nourishing news

cozy bread

1.  so world experts agree that small, diversified, intensive organic farms (and not enormous gmo mono-crop farms) will feed the world. huzzah!

2. my tummy has been upset lately and i've been on a basic ayurvedic diet with no foods that could upset it. this insanely delicious looking pumpkin pie smoothie (that is VEGAN) looks like a perfect treat AND tummy calmer.

3. simple rules for eating well from the great marky b.

4. if you're still confused about what the heck shmita is and why it matters, check out this article.

5. is the best example of a well-linked inter-textual database i have ever seen. totally amazing, even if you're not into ancient bible study.

6. i'm obsessed with my friend amy jean porter's delightful, whimsical art of flora & fauna. get in on this.

snack attack


it's always in moments when i am utterly famished i find myself reaching for something like a block of cheese or a bag of marshmallows to put in my face. not that i have anything at all wrong with these choices of food (quite to the contrary), but i am finding that a hearty snack is the difference between me morphing into a tyrannical monster or a kind, loving partner who has empathy and general life skills.


lately i've been power housing fruit, nuts, seeds, and especially loving on my wild foods of the season-- cranberries and eleagnus/ autumn olive/ goumi-- whatever you want to call it. i used to have this idea that healthy food demanded oodles more time to consume than packaged, easy food--  you had to chop and dice and saute and slowly brown to make anything taste good. but in fact, i am finding this was pure delusion. nature has already packaged up perfect little snacks for us to keep us powered up and going. and i feel a shit ton better fueling myself on cashews and berries than i ever do on crackers or wheatables. (although damn! wheatables! amiright?) 


and then when i want some feasting, i don't mess around. take the time and make yourself a perfect freaking browned butter salty chocolate chip cookie and eat deeply of your good work. hope you have a tasty, snack filled week.

cookie skillet

herbal satchels

yep, this is a sweet iphone snap. BOOM.

yep, this is a sweet iphone snap. BOOM.

it's the final push for the high holiday season. we've just finished up sukkot (harvest fest-- YAY) and tonight is simchat torah, where we get to dance around because we're so excited that we got the good book. it's pretty awesome. this is a picture i snapped a couple weeks ago while i was prepping herbs to make smelling satchels with some teens on yom kippur.

on yom kipps we fast all day, and so we get to think about our other senses. we harvested lemon balm, oregano, lavender, pine needles, and mixed them with a little chopped up natural soap to tie up smelly satchels. we passes out the bundles of smelly fun to the congregation for the afternoon services when everyone is grumpy and hungry and trying to stay focused on their praying and not faint. (interesting side note: it's said that smell was the only sense not implicated in the original sin [you know, the one with the apple and snake and all that] so it is somehow a holier sense! who knew?)

these little bags are lovely for reminding us to be aware and present, even when it isn't a high holiday! (we just harvested fresh herbs and tied them in a little cheese cloth with twine. bam! martha stewart up in here.) if you left the soap out, they would make perfect fresh tea bags.

ginger-garlic coconut soba noodles (with kale and mugwort!)

this was one of three bowls i devoured last night

this was one of three bowls i devoured last night

last weekend was rosh hashanah, and we kicked off 5775 by setting new intentions for health & wellness.

we've both been feeling a bit of stress lately as a product of being in a major life transition, and this week we decided to take all the available steps towards supporting our own resiliency. we've been going on long walks every evening to soak in the beauty that is autumn in new england, making sure we get in bed early (and we're reading this new forest farming book aloud to relax), and eating nourishing, restorative foods. which is where this delicious recipe came in!

we've both been craving healthy fats and lots of veggies as the weather turns colder. i was looking for a way to combine kale and coconut and a huge hunk of ginger to help with tummy troubles. we also bought some soba noodles made with mugwort (!) recently that we both wanted to try, and voila! a quick google search connected me to this recipe. it calls for an insane amount of garlic and ginger (and i doubled the ginger they called for!) but it mellows together beautifully.

