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Extremely good shit: McLeod Farms peaches

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As you may know, I’m not a fan of summer. But one way I’ve been making it more bearable in recent years is by ordering a box of peaches from McLeod Farms, a South Carolina operation that came on my radar several years ago when I lived in Houston.

These peaches are awesome in the dictionary-definition sense of the word. So juicy, so fragrant, so special. Every bit of them detaches from the pit so easily and cleanly, it’s genuinely remarkable. Getting a box of them delivered has become one of the highlights of my summer.

But you don’t have to take my word for it! Here are some of the things my friends have had to say about them:

“This is truly the best peach I’ve ever eaten.”

“I should have eaten that in the bathtub.”

“That was obscene.”

“I should not have eaten that in public.” (I heard this more than once!)

The peaches go on sale every year in the late spring. They are sold by the box; you can either buy a box of 20 (for $60) or a box of 40 (for $77), and when you order, you select the week you want them delivered. (They ship in June, July, and August. Also, shipping to NYC is free, but I’m not sure if that’s the case everywhere.)

These peaches aren’t cheap, which is, for me, part of what makes them so special; I make a point to really savor them (I always try to enjoy at least one while sitting outside), and to share them with friends who will appreciate them.

Oprah once said* something to the effect of “you can find God in a perfectly ripe tomato,” and I think about this whenever I eat one of these peaches. (And, yes, then I obviously have a minor existential crisis about climate change and my own mortality. It happens at the beach, too! Summer is great!!!) They are just…sublime.

*I am fairly certain it was on the final page of an issue of O Magazine that I read like a decade ago, but I have never been able to track down the exact quote, so this could be entirely made-up!!! But if Oprah didn’t say it, then I will: You can find God in a perfectly ripe summer fruit.


Rosé + Spindrift is my go-to drink for summer 2019

Image of bottle of rosé and can of Spindrift on red wooden table on sunny rooftop with patio furniture and string lights

Last month, I came across this tweet from Maris Kreizman: “I don’t know who needs to hear this but Raspberry Lime Spindrift mixed with rosé is the ideal summer spritzer.”

Reader, it is good. I don’t actually love Spindrift, rosé, or lime flavoring alone, but the combination just works. I’ve brought it to a few parties and it’s been a hit every time! Highly recommend. ✨


The lemon butter pasta recipe I make all the time

Image: Julia Gartland /  Food52

Image: Julia Gartland / Food52

I tend to roll my eyes at recipes that claim you can make them with “pantry staples,” a phrase that feels very similar to “day to night look!” in that it’s something that’s mentioned a lot in magazines that never *really* happens IRL. Like, you don’t know my pantry OR my life, Bon Appètit!

That said, this lemon butter pasta recipe is the closest thing I’ve found to being a recipe that you can make with pantry staples — if you stock your pantry with the things you need to make it, which is what I do now because I like the recipe so much. Though literally nothing about it is French, I sort of think of it as the ~French girl~ version of boxed mac and cheese.

The ingredients list is very short: angel hair pasta, butter, chicken broth, a lemon, and salt and pepper. (I don’t consider lemon a pantry staple because lemons can go bad, but I now just buy a few lemons every week.) You can add Parmesan cheese or some fresh or dried herbs if you have them, but you honestly don’t need any of that. You can also easily double the recipe to serve two people, though I appreciate that it’s a dish for one because those are kind of rare.

Bonus tips: I always use Better Than Bouillon when a recipe calls for broth because my former coworker Erin told me that they did a big broth taste test at Good Housekeeping (where she used to work) and BTB was the winner by a mile. I also find it more convenient and more eco-friendly than canned/boxed broth and the individually wrapped cubes. And instead of using regular salt to finish off this recipe, I use Maldon sea salt, which I’m a big fan of, and which is definitely a pantry staple of mine.

Anyway, it’s rare to find a dish that comes together in less than 20 minutes, tastes delicious, and looks/feels elevated. It’s also pretty rich (thanks to the butter), so it ends up being way more filling than I expect. And the cleanup is minimal, which is important! On nights when I don’t have it in me to fuck with chickpea pasta, this is what I make.

Get the recipe: Sue Kreitzman’s Lemon Butter Angel Hair Pasta, Food 52. 👩🏽‍🍳


5 delicious recipes for anyone who loves beans and greens

I realized the other day that most of my go-to recipes lately have some combination of beans and greens! (And also lemon and Parmesan.) It probably has something to do with my love of chickpeas and chickpea pasta (with an assist from some of the bigger food trends happening right now). In any case, it’s going great and I have no desire to get off this train!

