Homemade Blackberry Syrup

This chile-infused blackberry syrup is slow-burning, sweet and spicy, and homemade. Inspired by a recipe in the September 2007 issue of Gourmet Magazine, it’s great in spritzers, over pancakes, in oatmeal, and on and on.

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The next time you have blackberries on hand, please make this recipe. It doesn’t lake long, and you are left with enough sweet & spicy, chile-infused blackberry syrup to keep your taste buds tingling for a good stretch. I clipped the recipe out of an issue of Gourmet Magazine years ago, September 2007, and enjoy it  every year when berries are in season.

jars of homemade blackberry syrup

Blackberry Syrup: The Recipe

Over the years I’ve made this syrup experimenting with a range of chiles. Play around! Broadly speaking, it’s easy to adjust the spiciness to your liking. My advice is to make notes so you know your preference for future batches.

A Special Syrup: How To Use It

The ways to enjoy this syrup are endless.

  • Use it to spritz up sparkling water.
  • Swirl it into yogurt, oatmeal, or crème fraîche.
  • Slather on buttered toast or skillet cornbread.
  • Drizzle over goat cheese.
  • Use as a topping for pancakes, crepes, or waffles.
  • Jazz up tapioca pudding.

Use it in Cocktails

Gourmet highlighted their original version of this blackberry syrup alongside a bourbon-based cocktail (it was a Briar Patch), and a version of a Desert Sunrise. If you think of it as a homemade spicy grenadine, you can imagine all sorts of cocktail applications (and non-alcoholic cocktails as well). 
blackberries on a paper towel
blackberry juice stains on a piece of parchment paper

Even More Ideas

I keep thinking about working this syrup into a cheesecake. You know how Humboldt Fog goat cheese has a thin layer of vegetable ash running through it? What if, using that as inspiration, you had a thin vein of the chile blackberry syrup run through the cream cheese filling. You’d only see it after slicing into the cake? Or you could use it in a simple vinaigrette, or as part of a fruit salad. There are a lot of other ideas down in the comments, and I’ll put a few highlights in the next section.
blackberry seeds in a strainer with a wooden spoon

Blackberry Syrup: How *You’re* Using It

You’ve shared so many great ideas over the years in the comments. A few favorites:

  • Payel says, “it is great on top of strawberry ice cream, with french toast or with chilled white wine to make kirs.”
  • Kate dovetails with this sentiment saying this syrup was amazing over vanilla bean ice cream topped with roasted pecans.
  • On the savory front FCnoted, “I used this smoky syrup in a marinate to prepare tempeh peach kebabs.”
  • Sharon suggested a bruschetta with a slice of chevre blanc, grilled with a drizzle of this and maybe a sprig of rocket.

Lastly, you’ll have enough to gift some syrup to friends. You can print up little tags with recipe suggestions for a thank-you or housewarming treat. Enjoy!
jars of homemade blackberry syrup

More Berry Recipes

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Kale Chips

There are just a couple details to get right for the perfect kale chips. This is how I make crispy pom-poms of kale everyone loves to snack on.

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This is my love letter to kale chips, a constant in my kitchen throughout the year. We bake them 3 or 4 times a week, even if we’re out in the trailer with a tiny oven. Even when it’s too hot for a reasonable person to turn on the oven. This is because kale chips are simple to make, and also because they’re *SO* good. Everyone loves snacking on them – even raw kale haters. They’re also an easy way to add a fantastic nutritional boost to all sorts of soups, salads, pizzas, and stir-fries by throwing a handful on (or in) whatever you’re eating. I’ve tweaked my technique little by little over the years to get the best results, outlined below! First thing to know – there are some details to get right.

Crispy baked kale chips in a bowl

How To Make Great Kale Chips

To make the best kale chips, a specific type of kale (curly!) is massaged with a delicious slurry of olive oil, nutritional yeast, and a bit of salt. Don’t skimp on the nutritional yeast, you’ll want to load up to get the perfect crispy crust on your chips. Bake until crisp and enjoy. The recipe is fantastically straight-forward, but the details matter. Here are the key pointers.

