Chickpea & Pomegranate Dip + Tasty Pitta Chips

Chickpea & Pomegranate Dip + Tasty Pitta Chips, from the Top With Cinnamon cookbook

Oh, life. How do you manage to be both crazy and awesome simultaneously? I have spent the past several weeks as a ball of excitement and anxiety. Perhaps because I’ve grown too used to cushy freelance life, so when I actually have to do big, out-of-the-ordinary things, all I want is for a fainting couch to appear in my room and a mint julep to materialize in my hand. (And also for my room to be a completely different room. One with a view of something that isn’t a city street, and that doesn’t contain what appears to be the remnants of a bomb made of dishes, clothes, and cardboard boxes.) Or perhaps it’s because I said “yes” to a lot of things all at once. Yes to shoots in the days preceeding and following the workshop Eva and I hosted in upstate NY. Yes to cutting my avocado food/prop sourcing time down to one absolutely insane day so I could spend a couple days in the Adirondacks instead (worth it). Oh and my birthday happened somewhere amidst all of that? Interesting.

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Apple Cider & Salted Caramel Crème Fraîche Coffee Cake

Apple Cider & Salted Caramel Crème Fraîche Coffee Cake

So I know Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and pretty much all we can think about is what we forgot to get from the store. (I forgot chestnuts. Ugh.)

But look on the bright side: If, like me, you have to brave the madness that is last-minute Thanksgiving shopping, you can at least grab all the ingredients to make this coffee cake too. I know it might not really have a place amidst all the pies, but it deserves a place somewhere, because it’s ridiculously delicious. Whip it up on Friday morning so your family doesn’t eat turkey sandwiches for breakfast. Or file it away for a quieter occasion, when you can eat half of it with no relatives around to judge you. Just promise me that, at some point in time, you will make and eat this. Please.

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A Better Method: Cold-Process Infused Simple Syrups

A Better Method: Cold-Process Infused Simple Syrups

Whoopsie, I disappeared for a little bit there! It seems that a weekend of baking and peddling treats makes me not want to think about food for a good stretch of time. But now that I’m back, I’d like to talk to you about something I started experimenting with a couple months ago. Something that kind of revolutionized my approach to creating simple syrup infusions.

It all started back in July, when I began making this shrub. I’d combined the fruit and sugar, let it sit, then macerated and covered it, as per ushe. As I walked by the plastic wrap–covered bowl a couple hours later, I looked at it and thought, “huh, it looks like a lot of that sugar has dissolved into syrup already.”

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Fennel-Apple-Rhubarb Shrub & The Summer Breeze

Fennel-Apple-Rhubarb Shrub

So just in case any of you were worried that last year’s shrub-stravaganza was a fleeting obsession, allow me to assure you that it was, so most definitely, not. I’ve been branching out in weird directions this summer, and the results have been mixed thus far. (There’s currently a cantaloupe + champagne vinegar shrub steeping in my pantry that smells……funky. Like musky melon funky. And a fig + balsamic shrub sounded amazing in theory, but the actual execution would have best involved me living in a place where I can get fresh, ripe figs, not strange unripe ones shipped from god knows where. I still have hopes for both of these, but not high ones.) This fennel-apple-rhubarb shrub, however, is a different story.

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Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas

Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas

I’ve been having one of those weeks where I feel really out of touch. I blame most of it on last week’s heat wave, which pretty much rendered me useless mentally and physically. The heat finally broke Friday night, and I got to enjoy a fun-filled weekend with my friend Nicole. We went to nearly all of my favorite food and drink spots in the area, and I got to try my hand at some fashion-y photos too. (I won’t even pretend to be anywhere near as good as her usual photographer, Clint Mejia. But it was a very fun experience!) Yesterday meant a return to reality, which translates to unanswered comments and emails, along with a daunting list of unread posts in my rss feed and a silent-for-days Pinterest account. Nicole and I spent a lot of time laughing about our “first world problems” this weekend, so yeah, it seems the theme continues. But now, it stops, and we can talk about food instead.

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