this combo of ingredients is all kinds of healthy. there's kale (duh), ginger (great for the tummy & digestion), garlic (great for fighting infection), coconut (healthy fats for healthy brain), turmeric (again, fights infections like crazy) and mugwort (supposedly for great dreaming-- wahoo!)!

i hope you enjoy this as much as we did. and today begins yom kippur, so g'mar chatimah tovah-- may your name be inscribed well for another year in the book of life!



nourishing news

kindergarten hands helped dig these beauties

kindergarten hands helped dig these beauties

sometimes it's nice to just have some links to remind us of beauty on the interwebs.

1) "There is no 'them'. There is only 'us'." I love Nadia Bolz-Weber.

2) Also, the Shmita year started on Rosh Hashanah! Get ready for a year of release, relaxation, re-ordering, re-imagining what a truly regerenative food system and world might look like.  Huzzah!

3) I want to eat this. All of it. All the time. 

4) The Shefa Program kicked off this week with bowdrill fires, digging sweet potatoes to cook in clay, and planting strawberries (a perennial) in honor of Shmita.

5) Our friends are growing this heritage breed of guinea hog that are amazing at rooting out anything you want to get rid of in your field, sans tractor. Yay for petroleum free farming!

6) The Common Ground Fair went strong (40th anniversary!) this year, and Soulemama, a lovely blogger wrote about it and took lovely photos. I was too busy eating large amounts of raw cream and getting ill to photograph anything.

7) Yes to maple marshmallows. Just, yes.

beginning again (with wendell, as always)

fall trees

shanah tova-- happy new year! i always need wendell for a little good inspiration on how to be a human. hope your new year is sweet and abundant!

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

- wendell berry, for the win

browned butter apple skillet cake with dark chocolate chunks

all that is left after our night of feasting out of the pan...

all that is left after our night of feasting out of the pan...

it's my favorite time of year-- that delicious month or so when it is crisp and chilly, almost cold in the morning. bundles of sweaters, holding on to a big mug of tea while still holding out on turning on the heat. this slightly salty browned butter (how many of my recipes start with that phrase? and is that a problem?) skillet cake with apples and big ole chunks of dark chocolate is the perfect treat for this moment.

i want so much more of this in my mouth

i want so much more of this in my mouth

i made this cake the other night when j was away late for a parents' meeting at school. the house got cozy warm and filled with the smell of butter and apples and when he got home, we ate it straight out of the pan in bed.

i didn't have any leavening agent in the house, so this cake doesn't have any. it was perfect as such-- somewhere between a chewy cookie bar and a cake. true autumn perfection.

1 stick butter, melted and browned on the stove top (until it smells nutty and delicious and the milk solids sort of separate out on the top)
1 c sugar
1 T cinnamon
2 eggs
1 t vanilla                                                                                                                                              
1.5 cup flour
1 t salt (i used big Maldon salt flakes)
1 big apple, cut into hunky chunks (i used a ginger gold variety from a local farm)
1 cup dark chocolate chunks (fair trade, duh)
melt the butter. once browned & cooled, stir in sugar. then stir in vanilla and eggs. stir in flour, cinnamon, and salt. drop in the chunks of apple & chocolate, mix.

bake at 350 ish (we are just using a tiny awesome electric stove from the 50s that says "low to high" and you just guess...) and bake until it smells good. maybe 20-25 minutes? take it out when the center still looks soft and let it cool. it's actually a lot better cooled down and firmed up. underbaked is always better.