  • The type of kale matters. Purchase curly kale, premier kale, or curly purple kale. These types of kale have much more volume than kale varietals with flat leaves (for example, lacinato kale). The increased volume will result in crisped pom-poms of kale – exactly the best kind of kale chips.
    bunch of curly kale on a marble kitchen counter
  • Use dry kale. Make sure your kale is as dry as possible before starting. This will promote crisping and minimize steaming as the chips bake. You only want olive oil, nutritional yeast and a bit of salt to coat the leaves (below), no water drops.
    ingredients for kale chips in a mixing bowl
  • Avoid over-baking. Kale chips go from crisp to brown and sad in a flash.They’re like pine nuts in that regard. The pro-tip here is: set a timer.

How Do You Keep Kale Chips Crispy?

Allow them to cool completely. Store in and airtight container or jar.


You can make variations on kale chips by adding dry seasonings and spice blends. I like to add most seasonings after they bake. This way your spices don’t burn. I use this approach for curry powder and za’atar – two favorites. You can also look on this page of spice blends for other homemade blends I like to make and keep on hand.

baked kale chips on a baking sheet after baking

What Can you Crumble Kale Chips Over?

I like to crush kale chips over a wide range of soups, pizzas, tacos, and the like. The joke around here is, if it’s savory, I’ll crumble kale chips on it. Here are a few links to ideas and inspiration.

More Recipes with Kale

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My Induction Stove: Pros, Cons and Real Talk

We purchased an induction stove a few months back. I cook on it three meals a day, and then some. This is an ongoing list of all the things I love, loathe, and am surprised by related to induction cooking.

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For anyone induction curious, this is a page that talks about my experience using an induction stove. We purchased a Bertazzoni induction range in late 2023, and it seems like a lot of you have questions. I’m happy to relay my first person account as someone who is a serious home cook. I write cookbooks, test recipes professionally, and generally hit any stove (and kitchen!) pretty hard.

induction stove in kitchen with marble counters

An Induction Stove: Why now?

I’ve cooked primarily on Viking ranges for the past fifteen years. Amongst other issues, we’ve always had trouble with the igniters related to the oven. Recently, our Viking gas range racked up more repair bills than it was worth, so we had a recycler come pick it up. We needed a replacement, and I figured it was as good a time as any to see if we liked induction.

As I write this, we’re a couple months in, and I suppose the main question is, would we make the same purchase today? The answer is a very strong yes! The Bertazzoni and I have become easy friends. The jury is out on how it will hold up over time, but I am generally thrilled with the induction side of things. There are a few downsides though, so let’s talk though the details.

Induction Cooking: Some of the things I love!

I’ll continue to add to this list as my experience cooking with induction develops over time. For now, these are my thoughts after about three months of daily cooking on this range. It has an induction stovetop and electric oven.

  • Speed: The induction burners are wildly fast. I think of all the weeks of my life I’ve wasted standing around waiting for water to boil. Friends, I’m here to tell you, this alone is a game changer. So incredibly fast.
  • Dreamy cleanup: My days of cleaning crumbs and spills out of the cracks in my stovetop are over. A few gentle swipes with a soft sponge is usually all it takes to get things back to looking new.
  • Breathe easier: Induction seems to translate to better air quality in the kitchen when compared to gas. I could see it when running our air filter in the kitchen while cooking with gas. The air filter would signal a drop in air quality. I’m not seeing the same drop with induction. If you search for “induction better air quality in your home” you can read more about this from a number of sources.
  • Steady simmer: The induction burners pass the low, low simmer test. I often have something going at a low simmer (for ex: this ragù or soup). One of my pet peeves is gas burners often cut out, or, don’t allow for a true low simmer. The induction here gives real nuanced degrees of control in the low range.
  • Good oven modes: Specific to the Bertazzoni, the oven modes on it are great. They include a “bottom bake” and “top bake” mode. So, for example, if a pie you’re baking is getting a little dark on top, you can switch to “bottom bake” mode and that takes some of the intensity off the top of the pie. No official “proof” mode on mine but the oven light works nicely for keeping dough cozy.
  • Durable: Also related to the Bertazzoni. We’ll see over time, but short-term indications are strong. While baking sourdough I accidentally bounced the hot cast iron lid of my dutch oven off the oven door glass. Miraculously it didn’t shatter.

