My friend Sarah has the greenest thumb of anyone I have ever known. On a small plot of land in the local community garden, she grows a lush variety of flowers, herbs and vegetables. Recently a big bunch of her mint, newly trimmed, found its way to my kitchen -- thank you, thank you -- so much, so fragrant, that I wanted to keep it forever. Well, not forever, but for the summer, and I think I found a way. In the freezer, I found a bag of chopped walnut pieces, intended for baking in cookies. Into the food processor went the large bunch of mint leaves, plus walnuts and a few more things from the pantry. Voila! A mild-tasting, yet garlicky, pesto that's perfect... Read more →

In the not-wholly-Kosher house where I grew up, shrimp cocktail was forbidden fruit, but when we went out for a "fancy" dinner, somehow it became precious permitted fruit. Go figure. I love shrimp in all of its guises. I always have, and I always will. On the other hand, the cocktail sauce I remember -- often filled with sugar -- isn't something I indulge in as an adult. This kiwi salsa fresca, made with yellow kiwis that I happened to luck into at a local market, adds zing (as much or as little as you like), balanced by sweetness from the fruit itself. Grill the shrimp, or roast them under the broiler. The whole dish, both shrimp and salsa, takes just a few minutes to... Read more →

So, this is funny, or not funny, but weird, and absolutely true. Last week my computer suffered a "catastrophic software failure" (three words no one wants to hear), and spent some time with the geniuses at the Apple Store, searching for a cure. The good news is that they did find a cure. The bad news is that it cost me some files here and there, and one of those files wiped out the emails in which you shared what's new in your pantry. If your "what's new" hasn't appeared here, I am so sorry. I promise to make it up to you, with a bit of a prowl through my own pantry. When my husband Ted and I moved to our small Boston apartment,... Read more →

My husband Ted and I maintain a Little Free Library on the front stoop of our Boston home. Little Free Libraries, more than 32,000 of them around the world, are free community book exchanges where anyone can take a book, and then return it or pass it on, and leave another book for someone else to enjoy. We opened our library in July, and it's become hugely popular, with some neighbors stopping by every day to see if new books have come in, or to leave books in the library for others. One man came almost the first day, and has come often since. At first, he was homeless, living in a local shelter, but he's since found housing nearby. I learned that he used... Read more →