TA DA. you will the bake this cake on repeat every night for the next month.

chick love

i'm so in love. we've only had these little biddies for a week, and already they are so much bigger than when they arrived. they love cuddling up in piles, eating their body weight in grain, and playing a game where one of them picks up one woodchip (of thousands), and runs around like crazy while the rest try to steal the coveted shred. we're pretty much best friends already.

day old peepers

day old peepers

i don't think i need to say much about these guys. i strongly suggest you order some, and get ready to receive the most adorable package of all time from the most relieved postman of all time (when you take these peepers off his hands.)

one week old and so grown up!

one week old and so grown up!

i love it when they cuddle puddle. also, why not just settle down in front of your food?

i love it when they cuddle puddle. also, why not just settle down in front of your food?


moon cycles quilt i made for jacob a couple years ago

moon cycles quilt i made for jacob a couple years ago

again i find myself apologizing for not being better at posting regularly. my life is chock full these days as the seasons turn. i am loving the nights getting cooler, and have the appropriate turn-of-season sickness that accompanies it to make me grateful for elderberry syrup. (we actually just harvested some growing wild along our road-- i can't wait to try our shutesbury variety!)

i need to keep this brief, as i soaking in the calm wonderful vibe of Omega right now for the Northeast Womyn in Permaculture Conference. three days spent with other amazing women who practice permaculture for their livelihood/ lifeway, doing visioning and strategic planning for how we can grow the role of womyn in leadership roles in permaculture. i have been so filled up and nourished by my time here so far. it reminds me of the importance of leaving my everyday busy-busy-busy mentality and gaining perspective about why we are doing the work we are doing, why we are leading the lives we lead, what we hope they will generate. (surely nothing less than revolution!)

i also got sick the second i got here, which is great, because i actually have quiet and the time and space to heal. it's amazing how the body can hang on until we let it relax! i feel so grateful i have this time to allow my body to chill with it. sucking down tea by the gallon and taking it easy.

i am also DELIGHTED to announce the launch of something i have been working on: the shefa: sustainable skills for teens program that i will be spending my time leading this year. i am grateful to have a faith community that is interested in nourishing our collective knowledge about shomrei adamah (stewarding the earth.) this past weekend at our synagogue there was elderberry syrup & sauerkraut making, shabbat services outside on the farm, and a text study about shmita, a year-long practice in judaism of releasing land back into being fallow for a year, building a perennial food system, and releasing all debts. pretty much, revolution! :)

now tonight there is a full moon to celebrate! a sauna to take advantage of! women to talk and laugh and learn from! sleep to be slept!

i hope you are all having incredibly brilliant, blooming full moons.

catching up

berry pie

sorry that i have been out of touch for the last week-- it's that time of year when the days go into warp speed. i spent last week moving my little bro in to NYU (film!) and visiting old friends in the city. i couldn't stay as long as i wished, but the few days i had were deeply nourishing. i was grateful to dig back in with people i have known since i was pre-pubescent, wearing umbros on the daily, and still pretty much exactly the same (baking an inordinate amount and wanting to talk about people's spiritual (or love) lives. duh.)

this past week has included a wide variety of end-of-summer activities:

feast meal, appropriately eaten at 11 pm at momofuku// auditioning for 'who wants to be a millionaire' (i kid you not. talk about a bizarre day.) // my first ever chicken slaughter, taught by an incredibly kind and skilled friend & teacher at brookfield farm// bike rides to a cranberry bog// picking up furniture off the side of the road for our new house// frying polenta and tomatillos in an incredible amount of coconut oil// getting that kind of low-grade summer sick that feels weirdly unseasonal// finally reading and falling in love with kurt vonnegut, about a half century behind the rest of the country// signing up for classes at a college, just to learn the material, and feeling excited to be a student again// seeing an enormous cicada killer slowly eat an entire cicada!

more recipes and news from the home front soon. hope your labor day weekend was restorative!


lusting for maple

the gradient of dark, late season syrup all the way back to the lightest from the very beginning.

the gradient of dark, late season syrup all the way back to the lightest from the very beginning.

