My husband forgot to buy beer for the Super Bowl. Which might not sound like the world’s biggest catastrophe; if you read this post, you’ll know that I hardly pay attention to the game. The issue was that I’d made enough Super Bowl foods to feed a small supper club and was ready to wash them down with a cold frosty. When you’re eating nachos and jalapeno poppers, wine just doesn’t cut it.

In theory wine could work, I’m into highbrow/lowbrow things. Chips and Champagne, salmon mousse on saltines, Momufuku’s Corn Flake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow cookies.

But the thought of poppers and wine sent me running to my medicine cabinet for a preemptive Zantac. 

Fortunately, something tastier came to mind: Rosemary Lime Gin & Tonics.

rosemary_lime_gin_tonic 241

I posted a picture of my cocktail on Instagram and for some reason it struck a chord. Yes, you too can make Bemelmans-worthy cocktails at home.

It’s all about the sugar. It’s the secret ingredient in standout cocktails, but it can also be used to make your everyday foods a little more fun.

So put on your white lab coat. We’re going to make some molecular magic happen and you’ll be surprised by how easy it is.

Let me first say that I apologize profusely for the Martha Stewartiness of this shot. I don’t have a habit of labeling my creations with tags and striped twine for the sake of a well-organized fridge. The pack of salami that was wedged between the meyer lemon and kumquat syrups would agree.

The problem is that a few Sundays ago I made one jar of simple syrup, then it was two, then it was three. You might find the process equally addictive.

I first came across simple syrup years ago when I was learning to make lemonade. I feel compelled to remind you that for someone who was brand new to cooking, lemonade from scratch is a major culinary achievement. It required the use of both a stove and an appliance for one measly little drink.

But simple syrup, despite its name, which might lead you to presume otherwise…is deceptively simple.


continue reading



I get this question all the time – from friends, family, people who read the blog: “How do you have time for all of this cooking?”

And it’s true – time is a precious commodity in our home, just like it is for anyone who has kids, a full time job, or both. Between work, juggling my kids’ drop offs and pick ups, managing their afterschool activities and doctors’ appointments, there’s not a lot of time left for cooking.

But I’ve figured out a few strategies that help me cook healthy, creative food at home despite this time pressure. 

So here they are – my top 5 habits for time-pressured cooks:

1. Wash and bag your greens the day you bring them home

It takes time to save time. Might be counter intuitive, but spending 20 minutes putting away your groceries properly will help you in the long run. As soon as I get home from the grocery store (or later that evening if I’m strapped for time), I wash and bag any greens – just rinse in the colander, and stick them in separate Ziploc bags with a dry paper towel. The benefit is that it extends the life of your produce, and makes your greens readily available for a quick meal. No chopping wet herbs, no limp greens in your cooler. With a few minutes of effort, you’ve saved yourself a whole host of headaches.

Good for: Herbs, lettuces, and any dark, leafy greens such as Kale or Chard.

continue reading