Chasen’s Chili and Champagne

Chasen’s Chili.  Once upon a time, Hollywood stars served it at Oscar parties and soirées. Legend has it that Elizabeth Taylor loved this chili so much she had orders of it flown to Rome while she was filming Cleopatra (and conducting a torrid affair with co-star Richard Burton). The list of ingredients is pretty simple in comparison…

Smokin’ Soulful Soup

The clocks have leapt forward. the sun is shining, the birds are twittering ’round the yard, and that classic spring break flick, “Where the Boys Are,” is playing on cable. We can almost see spring on the horizon. Alas, the forecasts tell us that fickle March is not done with us yet, and because there’s nothing…

Picking up the Pieces

I don’t get last-minute panic about packing or passports or plane tickets before I travel. I worry more about what might go to waste in the refrigerator while I’m gone–and whether I will have anything to eat when I get back.

Cake and Crema

You’ve probably seen those jars in the dairy aisle, next to the sour cream or cream cheese. Something called crema — from Mexico, or Salvador, or Guatemala, or even L.A.  And you’ve likely wondered what it was, or how exactly it was different from the nearby cream and/or sour cream. Well, stop wondering and pick up…

Carolina on my Mind

When our friend Angela entertains guests on her home turf–the beautiful and vibrant Charleston, South Carolina–she channels centuries of Southern hostesses and does hospitality proud. Perchance, on steroids.

Best of Both Worlds

I figured traditional chicken-and-dumplings (and my guests) would not suffer one little bit from a healthy shot of wine.

Let It Snow

Serendipity can change a nasty wintery day—in OCTOBER, no less!—into an incredibly civilized and warm afternoon, one for the memory books for its sheer comfort and camaraderie. So much so that I could almost forget the bad omen of snow in DC in early fall: I am still mourning summer and have yet to accept…

Riding the Storm Out

A weekend in D.C. for my birthday was in the plans; a hurricane was not. With event after event cancelled, including Kate’s planned entry in the D.C. State Fair pie contest, and threatened by the potential wrath of Irene, there were only two things to do: put the gumbo pot on and mix up the…

Chowdah Head

This is probably going to get me barred from New England, but I have to confess: I do not like clam chowder. I blame my landlubbing ancestors, who migrated from several landlocked locales and (deliberately, probably to spite me) settled in this country as far from the sea as possible.  My family’s evolution among grain…

You Say Potato, I Say Papa Seca

I’ve come across any number of unusual dried food products while foraging through ethnic food markets. But I’d never run across dried potatoes, until Kate passed along a bag of dried Peruvian yellow potatoes (papa seca) found on one of her reconnaissance missions through D.C.’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Hmmmm. Makes sense. Every culture finds a…