is it too early to think about tapping trees? this past year the maple season was by far the most decadent of my life. we had oodles of sap-- gallons and gallons every day, from just three mama maples. we boiled a lot of the sap down into syrup in the kitchen (with drips of sticky syrup running down the walls) but we also drank TONS of it straight, as sap. we used it to make coffee and tea instead of water, and it creates the richest, sweetest, most perfect tasting morning beverage of your life. i would go to bed at night dreaming of my maple coffee in the morning.

always keeping track of our days. we were getting way better than 40:1 sap to syrup ratios.

always keeping track of our days. we were getting way better than 40:1 sap to syrup ratios.

the spot we just moved to has a few old power maples, but some are beginning to get sick. we are identifying the new baby maples we want to support in becoming the next generation of maple mamas.

hope you have a sweet sweet weekend!


plant to plate: kale

kale 1
wheatberries and kale

seems like everyone and their mama is in to eating kale, brassica oleracea, these days. and with good reason. kale is a superstar of the green veggies, packed with vitamins, calcium, and carotenoids. (basically, some super tricky compounds that can block the growth of cancer cells.) in short: eat this stuff.

kale is also a fairly hearty plant to grow. there are perennial incredible varieties of "tree kale" that we grew while out on the west coast. they just get taller and taller, and as you harvest leaves they keep growing up. here where it is colder in the winters it's an annual plant, but no less awesome. you can plant it early enough so that it's sized up to full before the first frost date, and it won't die if it frosts. some people say it gets even sweeter. you can cover it up with a little reemay, which is just a blanket for plants, and tuck it in for several weeks.

you harvest kale by taking off the lower outer leaves first, slicing where the stem connects to the stalk. you work your way up the plant and it continues to produce new leaves at the top. miracle!

there are lots of lovely ways to eat kale: kale chips, kale soups, kale salads, kale blended in to juices or smoothies (haven't gotten there myself...) but i love this simple beautiful summer salad. hearty enough for a main course.

Summer Tomato & Kale Wheatberry Salad


big ole bowl of wheat berries, cooked (if for you that means 1 cup, great, if you want to cook 4 cups for your whole family, more power to you.)
2 cups kale, chopped
1 or 2 big heirloom tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup or so of cheese, chopped (i used some cheddar because we had it, super thinly sliced. you could do feta crumbled or anything delicious.)

either use your fave vinaigrette recipe, or this simple one:
1 part oil (i used olive)
1 part vinegar (i used balsamic-- nice with the tomatoes)
1/3 part acid (i used lime juice, but lemon or grapefruit would be great)
 pinch salt and pepper
splash maple syrup

Cook wheatberries. Great tutorial over here. Let them cool. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a cup. Wash, de-rib (that just means cut the big fatty stem out of the middle of the kale leaf) and chop up the kale into small pieces. Cut up your tomato into the size of pieces that you like to eat. Slice the cheese, or crumble if using feta. Stir the kale, tomatoes, and cheese chunks into the slightly warm wheat berries. Pour dressing over. Toss to coat. Let it sit-- this is great served warm, at room temp, or cool.


quilting, lately


we've been living out of boxes for over a month now. i have officially begun fantasizing about my sewing machine that lies buried deep amidst the pile of boxes. my friend juna is doing an amazing project that involves quilting (& justice) right now. she is all kinds of glorious-- check her out here. (oh! and while you are at reading about quilting & justice, read this!) but for now, just a couple pictures of this past spring's sewing for friends' nuptials to hold me over.

quilt for dear friends who got married this spring, and are the grizzliest & cuddliest bears you will ever meet. in other news, i embroider like a three year old.

quilt for dear friends who got married this spring, and are the grizzliest & cuddliest bears you will ever meet. in other news, i embroider like a three year old.

ah, this was the sunniest, cheeriest spot in the house during our long maine winter.

ah, this was the sunniest, cheeriest spot in the house during our long maine winter.

quick i-phone picture i took of this quilt i made for another two dear friends who got wedded this summer. they fell in love over their mutual passion for italian goat farming. you know how it is.

