a little mess guaranteed

Chocolate Tahini Granola


I have a secret to share with you: I generally avoid using any refined fat in my food. It’s a secret that the cook part of me is ashamed to admit, because it goes against one of the most trusted restaurant-isms that fat = flavor. The health-fanatic part of me, on the other hand, abhors the nutrient dead zone of calorie-dense, artery-clogging oil or butter. Meanwhile, the liberal arts college student part of me recognizes that I have placed a health halo over low and even “no-fat” foods and that our culture has absolutely no clue what is actually healthy or not.


Brown Butter Strawberry Cornmeal Pancakes with Strawberry Basil Sauce


I have this one friend who I may or may not have mentioned before, and she has this habit of making fun of me for my “obsession” with brown butter. Listen, I have made, like, one other recipe that even uses it (the link is to an old recipe video I made for brown butter chocolate chip cookies, by the way. Would recommend). I have no such obsession, but rather a respect, even a sort of reverence for the chemical reaction that turns your standard Land O’Lakes into something nutty, toffee-esque, and so unbelievably delicious.


Miso Butternut Squash Soup with Balsamic Mushrooms and Crispy Sage


I should have known better. I’ve lived my entire life in Michigan, the state of weather extremes, but I allowed myself to be fooled, to be lulled into a false sense of complacency that perhaps autumn wouldn’t be so cold and I had nothing to fear of the upcoming colder months. These past few weeks have been uncharacteristically warm for Michigan falls, and I absolutely lived for it. I broke out the shorts I had only just put away for the season, traded in my beanie for my characteristic semi-cute half-pony, and got to enjoy the breeze of warm air and dust on my sandal-clad feet.

As I gleefully went about my life in this seemingly perpetual summer, I soon started to notice worrying signs: pumpkins and gourds suddenly appearing at every supermarket, hot apple cider beginning to dot the menus of my favorite coffee shops, and the rather mysterious presence of technicolor leaves floating through the air.


Matcha Green Tea Macarons with Lavender White Chocolate Ganache


It started with an ingredient, and then a flavor, and then became a perfect excuse to finally use my untouched cast iron Japanese teapot and matching teacups. Green tea, or more precisely, matcha green tea powder, possibly with something floral? Lavender, maybe. Lavender and white chocolate. Matcha-something with lavender and white chocolate, all served with a steaming pot of green tea in my gorgeous little teapot. There were so many possibilities with those components — matcha chiffon cake, green tea ice cream, matcha lavender lattes… I could go on. So naturally, I decided to make macarons, one of the most notoriously finicky pastries. The one known for flopping if the humidity isn’t right, or if your voice is too loud and you clap your hands four times instead of three.


White Chocolate Raspberry Buckwheat Waffles


I like to think that there are some things that are left sacred in the kitchen: Nestle Tollhouse cookies, Pillsbury crescent rolls, any apple pie – all so perfect in their own right, why mar them with trendy vadouvan (please, just call it curry powder) or flakes of Maldon sea salt? I can’t really imagine anything more sacred to the “classic” American than pancakes or waffles on a weekend morning. The staunch traditionalist might even use Bisquick, so as to preserve that iconic flavor that’s not at all like homemade but induces the same nostalgia as the eerily consistent smell of every McDonald’s.

I’m not here to engage with the pancake vs. waffle debate, though I could probably write a dissertation on that. Rather, I’m here to be that pretentious hipster that likes to bastardize all that’s pure – in this case, waffles.