I totally judge a book by its cover, especially cookbooks. This looks fab.


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Bedtime smoothie snack attack


A reasonably healthy snack (mangoes, sweet Georgia peach, Haagen Das raspberry sorbet and a dash of ice cold water) that can masquerade as a treat.


And it’s finished every time…

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I don’t eat testicles


Not nutty about nuts. But Clementine says that it tastes like chicken.

I’ll trust her on that.


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And who said I don’t like leftovers?


Last night’s meal by Stuart was Delicioso. Believe it or not, leftover polenta is even better the next day. I made this for breakfast after a long bike ride. My version of a breakfast burrito sans Tortilla…I’m never going for the wrapped version again.

Thank you Stuart. Love, Diane

P.S. Stuart claims I don’t like leftovers. What I really don’t like is bad leftovers.

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Avacado salad by Diane


I have recently discovered the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I’ve been profoundly affected by the concept of leaning in and have a greater understanding for many of my past decisions, both personally and professionally. Sandberg has created a monster…now I find myself thinking about gender in nearly every circumstance…so it’s not surprising that my ongoing examination of gender has made its way into the kitchen.

So many of the well known professional chefs whose work I admire are men. I am less familiar with female chefs, but I know that they are out there. (In fact, we have one of the best around in Fargo, of all places.) So I did a Google on the YouTubes and discovered this amazing woman. This salad is from her cookbook (which is getting rave reviews) and Stuart proclaimed that it was restaurant quality.

And apparently that can be hard to find, even in the fanciest of places. Seriously funny. (And really, what is more disappointing than a bad meal out when you are expecting fabulous? Which is why where to go out to eat can be an agonizing decision in our house.)

I’m leaning in all over the place. And now in the kitchen. What’s next?


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Valentine’s day coffee



My Valentine’s Day was spent in Sioux Falls, SD.

I treated myself to a cappuccino at a fabulous local coffee shop called Coffea…and my thanks to the barista for making me smile.



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Best Chocolate Chip Cookie


I was going through Jim Lahey’s new pizza cookbook, My Pizza, and when I got to the desserts I realized I had everything to make his chocolate chip cookies. I wasn’t feeling very well but when you have all the ingredients you are sort of bound to make them. Right? And cookies are a homeopathic remedy for congestion. But it turned out I was out of eggs. I needed one egg. Hey, who doesn’t like to run to the store in -30 wind chills to get an egg? This guy doesn’t. But in my mind I was already creaming the butter. So out I went. And it was totally worth it.

Lahey is the guy behind the Sullivan St. Bakery in New York. He became famous for his no-knead bread that you bake in a preheated casserole dish and end up with a perfect crust. If you haven’t tried it you must. He has inventive ideas about getting commercial oven results at home. His pizza book promises a solid replica of a wood-fired crust at home. You know, the kind usually baked for 90 seconds at somewhere around 900 degrees. I haven’t tried it yet but he heats a stone at 500 near the broiler, then hits it with the broiler for a few minutes to get the stone even hotter. The pizza then cooks for just a few minutes under the broiler on the hot stone. Am I excited? Yes! See that exclamation point? That’s how excited I am.

Anyway, the cookies were fantastic. He blasts them at 500 for 6 minutes and they come out with a crisp bottom and edge, and a wonderfully light, soft middle. And these aren’t overly sweet, one of the reasons I usually don’t go for a chocolate chip cookie. But this was just right.

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20130111-134109.jpgI forget where I first saw the recipe for these Bialys. They are essentially a bagel that is baked instead of boiled, and instead of a hole in the middle there is traditionally a depression in the center that is filled with cooked onions. I just sprinkled some sea salt on the top. They have a great, chewy texture.

The Bialy comes from Bialystock, Poland, which had a population of around 50,000 Jews at the start of the war. Only a few hundred survived the Holocaust. 

The proper way to eat these is while reading “Gimpel the Fool,” one of my favorite of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s short stories of shtetl life.

There’s also this animation of the story.

To make, combine the following in a stand mixer:

4 3/4 cups of bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
a package of active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups of water warmed to 130 degrees

Let the dough hook mix on slow for a good ten minutes. Then cover and let the dough poof for an hour. Then divide into 3 ounce balls (about 13) and let sit for another 30 minutes. Shape into rounds, sprinkle with salt and bake for 12 minutes at 450.


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C loves celery. A lot. Like the grocery clerk will ask what-are-you-doing-with-all-this-celery a lot. I usually mutter something about feeding several kindergarten classes peanut butter logs.

I have this jar of celery pickling away in the back of the fridge. I’m using David Chang’s pickled celery recipe from his Momofuku cookbook.

It’s a Christmas surprise. Don’t tell.

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I never really liked butter and even now I will usually forgo buttering bread at the table. But I’ve been baking a fair amount and have gotten used to butter, albeit incorporated into a recipe. This butter was headed into banana bread.

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