Taking a Moment

Kitten Cuddles

Hello!  I’m not really back, yet, but I’m getting there. I have been ruminating on a where I’ve been post and the answer isn’t really exciting. I got a new job in September and I love it – so I spend most of my energy and time on that, thinking about and planning for it. Since I started in this space in March of 2010 so much has changed and evolved; including myself.  I started this blog as a way for me to channel my creative time and energy and as a space to share the things I thought were important, namely food and food stuff. But I am so much more than that and I like so much more than that.

120 Cupcakes made to celebrate dear friends.

Recently I’ve been trying to stop at least once a day and relax, have a cup of tea and listen to some music or turn off my phone and think. This is a challenge – I have lots of screens (within three feet of me at this moment are my Kindle, my 3ds, my (smart)phone, and this computer). And trying to take an hour a day to unplug is seeming like a challenge. So this post is my mini reminder to take a moment and remember how much I love that first sip of coffee, seeing Kaylee Kitten sitting by the door when I get home, and that no matter how overwhelmed and impossible I get BF is there for me – with a hug and something snarkily supportive to say.

Yes, it’s been six months since I checked into this space; but I was just taking a moment. Coming back is on the to-do list soon, I’m just looking for the inspiration and motivation. It’ll be there, it’s just not, yet.

What I’m Loving


I periodically don’t cook or photograph for whatever reason – I’m lazy, the food isn’t attractive, the recipe is just not INTERESTING enough. The usual. This is good though, it makes me think outside of the box in terms of content. This lack of food to post is a great opportunity to tell you about the things I’ loving or obsessed with right now.

Millet: A couple of weeks ago I found a bag of millet my mom gave me and threw it in the rice cooker while I prepped a bunch of other stuff and threw together a quick grain salad. I adored it – the texture was wonderful. It was a really nutty, wonderful change to the brown rice BF and I have been eating recently. I have really been obsessed with my rice cooker recently – it cooks grains perfectly and it is so remarkably simple to use. As an added bonus it doesn’t heat up the house either so I don’t have to stand over a burner in warm weather. This summer expect a few rice and grain recipes to pop up here.

My Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Maker: This little piece of plastic is a dream come true. I’ve been at home in the mornings and for a long time just did tea instead of coffee, but I LOVE coffee. The taste, the texture, the caffeine, so I finally caved a couple weeks ago and grabbed a pour over coffee maker. I am so thankful I did. The brew is delicious and it’s so simple to make coffee in it that I’m back to a cup a day and relishing it.

My Porch: Is there anything as great as sitting on your back porch early in the morning and drinking coffee while you check in on your social media? I thought not. The birds are all loudly awake and kittenish goes absolutely bonkers. I’ve taken to bringing my cat to the porch with me so she gets a little outside time and I don’t have to worry about her taking off. She gets a bit fearless, jumping up onto our porch railing two stories above the ground, but she loves to chase the squirrels out there.

Polar Seltzer: Everyone is talking about Polar’s Summer flavors right now, and they’re amazing. I’ve been drinking them pretty much non-stop since I found them on sale at my local star market. The cucumber-melon made a SUBLIME mojito (with Privateer Rum, no less) and I can’t wait to try more flavors. I also love that Polar beverages are all made locally (the Polar company is over near Worcester). Not a fan of the odd summer flavors? Go for the Ruby Red Grapefruit – it’s fantastic with a bit of gin.

Homemade Iced Tea: Ever since that first warm day in mid April BF and I have had a pitcher of Iced Tea in our fridge. I’ve been using mostly Celestial Seasonings “Zinger” teas for it, they have such a nice full body and no caffeine. All of the zingers mix well too so you can swap out and exchange flavors, this week we have Raspberry-Lemon.

This Swimsuit: My sister got me this for my birthday in April. I’m SO EXCITED to go to the beach in it this summer, and in general, for beach days this summer. I want to go to the beach, play in the sand, read books, and most importantly, play a bit of skeeball.

The Boys Club: This is a great blog that my friend Brian and a few other cocktail obsessed bloggers put together – go here for all of your cocktail needs this summer. With a new post every day they cover everything from glassware to delicious drinks to breaking down what you’re drinking. WONDERFUL.

CTC International: I recently went to a great presentation by the founders of this company and learned a lot. They built s special needs school in Kenya! They donate money to rhino and elephant preservation! They are a non-profit donating to other non-profits. Also, they have butts on their bags. I love that.

