Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wilder Recipes: Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts

There's a store in Rockport, Maine, called Main Street Meats. Their butcher shop sells locally raised, pasture-fed meats and poultry, and their other offerings—French mustards, salumi, anchovies packed in oil, an overflowing cheese case, freshly baked bread (one batch in the morning and one in the afternoon)—make it hard to walk out of there with less than one bag of groceries.

I'll write a real post about the store when I can actually go there, but for now I want to tell you about one of my favorite things they sell: spiced nuts. I buy many boxes of them when I'm in Maine and bring them back to Cambridge, but since I've depleted my stash, I figured it was time I learn how to make my own version. And if you're wondering: No, I've never been able to say "Spiced Nuts" without laughing or turning slightly red (more after the jump).

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wilder Recipes: Kalamata Olive Shortbread Cookies

Last week, my wonderful and brilliant boss did something wonderful and brilliant and arguably disastrous to my waistline. She brought in a package. "Someone gave these to me," she said. "And I was cleaning out my pantry and realized that somebody better eat them. So here, eat them." She put them on the filing cabinet next to my (standing, I might add) desk.

They were olive shortbreads, she said. I made a face. "Are they crackers?" I asked. "Are they cookies? Have they not made up their mind?" My coworker chimed in, mouth full. "Charlotte, just eat one. They are insane. They will blow your mind." I took a bite of a cracker-or-cookie and blacked from their savory, slightly sweet, rich, crumbliness and I can't remember the rest of my day (more after the jump).

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wilder Pictures: A Few New York City Moments from a While Ago

I was in New York City for work in February and was able to spend a fair amount of time wandering around. Rather than flood my Instagram with even more pictures than I did (sorry, guys), I thought I'd save some to put up here, even if it's a month later. The photo above comes from the New York Public Library and the quote (from Milton) reads: “A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wilder Happenings: Writing About Momofuku's Kaizen Trading Company for America's Test Kitchen

I recently wrote about the Momofuku Restaurant Group's new venture Kaizen Trading Company after visiting the operation in New York City. The piece is up on America's Test Kitchen's blog, and Eater picked it up because it's the first article to really state what KTC does. David Chang, founder of Momofuku, tweeted it out, too, which I have to say felt pretty cool. Click here for the full story, but here are some images from it and a short excerpt (after the jump). 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wilder Words + Musing: F. Scott on Early Adult Life (and) Me on Turning 25


Given that I'm turning a quarter-century old on Tuesday, I find this quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story Cracking Up (which I found in the book above) an appropriate passage:

"Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation—the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, the "impossible," come true. Life was something you dominated if you were any good. Life yielded easily to intelligence and effort, to what proportion could be mustered of both."

My mother says she never felt older than the day she turned 25. While I've yet to actually hit the age, I get what she means. There's this sense of impending doom; maybe because it means the excuse of "I'm a dumb kid just out of college who doesn't know what she's doing" is no longer valid. If you're over 25 you're probably rolling your eyes, thinking how young I still am, how little I still know, and I'd agree with you. But this is the first birthday where I've felt that I'm actually a real adult human. That decisions matter more, that the stakes are somewhat higher.

And yet at the same time that I'm kind of totally freaking out, I do know that so much of my life is before me and that so much is still possible. That (fingers crossed, because that alternative totally sucks) the best is still to come. I feel very much the way Fitzgerald describes; any obstacle, no matter how seemingly insurmountable, is actually completely surmountable. I can feel hopeless and sad and there's still always a glimmer of light in the back of my brain saying, "whatever is going wrong will get better." And I believe (perhaps due to the folly of youth?) that with a little bit of "intelligence and effort," my life will become what I want it to become (I say as I knock on wood).

I often, maybe always, feel two things at once. Ambivalence is constant. That's why I write, because it's a way of sorting out all the confusion, or at least making the two ideas or feelings or possibilities exist on the same page at the same time with some semblance of reason.

As I head towards March 25, I feel really old and really young at the same time. And that's okay.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Wilder Musings + Places: That Time I Went Hunting (and) Freemans on Its Tenth Anniversary

I'm not one for hunting. I went once, with two friends who were looking to shoot woodcocks (small birds) in an apple orchard on the backside of a mountain in Maine. I wasn't holding a gun due to my lack of a license and desire, and instead trekked behind them through the waist-high, wet grass with my shoulders up around my ears, tense and sure that if anything got shot it would be one of us by accident. I willed time to pass quickly and no birds to surface as I unhooked brambles and burrs from my jeans and adjusted my bright orange hat. Every time something rustled in the underbrush I had palpitations (more after the jump).

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Wilder Beatz: 20 Songs to Keep You Warm

I'm sorry if you love new years' resolutions, have a birthday/other significant life-event in the first month of the year, or generally like darkness and polar vortices, but I'm so not into January. And it was a tough one this year, so I'm feeling pretty good about having gotten through it. It would be one thing if I weren't in a city and could ski and explore snow-covered woods all the time, but when the sidewalks ice over and then turn slushy and grey and you're trying to get to work it's hard to be excited about a bajillion snowstorms in a row (songs after the jump).

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Wilder Musings + Recipes: My Job at America's Test Kitchen (and) Raw Brussels Sprout Salad with Pecorino, Granny Smith, and Hazelnuts

As a web editor at America's Test Kitchen television show and Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country magazines (all three exist under the same company), I think about food all day long. Not that food didn't occupy my mind most all of the time before I started the job a little more than a year ago, but writing about, tasting, and looking at pictures of all kinds of dishes all day long has brought the preoccupation to a new level. Which is probably a good thing given that if I weren't constantly thinking about recipes I wouldn't really be doing my job (more after the jump).

Friday, November 15, 2013

10 Things I Like, Volume 20 (Late Fall Edition)

When the days start to get shorter I often find that I need to make more of an effort to fill my life with things that make me happy, since the sunlight doesn't just do the job for me as it does in the summer. The most recent activity that's brought me joy is singing lots of karaoke (horribly) at bars around Boston*, but when I'm not holding a microphone trying to channel Third Eye Blind (I really do wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend) I browse the interwebs and stores for beautiful, interesting, delicious things. I often don't buy them, but the hunt is fun and helps me forget that it's 2pm and dark. So here are 10 things I like; flannel, fleece, wool, and chocolate all included (more after the jump).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wilder Style: Daytrip Society in Kennebunkport, Maine

If I were to open a shop I imagine it would look something like Daytrip Society in Kennebunkport, Maine. At least I would want it to; I doubt I could put together something as well curated, arranged, and thought out. I recently went into the adorable store and chatted with co-owner Jessica Jenkins, poked around, took some pictures, and bought a hat. Because you can never have enough cute winter hats, and I severely underestimated how cold Maine would be in mid-November (after living there for five years you'd think I'd remember, but I guess I've grown soft in the big city)... more after le jump.