If you’re looking to get more beans and greens in your life, here are some of my favorite recipes:

  1. Linguine With Crisp Chickpeas and Rosemary, NYT Cooking.
    This recipe is so damn good. The crispy rosemary step always seems wildly fancy to me because I’ve never seen it anywhere else, but in reality it takes like three minutes and zero work. (It’s actually easier than having to chop the rosemary.) And the leftovers hold up quite well.

  2. Roasted Broccoli and White Beans, Shutterbean.
    This one is very good for breakfasts or lunches (or dinners) at home. I made it with frozen broccoli, which worked great. I also did half chickpeas and half white beans, as white beans because I was making a big batch and wasn’t sure how well the white beans would withstand reheating. (They were fine!) My fellow beans and greens enthusiast Alanna made it recently and said she thinks it would be great with the addition of some crispy breadcrumbs, and I very much concur.  

  3. Linguine With Chickpeas, Broccoli and Ricotta, NYT Cooking.
    This pasta really sold me on broccolini! Also, the broiled broccolini, kale, and chickpeas is so good — like, I just wanted to eat that on its own (maybe with an egg on top, like in the Shutterbean recipe). One note: adding the ricotta cools the entire dish down considerably; we ended up warming our bowls of pasta up in the microwave because it had cooled down so much.

  4. Shredded Brussels and Kale Spaghetti with Parmesan and Pine Nuts, How Sweet Eats.
    I’ve made this a couple of times now, in part because Whole Foods/Amazon Fresh sells pre-shredded B sprouts, which makes the recipe that much easier. If you make it, definitely don’t skip the pine nuts! Like all nuts, they are on the pricey side, but they add a lot of flavor and texture to this one, and really are worth it.

  5. Broccoli and Chickpea Salad, Martha Stewart.
    I discovered this recipe after Gyan — another beans and greens lover — brought it to a work potluck. It’s SO good — and basically a cold version of all of the warm recipes above! You can make it with frozen broccoli, which I think is worth it; if you do that, chopping the parsley will be the biggest lift. It’s super fresh and flavorful, is great for a potluck/party/picnic (Gyan’s has appeared at other parties since that first one and it never disappoints), and pairs extremely well with perfect chicken for a delicious lunch. 🥦


9 things that have made me a calmer, better cook


I...did not grow up in a household where cooking for guests looked or felt chill in ANY way, so I really admire this quality in others and am trying to cultivate it in myself — whether I’m cooking for guests or just for myself. I’m not, like, Mrs. Doubtfire with her titties on fire when I’m cooking, but things like always knowing where the measuring spoon I need is, or not getting flustered or buried in disgusting dirty dishes while I’m cooking actually take work for me.

For the past six months or so, my thought has been, OK, if I’m going to cook, I’m going to really cook — because if I’m investing the time and money in making food, I want the food to actually taste good, and I find that being more focused when I’m cooking helps a lot in that regard. Also, being more focused when cooking also just...feels nice! Multitasking is bad and ineffective, while being present and accomplishing a task in one go is soothing and satisfying. I’ve found that I dread cooking a lot less now that I’m approaching it in this way.

Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful in my mission to be a less stressed cook:

  1. Actually read the entire recipe start to finish before you make it.

    This may seem obvious, but I used to just skim recipes before making them for the first time, and there was often a big gap between when I skimmed it (when I first came across it online) and when I actually made it (possibly weeks later). So now I read the recipe all the way through right before I get started to make sure I understand how I’ll actually be putting the ingredients together.

  2. Along with reading the recipe in advance, also pull out everything you’ll need in advance — so measuring cups and spoons, cutting boards, spices that are in the back of your pantry, etc.

    This step might seem kind of fussy, but it’s not like pulling everything out as you go saves you time (and in my case, I’ve found it actually takes more time).

  3. Take this a step further and measure/chop all your ingredients in advance.

    I recentlyish got into the habit of doing this with new recipes, when I wanted to be extra conscientious and careful so I didn’t mess them up. It makes me feel like a fancy TV chef, and is a reminder that all those cooking shows with their cute little prep bowls are really onto something. Again, doing this can feel kind of fussy, and it might actually add a little more time in the long run, but I think it’s worth it, especially if it keeps me from screwing up a recipe or wasting ingredients because I was rushing and made a mistake.

