Chicken Salad above - rtdbrowning8

I was talking to a few friends about this problem I have when I sit down to write blog posts. I’ll have this thing that I think is really important and interesting to share, such as, “You really need to salt and drain eggplant before cooking it. That will get rid of the funky bitter […]

all the bars - rtdbrowning

Sometimes when I’m baking, it’s not till I’m pulling something out of the oven that I think, “I’ve gone too far.” When cookies need to be spaced four inches apart because I insisted on using ⅓-cup size dough balls, for example–that might be taking it too far. Or when I open the door and the […]

chicken 3 - rtdbrowning7

This post is also published at Waco Weekly. When I lived in Boston, I spent a month working in a Northern Italian-style restaurant. Grad school hadn’t left me much time for the culinary adventures I imagined. Before I made the long drive back to Texas, though, I wanted to experience cooking in Boston. Of course […]

featured - rtdbrowning

It seems like every month of the year is dedicated to something. Each month we are encouraged to be aware of a different social topic, and get this: while some months, like May for example, have 12 or 15 dedications (from Jewish American Heritage Month to Haitian Heritage Month), July is just National Ice Cream […]

loaf sliced - rtdbrowning

The island of my kitchen is a mountain of name-change papers, cookbooks, recipe clippings, a “fruit bowl” holding dried peppers and papery onion skins, a nearly empty wine bottle, banana loaf crumbs, a planner open to last week, a Guggenheim-shaped mug containing an inch of tepid coffee. Don’t let me get started on the living […]

bowl close - rtdbrowning

What is it with Americans and raspberry sauce? Even today, when I think of a berry sauce, I imagine it curtained over a previously frozen cheesecake slice with a mushy graham cracker crust and a glossy bloom of canned whipped cream. “Cheesecake” is one thing, but “Raspberry Cheesecake” gets restaurant-goers acting like they’re in the […]

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This week I’ve been out of town as one side of my family goes through a difficult time. My role has been to hang out with my brothers, be an extra driver, and generally find ways to keep people occupied as we go through this. My husband has had weeks like these, and like he […]

loaf - rtdb

A couple weeks I got to sit down with an old friend, Jeremy Toledo, owner of Toledo’s Hop Shop in downtown Waco, for a story in a local arts publication, Waco Weekly. I’ve known Jeremy since my college days, when he was my manager at a local drafthouse. I think it’s common for Baylor alumni […]

geo close rtdbrowning

I have been trying to write about pasta for a week. I sent off a column about it, but the need to express my passion wasn’t exhausted. I wrote 1,300 words about my complicated relationship to travel (a.k.a., eating pasta abroad). I keep telling stories, framing, trying to find an angle that helps me explain […]

sliced close

The first time I read Jane Austen I was 16 or 17, probably a late start compared to most fanatics. I had gone through some life-consuming family turmoil for the first half of my teens and stopped reading as voraciously as I had earlier in life. I missed a stretch of formative years in fiction, […]

bowl 2

Waco used to be just Waco–a stop on I-35 between the big cities. A town with its own personality and not a lot of ambition to change. That’s the impression I got, anyway. But with recent attention in the media, people are getting defensive about what Waco is and what it’s like to live here. […]

parfait side

Resist the urge to add crunch, my husband is saying to me. I mean, please, love, don’t add crunchies to all my food. I’ve just served him a last bowl of that blood orange sherbet from last week, and without thinking, topped it with a crumbled up waffle cone. Oops. It’s hard for me to […]

eggy toast

We all have one: that food we just don’t like. Something we simply can’t tolerate — an ingredient that can make a whole pot of soup inedible, a whole pizza flavored with that certain undesirable something. I’ve noticed that while many people are honest about things like just not liking onions, or hating the texture […]

cones close

I am always running into Waco transplants. At running club, at the restaurant, in line at the grocery store — I’ll be five minutes into a pleasant conversation with a bright, friendly woman when we both realize we’re from out of town. I can’t figure out if we’re attracting each other with this magnetic pull […]

hummus zoom side

I love snacks so. much. Sometimes, if I’m out of “real food,” or Shorty wants to eat barbecue or fried chicken and I don’t, I’ll just say, “That’s okay, I can just have a snack dinner,” secretly elated. If I don’t have much in the way of lunch entrees, or we ate all the leftovers […]

lone cookie

There are a lot of Valentine’s Day haters out there, and I get it. The holiday can feel like a lot of pressure, whether you’re in a relationship or not. If you are, you’ve probably had one of those probing conversations, where you try to figure out just how important Valentine’s gifts are to your […]

