Recipes for Gift Guide

Gift Guide: Batter Up

December 11, 2016


I make a lot of pancakes.  So this batter bowl is extremely useful; I can mix the batter right in the bowl, and simply pour out the pancakes, one by one.

I’ve got a lot Amarita’s beautiful blue bowls, and everyone always gasps when they come out.  But this particular one is a favorite. After all, who doesn’t love a bowl with a spout?

And here, should you want it, some advice on the art of the pancake.

1. The first rule of pancakes: Don’t use a mix. Let me repeat that: Don’t use a mix. It saves no time, it tastes no good – and it costs more money.

2. Don’t even think about using inferior maple syrup. A good pancake deserves the very best.

3. Don’t skimp. I know my recipe has a lot of butter, but where pancakes are concerned, more is always more.

4. You can always put anything you want into your pancakes. Blueberries, chocolate chips, pumpkin puree… use your imagination. But when pancakes are this good, you probably won’t want to.

Here’s my basic recipe.  I’ve made this so often that I can pull it together in under a minute. After you’ve done it a few times you’ll be able to do that too. This is not diet food, but I promise that these pancakes will make your family very, very happy. 


1 stick butter

1 cup milk

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

4 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1.Melt a stick of butter in a heavy skillet.  Whisk together a cup of milk, 2 large eggs and a tablespoon of vegetable oil, then add the butter. Put the buttery skillet back on the burner, ready for the pancakes.

2. Whisk the flour with the baking powder, sugar and salt.  Whisk the mix mixture in until its combined.  Add a bit more milk if you think it’s too thick.

3. Pour some batter into the skillet. The size is up to you; sometimes I make them tiny for children, sometimes I make them ludicrously large. Watch as the bubbles appear in the batter, grow larger, and then pop and vanish.  When they’ve all popped, carefully flip the pancake and cook the other side. 

4. Rush the pancakes to the table as each one is finished. You want them hot, sweet, salty and a little bit crisp. You want the memory to linger with your family as they move through their day.

(The batter will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days; you will probably have to thin it out with a bit more milk before using.)





Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail 2 Comments

Gift Guide: Wearable Food

December 10, 2016

iss_640x640-5100204_11wn76ykCloves. Chanterelles. Rosemary. Cinnamon. Orange peels. Peppercorns.

If you’ve ever looked at a clove and thought – that would make a great earring –  this is for you.  Caitlin Royal casts herbs, seeds, spices and other small edibles in silver and gold to make her elegantly unadorned jewelry.


What I love about Caitlin’s work is its minimal quality. There’s been a fad for tuning food into jewelry, but I’ve never seen any with this simple, easy, organic elegance.

Prices begin around $50.



Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail 1 Comment

How To Carry Twelve Pies

December 9, 2016


I had a brief career as the baker for the collective restaurant FOOD created by artist Gordon Matta Clark.  When they told me there was no place to bake inside the restaurant, I was not fazed.  “I can make pies and cakes at home,” I said brashly.  I was twenty-two.

Besides the obvious health code issues (none of us gave that a second thought), the main problem was transportation. Food was the first restaurant in the fledgling Soho district (Fanelli’s was basically a bar), and I lived a dozen blocks away on the Lower East Side. How was I going to get the pies from my loft to the restaurant?

My husband came up with a clever solution: a pie-carrier that fitted around my neck like an old fashioned milkmaid’s yoke. Dangling shelves held six pies on either side. 

On the first day Doug loaded me up with six lemon meringue pies and six chocolate Rigo Jancsi cakes.  I carefully descended five flights, crossed the Bowery and made my way down Prince Street. Sadly, this arrangement was short-lived; despite my care, the pastries suffered along the journey, and arrived slightly bruised. 

Although these days I tend to deliver pies one by one, transportation continues to be a problem.  That’s why I was so thrilled to find Petee’s Pie Company, a wonderful little pie shop on Delancey Street, not far from my old loft. They sell delicious pies – lemon poppyseed chess, anyone? – along with these  practical pie boxes. With or without a pie, it would make a great gift. pie_box_2_large

Should you care to gild the lily Petee’s also has a perfectly beveled blackened cherry wood pie server. Homey and ancient looking, it’s a fine object of desire. burnt-cherry-front_large_44ca51ba-4403-44c5-a17a-f5dc8ab383b1_large

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail Leave your thoughts

Gift Guide: For Your Honey

December 8, 2016

deep_starter_kit-new_600xDoesn’t everyone want her own private bee hive?  Need I say more?

This excellent starter kit from Beethinking is just the thing for the would-bee (sorry!) apiarist.  It comes with everything she’ll need to set up her own hives.

This time next year, expect a jar of honey as your Christmas gift.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail Leave your thoughts

Gift Guide: Natural Color

December 7, 2016



If you’re a baker – and isn’t everyone this time of year? – you should know about India Tree.  The company specializes in colorful all natural vegetable dyes in everything from frosting to sprinkles to neon-bright sugars.

Serious bakers would be thrilled with one of their many sets – of sprinkles, dyes or sugars- but even the casual baker would be happy with a big jar of these colorful sprinkles. Pretty great gift for less than fifteen bucks.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail 2 Comments