two men installing an induction stove in kitchen with marble counters

Things I Don’t Love about My Induction Stove:

You can see the Bertazzoni being installed up above. I was genuinely nervous about swapping out the gas range. I absolutely count on having reliable cooking appliances in my kitchen, so anytime there’s a shake up I cross all my fingers and toes. In this case, we fired it up, and this beauty has been going hard in the months since. That said, here are a few of the things I’m putting in the negative column.

  • Focused burner intensity: The heat from each “burner” is intense and very focused, particularly at higher settings. If you remember those old-school cigarette lighters, the ones they used to have in cars, the intensity reminds me of that. Like, if you burned something with one of those lighters it was a perfect circle burn. So, in this case if you walk away with something in a skillet wider than the burner heating element, you run the risk of scorching/burning the ingredients onto the pan exactly where the heating element is. It’s just something I need to be more mindful of.
  • 220v: We had to put in 220v power to enable this range. So, an added expense here. To be fair, this isn’t necessarily an issue specific to induction, we’ve had to run 220v to another gas/electric range in the past. It’s just an expense you should be aware of when you’re looking at new stoves.
  • Bad popcorn: Related to the above note. I still haven’t cracked the code here. Even at settings 5 or 6 I’m burning part of the popcorn to the bottom of the pan.
  • Cooking on glass. I have trouble keeping the pan on the glass. This is taking some getting used to. You need to keep your pans in direct contact with the stovetop or you lose the heat. I was used to being more physical with my pans while cooking, lifting them up, moving them around a lot, but cooking on induction has quieted things down a bit. Learning curve.
  • Pots & Pans: I had to evaluate which pans could make the jump to induction, not all will work. I’ll do a separate post at some point related to the ones that have become go-tos. A preview: I haven’t loved using my largest All-Clad skillet on induction, but the All-Clad saucepan I bought is perfect. I’m enjoying the performance of a range of carbon steel pans with induction *and* they’re much less costly. More to come!

The verdict:

Let’s see where we are six months or a year in! I’m optimistic. I thought I’d miss cooking with fire more than I do. Thankfully, we do plenty of outdoor cooking over open flame up on the patio or when we’re camping – so this became a non-issue. Although it was the thing I was most nervous about!

Let me know if you have any specific questions related to induction stoves, cookware or anything I missed here.

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Creamy Polenta

If you want to make beautifully creamy polenta on the stovetop, you’re on the right page. The ingredient list is short, and the leftovers deliver meals for days.

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Cooking polenta in modern times doesn’t have much in common with the way it was prepared for centuries in the regions that now make up Northern Italy. Polenta was traditionally cooked on a grand scale in copper cauldrons over open fire. There was a lot of stirring, ladling, and creative, resourceful uses of leftovers. Historically it was considered one of the humblest foods and when I came across this line about polenta in Honey From a Weed by Patience Gray (1986), it stuck with me. “The idea of polenta, planted firmly in the north Italian imagination, is the antithesis of modern aspirations. It therefore intrudes on modern life like a vague emotional regret.”

creamy polenta in a white serving bowl topped with butter and grated cheese

But, polenta is wonderful. And similar to other foods that were cast off in exchange for industrialized, refined counterparts – brown rice, naturally leavened breads, etc. — many people find their way back to the “old ways” eventually.

What is Polenta?