quick i-phone picture i took of this quilt i made for another two dear friends who got wedded this summer. they fell in love over their mutual passion for italian goat farming. you know how it is.

popping around the webs

artichoke flowers or sea anemones??

artichoke flowers or sea anemones??

some days, you gotta keep it short. we're about to head to Eden Village Camp to teach a class to their activist teen camp (that one of our old students, jenny, is leading!) about the eight shields/ acorn model. eden village has been getting a lot of (deserved) press for it's no-body talk rule. jacob did a site design for the camp in their year of visioning before it opened for real, and so we are stoked to go back and check out how it's flourishing.

anyway, thought i would leave you some fun links to explore before i pop out for a couple of days!

1) my brilliant friend margaret tung got written up by npr on her food-waste saving app pareup! you go, marg!

2) the nofa summer conference is this weekend and i am thrilled that my new friend jake is teaching about his newborn cider company, artifact.

3) just discovered this delightful blog. always game to read about southern & jewish food!

4) a badass poet/ activist/ farmer/ teacher came to town last week, and i got to hear her slam! we went to camp together and she made me laugh so hard i peed while on stage once. true story.

5) i want to be half as cool as this man when i grow up.

have a great thursday!

plant to plate: raspberries

let's all pray  spotted wing drosophila  doesn't get here this year

let's all pray spotted wing drosophila doesn't get here this year

scored by finding mama c's china collection

scored by finding mama c's china collection

this time of year, raspberries (rubus idaeus) are off the chain. delicate and flavorful, raspberries come packed with antioxidants, phytochemicals that help fight cancer, and anti-inflammatory compounds.

they are also just plain delicious, and a perennial fruit that can thrive in marginal soils. (quick side note on the many reasons why perennials are awesome: they don't require tilling of the soil, they fruit year after year, they can be part of an edible forest garden system, they make more of themselves so you can dig up canes and share with friends, increasing food resiliency for everyone.... and on and on.)

they are super hearty-- to zone three or four. they don't love the heat, unfortunately for all my georgian loves. (if you don't know what climate zone you live in, check it out here.) they are very easy to propogate them (you just wait until spring when they send up new plants from their roots, dig them up and physically bust them all apart into new plants.)

you can use the leaves for tea, which are supposed to help with cramps and morning sickness.

i like to eat raspberries as simply as possible, they are so perfect as they are. but what could be better than dolloping them with a little maple-sweetened whipped cream? your body needs fat to uptake vitamins anyway, right? this is practically a sally fallon dream. it's a win/win. i made these with some organic cream & the last of the maple syrup we made this year. to summer!

raspberrries 3


1 quart fresh raspberries
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
2 T maple syrup
1 t vanilla

a few sprigs mint

plop your raspberries into quaint tea cups. whip the cream together with the maple and vanilla. i like mine just barely firm so that it's almost still like an english cream. spoon into cups & garnish with mint. perfection. cool before serving.

ice cream brownie birthday cake

the messier the ice cream smoosh, the tastier.

the messier the ice cream smoosh, the tastier.

july is the month of birthdays in our family. two of my besties and i are days apart, then jacob, one papa, one mama in each family... the list goes on and on. when making so many cakes in such a short time (baruch hashem// gracias a dios) you have to get creative and change it up a bit. it's a good problem to have.

i made this bad boy a few days ago for jacob's 34th. (!) the man makes 34 look damn good. in fact, we went out last night and were quizzed (literally. as in "what town do you live in? what is the address?") about our i.d.s. i guess it should be flattering, but i mean, come on. we were in our new town's "athletic club," a tiny old abandoned veterinary building with pool tables and like four people playing the juke box. would we really try to sneak in to such an establishment if we were under 21? really??

