Category Archives: DIY

A Shrub that Looks Nice

Every time I hear a reference to the trendy drink syrup called a shrub,” a high-pitched British voice interrupts my brain mid-thought and says, “Brrrringg me a shrubberrrry….one that looks nice.” I always have to stop myself from saying it out loud, because if you haven’t seen The Holy Grail (I mean the cinematic, not [...]
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Haphazard Strawberry Jam

I’ve always been a by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of home cook. When I’m not working and thus don’t have to write down or follow a recipe I am happy not to. Last weekend, I set out to make strawberry jam. I knew just what I wanted…the purity of fruit without too much sugar; a spoonable preserve with [...]
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A Christmas Food Story: Father’s Nuts

Last Christmas I posted about orevnitza, the Serbian bread we eat at Christmas…What I didn’t mention was that there’s a back story to orevnitza from my childhood. A story about foraging (or stealing), mortification, and class difference. I wrote it down about ten years ago and never published it. When I finally went public with [...]
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Baba Ghanoush with Homemade Harissa

I promised to post this recipe after I posted the harissa recipe a few weeks ago. Apologies for my slowness. In the event you still have some eggplant hanging around in the garden or fridge at this late date, here’s a great way to use it. If you don’t have harissa, this is still fantastic [...]
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Homemade harissa d’espelette—a many splendored condiment

Lately I’ve been into making harissas and sambals and other fiery chile-based condiments. I think the attraction is that they provide a quick and easy way for a busy cook to make rather ordinary soups, seasonal salads, and baked chicken or fish a lot more interesting. Less than an hour in the kitchen on a [...]
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Jammin’ Summer: Wild Blackberries and Feral Plums

There are two summer themes this year—gathering free fruit to make jam, and seeing how little sugar we can get away with using and still call it jam. Ok, sometimes its sauce. But I’m ok with that. I’ve been obsessed with making low sugar jam ever since I served as a judge in the Good [...]
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Easy, Sustainable Seafood Stew (with variations)

Here’s a method for making a quick seafood stew that’s both sustainable and perfect for casual summer dining. No need to turn the oven on or fuss for hours in the kitchen. Sustainable seafood is a complex topic. Even if you conscientiously refer to the guidelines of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, you’ll [...]
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Kitchen Hacker: Cowboy Stovetop Buttermilk Biscuits & Sorghum Syrup

I enjoy a kitchen challenge. My favorite variety of challenge is when I don’t have the necessary equipment for what I want to accomplish and I have to make do with what’s on hand. I think problem solving in the kitchen makes us smarter cooks. Recently a special someone and I had a hankering for [...]
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Hands-On DIY Delicious Cooking Class in Healdsburg

If you’re looking for something fun to do in a beautiful setting on Memorial Day weekend, you should consider joining me for a hands-on DIY cooking class at River Myst Haven. It’s a gorgeous place that’s nestled among the hills west of Healdsburg on Westside Road. From scratch, we’ll create building blocks of the DIY [...]
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    The recipes and images on this site belong to Vanessa Barrington. Feel free to link here and if you’d like to use a recipe or image, please ask permission first. Thank you.