Summer Beer: In the summer I pretty much only want to drink light beer or saisons. With their fun fruity flavors saisons are such lovely drinks for this season and I can drink them all day. Currently I’m plotting the takedown of Ommegang’s Hennepin Saison tonight. Saisons also pair well with my porch. Trying to stay local with summer beer is a cinch too – anything out of Jack’s Abbey is worth the time and a nicely chilled Bantam goes a long way towards cooling anyone down on those warm summer eves. For the more creative flavors head to the crew over at Night Shift – from a Habenero to a white stout they’re doing really cool things in beer. And Chris over at Notch makes low ABV beer (around 4%) that is always a light summer refreshment and keeps you upright.

On My Shelf: The Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook


Sometimes you need something to aspire to. Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and just have a book that you can look at and know, with certainty, that it’s a hair out of your range.  That is why I own the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook.  I find this book incredibly daunting – like a giant sundae when I’ve already had too much to eat. But I can’t stop myself from picking it up every few months and thinking I should give it a try.


For the record – I’m usually a show no fear kind of cook.  I’ll try anything at least once – I’ve made my own bacon and babysat my own sourdough starter so I always think I can handle this cookbook. Which means I pull it out and look up a cake – now a cake in this book has at least four separate ingredients that must be cooked/mixed/pureed/blended before I even consider the possibility of putting it together. I did mention I found the book daunting, ya?


Most people look at this book for the pictures I think – okay the crack pie is fantastic and the compost cookies are extraordinary but the rest of the book is meticulous. Everything is weighed and soothed into the rest of the ingredients. But maybe that’s why I love it, it’s a book of challenges and dares me to break my boundaries a little bit.


I do plan on actually tackling a few of these recipes in the next couple weeks – I’ll share my results. Don’t you worry. Though I’m still a tad intimidated, at least I’m building my own birthday cake so I won’t wreck someone else’s birthday, right?

Candied Ginger

candiedginger_1There have been a few very fortuitous things happening for me recently – not in actual life, but here on Kathy Can Cook. First, my sister offered to write me a guest post on ginger, which I jumped at of course! Second, Jess asked me to help her make a cocktail with candied ginger in it. Third, I was invited to A Spoonful of Ginger at the MFA to help benefit the Joslin Center for Diabetes Research. So, obviously, there was a need for a BLOG SERIES.

candiedginger_2 So, candied ginger. Candied ginger is a perfect snack or palate cleanser, it’s a moment of sharp heat and sweetness when you need it most. It’s great in cookies, cocktails, and on it’s own. It’s basically magic (the ginger syrup that you get as a byproduct is pretty awesome as well). My sister had a couple of good comments on candied ginger on her post about ginger too – go read up on it!

candiedginger_3 I ended up making this because I just needed to. I read the recipe that Jess had chosen (she posted the full cocktail on her blog) to highlight, essentially a dark and stormy – but infinitely better. So I read the recipe and noted that there was A LOT of fresh ginger being used – two large hands is nothing to sneeze at. But I did it, peeled and chopped two hands of ginger, and got roughly a quart of peeled ginger that was BEAUTIFUL, bright yellow, and lovely.

candiedginger_4 I don’t know that I will buy premade candied ginger again – because here’s the thing, this was perfect. It tasted fresh and gingery, it had that sharp ginger flavor without a weird old ginger aftertaste and I totally could have made a small amount. I also loved that I didn’t have to coat it in sugar, and make it candy sweet, if I didn’t want to.

Candied Ginger
Note: This recipe is adapted from a recipe that Jess got for a Goslings Rum and Ginger Cocktail, created by Ming Tsai. I am sharing only the recipe for candied ginger, because it was AWESOME, you can see the cocktail over on Jess’s blog.

  • 2 cups ginger, roughly two medium hands or one large one
  • 4 cups sugar, plus 1 1/2-2 cups for sugaring
  • 2 cups water
  • Peel and cut your ginger. I find ginger is easiest to peel with a spoon, you can run the tip of a spoon right over the skin and it’ll fall off, this also works for those little nubbins and nooks where a peeler or knife wouldn’t fit.
  • To cut the ginger cut it unto 1/8 inch thick rounds or strips, either will work one way you’ll see the fibrous ends of the ginger and it’ll be a little bit rougher and with the grain you’ll get smoother pieces but they’ll be tougher.
  • Combine the chopped ginger, 4 cups of sugar, and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring this to a simmer.
  • Reduce the heat to low and allow the ginger syrup to simmer for 10-15 mins, until it is about 1/3 reduced
  • Preheat the oven to 200 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the syrup into a heatproof bowl. Reserve this syrup, it’s great in club soda as homemade ginger ale.
  • Combine the strained ginger and the rest of your sugar in a large bowl – gently toss the ginger with the sugar until it’s sparkly with sugar and mostly separate pieces. I found that a pair of gloves would be ideal here.
  • Spread the ginger in a single layer on your prepared baking sheet and put it on a middle rack in the oven.
  • Bake the ginger for 3 1/2-4 hours, rotating it occasionally. The ginger will be mostly dried out after this.
  • Allow the ginger to cool completely before touching it. MOLTEN SUGAR IS HOT. I left mine in the cooling oven overnight, and it was perfect the next day.
  • Break the ginger apart gently, this is easily done using a gentle pressure and pinching the piece of ginger between your fingertips – they should fall right apart.
  • Enjoy! I love to add a touch of the syrup and a couple slices of the candied ginger to lemon tea, or club soda (with a splash of rum).

