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San Francisco, CA
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Cooking is one of those things that is never learned in a vacuum. You do not learn it solely from books or blogs or television shows; you learn it from people. They impart their knowledge, their wisdom, and their sense of taste, and you internalize that. For many of us, of course, much of this wisdom comes down generationally. For those who cook professionally, they learn in a school or on the job. Those of us who are passionate about food tend to learn from each other. It is our bond. This recipe comes to us from a dear friend, who is in turn passing on a piece of someone dear to her, a colleague named Tom. Tom was an... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2016 at Hedonia
Hey, did you know that the UN has designated 2016 the International Year of Pulses? Of course you didn't! Do you even know what pulses are? Bet not. I'm not talking the throbbing on your wrist, or the thing you do on the food processor to pulverize nuts. Pulses are dried members of the legume family that include beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas. This does not include fresh beans or peas, soybeans, or peanuts. Got it? Good. I had the privilege to be invited to the gorgeous Culinary Institute of America Greystone a few weeks back to learn more about pulses, and get inspired on how to use them. During this weekend intensive, we heard from experts on the virtues... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2016 at Hedonia
Nearly nine years ago, we brought Reese home from the SF SPCA. On January 20, we said goodbye to her. After nearly losing her back in October, she rebounded with the help of our amazing vet. Over the ensuing weeks and months, as her war against heart failure waged ever fiercer, our victories became smaller and less frequent. In the last couple days, her breathing became more labored, she became weak, and -- the surest sign of trouble -- she began to refuse food. It was time. The decision was not easy, but once made was clear as day. She brought us years of joy, laughter and love, and it was our responsibility to make her last moments as good... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2016 at Hedonia
Though I start my day with espresso, I really enjoy a nice pot of tea, especially on dreary winter days. I keep a varied selection, to suit my moods: Bracing black to wake up the palate and inspiration, soothing green for pensive moments, and even a few herbal tisanes like mint and chamomile to settle the stomach or calm the mind's chatter. There's more to tea than just adding hot water. To get the best from your brew, the devil's in the details. I've picked up a few tips from tea aficionados, and have ultimately developed my own method for the perfect pot, every time. Invest in whole leaf tea. For the most part, bagged tea is made with overly... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2016 at Hedonia
It's a given that we self-edit to some degree on social media. The face we present rarely reflects the whole picture. By way of example, in early October, I was posting updates and images during a trip to Italy, effusing over delicious food and life-changing experiences. On the surface, life was good. What I didn't talk about was that our dog was dying. We've known that Reese has a heart condition for over a year now. Last September, during a dinner party, she was barking out the front window, as is her wont. dpaul went to shoo her out. I heard him call my name, frantically, from the living room. As I dashed in, I saw Reese on her side... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2015 at Hedonia
Tonight I'll be presenting at NightLife at the Academy of Sciences on how pectin gives cranberry sauce its distinctive jiggle. Come join me, won't you? I even made a nifty infographic for my piece on About Food Preservation. Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2015 at Hedonia
Over on Punk Domestics I'm reviewing the lovely new release The Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss of the blog Northwest Edible Life. This one's a keeper, folks! Enter to win a copy. Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2015 at Hedonia
Over on About Food Preservation, I've got Erica Strauss' top tips for making food preservation easy, practical and fun. Stay tuned for a review and giveaway of her awesome new book! (Photo by Charity Burggraaf) Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2015 at Hedonia
Rome's historic center is undeniably full of wonders, but it's the other side of the city, in its mundane splendor, that holds my interest most. During my recent visit, I had the opportunity to experience the everyday life in my cousin's neighborhood, Trionfale, an up-and-coming area in the northwest of the city. Because they knew I have an interest in food, they wanted to take me to the Mercato Trionfale. For many years a street market, the booths -- all 273 of them -- now occupy a modern structure. Past the sleek exterior, the market has a bazaar-like atmosphere. Yes, that's a butcher advertising horse meat. I've seen this in France, but never Italy. When I asked my cousin about... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2015 at Hedonia
In many ways, I'm pretty adventurous. I will always order the one thing on a menu I've never had, or don't even know what it is. Launch a site? Explore a new destination? Meet a new person? I'm in. It's served me very well over the years. But it wasn't always so. I used to be moderately shy, and while I had a curious spirit, I struggled to break out of my shell. It never stopped me from making friends or trying new things, but it was a struggle, at least at first. Nearly 15 years ago, dpaul and I were considering moving away from the Bay Area. When the dot-com bubble burst, maybe half of our friends ended up... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2015 at Hedonia