Sunset in North Vancouver, December 2013

I spent last weekend at a food blog conference. For those of you who might be unfamiliar, a “food blog conference” is an actual thing now. Imagine knowing that fifteen years ago–that there would be a phenomenon called a “food blog” and whole conferences just for people who have them! The keynote speaker was Molly […]

IMG_0338

Blogging from Bham. The food blog conference is in full swing, and after a day of intensive food photography and styling and a pretty sweet preparty, complete with pimiento and chicken ‘n’ waffles, I’m really looking forward to the main events tomorrow. Today at the conference, I got to meet a ton of other food […]

Bars 2

There’s something really special about finding someone who has the same eating preferences and habits as you do. A person who indulges in the same types of foods, who likes to eat at the same restaurants. Someone you can trust to make you just the dinner you’re in the mood for when you get home […]

Cookies angle

In the words of my old roommate, Hoy hoy! (It’s like “hello,” but more…jolly.) I’m writing this post from the midst of a storm of activity. We’re unveiling an updated menu at the shack tomorrow (gulp! today?!), so that means painting signs, updating the computer system, training people on the new stuff, etc. Plus, Shorty […]

Above

The whole “fusion” food thing has always had a bit of a stigma, it seems. When I tried to tell people that the restaurant I worked in in Belfast cooked some “pub” dishes, like fish and chips or Beef Wellington, but with a lot of Asian-inspired flavors, like curry and wasabi, they would look at […]

Above med

For a while, I’ve been telling myself I need to learn to cook meat. I mean, I know the basics. I know about marinating meat, breading meat, seasoning it, letting it come to room temperature before cooking it. I know basic cooking temperatures for different meats and poultry. I know about cuts of meat and […]

Bowl above

A friend, sick of throwing leftovers in the trash and eating out every night, asked me for some tips on cooking healthful, delicious dinners for one without wasting a ton of food (and time). My advice is to steer away from big pots or large roasts and aim to fill the fridge with lots of […]

greenesttahini

I’ve been following the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse this year, and while all the recipes I’ve tested so far have been delicious, I don’t think I’ll ever be a person who follows an exact eating plan. As a fellow cook and I were discussing yesterday, taking away my freedom to improvise in cooking is […]

glazed

So, let’s forget for a minute that we’re all trying to be super healthy right now. These ridiculously easy cinnamon rolls are here because, well, there are some among us who just need to eat a sweet treat. Normally, I would be pretty averse to cooking with prepared foods like puff pastry because I like […]

Above

So, here’s something I feel like I should share: when writing blog posts, it’s easy for me to tell flat out lies. It’s not intentional, it’s usually not about something that even matters, and it has more to do with tone and voice than with content. I’m not saying I find it easy to lie […]

glazedcarrots1

This recipe is for the procrastinators among us. I don’t know them. You don’t know them. But they’re living among us as. Telling themselves they’ll finish in time. Watching Breaking Bad instead. They live with their secret shame. Since I’m sure you and I are stand-up citizens and have had our Christmas potluck contributions in […]

close shot new 2

“Oh,” he mumbles, his mouth stuffed with food, “this is the bean salad I used to just shovel!” “Used to?” I think, secretly glad I’ve found another meatless, cheeseless dish Shorty likes as much as I do. When I first started cooking, I made this bean salad as a side dish pretty often, mostly because […]

cooked sauce close

Funny story. Back in my Boston days, the Roomz initiated me into all her food obsessions (And I her. I’m sure she’ll never forget the time I tried so hard to make chestnuts a thing.) There were her pumpkin cookies. There were her molasses cookies. Her zucchini bread. Her dad’s coleslaw. Beef and barley stew. […]

bars stacked

The chocolate peanut butter bar saga continues. If you read my recent post on vegan, gluten-free chocolate peanut butter date bars, you might have seen through my supposed satisfaction with said bars. Here’s the truth: I would definitely make those gluten free wonders again, but they don’t hold a candle to the food memory they […]

Bowls

As I settle into winter, I see my friends posting about the snow that’s falling in Boston, sharing photos of white-dusted Brookline streets, their days starting with quiet, muffled mornings. Frankly, I miss it. I’ve thought a lot about what clicked so well for me in Boston. I think what I miss most are the […]

Bars-side-01

Growing up, I went to a small private school in Houston. And while I might not have been fond of everything that went down in my uniformed, Lutheran class of twenty kids, I was pretty satisfied with lunch. As I imagine is common in school cafeterias, it was cool to pretend that a lot of […]

Liz

As some of you might already know, lately I’ve been trying my hand at web design and development. I’ve managed to pull together some cool things: this personal website, for example: And some little practice things, like this text design: But as I divide my time between the pizza shack, coding and design, recipe-testing, photography, […]

hummus-close

I’ll admit. I haven’t always been a fan of hummus. It’s one of those “hip” foods that foodies discovered early on. Back in (those long ago days with) Teach for America, it used to come in my packaged lunch with these dried up triangles of pita. Anything that comes in a pre-boxed meal is becoming […]