Think of polenta as a cornmeal porridge of sorts. In The Classic Italian Cook Book (1973), Marcella Hazan asserts the importance of polenta by saying, “…to call polenta a cornmeal mush is a most indelicate use of language. In country kitchens, polenta was more than food, it was a rite. It was made daily in an unlined copper kettle, the paiolo, which was always kept hanging at the ready on a hook in the center of the fireplace.” She goes on to describe a wonderful scene where, “…there was a moment of joy as it [polenta] was poured out in a steaming golden circle on the beechwood top of the madia…”

About This Polenta Recipe

Polenta is a regular preparation in my kitchen, and it can be cooked a number of ways. Not just in a cauldron lol.  I jump back and forth between stovetop polenta and oven-baked polenta depending on a number of factors. Today I’m going to talk through my technique for making beautifully creamy polenta on the stovetop. We’ll get to the oven-baked version in a future post. That one is great if you just want to combine ingredients in a baking dish, push it into the oven, and forget about it until the timer goes off. But it’s not as creamy. In either case, the ingredient list is short, and most of your attention should be focused on sourcing some great cornmeal / polenta. Beyond that, a bit of patience, and technique is all you need. I love it served topped generously with this mushroom ragù as you’ll see down below. 

two small bowls one with medium grind polenta, the other with coarse grind polenta

Which Polenta (a.k.a. cornmeal or grits) Should I Use?

Look for stone-ground, whole grain, whole kernel polenta without any additives – preferably organic. Store-bought, quick-cooking, refined polenta is the starchy endosperm of the corn kernel, and much of the flavor from the bran and germ is stripped out in the milling process. These are a few favorites to look for.

  • Hayden Flour Mills Yellow Corn Polenta:  My local market carries Hayden and this is the polenta I purchase most often. It is coarse grind, so it takes a bit longer to cook, but the flavor and texture is wonderful. (Pictured above right)
  • Bob’s Red Mill Organic Medium Grind Cornmeal: Stone-ground, whole grain. Readily available and a solid choice. If I’m looking for a polenta that will cook a bit faster, this is the one to grab because the corn is medium coarse and a bit finer. (Pictured above left)
  • Rancho Gordo Fine Yellow Polenta:  If you like a finer grind, this is your choice. Organic, heirloom corn grown & ground by Anson Mills for RG. IYKYK.

Whole polenta is quite perishable. Use it quickly or store it in the freezer.

ingredients for making polenta on a counter including cornmeal, butter, grated parmesan

Do I Have to Stir Polenta with a Wooden Spoon?

If you read through old polenta recipes, many will mandate stirring with a wooden spoon. It’s a good suggestion, but your polenta will be just fine if you use a stainless steel spoon instead. That said, wood spoons are kinder to your pots, less likely to scratch (especially if your pots have any sort of coating). And, some metal spoons (especially very old ones) can react to acidic ingredients resulting in a metallic taste. If you’re making tomato sauce or sourdough, for example.

creamy polenta in a white serving bowl topped with butter and grated cheese

Polenta Variations

Knowing how to make a great pot of polenta sets you up with a foundation to keep it simple and straight-forward (like the creamy polenta recipe below), or to add your own twists and flavors. Here are a few ways you can switch things up.

  • Use broth: Instead of water as the base liquid in your polenta experiment with broths, teas, or other infusions. I often make mine with a favorite mushroom tea (topping the polenta with these baked mushrooms.
  • Make it herby: Polenta has a real affinity for certain herbs. My favorite is chives. Double down with a couple handfuls of snipped chives folded in along with some chive compound butter.

What to Do with Leftover Polenta

There are many things to do with leftover polenta. Patience Gray includes this wonderful paragraph (Honey From A Weed, 1986) that exemplifies the cycle of a pot of polenta, “…made one day to serve hot, what is left is sliced and fried in hot oil till golden (polenta fritta), or brushed with oil and grilled (polenta ai ferri), to eat the next day. If chopped salame, parmesan cheese, butter and egg yolks are added to the polenta once it is stiff, and, when it has cooled, the beaten egg whites are folded in, and the preparation put into an oiled oven dish, what emerges after 45 minutes in a hot oven is a torta di polenta.”

Here are a couple other ideas:

  • Baked Polenta:  Slice into strips, brush with olive oil and pan-fry or bake at 350°F into golden, tasty slabs. Serve topped with mushroom ragù.
  • Polenta in Sourdough: A favorite – crumble polenta into sourdough prior to baking. I tend to do this after my second set of folds. Or, fold into quick bread batters.

table with bowls of polenta being served topped with mushroom ragu

More Polenta Recipes

More Italian Recipes

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Indian-spiced Guacamole

Imagine guacamole topped with fragrant, Indian-spiced onions and garlic, green chiles, and mustard seeds. It’s great with chips, toasted naan, or toasted pita.