[completely unrelated: because of all the birthday commotion i have been reading a ton of rob brezney's horoscope action. if you don't know him, get to know him immediately. if you don't read horoscopes, that's cool. neither do i. read him anyway. ]

this brownie recipe is my go-to. jacob discovered it one summer when he was out of bittersweet chocolate to melt but desperately needed brownies. i was traveling with a singing group at the time, and he wrote me a detailed description of how these brownies taste like perfect frosting and are the world's best creation. the subject line of the email was "the most important ingredient is a shit ton of love."

five years later, i feel so lucky to still be with such a love (and chocolate) ball of a man.

the best part of these brownies is the fact that the batter tastes exactly like frosting.

the best part of these brownies is the fact that the batter tastes exactly like frosting.


2 sticks butter
4 oz cream cheese
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
pinch salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 cup chocolate chips

gobs and gobs (maybe 2 pint containers) of the best ice cream you can lay your hands on. (we used some local creameries salted caramel & maple walnut.)

preheat oven to 350. beat butter & cream cheese together until smooth. add in eggs. beat until supa dupa fluffy. add in vanilla, add salt. (adding flavorings to the fats carries it through the whole brownie.)

next, add your dry ingredients all together to the batter. beat just until mixed in. (note: there is no leavener in this recipe intentionally. it makes it extra gooey chewy and not cakey at all.)

drop in the chocolate chips. beat until distributed. bake for 20-25  minutes or so in a big pan, until just set. (it's a good idea to spend your wait time snuggling or smooching while brownies are baking.)

take the brownies out while still a bit doughy. let them cool completely. then take your ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften. plop it all over the brownies and smooth it out. it's the lazy man's ice cream cake!


chickens come first

little thorny nook in the woods

little thorny nook in the woods

 hauled many of these bad biddies

 hauled many of these bad biddies

ta-da! magic chicken cottage deployed!

ta-da! magic chicken cottage deployed!

we are currently sleeping outside in a tent. we're dressing ourselves out of backpacks, living in jacob's parents house until our own place becomes available september 1. we are in the thick of transition, adjusting to not having many patterns or much space, still feeling like we don't know so many people in the area and can't fully imagine what our life will be like here. 

despite the feeling of chaos that comes with huge change, or perhaps because of it, we have begun to dive in to some little projects to root us, center us, connect us with this place and help us imagine some patterns we might live out here. what better to start than with  chickens?

i have longed for my own chickens for years. i've tended other people's chickens, i've worked on farms that grew chickens and eggs, but i've never been in one place long enough to order my own chicks, raise them through pullet-hood, and know we will be in the same place the next year to harvest eggs. it feels like a watershed moment to order chicks and know i will be here to pick them up, here to raise them, here when they begin to lay. it's both exciting and terrifying to feel committed long-term to a place and a life-way, but it's the right time.

before you can bring chicks home,  you need to create a nest for them. i found this badass chicken coop on craigslist for cheap. jacs and i spent the morning clearing out a little patch of land, mowing down thorny brambles, hauling out old boards with rusty nails, and trying (and failing) to move an enormous boulder with rock bars. (turns out rocks are super heavy.) we bought lumber for nest boxes and shingles to patch the roof. when my parents in law came home, they were surprisingly delighted at our little coop in the woods, and are stoked to have feathered friends moving this way soon.

i guess this is how lives come to be? little pattern by little pattern, thorny patch by thorny patch, unexpected beauty and whimsy in a clearing in the woods. with hopefully some eggs in the morning.


browned butter salty triple chocolate chip cookies (or, it takes a family to make a dessert)

tonight jacob, his mama carol and i made cookies. afterwards, they decided to dictate to me the recipe. what follows is a verbatim recounting of how to make these bad biddies.

things of note: 1) yes, this was taken on my phone late at night. 2) yes, those are grease patches on the wood beneath the cookies. 3) yes, that was the fourth of a series of cookies i ate while taking this one phone shot.

things of note: 1) yes, this was taken on my phone late at night. 2) yes, those are grease patches on the wood beneath the cookies. 3) yes, that was the fourth of a series of cookies i ate while taking this one phone shot.

