Pinch

I am not a pastry chef. I just realized this recently. I was a pastry chef from 1996 to mid-2007 when I lost the love for layered cakes. Without the love there’s no point to cooking – you enter into without abandon or not at all. I can’t take credit for that – I read it in a fortune cookie.

I get really excited about food. I’m usually wondering where my next meal is coming from (with all due respect for those who really are) and if there’s any way to expedite its advent.

Food I serve my family has to look good, taste good, and be healthy. It also has to be professional.It has to be comparable to what I could eat at my neighborhood café. It has to be food I’d be proud to serve to guests. Lastly, it has to be possible because there are too many other important things that require my time; meals requiring tons of prep work don’t get made in my house anymore.

I am fortunate to have lived in some amazing cities and towns.The present finds me living and cooking for family and friends in Chicago.

Can Your Sweet Tooth be Retrained?

There were two big sugar events this week: first, a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough was produced. Our practice concerning cookies is ordered around the empirical truth that cookies are only good when fresh baked (further chronicled here). We make dough and roll it into logs ....more

Not Quite Winging It

I was a terrible waitress. It's due to the same reasons why I'd have made a terrible line cook: I don't work well under pressure. I like to show up early and methodically work through my list ....more

On Life, Lemons, and Limoncello

What should one expect when expecting a lemon? Do I need to find a citrus doula and book a lake view suite at Prentice?I've had a lemon tree for four or five years, and my first fruit is highly anticipated. The tree has produced lots of flowers over the years but the little fruits were weak, jumping from the branch like lemmings when touched by even the gentlest breeze ....more

Tinking, Baking, Candy Making

I don't want to spoil any surprises, so I can't reveal much about what's coming out of the Pinch kitchen this holiday season. I haven't made too many cookies yet - just a batch of apricot Rugelach. I've had a hankering for those Coconut Macaroons and suspect those will get turned out soon ....more

Why Your Pie Crust Shrunk

Thanksgiving is nigh and pie making questions have begun trickling in. I've posted before on pie crusts, focusing on the baking. Most pie crusts are baked twice ....more

My Thai Roast Chicken and Coconut Rice, and Some Restaurant Recommendations

First things first: a shout out to a few new-to-me restaurants. The first is in spit-wad distance of the Pinch kitchen:...more

Scrumptious Homemade Caramel Apples

I am a big fan of caramel. As a kid I had a love-hate relationship with Wrapples, the discs of caramel that are meant to be wrapped around your apple. They're really hard to get right, and the caramel is not even all that good ....more

Salsa You'll Want to Put on Everything

There's a simple reason why it's taken me so long to photograph my new favorite salsa: it's too delicious. It's gone before I can set up a good photo. It's a quick recipe, so it gets made while prepping dinner ....more

It's Baaack: The best seasonal addition to your morning coffee

Reprinted from the Pinch archives Many a coffee purist would shudder the thought of adding eggnog to coffee, but not this one. I've loved the eggnog latte for years, since my days frequenting Monorail Espresso in the nation's espresso capital. No Portland, not you ....more

On the Cutting of Lettuce (and a new Caesar salad)

Opinions abound on the cutting of lettuce, both in the prep kitchen and at the dining table. ...more