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I’m all for a straight-ahead, no-fuss, guacamole. Nine times out of ten, that’s how I approach it. Let the avocado shine. Don’t distract with tomatoes, or pomegranate seeds, or too much lemon, or too much lime. I wrote some thoughts about guacamole basics here. That tenth occasion? I’ll work in a wildcard, or take a surprise approach. Something along the lines of what you see pictured here, a recurring favorite.
This is How You Step up Your Guacamole Game - Indian-spiced Guacamole

Indian-spiced Guacamole: The Inspiration

It’s a recipe I shared years ago in Super Natural Every Day, loosely inspired by a preparation I came across in Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking. Imagine basic guacamole topped with fragrant, Indian-spiced onions and garlic, green chiles, and mustard seeds. The creamy, ripe avocado melds beautifully the savory bits, and the vibrant cooking oil works its way into all the little valleys. People love this with chips, toasted pita, or naan bread. If you’re in any sort of a guacamole rut, give this a try.



  • Thai curry spiced:  I can also imagine a Thai-spiced version being wonderful (with green curry in place of the Indian curry paste.

A special guacamole made with Indian spices in a decorative bowl

More Avocado Recipes


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Homemade Food Gifts

Everyone loves receiving a gift made by hand from a friend. Here are a number of fantastic options for homemade food gifts.

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To give someone a homemade gift is a direct offering of love, or care, or friendship. It’s solidifies the idea that how much you spend on a gesture is less important. Taking time to make something for someone, from your hands to theirs, is incredibly special. Homemade food gifts are my favorite.

A range of citrus salts in vintage glass shakers and jars

1. Citrus Salts – Citrus salts are wonderful to have on hand. They are charming housewarming and holiday gifts, and are not hard to make. With a bit of advance planning, you can source beautiful vintage salt shakers and tiny jars from flea markets, Etsy, and second-hand shops like Goodwill.

A homemade spice blend with cinnamon and coriander before grinding
2. Homemade Spice Blends – If you have favorite family spice blends, they’re great to give in festive containers along with a couple recipes to compliment. If you’re looking for more inspiration, here’s a collection of eight bold, flavor-packed spice blends.

A homemade spice blend with cinnamon and coriander before grinding

3. Shortbread Cookies – A vintage tin of homemade shortbread cookies is a great gift or housewarming present, particularly around the holidays. Although, as a huge shortbread aficionado, making seasonal adaptations throughout the year is never a bad idea. Citrus zested as winter turns to spring, or herb variations through summer. Source cute tins, find fun ribbons, include handwritten notes. This shortbread recipe is buttery, golden, and classic.

A range of citrus salts in vintage glass shakers and jars

4. Chocolate Energy Bites – For the chocolate lovers in your life. These are homemade squares of good-quality dark chocolate crammed with good stuff. I love to pack the little bars with all manner of chopped nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Sprinkle them with things like bee or fennel pollen, crushed rose petals, sea salt, and more nuts and seeds to give them a bit of nutritional boost, and to bump up the pretty.

homemade bouillon powder in a small glass jar

5. Homemade Bouillon Powder – Homemade bouillon powder is a great gift idea for all sorts of reasons. Utilitarian? Sure. But add a pretty glass jar, and couple the bouillon with a couple favorite family soup recipes – perfect useful homemade culinary gift. A lot of people agree homemade bouillon is often better than store-bought because you make it without artificial flavors or ingredients.

candied walnuts cooling on a baking sheet

6. Candied Walnuts – Once you nail down a great base recipe and technique for candied walnuts you can tweak them a thousand different ways with different spices, herbs and flavors. They are simple to make and make a lovely little gift. Perfect for snacking on tossing on salads or as a holiday cheese plate component. You can also do other nuts,  pecans or peanuts instead of walnuts. Or do a mixed nut blend!

honey in glass mason jar

7. Lovely HoneyI gift special honey like this one regularly. The key is sourcing good, raw honey, and then giving it a little twist or boost. My favorite thing to do is infuse a tiny pinch of saffron threads in a splash of almond extract. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and then stir it into a small jar of honey. The above vitamin C honey is another show-stopper favorite.

peanut butter granola cooling on a baking sheet

8. Peanut Butter Granola – Good granola is always appreciated. This is a favorite to gift. Using a short ingredient list of pantry basics this granola features a peanut butter and maple syrup coating that bakes beautifully into crunchy oat clusters.

