Harvest and Honey

An open-ended love letter, culinarily inspired.

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the essentials: soup, salad and sandwich

Pumpkin & Black Bean Soup and Kale, Black Bean & Quinoa Salad with Creamy Pumpkin DressingPumpkin & Black Bean Soup and Kale, Black Bean & Quinoa Salad with Creamy Pumpkin DressingIMG_5201IMG_5209

October 3, 2015

Today, it rains. It rained before I rose this morning, it is raining as I write these words, and it will rain long after I’ve retired for the night. Or so the weather people told me as I sipped my tea this morning, flipping through the channels in hopes that maybe someone would say otherwise. No luck, though. It was rain yesterday, will be rain again tomorrow. So far I have but one primary observation of this new month of October: it rains. With talk of hurricanes and flooding about, we (the denizens of the mid-Atlantic region), are being gently urged to stay in our homes, avoid driving in certain areas unless completely necessary, and to go ahead and stock up on the essentials at the store, just in case. The essentials.

What exactly are my essentials? Do I need to go get more? My impulses were telling me that yes, yes I need to go get more food. I wondered these things, as I watched Easton cram fistfuls of Cheerios into his mouth as fast as his chubby fingers would allow. He gave me a big, proud grin and offered a little pigeon-like giggle. Cheerios would most definitely make his short list of essentials, but what about mine? I wandered into the kitchen and began surveying the contents of both fridge and pantry. Amidst the boxes, bags, and cans I saw a lot of things that I’d been meaning to use for ages as well as several partially-used items that would probably never be finished. My cabinet doors weren’t even closing all the way, they were so crammed with food. This isn’t good … this isn’t good at all. Lucas is always challenging me to just cook with what I have on hand, and I’ve always got the best of intentions to do so, but I grocery shop like I’m a kid in a candy store, ogling the food and fantasizing about the myriad ways in which I can use it. On any given shopping trip you can usually find me throwing things into the cart, my impulsive moves based purely on looks and dreams and recipes that I might be able to make at some point.  So alas, there I stood, gawking sheepishly at the overabundance in shame and embarrassment.  Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup with Crumbled Kale Chips and Crispy Quinoa Continue reading


50 ways to feed your lover

Moroccan Baked Eggs with Merguez, Eggplant and Harissa IMG_5066Moroccan Baked Eggs with Merguez, Eggplant and HarissaIMG_5097

A master chef’s hat, a chef’s “toque” to which they are more accurately referred, has exactly 100 pleats; one hundred crisp, precise folds standing together in conical harmony, unabashedly towering above the heads of the hallowed few who have earned the right to wear one. The more folds, the better the chef. What’s more, each of the toque’s folds represents a different way to cook or prepare eggs. Or so legend has it, and I am a believer of legends. 

Moroccan Baked Eggs with Merguez, Eggplant and HarissaMoroccan Baked Eggs with Merguez, Eggplant and Harissa

Crack. Whisk. Sizzle.

Crack. Whisk. Sizzle.

Crack. Whisk. Sizzle. 

By the time I’d made it to my eighth egg dish of the day, the repetitive sound of the cracking, whisking and sizzling as the eggs hit their various pans had become engrained in my head, playing on a seemingly never-ending loop. The monotony was enjoyable in a way, save for the occasional hiccup caused by an accidental shell landing in the bowl. Darn shells. They kept throwing a kink into my one-person egg-making assembly line. No matter though, you can’t make 100 egg dishes without cracking (and breaking) a few eggs. One hundred egg dishes. It really sounds like a lot when you say it. Good grief. I’d read somewhere that a master chef should be able to craft  ** at least ** 100 egg dishes right off the top of their head, no problem. As the legend goes, the real pros should be able to do something new with an egg every morning for an entire year. It’s impressive, no? Continue reading


peaches and cream pie with sweet & salty butter cracker crust

Peaches and Cream Pie with a Sweet & Salty Butter Cracker CrustIMG_5237Peaches and Cream Pie with a Sweet & Salty Butter Cracker CrustIMG_5245

Situated about seven miles due West of the famed Gateway Arch, there is a neighborhood in St. Louis referred to as “The Hill.” Its streets are lined with Italian flags, small mom and pop trattorias, and fantastic Italian bakeries – even the fire hydrants are painted red, white, and green. Deemed St. Louis’ own Little Italy, The Hill is a neighborhood of which the locals are very proud and also very happy to frequent when it comes to food and drink. About six years ago, my husband and I spent a year living in St. Louis. Even though we were on a decidedly dine-in-only type of budget, we seemed to prefer throwing all caution and good sense out the window, opting instead to gallivant around the city, sampling any and all of the delicious bites that “The Lou” had to offer. The Hill played host to some of our favorite food destinations and I think for me, this had a lot to do with the novelty of living in a city that had a “Little Italy.” I got a kick out of that, and didn’t even realize until I had one that it was, apparently, something I’d always wanted. Continue reading

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summer salts

IMG_4673Hibiscus and Honey Poached Plums with Raspberry Ripple No-Churn Ice Cream and Vanilla SaltIMG_4896IMG_4901Hibiscus and Honey Poached Plums with Raspberry Ripple No-Churn Ice Cream and Vanilla SaltIMG_4979Sweet Onion Linguine with Anchovies, Arugula and Walnuts

I hit my head on the overhead luggage compartment as I took my seat on the plane. Wham! Audible gasps, groans, and “ooohhhs” arose from the rows all around me. The kind-eyed man seated next to me got up so as to let me and my bruised head slip past him into my assigned window seat: seat 17F, right on the wing. I smiled at him in thanks.

