Those Crazy November Tomatoes

Text and photos by Kerri Conan

Maybe you are lucky enough to get local vine-ripe tomatoes in autumn. In early-freeze zones (like where I live, in Kansas), the bounty of summer would have been replaced weeks ago with hardy roots and squashes. Except this year: As of last Saturday, all sorts of heirloom tomatoes still dotted the landscape. In my excitement, I’ve been greedy.

With shortened days and less intense light, November fruit in mid-country latitudes tend to be starchier and potentially mealier than the juicy July tomatoes. They can also have a sour, almost fermented taste. And of course they look pretty beat up. All you have to do is coddle them a bit. Literally. Continue reading

Posted in Produce

How to Bake Everything: Buttermilk Biscuits

Text and photos by Emily Stephenson

One of my favorite ways to use a big, exhaustive cookbook is to flip to the index and figure out how to make use of an ingredient I’ve already got. This week, it was about a cup of buttermilk, and I turned to How to Bake Everything.

I wanted to make something that wouldn’t require a trip to the grocery store, which made whittling down my options easy: no Buttermilk Pie or Bars because I didn’t have cream to make a custard, no cakes because I don’t own an electric mixer (no way I’m going to cream the butter and sugar by hand!), and no cookies because I had less than a stick of butter in the fridge. What did that leave? After about 2 minutes of narrowing down, only one option: Buttermilk Biscuits. Continue reading

Posted in Baking

Smokin’ Good Spaghetti Squash

Text and photos by Pam Hoenig

I admit I’m vegetable averse. Growing up, if my mother had let me, I would have limited my consumption of produce to peas (frozen, of course), baked potatoes, and corn on the cob, which for many years I made my mother cut off the cob for me—sorry about that, Mom! Continue reading

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Grilling, Produce

I MADE FRESH PASTA!

Text and photos by Kate Bittman

To say I was nervous about making homemade pasta would be a gross understatement. I put it off for as long as I possibly could, and judgment day loomed large. I had the KitchenAid attachment, 4 ingredients (flour, salt, eggs, and beets to color it), and I was (not) ready to go. Continue reading

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Italian

Thank You, Farmer

Text and photos by Kerri Conan

November opens the season of gratitude and giving. Seems like the first toast should be raised to celebrate our farmers. Mine—the good folks in and around Lawrence, Kansas—grow the amazing food I’ve eaten and written about all year. If you’re lucky, you know yours, too.

Now on the cusp between tomatoes and rutabagas, let’s all take a moment and say, “Thank you, Farmer” for all our meals past, present, and future.

Thank you for taking risks. So I can, too! Continue reading

Posted in Bittman Topics, Farming, Produce

How to Bake Everything: A Little Chocolate Goes a Long Way

Text and photos by Emily Stephenson

This tart was so awesome it was gone by the time of writing this post, and I’m ambivalent about chocolate. I am not the type of person who loses her mind over chocolate cake, or chocolate ice cream, or unadorned chocolate. I will eat those things, of course, but they are not my first dessert choice. Enthusiasts, please stay with me.  Continue reading

Posted in Baking, Mark Bittman Books, Recipes

How to Bake Everything: Back to Bread

Text and photos by Pam Hoenig

The last time I baked bread, I was in junior high school, which is more years ago than I care to count. I started with plain white bread, baked up in a loaf pan, and then went on to experiment a bit with different recipes. My Waterloo, if my memory is correct, was a pumpernickel rye. I can’t exactly recall what went wrong, but I know for sure that something did! Continue reading

Posted in Baking, Mark Bittman Books, Recipes

How to Bake Everything: Apple Crisp with Real Apples and Real Talk

I’d really like to know what folks think about this video, which is the second (the first is here) in a series I did with my friend Ricardo Salvador (@cadwego), who heads the Food and Environment team at Union of Concerned Scientists, of which I’m happy to be a part. The series combines cooking—in this case an apple crisp, more on which in a second—with a discussion of the production of food and the policies that guide it (often mis-guide, of course). I hope the main points are clear. (I also discussed the election and the future of food policy with Mother Jones.) Continue reading

Posted in Baking, Food Politics, Mark Bittman Books

How to Bake Everything: Better-for-You Rice Treats

Text and photos by Kerri Conan

The first thing that hit me when I saw Mark’s recipe for No-Bake Fruit and Cereal Bars in his new book How to Bake Everything was that it sounded a lot like Rice Krispies Treats®, only with fruit and juice instead of the sticky marshmallow sauce for glue. If I went with a puffed whole grain—Khorasan wheat to be exact—the bars would have a similar texture and, with the fiber and small bit of honey for sweetener, they’d actually be a healthy and satisfying snack. Continue reading

Posted in Baking, Mark Bittman Books, Recipes, Uncategorized

How to Bake Everything: Lemon Desserts are the Best Desserts

Text and photos by Emily Stephenson

In case anyone ever asks me what my favorite dessert flavors are (no one has yet), I have that answer ready, in descending order: lemon, caramel, almond.

If your list doesn’t look like mine, the Lemon Tart from How to Bake Everything is still worth trying. It’s also super easy to put together. It’s actually three different recipes from HTBE, which can all be made ahead of time and assembled right before you serve: Sweet Tart Crust, Lemon Curd, and Whipped Cream. Continue reading

Posted in Baking, Mark Bittman Books, Uncategorized