(also, when you are moving back home to your husband's hometown-- indeed, to his backyard-- and are currently sleeping on his twin bed from high school, staring up at posters for animaniacs, jurassic park, and ranger rick centerfold wolves, you probably should have a belly full of ooey, gooey, decadent cookies. eat two of these salty mamas right away and call me in the morning.)

browned butter salty triple chocolate chip cookies (as set forth by jacob)

first, start when you are a little tired after an enormous feast dinner with family.
then, go to your tried and true first recipe you ever learned (from the back of the chocolate chip cookie bag.) and over the last twenty years you have modified and improved this recipe, bringing forth the perfect cookie.

get 2 sticks of butter. brown those bad boys on the stove-- great tutorial of how to do that here.

carol: i use unsalted butter.
jacob: i use salted. and i also add salt. deal with it.

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup (heaping) brown sugar
(the brown sugar should be a packed half cup, but i am too lazy to pack these days so i just do a heaping half cup)

once the butter is good and browned (carol: a looooong while.) (jacob: make sure you stir so it doesn't burn.) then you pour the butter over the sugar and mix. (this melts all lumps in the sugar- added bonus.)

because the butter was so hot, it is now too hot to add eggs. let it all cool until you can touch the bottom of the bowl with your bare hand.

then, add 2 teaspoons to a full 1 tablespoon (jacob says more is always more), and then stir in 2 eggs. if you can, get those eggs at village farm in freedom, maine. these are the best eggs in the world. if you include these eggs in your batter, it is considered a health food. if not, so be it. if you cannot obtain the eggs from village farm, do your best.

get one teaspoon of baking soda. (the stuff in the box. arm and hammer. not the other stuff in the cylinder.) mix that with 1 teaspoon of salt (if it's unsalted butter) or scant salt (if salted butter) and add that in to 2 1/3 cup flour (almost 2 and 1/2 cup flour.)

stir together these dry ingredients. then, mix the flour stuff in with the butter, sugar, vanilla. add in chocolate chips.

(carol: we started out with two full cups, half dark and milk chocolate, half white. by the time we added the chips in, we had lost half a cup.)
(jacob: was it julia child who said to start with a cup of wine, and reduce by drinking the cup of wine by half?)

then, make BIG cookie dough balls. bigger than a ping pong ball. maybe golf ball sized. put them on a greased pan. then press down on them to make them flatter. (jacob: a trick i taught my wife. grace: i taught him everything he knows.)

don't forget to eat as much dough as possible.

then, bake at 350 degrees for about ten minutes. pull them out the INSTANT before they change color on the edges.

then, spend a lot of time photographing them (or not, as the case may be) and talking about how good you are at making cookies. make sure there are plenty of people around to appreciate your good hard work.






notes on a birthday

yesterday i turned 26. it happened all the sudden-- my body has now been kicking it on this good planet for longer than a quarter century. i appreciate these moments: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, for the way they punctuate our quotidian patterns and habits and ask us to notice where we are in relation to where we were at this time last year, the year before, the year before.

last july we were sojourning from northern california to maine, recently married, '98 corolla with 199,998 thousand miles on it stuffed to the gills with boxes of bowls, melted chocolate chips, and our ketubah. we were not yet hired for our jobs, unsure of what the future held. we felt nervous but excited to be closer to our families who we had longed for while living far away. we fluctuated on that drive between gleeful excitement for a new chapter after three years in the same place, and raw terror from not knowing what to expect or where we would land.

a year ago exactly we stopped in wisconsin for a few days to help a friend build a tiny home. we learned how to install insulation during the day and spent the nights recording acoustic covers of florida-georgia line & nelly songs and feasting on homemade ice cream. we paused from our travel to linger with her, settling our frantic selves after roadside skyped job interviews and simply spent some days with our friend.

