Sriracha-Coconut Popcorn with Smoked Sea Salt

I have a crippling addiction to snacks. Salty snacks in particular. It’s crippling in the sense that I will not stop eating until I’m overcome with nausea, and then left to spend the next hour slouched in my chair, thinking to myself, “why . . . WHY?” I often avoid buying bags of chips or pretzels at the store because I know that in less than 24 hours, they’ll be open on my desk, rapidly approaching empty. And then sometimes, I slip. In the throes of my toasted seaweed addiction, I bought two cases, which I then stored in my bedroom because there was “no room” in the kitchen. Those were the dark days.

Of all the snacks, popcorn is the most irresistible. I blame my mother, as she has been making giant batches of popcorn on a regular basis since I can remember. It goes from the stove top into a feeding trough large bowl, and sits on the kitchen table all day, inviting constant snacking. So while regular ol’ popcorn with salt and spices is tasty enough to shove in my face by the fistful, this stuff, oh lord — whole ’nother level. Seriously. Borderline dangerous.

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Three Delicious Shrubs

Let’s begin with a couple of apologies: First, I’d like to say sorry for posting this much later than intended, as the fruits included in these tasty things are no longer in season where many of us live. I’d also like to apologize for the shots of the final product, which are not my finest. I tried on numerous occasions to take pictures of the individual drinks, but things just were not working for me. So this weekend, I just said “screw it!” and crammed them all together into one shoot, hoping that the varying colors would bring some life to the photos. But still, I was not happy with what I managed to capture. After trying a ton of slight adjustments in Lightroom to get things where I wanted them, I lost it. I gave up and applied a color filter. So now, I present you with photos that look like they were created in Instagram. Except it took me hours. But it’s OK, because I have plenty of nice ingredient pictures to supplement them. (Focus on the positives, Nersh! And stop complaining like a psycho . . . also, stop referring to yourself in the third person.)

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Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter & Feta

As I begin to write this post (which appears on the heels of homemade nutella, said nutella crammed inside doughnut muffins, the delicious love child of ravioli and perogies, and absurdly sticky cinnamon buns), I feel compelled to emit a little bit of maniacal laughter. This is because of a chat I had with a far-away friend the other week, who said to me in the midst of our conversation: “Oh, do you know what C said to me the other day? He asked if you were fat!” As I thought about this later, browsing through my previous posts, I had to giggle a little. If you only had this blog as a guide to my diet, you’d have to assume that I subsist primarily on pasta, ice cream, and soda/booze. Which isn’t exactly UNtrue, I just tend to filter out the boring healthy stuff. Not that healthy food is inherently boring, but my versions kind of are. Beet breakfast wraps. Quinoa with soy sauce and peas. Do you really want to see these things? Maybe you do. But there’s no time! Because right now, I have pumpkin freakin’ gnocchi, all pan-fried up in some butter and covered with herbs and cheese. And it’s stupid good. Your pants will forgive you. Mwahahahaha.

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple-Chai Buttermilk Glaze

Are there too many words in this post title? Maybe. But if you had to pick one to leave out, which would it be? You can’t choose, right? Me neither.

Now, as the name suggests, these things are freaking delicious. But if I had to describe this particular batch as something besides that, the first phrase that comes to mind would be “hot mess.” See, I have this problem where I tend to disregard things like directions and pan sizes if they don’t jive with what I currently have at my fingertips, especially when I really want to make something. “Oh, this recipe calls for a 9 x 9 pan, but I have an 8 x 8. Ehh, it’ll be fine!” As you might be able to tell from the picture above, there were a few…casualties. Poor little rolls. Otherwise destined for sticky greatness. Stuffed between their slightly larger brothers, who then eclipsed them in the oven. Poor, sunken, gooey things.

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Butternut Squash Ravioli with Caramelized Onions

I have always enjoyed fall far more than any time of year. Perhaps because it’s the season into which I was born. (Today, in fact, is my birthday! But shhh, let’s not make a big deal about that now. There’s a birthday treat post coming up next, and we can talk all about it then.) It’s a beautiful time in the northeast. The air feels electric. I crave new things.

In the past few years, as I began to focus more on eating seasonally and enjoyed the benefits of a modest-yet-fruitful garden, I discovered another exciting aspect of the season: preservation. I take a bizarre amount of pleasure in tackling mounds of fruits and vegetables — methodically breaking down and repurposing them into something with a much longer shelf life. So when I was house sitting the other week and my mother presented me with a near-10lb butternut squash from her garden, I knew what I as going to spend the next two evenings doing. Half of it turned into two quarts of soup. The other half became a purée with sage and parmesan, which was then divided up between a pizza and these ravioli. All of them went into the freezer (which I then opened about once an hour in order to gaze upon my creations). Giant butternut squash: VANQUISHED!

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