Another recipe from our day with Marzia Briganti of La Casina di Marzia. This lemon marmalade was so good, so delicate and simple. And it couldn't be easier. Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2015 at Hedonia
Over on About Food Preservation, I've posted a recipe for a delicious pear, walnut and lemon conserve from my friend Marzia Briganti, from my recent tour in Italy. This one's a keeper, folks! Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2015 at Hedonia
Today I'm over on BlogHer, talking about diversifying revenue streams on the tail of my panel at BlogHer Food last Friday. In my case, diversification was an imperative, and it led me to occasionally unexpected opportunities, including my food tours of Italy. Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2015 at Hedonia
I failed to blog yesterday. Barely a week into NaBloPoMo, and I dropped the ball. I have plenty of excuses. I was traveling home from the whirlwind weekend that was BlogHer Food, where I spoke on a panel. I had to get up very early to make my flight, and my head was not so clear. I should have written while on the plane, but I didn't. I should have done it when I got home, but I didn't. I should have planned farther ahead so I wouldn't have to deal with blogging on a day I knew would be tight, but I didn't. Friday morning's keynote at BlogHer Food was on maintaining long-term happiness. The panelists were all good... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2015 at Hedonia
A little short on time while I'm at BlogHer Food, so I updated my cranberry package on Punk Domestics. Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2015 at Hedonia
I love persimmons, and while I've been a bit obsessive about making hoshigaki in the past, it really is much easier to dry them in the dehydrator. If you don't like the slithery texture of fully ripe hachiyas, this is a good way to use them when still firm. Find out more over on About Food Preservation. Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2015 at Hedonia
Last night, we had dinner in the Bayview at the home of friends, one of whom was on my recent trip to Italy. She and her friend, who was also on the trip, recreated many of the tastes of our trip: Piadina, hand-rolled fresh pasta (including cappelletti, yum), and the wondrous cheeses and spreads we had in Emilia-Romagna. Fast forward 24 hours, and I'm in Chicago, the evening before the BlogHer Food conference. I enjoyed dinner at a private residence (of the honorary consulate to the Principality of Liechtenstein, I'll have you know) in the company of fellow bloggers. The hosts served up a massive bouquet of tastes that were entirely gluten- and dairy-free. The meals, and the crowds, could... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2015 at Hedonia
I've been enjoying my friend Pamela Braun's new book, Jerky Everything, and you should too. Head over to Punk Domestics to read all about it, and enter to win. Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2015 at Hedonia
Hey, you know what's the easiest way to create content? Make someone else write it for you! Today over on About Food Preservation, I've excerpted a lovely piece on what precautions you need to take when making homemade jerky, from Pamela Braun's lovely book Jerky Everything. Don't eat beef? No problem, the book also covers fowl, seafood, and even fruits and vegetables. Stay tuned for a deeper review and giveaway! Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2015 at Hedonia
Over on About Food Preservation, I'm offering up some alternative ideas for condiments and the relish tray for Thanksgiving. Not that there's anything wrong with cranberry sauce, but why not think outside the box with chutneys, pickles, and more? Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2015 at Hedonia
Not that you'd know it from reading this blog, but I write a lot. All day, every day, my job is to create content—or, more accurately, my jobs. Currently, I'm doing recipe editing and copywriting for Din, email marketing for California Wines, and I'm the Food Preservation Expert on Above and beyond that, I support my husband, realtor dpaul brown, with some blog and newsletter content, as well as my own DIY food site, Punk Domestics. Once in a while, I even manage to pinch out a freelance story or two. So in light of all that, the idea of writing on a personal blog is fairly ludicrous. Yet, the very reason I started Hedonia nearly 10 years (!)... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2015 at Hedonia
Ages ago, I lived in Santa Fe. Ask anyone who knows me; I talk about it a lot, even though it's been almost 25 years. New Mexico is where I developed my addiction for spice, since green chiles are the condiment of choice on all foods, at every meal. Specifically, the most popular chile of the region is the Hatch chile, a long, crooked green pepper. It is the quintessential flavor of New Mexican cuisine, and now is the season for them. So when I received an invitation from Mollie Stone's for their annual Hatch chile roast with a voucher for a free 10-pound box, I didn't hesitate to RSVP. So it was on an uncharacteristically New Mexico-like Sunday that... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2015 at Hedonia
Continued excerpts from my interview with chef Hugh Acheson, discussing the state of dining in the South and beyond. Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2015 at Hedonia
Today's the last day to catch Ai Weiwei's @Large exhibit on Alcatraz. In case you missed it, here's a few shots from our visit earlier this week. As you enter the New Industries Building, you're faced with a tremendous, colorful dragon. The dragon is a symbol of power and freedom, and incorporated in the body of the dragon are panels with quotes from political prisoners. In the next room, political prisoners are depicted in portraits done in Legos. In the main prison, one block of cells was equipped with audio. Each cell had a different experience -- readings, music -- that you immersed yourself in as you entered the cell. I hadn't been to Alcatraz in well over 20 years,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2015 at Hedonia