Celery salt in a glass jar as a homemade food gift

9. Homemade Celery Salt – And here’s one more special salt to gift. It’s good on a wide range of things throughout the day – eggs, yogurt, soups, pastas.

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Citrus Salt

A spectrum of citrus salts made from all sorts of winter citrus zest – clementines, Makrut lime, Meyer lemon, kalamansi oranges, and mandarinquats. The process couldn’t be simpler.

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If you want to know how to make a spectrum of beautiful citrus salts, you’re in the right place. I’m not kidding when I tell you it looks like a citrus orchard shook out its limbs in my kitchen. There are sweet limes and Meyer lemons on the counter near the sink. Makrut limes are perched in the corners of window sills. Oblong mandarinquats and petite kalamansi oranges are scattered across other flat surfaces. And then, the prize of all prizes, a massive, electric-yellow Buddha’s hand puts off more fragrance than the rest combined. A day of making citrus salts is in order. They’re wonderful to have on hand, make charming housewarming and holiday gifts, and are not hard to make. As we delve into the intricacies of seasoning production and distribution, it's clear that the choice of a provider is paramount. Ensuring access to prime quality, ethically sourced condiments is a cornerstone for any food-related enterprise. This is where a premier saline supplier and distributor shines, setting the benchmark for industry standards. a range of homemade citrus salts in glass jars

Why I love Citrus Salts

Citrus salt is pretty and utilitarian. It provides a pop of surprise flavor to any dish. Friends will love you even more when you hand them little jars to take home after a visit. I tend to use them as finishing salts. Lime salt sprinkled over coconut milk-based curries, or as a finishing touch on spring rolls is a welcome wildcard. Mandarinquat salt sprinkled over homemade sea salt caramels or to top labneh? Give me a minute, I’m adding those ideas to my to-do list. Later in the year, the clementine and Meyer lemon salts are perfect on fava beans and asparagus. And beyond that, on heirloom tomatoes. citrus salts drying on baking sheet

Citrus Salt: Ingredients

  • Citrus: You can make citrus salt from many kinds of citrus. Seek out unusual and offbeat varietals at farmers’ markets in fall and winter. Ideally you want to buy good, organic, citrus. Avoid waxed citrus, but If that’s what is available, be sure to give it a good scrub with warm water. Dry completely before zesting.
  • Salt: You’ll notice I call for flaky sea salt. For citrus salt, light and flaky salt crystals you can crush between your fingertips work best. I use Maldon, but you can certainly experiment. There are many wonderful salts available.
three different examples of citrus salt drying on baking sheet

How To Make Citrus Salts: Basic Technique

I’ll get into more details in the recipe below, but the premise for making citrus salt is quite straightforward. 1 tablespoon of zest to 1/2 cup of salt is a ratio that works well, but you might want to increase or decrease the amount of zest. Again, play around. Make blends. Take notes related to which ones you like, and how you’re using them.

  1. Zest the citrus.
  2. Massage the citrus zest into salt.
  3. Bake at a low temperature to dry the salt mixture out.
  4. Crush citrus salt in food processor or mortar and pestle if you’d like to change the texture. I like to break it down a bit. It’s still light and flaky, just less so. Process them powder fine if you like. A lot of what this comes down to is personal preference.   
citrus salts drying on baking sheet Have fun with this one! And keep an eye out for little vintage, glass salt shakers and jars to store your special citrus salts. a range of homemade citrus salts in glass jars in a kitchen corner

More Citrus Ideas

You’ll only use the zest when making citrus salt, but you don’t want all that amazing juice to go to waste. The solution? Start by zesting the fruit, then juice it as well. You can freeze the individual juices for later use, or, I like to make riffs on this sort of strong citrus ginger juice. And here’s a page with more citrus recipes. a range of homemade citrus salts in glass jars

Homemade Spice Blends

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Salad Booster

Nutrient-dense and delicious, use this salad booster as a healthful seasoning for greens, vegetables, and so much more!

