Cooking For Sig

A Sous Chef and Her Stories


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Plum Crunch (Part One) and a Mandolin

kirWednesday night we’re having dinner at our downstairs neighbors’ apartment (have I mentioned how much I love our building?) and I offered to bring dessert. I have a habit of baking chocolate desserts, partly because Matt and I are both chocoholics and partly because I have several absurdly easy and insanely delicious chocolate dessert recipes in my repertoire. And yet, I feel very strongly that summer desserts should be fruit-based; it just seems seasonally appropriate. All summer long in Maine, my mother made fruit pies with whatever berry was in season: strawberry rhubarb pie, blueberry pie, and (if we were really ambitious and went out to pick wild berries) tri-berry pie. I know mom’s pie crust recipe by heart, but I could never match a Janice pie. They are magazine cover pies and I just don’t have her magic touch or the patience to acquire it, so I am making a plum crunch instead. Continue reading

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The Last Perfect Season

virginia 2Since I spent about a minute between arriving home from the airport and heading out to the grocery store yesterday evening, I didn’t have time for my usual cookbook browsing and neurotic shopping list assembly. Instead, I turned my cravings into recipes in my head and shopped accordingly. I was craving homey, carb-rich, comfort foods from my past and I knew I needed to eat my mom’s favorite party dish – Virginia Lee’s Chicken and Cold Noodles with Spicy Sauce. Continue reading


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Home Sweet Home

Matt and I are home after three consecutive weekends of travel and we could not be happier. It’s amazing the things that one finds gratifying after being away for an extended period of time – having our neighbor Robin hold the front door open for us, finding the glass of vinegar we set out to catch the gnats in our kitchen filled with tiny bugs, and smelling the lavender candle in the second bedroom wafting down the hall.

While it’s great to be home, it was also a beautiful weekend. Matt’s brother got married in Chicago. I was a bridesmaid for the first time and I was unsure what to expect. The hours of makeup and hair intimidated me. It was a long day. I was tired and grumpy. But the second the ceremony started, I was overcome with emotion. I walked down the aisle, escorted by my youngest brother-in-law. I felt the gravitational pull of family, the spine-tingling and butterfly-inducing promise of a life-long commitment, and the honor of being so close to someone on one of the happiest days of her life. Plus, the food was delicious, the hotel room was gorgeous, and I danced so hard my legs still hurt. Continue reading


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Cooking for Matt

I”m going out of town of this weekend and leaving Matt home alone. Matt is a very capable man. He can manage a load of laundry just fine. He can grocery shop like a pro. He makes a good frittata and excellent chicken fajitas. He can follow a recipe better than I can because he has qualities I lack, like diligence and patience. And yet, whenever I leave town, I find myself stocking up on food, making extra meals, doing an extra load of laundry, and cleaning the house from top to bottom, so that Matt has everything he needs while I’m away. Continue reading


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Sunday Is For Running & Eating

photo (20)In addition to my food addiction, I have a bit of a running problem. It started in 2007, when Christine, my favorite partner in all outdoor adventures, asked me to do a triathlon with her. My response: “That sounds crazy. Yeah, sure, why not?” She clobbered me in the swim and put further distance between us on the bike. But then, magically, like I had tapped into some hidden fount of energy, I caught up to Christine on the run and eventually passed her. It felt great and easy and natural and I didn’t really want to stop.  And I haven’t really stopped since. Continue reading


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Farmer’s Market Day

On Saturday morning, there is a farmer’s market in Adams Morgan. There are always two produce vendors and a European style bakery stall that sells really excellent loaves of hearty, crusty bread. It takes me about a minute to walk from my front door to the market and about thirty minutes to agonize over the selection of fruits and vegetables, trying not to buy everything in sight. Plus, today’s purchase came with a free onion flower! Continue reading


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The Grilling Saga Continues

photo (13)Monday evening was perfect grilling weather. It was warm, but not hot, sunny and dry with a gentle breeze. Plus, Matt arrived home just as I was headed down stairs with a tray of food, so I had the pleasure of his company while I tended the grill. Then disaster struck. While flipping a piece of tofu with a pair of tongs, I lost my grip and it landed on the ground at my feet. I looked at the sad, dirt covered tofu, looked at Matt, then back at the tofu. I pouted. “Five second rule. Pick it up,” he said. And so I did. Continue reading