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We have a new grill! We have a new grill! My husband Ted and I have been grill-free since we left the log house, so we're beyond excited to be grilling in our little Boston back yard. First up, one of my favorite cuts of meat, boneless leg of lamb. For an overnight marinade, I combined the Middle Eastern spices I love so much on shish taouk (garlic chicken on skewers): lemon, allspice, and loads of garlic. I added a bit of cinnamon, too. On the day I made this to photograph, I overcooked the lamb a little bit (still getting used to the new grill), but the flavor was so good that it didn't slow us down at all. While the meat was cooling,... Read more →


At this time of year -- beautiful springtime in New England -- I get asked often whether I miss living in the log house in rural northwest Rhode Island. To be honest, I don't miss the pollen clouds, the stink bugs, the carpenter bees. I don't miss mowing the lawn, or weeding the large herb garden, or fending off deer, squirrels and rabbits, just to save a few tomatoes on the vine. Another thing I do not miss is the limited access to a wide range of ingredients. Now that we're living The Downsized Life here in Boston, we can get anything. Our regular grocery store carries a variety of produce used in Caribbean and Latino cooking, to meet the needs of those large populations.... Read more →


Turkey burgers, the lighter and leaner cousin of hamburgers, always need a helping hand to keep them from drying out and turning to hockey pucks on the grill. You can blend some grated zucchini with the meat, or add yogurt, as I do in my turkey meatballs, or try a different strategy as I've done here. For this burger, I put the cheese inside, and tucked in some diced green chile peppers, too, because there was plenty of room. Canned green chiles are not very spicy, but you can use half the amount if you prefer. While the grill is hot, throw on some onion rings, and pile those on the burgers with slices of juicy tomatoes. And if lots of cheese is your thing,... Read more →


By now, if you're a regular reader of more than one food blog, you've read plenty of anniversary posts, celebrating one year, five years, and sometimes more. You've probably read some of those posts here, too. A few days ago, this blog turned 10, and the occasion calls for some words. Ah, but what kind of words? Aspirational, or inspirational? I considered telling the truth: I spend many hours writing blog posts in my pajamas while watching shelter shows on HGTV, which means I might be even better at home renovation now than I am at cooking. Instead, I decided to look back through the archives, and as I did, I realized that not only has my blogging changed, but my cooking also has changed:... Read more →


Every Saturday for four years, beginning in February 2008, The Perfect Pantry peeked into Other People's Pantries from all around the world, as readers shared their best tips and personal touches in wonderful photographs. Pantry #1, from Mae in Michigan, showed us her spice storage and collection of Mona Lisa objects, and that set the tone for what became a favorite feature on this blog. Over the next few weeks, I invite you to revisit some of my favorite pantries, to celebrate your creativity and inventiveness, eclectic and practical storage solutions, and just plain over-the-top fabulousness. You can always browse through the entire collection of pantry photos by clicking on the Pantries link at the top of the page. If you're still dreaming of creating... Read more →


My friend Lucia married her sweetheart, Sandy, a couple of weeks ago, and when people marry in midlife, it's always a happy affair. The celebration, a potluck, demanded a festive and elegant contribution, and for that, nothing fit the bill better than Chicken Marbella. With all of the extra bits of ingredients out on the kitchen counter, and a few leftovers in the fridge, I mixed up this gorgeous salad, and it was a total winner, wedding-worthy in its own right. If you're a fan of rice and beans, or of Chicken Marbella, you'll love this salad, because it marries the two dishes. Use leftover cooked rice, canned beans, a little bit of chicken breast (or store-bought rotisserie chicken), and lots of olives, capers and... Read more →