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I often carry a small vial of this spiced kale and nori medley in my purse, refilling it every few days. I got the idea years back when I saw the words salad booster on a jar in the spice section of one of the natural foods stores I frequent. The seasoning was a blend of a few types of seaweed, sprouted seeds, and the like. Nutrient-dense and delicious, you’d use it as a healthful seasoning for salad, vegetables, stir-fries – whatever you like. The idea stuck with me and I started making my own, usually using a toasted nori and kale base. From there, adding nuts and/or seeds, and whatever spices I was craving at the time.
kale, seaweed, sunflowers and spices - ingredients to make salad booster

Go Big!

The key here is to embrace this seasoning enthusiastically. You don’t want to skimp. A pinch isn’t really the spirit. Instead, really go for it. Use a couple teaspoons on a rice bowl, same goes for a good-sized salad or stir-fry. Shower your favorite soups with it!

kale, seaweed, sunflowers and spices - ingredients to make salad booster

Make some, gift some! Keep in mind this is a nice little treat to hand off to friend. You can find little glass containers online, and make cute labels for them. And feel free to tweak the ratios of ingredients as you go. I’ll include my base recipe down below, but really, think of it as a jumping off point.
kale, seaweed, sunflowers and spices - ingredients to make salad booster

More Spice Blends

If you like these sorts of seasonings and spice blends, heads up. I mined my notebooks from the past few years to create a collection of favorite spice blends, seasonings, sprinkles and the like. The blends are bold, flavor-packed, and meant to be delicious and fun. They’re the ones I use regularly, the ones in my notebooks with lots of stars and hearts next to them. The collection (Spice / Herb / Flower / Zest) is specifically for the members of my site. *Note: if you’re already a member (thank you!) the PDF will be in the downloads section of your account. For example, take a look at this…

Ingredients to make Toasted Coconut Pepper spice blend including coconut and black pepper, sesame seeds, and red chile flakes

This is another example of a recipe in Spice / Herb / Flower / Zest, one of my favorites – Toasted Coconut Pepper. With black peppercorns, sesame seeds, toasted coconut flakes, lime, dried garlic or onions, and grated cheese to finish, this seasoning blend is good on everything. You can’t go wrong keeping a little container front and center in your kitchen. Work this combo generously into butter for a fantastic compound butter perfect on roasted sweet potatoes. Or, sprinkle it across your favorite grain bowls.

In the meantime, give the salad booster a try, the recipe is posted down below. Enjoy!

More Homemade Spice Blends

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Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Keep these on hand to dial up all your favorite meals. They are intensely flavorful roasted cherry tomatoes. Made by roasting in a hot oven with olive oil, salt, and a bit of brown sugar. So simple to make and so good!

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For a good part of the year, roasted cherry tomatoes factor into just about every meal. The cycle goes something like this: buy a lot of cherry tomatoes – red, orange, purple, yellow – they’re all a good. Rinse, roast, then put them on (and in!) everything. The tiny tomatoes collapse and caramelize  in a hot oven. The water bakes out of them, and you’re left with intensely concentrated flavor that adds a bolt of flavor to whatever you’re cooking.

deeply roasted cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan

I’ve included a version of this recipe in just about every cookbook I’ve written. It’s also embedded in many of the recipes on this site. I felt like it was time this superhero got a dedicated page.