Unposted Eats and Life 2012


I know that I’ve recently been… away. Over the past year I have experienced a lot of life changes. I started 2012 on unemployment, looking for work and curling up with my kitten and tea every day. It was hard. I felt very overwhelmed. I kept up with this blog but I didn’t mention it, I’m not terribly personal here. Quirky anecdotes and fun food photos are usually what I share. But let’s be honest, I’m not that one dimensional; I like other things – like art, art history, books, video games, my kitten, BF, and many other things besides. Being unemployed for the better half of a year kind of broke me, I was frustrated and unhappy for a lot of the time. I cooked a lot of the same meals, for comfort and ease. Food wasn’t my top priority for a long time. I sort of lost my inspiration and motivation. It sucked.

In March I got involved in Hyper-Local Brewfest, a beer festival sponsored and organized by Sustainable Business Networks of Massachusetts. I’d been a volunteer for them for the past few years with Boston Local Food Festival so when they wanted to run a spring festival I was one of the first to jump on the wagon and start waving the flags. I helped them to run the festival and was offered a job, part-time, running the fall version alongside Boston Local Food Festival. So I did it. From mid-June through Early October I worked hard and pulled off a successful and elegant beer festival, it was fun – but not ideal, also part time. I was struggling – financially and emotionally, my heart just wasn’t in it. So I kept looking; I got a handful of interviews, each a touch more promising than the last in terms of places I would fit well in, they were small successful start-ups and with each no call or polite no thank you email I was a little more crushed and downtrodden.


As seems to so often happen in seemingly unending rough patches a little glimmer of hope popped up. My friend Dan mentioned in a casual aside that he was starting as head cook for a burrito bar in Belmont, a small place with lots of character, good food, and good coffee. I asked if they needed help and got a second part time job working with him in the kitchen. We had fun – cooked and talked food for 18 hrs a week and it felt like a rest every time I went in for a shift, but it was still part-time, the enemy of post-grads everywhere trying to pay off mountains of college debt. I didn’t expect to have so much fun there, to sincerely enjoy my kitchen time the way I did, but it always meant that by the end of my work day I didn’t have that urge to cook, I had worked it off at work. I left work feeling satisfied and the more time I spent there the more I slowly came to realize that I just couldn’t go back to an office job. I liked the movement, I liked the energy and the pace, I liked that when a customer was happy they came up to you after their meal and let you know. I felt connected, I wanted it to succeed. SO I stuck with it. I was working two part time jobs and could make things work.

Until I couldn’t. Boston Local Food Festival came and went, and my time there was done. So I gave up that part time work, then my hours in the burrito bar were cut back. I was devastated, but I tried to make it work, BF was supportive and made enough money for us to get by so it was worth a shot. But I was frustrated and the idea of going back to an office seemed awful, work in an uninspiring job while fantasizing about the things I could do if I tried or work toward the things I want to do? So that’s what I am doing, looking for work that makes me happy and uses my skill-set. I am looking through doors that I once felt were closed to em and keeping an ear out for any and all opportunities that can make me a better person and employee, if food is involved all the better.


It took me over a year to get over losing my former job. I felt hurt and broken by that job – worn down and strung out in all the most unpleasant ways, losing that job was a relief, but it hurt. It hurt to have someone tell me I wasn’t good enough no matter how hard I tried, and it hurt to fail. I didn’t tell anyone for a long time. I was embarrassed, I definitely didn’t write about it here. But, just recently I cleaned up the box of cubicle stuff I had from my old job; pictures to brighten it up, pens, various desk items, toys to entertain me when I got bored. And I realized how far I’ve come over the past year and more. I’ve grown up. I’ve found a niche I think I fit in and I like it. It makes sense.


The pictures in this post are all eats I photographed this year, homemade or eaten out, that I haven’t shared. There’s a lot more here that I didn’t photograph and there are a fair few things I’ve already shared but these are some favorites, or things that stood out in my year of eating out, consoling in comfort food, and watching some of my favorite people’s kids grow from infants to people. It’s been a great year and I have so many great people who stood beside me while I figured my shit out. Thanks, all of you. I am looking forward to 2013. New year, new goals, new leaf.