this year, we find ourselves again in a moment of transition.  now moving from maine to massachusetts, we have again have packed up all our stuff and set off on another grand adventure. (although this time we used a rental moving van, which was filled with hundreds of baby fruit trees and perennials and two bookshelves that we actually own!) in some ways it feels similar: we don't have a full picture of all the details of our life to come. we (especially i) feel nervous and anxious, wanting to hammer out as detailed a picture as possible. we are again uprooted and afraid.

yet in other ways, we are so much clearer than we were last year. we have used the past twelve months to grow and deepen our vision for how we want to live. we are moving on to land with jacob's parents, ready to live inter-generationally. we have a more thoroughly articulated vision of how we want our life to be, and are working on developing our plan for an educational non profit we have been dreaming about for at least five years. we are stepping in to a new phase of action in our work and our family.

although some things have shifted and feel clearer, i am beginning to notice that we still fundamentally are wrestling with the same questions.

what are the best ways to live our lives? how can be deepen our commitment to our community? how can we be calm and peaceful while still not knowing the future? how can we be calm in the face of transition and challenge? how can we support each other well and also ask for support ourselves? are we fully living out our ethics in our daily lives?

perhaps cycling through these questions, attempting to answer them, revising those answers, and then trying again is just the stuff of life. perhaps next year on my birthday i will be able to say i have unearthed some answers to these questions. but perhaps i never will, and maybe that i alright.

yesterday we attended the wedding of a dear friend at pie ranch. we sang for her, swung each other around while contra dancing, and ate most decadent cake. if life is proving to be about wrestling, struggling with big questions, year after year, it is also about singing and feasting, about community and gratitude.

i am so in love with being alive, so glad to have been born, so blessed to begin another year, and am ready both to struggle and to harmonize.

salty caramel popovers with chocolate mousse filling

sometimes you need a challenge. when plain old cookies or brownies aren't cutting it for your celebratory needs, turn to these caramel-dipped, chocolate ganache- filled, cheddar cheese- spiked (!) popovers. they are a hint salty, richly sweet, and filled with creamy delicious chocolate mousse.

these little flavor blobs will rock your socks off

these little flavor blobs will rock your socks off

right now i feel like i imagine athletes in season feel-- the more that the sport demands, the more they do outside of the season as well. (aight my sports knowledge is now exhausted.) the more i have going on, generally, the more i feel like taking on. i'm sure i will be spent soon, ready to curl up for several days in bed and do nothing but read and dream up farm plans and eat large amounts of ice cream from the tub, but for now i am cruising. which was why during the week we were moving out of our house, i was training my replacement at work, planning a conference for the following weekend, and hosting my family who came to visit, i knew it was time to try out this recipe that felt way above my normal intrepid-ness level.

whip it real good

whip it real good

just fill em up halfway

just fill em up halfway

perfect golden circle

perfect golden circle

there is a jewish story about this dude honi the circle maker. (this relates-- bear with me.) this person comes to ask for advice and says, 'my house feels incredibly full! i have no room! i have far too many children, and now my parents and grandparents have come to live! how can i make more space?' honi says, 'first, bring in the donkey.' [dude is all upset & puzzled.] then he comes back to complain to honi that it feels even worse. then honi says, 'bring in the cow, the chickens, the goats.' this goes on until the house contains every dog and sheep in the town. finally, honi says, 'now take out the animals! problem solved!' 

i dip you dip we dip

i dip you dip we dip

get it???!?

the point is, make these incredibly delicious, moist, mousse- filled, slightly salty, caramel squishy plops immediately, regardless of scheduling conflicts.

this post makes me embarrassed by its sheer decadence

this post makes me embarrassed by its sheer decadence

recipe i found in a bon appetit lying around the office. i think it was contributed by this hip man duo. om nom nom. they are so, so good-- the texture alone will make you plotz.