste the “essence of sour cherries with vanilla and spices” that the bottle describes), but the amazingly sweet and fragrant wine–Viansa Aleatico with rose, strawberry and lychee–that I tried on a recent trip to Sonoma made me question this belief.
For those of you interested in what’s going on at the jam blog (the above photo is from my Republic of Jam tasting), I recently published an interview with jam master Lynnette Shaw of Republic of Jams over there. We talked Oregon, berry history and how her company got started; it’s an inspiring read!
I’m always linking to Diana Henry, but that’s because I like how she writes about food with a literary sensibility; this piece, which described her lifelong love affair with cookbooks, reminds me that sometimes it’s best to stick with the classics. I suppose this is why I’ve lately been having my own love affair with Jane Grigson, which was partly fueled by the sound of this soup and these dumplings
For the adventurous bakers out there, familiarize yourselves with Basque Cake and discover what cake batter plus pastry cream can do.
Finally, a firsthand look at the making of a cookbook with lovely shots of Paris for those of us with spring fever and eternal wanderlust. 
I’ll be back soon with tales of Tahoe and Greek Easter…and hopefully a recipe since I’ve been out of the kitchen for too long. 

5 thoughts on “April Inspiration

  1. I want to frame your jam testing photo — it's beautiful! And I'm captivated by the genius pastry cream idea (which totally makes sense, considering the ingredients of pastry cream). Thank you for passing along your inspiration — it's contagious!

  2. Thank you, Moriah! That's really sweet of you to say; I think this jam photo was definitely the best of the set…It can get really bright in my kitchen and I feel like those pictures were hard to take because of the lighting (although I would never complain about having natural light; my old apartment was nice, but definitely on the dark side).

    And I agree that the pastry cream idea is genius. Now I just need to find time to execute this masterpiece of Basque baking. If you take the plunge before me, please let me know the results! 🙂

  3. Where was Basque Cake my entire life? And where were YOU – why didn't I discover you earlier! I have absolutely no time to bake anything lately owing to the fact that I'm moving soon and every conceivable surface in my house is covered with stuff that will eventually go into boxes … the sight of my currently cluttered kitchen counter turns me into a lunatic and I have to exit immediately. . but all this talk of chocolate baklavas and pastry-cream-related desserts is now driving me nuts. Maybe this is all the motivation I needed to hurry up and get all of that done so I can bake again!

  4. You send like a woman after my own heart. I've been complaining for the past few weeks that our apartment is a disaster zone (it's not like we're in the midst of a move or anything–that is its own kind of chaos, but it's the clutter of daily life and my obsession with books that makes me feel like we're losing every available surface!) and I don't feel like I can really bake until this is taken care of (I'm one of those weird people who believes that a kitchen must be clean before I can dirty it again). In any case, I hope that things settle down soon for both of us (and that your move goes smoothly) and that we'll both find a time to bake Basque Cake in the near, rather than the distant, future.

    I'm glad you found me; truly, thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  5. Yup, it has to be clean or I can't cook in there. I'll have you know I spent the morning clearing everything off the kitchen counter (only to dump it elsewhere) … and I'm ready for whatever comes next!

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