Salad with lamb and figs

Ottolenghi Lamb and Fig Salad

My husband really hates to exercise.  In fact, he prefers not to break a sweat under any circumstances, and if possible, to avoid exercising outdoors at all times.  If I can persuade him to take a walk with me, we have a negotiation over the route: he will walk if we stay on the sidewalks, but if I suggest we go through the woods in Dumbarton Oaks Park, he’s out.  These are the minor quirks of a long-married couple, but […]



“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads” – Thoreau There’s nothing better for the spirit than a strong dose of fresh air and sunshine, a leafy hillside with moss-covered trails to walk upon, and a friend with whom to share the path.   The pleasures of Vermont are simple, serene, homey, and historic – one of the few places I’ve visited that caused me to think, “I could live here.” Recently, my husband and I stayed at […]

White macarons on colorful dish


Today is Bastille Day, La Fete Nationale of France. What could be a more appropriate moment to learn how to make a proper macaron?  I’m delighted to offer a recipe from no less an authority than Chef Christophe Tanneau, executive chef of the French Embassy here in Washington. Chef Tanneau turns out exquisite French cuisine every day for those who enjoy the generous hospitality of His Excellency, Ambassador Francois Delattre, and Madame Sophie L’Helias.  Sophie and Francois are quintessentially accomplished […]


Bill Yosses’ Carrot Cake

I’m thrilled today to offer a recipe from my friend Bill Yosses, who recently left the White House, where he worked for eight scrumptious years as the Executive Pastry Chef.  When the White House needed a new pastry chef in 2006, it was my job to locate and interview candidates, along with White House Head Usher, Gary Walters.  I liked Bill from the start.  He was calm, pleasant, and discreet.  (It was not uncommon for chef candidates – and people […]


Strawberry Kuchen

I want to sneak this recipe in before the strawberry season is over.   This is an easy yeast dough coffee cake with fresh strawberries baked on top – a good starter recipe for anyone who is intimidated by yeast dough.  The kuchen is best eaten soon after it comes out of the oven, because the strawberries on the warm dough are a particularly tasty combination.  “Kuchen” is the German word for cake, but this recipe of my grandmother’s was more […]