SugarCookies2

It’s strange how people can change. A few years ago, the thought of this cookie would have turned me upside down. Not only does it call for rainbow sprinkles in two iterations, it also includes corn syrup and specifically calls for the clear, artificial kind of vanilla-flavored extract that doesn’t actually have any vanilla in […]

driedprepped

Yes, I know it’s December, and I know the whole chili peppers thing might not make sense right now. But before I say anything else, let me just show you this photo: Yep, you see what I see–a pile of freshly harvested LOCAL cayenne peppers on a bed of fallen leaves. This, my friends, is […]

scoobysnacks2

Here’s a little thing I need to confess. For a while, I harbored bad feelings towards the gluten-free community. I guess I just thought it was really suspicious that all of a sudden everyone and their grandma was allergic to gluten. And I was all, okay, some people are obviously explosively allergic, like the way […]

gratinabove1

ERMAHGERD. This kale. If you’ve been following Crandlecakes for a while, you might have noticed my kale obsession, and you might have gotten tired of it, and then you might have stopped listening to me when I talk about kale. Well wake up. Because this is the most delicious holiday side dish I’ve ever tasted, […]

Oreo Ice Cream-5

I had big plans to do a series of posts featuring different items we got as wedding gifts. You know, talking about how we’re using them and giving advice about what you should register for. Instead, I’ve just been using all our sweet gifts like nobody’s business. One of those items is the ice cream […]

squash in ninja

Fall was late for us this year. I suppose it always is in Texas, but for me and Shorty, it feels like it’s finally time to settle down, curl up, and be calm, or at least, make a stronger effort to do all of those things. Even though it was EIGHTY-EIGHT degrees here yesterday, the […]

peeled grapefruit

I’m wondering if you’re under the impression that my kitchen is always clean (or any food blogger’s, for that matter). I mean, I try to take photographs that don’t show a lot of background mess–unless I’m showing it on purpose. If I have fooled you into thinking that this spick-and-span setting is my reality, you […]

salad

I’m baaaaaaacckkkk!!! (Jack Nicholson face). And I have a lot to say, apparently. Guys, the wedding happened, we were wed, there was partying, there was New Orleans, there were family reunions, and there were surprise speeches (you know who you are, cough, Tedward), and I was a hugging machine, and now it’s over and we’re […]

chicken on top

If you have never planned a wedding–your own wedding–you might be under the impression that it is all sorting ribbons, choosing between shades of ivory and thread counts, and asking yourself, “matte or gloss?” Words like “bauble,” “chiffon,” “cufflink,” “tier,” and “pearl” might come to mind. Or maybe you’ve been around someone who planned a […]

cookies on plate

The entire time I was making these cookies, I was singing, “Who run tha world? Squirrels. SQUIRRELS!” much to Shorty’s chagrin. To make matters worse for him, the house was steadily filling with the smell of fresh-baked cookies (while I did spastic dance moves perfectly imitated Beyoncé with a whisk mic), but all the while, […]

up close above

Last October, you might have noticed Ellen’s coverage of Bic’s ballpoint pens “for Her.” She did a spoof advertisement for the pens, which come in pink and purple, and are supposedly designed for a woman’s hand. As we were testing this ice cream, one of my friends said, “I don’t know. It’s kind of like […]

cookies side view

In the last couple weeks, we became the dinner party house, and it feels good. I have people to cook for. I’ve had a hard time blogging lately (as you might have noticed), and I think a big reason for that is the fact that my relationship with food and cooking is really place-based. In […]

beautywaffles

The first summer I arrived in Boston, a Baylor friend who relocated to the blustery north a few years before I did told me of the mythical New England winters. How cold are we talking? I asked. Give it to me straight. I could only trust another Texan, with equally thin blood running through her […]

salad1

Rogue Blogger! You heard me. I’m blogging from campus instead of doing readings or grading papers. I guess you could call me a snackademic. Perhaps one of you knows the truth behind this claim: my coworkers tell me that in France, exposure to sunlight is protected by law. In other words, if I lived in […]

bowl

People. I don’t care about football, and I’m not afraid to say so. I’m not one of those who doesn’t know anything about it and comments on their uniform designs asks what the lines on the ground mean. I’m even learning about the little flags and two-point conversions (maybe), but I can spend a remarkable […]

finished product

When you buy a polarized filter, you can take pictures of trees that look like flames. These trees are like candy to me, but I won’t bore you with my photo experiments for too long. I can still justify myself, though. Last week it was Wallace Stevens authorizing me to go on and on about […]

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