“Oh, I’m alright! Really it’s okay. I do that all the time.”

It was possibly one of the weirdest things I could have said. For starters, it wasn’t even true – just a complete bold-faced lie. I hadn’t even flown in over three years. Also, casually telling someone that I hit my head all the time makes me seem insane, and now this gentle giant of a man in 17E would most likely sit in wonderment over the peculiar woman to his right. I inadvertently glanced down at his phone, which he was now attempting to set on “airplane mode” per attendant Pam’s instructions. He succeeded, but not before I was able to make out the fact that he was listening to Taylor Swift. It wasn’t even her new album, this had to have been at least a couple albums ago, if my musical calculations are correct. So, on second thought, maybe it was I who was going to be doing the wondering …

Our plane began to creep higher in the sky and as I eased my chair back in an attempt to further relax and calm my now throbbing head, my mind wandered right on back home; to last Tuesday to be exact … Continue reading


here comes the sun (roasted beet & sun-dried tomato hummus with sunflower seeds and sumac)

Roasted Beet & Sundried Tomato Hummus with Sunflower Seeds and SumacRoasted Beet & Sundried Tomato Hummus with Sunflower Seeds and SumacIMG_4788 IMG_4802IMG_4790

S U M M E R    S U N

Today brought with it the faintest glimpse of Fall. Folded and tucked discretely between some gusty late Summer winds, were whispers of an early Autumn breeze. Brief moments of reprieve from the seemingly unrelenting September sun appear to signal that Fall is gently urging its predecessor off the stage. The seasons seem to haunt each other that way; never fully disappearing, never completely letting go … slight apparitions of both their future and former selves.

I followed Elle’s gaze as she watched a few leaves fall from her favorite tree, the massive sycamore that stands proudly at the edge of the driveway. “It’s happening! The leaves are leaving! Fall is coming!”

“That’s right, Elle.” I replied, enjoying her recitation of the seasonal changes we’d been talking about recently.

“Time to go inside now. The Sun is going to bed for the night; its bed time is getting a little earlier every day now.”

“Goodnight Sun!” Elle yelled up to the sky. “See you again in the morning.” Continue reading

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the sugar knock and my best chocolate chip cookie

The Harvest & Honey Chocolate Chip CookieThe Harvest & Honey Chocolate Chip Cookie The Harvest & Honey Chocolate Chip CookieIMG_4544

“Can I trouble you for a cup of sugar?” Neighbor A asks politely, knowing full well that Neighbor B will oblige with a smile on his or her face and a sweetness rivaled only by the sugar itself.

“Of course! Here, take two.” 

I call it “the sugar knock.” The simple act of crossing property lines and asking one’s neighbors for something, be it sugar or not, is an iconic display of neighborly kindness that I’d like to believe is still very much alive and well. The term is just a catch-all, though, as it can really be applied to any neighborly request: a loaf of bread, a flashlight, a hedge trimmer. I’ve done it plenty of times myself, and have even borrowed things I didn’t really need just as an excuse to meet my neighbors without seeming strange. When I moved into my grad school apartment in New York City, I knocked on my neighbor’s door asking to borrow something in the hopes that maybe I could make the big ole city start to seem a little smaller, as silly as that may sound. I don’t even remember what I asked her for, the lady in Apartment 301 C, because that really wasn’t the point. Continue reading

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a low country style broil (with black pepper buttermilk sauce)

Low Country Style Shrimp and Sausage BroilIMG_4414IMG_8660Low Country Style Shrimp and Sausage BroilLow Country Style Shrimp and Sausage BroilStepping outside the house without your glasses fogging up is an impossibility. Might as well just grin and bear the bright, blinding sunshine during your brief walk to the car, whose crisp blast of conditioned air awaits your arrival. Your trendy spectacles might be designed to ban the rays, but they’re no match for Mother Nature’s sultry humidity. For on a late Summer’s day in the Low Country, the heat and humidity are formidable forces with which to be reckoned. It is not, as they say in the Southwest, a dry heat. Far from it. It’s best to just embrace it, and welcome it with open arms. Or, if you’re like me, you can try talking a little slower and imagining that you’re in a Pat Conroy novel. Really helps to bump up the charm of it all, even when you’re in the throes of a sweltering August afternoon. Or don’t. Suit yourself there. Continue reading


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