  4. Use your dishwasher as a holding pen.

    If you’re using a lot of bulky dishes (like mixing bowls) and your sink is filling up, but you don’t have time to stop and wash everything, just stick it in the dishwasher — even if it’s not dishwasher safe, or even if you haven’t rinsed it first. Basically, your dishwasher isn’t just a dishwasher — it’s also a fantastic storage spot. (This is especially helpful in a smaller kitchen.) You can always pull things out after the fact to hand wash them or rinse them. I hate when my sink starts to fill up with dirty dishes, and this helps so much in terms of maintaining a cleaner kitchen/an overall feeling of calm.

  5. Use a bowl to collect food scraps/trash while you cook.

    My least favorite part of cooking is chopping produce, and I hate being surrounded by the wet scraps as I’m chopping. But I recently watched my friend’s boyfriend cook dinner (this delicious Ina Garten pasta) and put all the scraps (stems, rinds, etc.) in a medium-sized bowl as he did. He’s a very calm/clean cook, so I was immediately very into this concept. I’ve tried in the past to use produce bags for this, and it was never super effective. But a bowl works so much better. (I think the fact that he used a genuinely beautiful white bowl helped too.) I realized later he was likely doing this so they could compost everything, but even if you’re not composting, it’s still SO nice to not have to keep going over to your garbage can every 60 seconds.

  6. Put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode so you’re not distracted by texts or other notifications while you’re cooking.

    This is particularly helpful if the recipe is on your phone and you can’t avoid looking at your phone when you’re cooking.

  7. Related: if you’re going to make an IG story while you cook, just save the photos/videos to your phone for later instead of posting them in real time.

    Here’s an embarrassing story: I once burned the butter for lemon butter pasta because I was posting shit to my IG story while the butter was supposed to be melting (something that doesn’t take very long at all, turns out). I had to throw the butter out, clean the pot, and start over. This was extremely dumb! Since then, I’ve stopped posting cooking stuff in real time, and in general I don’t take a lot of pics/video while I’m cooking unless I know that I have like a solid five minutes before the next step.

  8. Make time.

    I rarely try new recipes on busy weeknights, or when I am getting home on the later side. And if I realize the day of that I’m going to be rushed, I’ll often change my plans and make a recipe I’ve already mastered and save the new recipe for a different night.

  9. And maybe don’t try that many new recipes overall.

    I tend to limit myself to one new recipe per week (if that!) because I’ve found that cooking new recipes — even easyish ones! — takes effort. I get very cranky with myself* if I’m putting that energy in several nights a week. But doing it once a week feels challenging in a good way, and has the added benefit of helping me master other recipes. (Which is why I can basically make chickpea pasta in my sleep now.) 👩🏽‍🍳 

*Because I have no one to blame but myself! Literally no one is making me try new recipes!

This homemade hummus is truly the best hummus

homemade hummus lead image.JPG

Last month, my mom texted me from the grocery store a few days before she drove out to visit me in New York. She sent me a photo of a package of mini naan “dippers” with the message, “Are you going to make hummus while we are there? I can bring some of these.” I replied, “I probably will not make hummus, but maybe I could.” An hour later, after some other unrelated conversation, she texted me, “I bought those little breads so you really should make hummus.”

And really, how could I argue with that?

The hummus she was talking about was developed by chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia. I’ve made it a few times now — including when my mom visited me in early January.

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It is completely reasonable that my mom has developed a taste for this hummus after having it once. This hummus is...incredible. As my former coworker Michelle wrote about it, “If you have the energy to learn how to prepare just one food over the course of your lifetime, let it be this one.” It’s so creamy, so flavorful, so...special. I love it on bread, but also on perfect chicken and roasted vegetables.

A couple recipe notes:

  • The hummus isn’t at all hard to make, but I think it’s kind of an Event. I think it’s just because it has kind of a lot of steps (the first of which starts the night before you actually make it), and also because I have a small New York kitchen. In any case, it’s absolutely worth it.

  • I’ve made the hummus with both dried chickpeas and canned chickpeas. The dried chickpeas are definitely better (the final effect is just creamier) but using canned beans won’t ruin it. Basically, if you forgot to soak the beans and now think you can’t make it, go ahead and use canned; they are definitely good enough.

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  • I’ve been using my KitchenAid stand mixer with the whisk attachment to make the tehina sauce and that works very well. The second time I made it, I inexplicably temporarily lost my mind and made the tehina in my food processor....which WORKED, but it required a lot more dishes and everything just got really messy. It wasn’t until later that I realized I hadn’t done that the first time — which why it was a much pleasanter/easier experience the first time! (You can also whisk it by hand, of course.)

