The Perfect Pear Spice Cake

My husband declares when I make him something new, "this is the best _________ I have ever had!"  I love this about him. His enthusiastic endorsements of my baking efforts keep me cooking and keep his belly full.  Yesterday with a bowl of ripening baby Bosch pears sitting on the counter, I was determined to make something different, something to celebrate the arrival of autumn. 


The Season I Love

“Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile.”
― William Cullen Bryant
Even though it has been nearly ninety degrees here in California, I cannot resist a celebration of the autumnal equinox.  Here's what I'd love to do this fall: walk with radiant fallen leaves underfoot, sip cider by a crackling fire, take a hay ride, make s’mores with gooey marshmallows, listen for the ding-dong of trick-or-treaters at the door, collect acorns, pick a perfectly imperfect pumpkin, wrap a scarf around my neck and done my worn leather boots, tail-gate with a bowl of chili and savor the season I love most.


Perfectly Pumpkin Pancakes

Well good morning!  You may well be thinking, another pancakes recipe?  Is this the only thing she knows how to cook?  As far as I'm concerned, Saturday mornings must always have pancakes.  Each and every Saturday, I find the perfect seasonal recipe to start the day right and spice up the weekend.


Flowers for Friday

I must have flowers, always, and always.”
― Claude Monet


Au revoir, No Reservations

"The journey is part of the experience - an expression of the seriousness of one's intent. One doesn't take the A train to Mecca.”
― Anthony Bourdain
A Cook's Tour 

Eight years ago, Tony Bourdain began taking us on his adventures to Paris and Penang and all places in between.  Now, he's onto his "Final Tour" of No Reservations and I am feeling a little sad that he won't be letting me vicariously hitch a ride any longer.


Taste of Indian Summer: The BLT

As much as I hope for the crispness of autumn, around here the weather is still stuck in the hot, humidity of summer.  Since we can't yet start cooking up batches of chili or soup, most of our dinners lately have been those that require no oven or stovetop.  


Picnicking the French Way: Dîner en Blanc

I recently stumbled upon a delectable social phenomenon that intrigues me. Twenty-four years ago, "Dîner en Blanc" was launched in Paris.  Of course, the pleasure-loving French developed this most lovely of dining concepts.  
At the very last minute before the event, a secret location is revealed for a picnic en masse.  Then, thousands of food-lovers and wine-lovers and just regular old lovers descend on the picnic spot dressed entirely en blanc, in white. But, my cheries, this is no mere salad of pommes de terre kind of picnic.  Dîner en Blanc has very specific rules to create an ambiance conducive to the most chic and civilized of outdoor dining experiences, one in which even Marie Antoinette would delight.


The Art of Sushi & Jiro Dreams

"Once you decide on your occupation... you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That's the secret of success... and is the key to being regarded honorably."
-Jiro Ono
When I first heard about Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I wondered what a documentary about an octogenarian sushi chef might really offer me?  As I watched the film, I quickly learned Jiro Ono, the eighty-five year old proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, is no mere restauranteur or chef or fishmonger, he is a philosopher and a culinary prophet.  


Coveting: Fall Fashion

Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple...”
-J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

September First!  That means we can start talking about fall now, right?  I can burn some pumpkin candles and watch football and make chili now, right?  Without hesitation, autumn is my favorite time of year to shop...to eat...to frolic in the leaves...to sip warm beverages.  There is something about the slowed pace after a busy summer and the cooling temperatures that triggers my creativity and delights my sweater-loving sensibilities.
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