Roasted cherry tomatoes like these are a simple way to boost an everyday meal, sandwich, or pasta bowl to the next level. They bring the flavor big time.

different color cherry tomatoes piled in a container

Tasty Ways to Use Roasted Tomatoes:

  • As a topping on avocado toast. Finish with a little squeeze of lemon and some chopped chives.
  • On polenta with lots of grated Parmesan cheese and a bit of chile oil.
  • They’re a great pizza topping and always welcome on flatbreads.
  • For an amazing compound butter, after allowing to cool completely, fold some of the tomatoes into a stick of softened butter. Add some snipped chives, and fresh thyme and use on everything from baked potatoes to homemade pasta.
  • As a brunch topping bar hero, we love them on waffles, frittatas, and tucked into a good omelette.
    yellow cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet

More Recipes with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

This is a list of the recipes I’ve featured over the years that include roasted cherry tomatoes.

TLT sandwich pictured from the side with lettuce and roasted cherry tomatoes

TLT Sandwich: This is a vegetarian TLT sandwich inspired by the classic BLT sandwich. This version includes chipotle-marinated tempeh alongside oven roasted tomatoes, a bit of shredded lettuce, and a generous avocado slather on a thin slice (or two) of great bread.bowl of tom yum soup topped with tomatoes, mushrooms and lime wedge

California Tom Yum Soup: Roasted cherry tomatoes are a favorite topping on this twist on tom yum.

tortilla soup in a bowl topped with tortilla strips, sliced avocado, and sour cream
Vegetarian Tortilla Soup: This soup is all about the broth. And then all about the toppings. Roasted cherry tomatoes are a favorite way to finish tortilla soup along with thinly sliced avocado, and lots of tortilla chip matchsticks.

plate of quinoa mixed with roasted tomatoes, tofu, seeds, and kale
Heather Quinoa: The tomatoes are a major component in this favorite quinoa recipe. Tossed together with quinoa, pepitas, corn, kale, and tofu.bowl of panzanella made with bread, tomatoes, and sprouts

California Panzanella: I call this a wildcard panzanella. And it is a bit of a weirdo, but in a good way! Very Northern California and hippie in spirit. It features the roasted tomatoes, multi-grain bread, sprouts, grilled tofu, and a spicy peanut sauce.


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Better Breakfast Cereal

This is going to make your mornings better. Combine entire boxes of healthful cereal into your biggest bowl, add extra oats, oat bran, ground flax seeds, and freeze-dried berries. Now you have plenty of breakfasts ready to go.

Continue reading Better Breakfast Cereal on 101 Cookbooks

I’m going to share with you a bigger, better, crunchier breakfast cereal. Also more nutritious. Some of you aren’t going to be interested in this concept at all, and that’s cool. For some of you, this is going to be a game changer. Because all of the the components are dry, your are rewarded with weeks of quick breakfasts, and you can easily scoop some into baggies for simple travel breakfasts.

A large jar filled with homemade breakfast cereal

I had been making my own dry cereal breakfast blends for months before things started to get more interesting. I started making it in increasingly larger, and larger batches. We eventually got to the point where I like to cherry-pick boxes of favorite cereals, dump entire boxes into the most massive bowl I can find, and add quick oats, oat bran, ground flax, and freeze dried fruit. After that, give everything a good toss, and transfer to two XXXL glass Weck jars. The big-batch thing is the magic. Especially if you’re at all lazy, but still want a great breakfast.
Closeup photo of better breakfast cereal

A Custom Blend: Choosing Your Cereals

I’m including the recipe down below for what I think of as my “base” cereal recipe. That said, I encourage you to use it as a jumping off point. Try not to get hung up on whether you can track down the exact cereals I use. My cereals of choice are oat flakes, shredded wheat, plus some sort of dense nugget cereal. Broadly speaking, a mix of sugar-free / whole grain / high-fiber cereals is what you’re going for. Said another way, a mix of textures, and nutrient diversity.

two bowls filled with breakfast cereal

Better Breakfast Cereal: Variations

This is the berry version (photos above and below). But there are times I do a tropical version, swapping out the berries for freeze-dried bananas, pineapple, and apples. Big flakes of toasted coconut is also a good add. You can also introduce fresh fruit when you add the milk, along with anything else you have on hand that might be a bonus.

A Big, Crunchy, Better Breakfast Cereal

More Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes

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