  • When I made it last month, I used the extra tehina sauce that I’d frozen the last time around and it worked perfectly! (I let it thaw for about 24 hours first.) The tehina sauce recipe makes twice the amount you need, and it’s definitely worth saving/freezing it to use later; it cuts down on the amount of time and energy you’ll spend the second time in a pretty meaningful way.

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Extremely good shit: this chickpea pasta recipe

Much like I believe in wearing the same clothes all the time, I am big on figuring out a few recipes that work for me and making them over and over and over again. This chickpea pasta recipe is one such recipe. It’s filling, it’s nourishing, it’s inexpensive (seriously, my grocery bill dropped considerably after I started making this several nights a week), it’s fast/easy, it warms up well the next day, it’s vegetarian and dairy-free (if you’re into that sort of thing), and you can basically always have the ingredients available to be able to make it. (More on that in a moment.) I’ve recommended it to so many people, and they’re all believers now.

If/when you’re ready to join the Cult of CPP, here are some tips I’ve found for making it even easier to make.

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  • Don't skip the finishing oil; that's where all the flavor is!

  • Cut/measure/prep all the ingredients before you start cooking. There aren’t very many ingredients, so it’s mostly a matter of doing things like opening a can of chickpeas, draining, and rinsing them; crushing a couple of garlic cloves; and measuring out pasta and tomato paste. The reason I suggest doing this is because once you start making it, everything moves very fast, and you won't really have time to do those things while the food is cooking like you might with other recipes.

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  • Instead of chopping fresh rosemary for the finishing oil every time you make it, you can chop a bunch of rosemary at once and then freeze it in individual portions olive oil cubes. I freeze the teaspoon of fresh rosemary in 1 and ½ tablespoons of olive oil — because that’s what my ice cube trays can hold — and then add the additional ½ tablespoon of olive oil when I’m making the recipe. I pop out a cube when I start making the recipe, and by the time I’m ready to make the finishing oil, it’s basically thawed. Using the rosemary cubes is so convenient and it means that I’m both less likely to waste extra rosemary and more likely to have the ingredients I need on hand all the time.

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  • You can actually freeze the tomato paste in individual servings too. (In general, freezing extra tomato paste is a good move because so rarely do you need the entire can!) It’s not like opening a can of tomato paste, measuring some out, washing the tablespoon, and rinsing the can/peeling off the label for the recycling bin is oppressive or anything...but it’s also a step I’d rather not fuck with every time if I don’t have to.

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  • If you’re feeling really motivated and meal-preppy, you could transfer the pasta to a Mason jar with measurement marks on the side so you don’t have to pour it into a measuring cup each time you’re making it.

This recipe is truly so great; it’s right up there with the perfect chicken in terms of how much I love it and how often I recommend it.

Get the recipe: Quick pasta and chickpeas, Smitten Kitchen. 🍝


The perfect chicken recipe

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When I think of what “just good shit” means to me, I think of the perfect chicken recipe. I discovered it on Pinterest several years ago (via a really janky photo, the source for which is no longer available and hasn’t been for years). Before I found this recipe, I was basically afraid of cooking chicken. But this recipe truly is perfect; the chicken always cooks all the way through (even when the chicken breasts are way too thick to be anything but weirdo genetically engineered chicken breasts because no HEN has titties like that, I’m sorry) and is incredibly juicy and flavorful.

The perfect chicken recipe consists of two things: a five-ingredient spice blend and a cooking method. I usually eat it on salads or with a side of roasted vegetables and potatoes, but if ever I need chicken for another recipe, this is the recipe I use.

The recipe below is for a single serving of the spice mix, but these days, I make it in bigger batches (combining ~6 tablespoons of each spice) and store the blend in a container in my pantry.


  • 1 lb. chicken breasts

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.

  2. Combine spices in a small bowl, then sprinkle over both sides of the chicken breasts, rubbing in to coat. (Note: When I’m adding the spice blend from my big pantry jar, I just eyeball how much I'm sprinkling on each side, and I tend to season pretty heavily. Bland food is bland! Don't be part of the problem!)

  3. Add olive oil to the bottom of a Dutch oven or oven-proof pan and cook the chicken over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side.

  4. Put the pan uncovered into oven and cook for 25 minutes.

  5. Let the chicken rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note: I've used the cooking method with other spices/recipes, and the technique works nicely with those too, but I like this spice blend the best! 🍗