a little mess guaranteed

An Unusually Good Hodgepodge Orzo Salad


There’s a certain danger that comes with transforming a fridge and pantry of random what-have-you’s into something refined — delicious even — à la Chopped. With such creative feats come an inflated self-image, the sudden urge to scoff at all written recipes, for someone of your genius has no use for such nonsense. When your taste-testers dig in to your creation, you mentally record the symphony of their gleeful moans, ready to playback in the less consequential moments of your day, a soundtrack to your life.


Italian Baked Beans


When I talk about food, I like there to be a story, some connection to a greater theme. Food, for me, transcends just the flavors or ingredients. Context is everything. But here’s the thing: I had no context, no emotional lead-up or profound desire to create a transcendental dish. Truth is, I went and bought a really good sourdough bread — a loaf from a local bakery that I actually ended up working for this past summer. If I tried, I could probably contrive some sort of spiel about the importance of high-quality, local ingredients. This bread was the real deal. Sourdough starter, water, flour, and salt. That’s it (trust me, I fed enough of the starters to know). But then I went and bought some on-sale canned cannellini beans and tomatoes. I did all of this with the specific purpose of making beans on toast. I just really felt like having baked beans on toast.


Peanut Butter Brownies with Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

brownie 1

Baking has always been a sort of an enigma to me. The precision, the finicky instructions, the volume vs. weight measurement debate – they all confuse and irritate me. Perhaps this is because I tend to cook by the seat of my pants. Perhaps I’m simply too thick to follow directions. Maybe… but I’ve made more complicated desserts with success in the past. It’s fun, sometimes, to venture out and tackle the technique-heavy world of pastry. But a part of me always knows that I make these things to prove something, or to have a story to tell. Let’s be honest, I would never make macarons or homemade puff pastry to satisfy my late-night munchies. Those aren’t what I love to make, what I crave on the regular (for both taste and nostalgia).


“Green Eggs and Ham” Benedict + Debunking Your Benedict Fears

eggs benedict 1

As a recovering picky eater, I have oddly empathized with the curmudgeonly, closed-minded lead of the Suessian classic.  The titular off-color breakfast acts as a clever symbol for the try new things!theme, which seems like a solid philosophy to follow when you think about how many experiences we miss out on because we’re too timid or closed-minded. So in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to make a new variation on green eggs and ham? Like, benedict it?

Homemade Lox (Cured Salmon)

Cured Salmon 1

I understand the temptation to methodically, if not a bit neurotically, follow a recipe. When I first began cooking, recipes were the only way that I could get good results (and even those attempts didn’t always turn out). After a while, however, I got a feel for how to season and how to taste. For me, cooking is about being flexible and attentive – not about precision. I love that I have the freedom to choose exactly what ingredients and flavors to use. Not only is this my main creative outlet, but it’s a nice feeling knowing that I have full power over my meals. Must be some sort of control thing.