Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2

Hey y’all! We’ve been having some repairs done in our apartment for the last couple of weeks, so baking has been less frequent than I’d like. I don’t have a new recipe for you today, and while I could have gone and written a Friday Favorites post, I thought I’d get a little crazy and write about myself instead 😉

I have posted more than 250 recipes in the last two and a half years, and while a lot has changed (my photos are sooooo much better now), my About Me page has basically stayed the same since day one! For those of you that don’t know me personally, I thought I’d take the liberty of giving you a few fast facts. Or 30 of them.

Let’s start off with the basics, shall we?Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I’m from Fort Worth, Texas, and have an amazing family. I’m the middle child.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I’ve lived in New York for 10.5 years. The honeymoon is definitely over and sometimes I hate the NYC grind, but just when I’m ready to give up on this city, I fall back in love with it.

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Hershey loves asparagus and me, in that order.
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Cocoa’s disdain for me is equivalent to my love for her.

I have always considered myself a dog person, but I am obsessed with my day job work cats, Hershey and Cocoa. #secretcatladyBeyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I am not athletic, but I love to watch baseball. I am a diehard Texas Rangers fan, even when they are terrible. Two of my biggest “bucket list” items are going to games at Wrigley Field and Dodgers Stadium. I crossed Fenway Park off the list last fall.

My favorite word is “pocket.” My least favorite word is “veggies.” They’re vegetables.

I don’t know how to ride a bike.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I love musical theatre. I got to see Hamilton last year–totally lives up to the hype.

My heroes are Nora Ephron, Ruth Reichl, and Martin Scorsese.

My favorite movie is GoodFellas. When I’m having a bad day, my comfort movie is You’ve Got Mail. I will not apologize for loving 1990s Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movies.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I collect cookbooks (shocker!), and love finding them at thrift stores and on stoops. My best find so far is a near-pristine copy of The Gourmet Cookbook that I found in Beacon, NY.

Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2
With Sally McKenney Quinn of Sally’s Baking Addiction.

I first got interested in baking while reading Sally’s Baking Addiction. I got to meet Sally just a week or two after I started my own baking blog!

Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2
With Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen.

My favorite food blog that isn’t this one is Smitten Kitchen. Deb Perelman is a queen, and just as delightful in person as she is online. Orangette is my second favorite. Molly Wizenberg doesn’t blog much these days, but her Instagram and podcast are amazing.

Speaking of podcasts, one of my favorites is WTF with Marc Maron—it’s great background noise for baking the day away. I actually saw Marc Maron on the Highline last summer and immediately burst into tears like he was a Beatle or 1997 Leonardo DiCaprio or something. Luckily he didn’t see me!Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2If I could up and move anywhere, it would be Maine.

My greatest accomplishment is quitting drinking almost five years ago. I also quit smoking nine months ago.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2The best job I ever had was working at Sahadi’s. It’s still my favorite store.

My dream day job is to open a cooking school for children. I even know where it would be and what the classes would entail.

I wish I knew anything about coding. I’d love to streamline this site.

I have never worked in a restaurant and have little desire to own a bakery. One day, I’d like to be a legitimate food writer.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2My current favorite recipe on this site is Overnight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts. They’re as delicious as they are beautiful.img_1645The thing I am most excited to make in the coming months is a wedding cake!img_3210My goals for the next year are to be happy and do meaningful work with food.

In five years, I hope to be making at least half of my income from writing. I’d also like to find someone great and settle down. And I’d like to have a dog…or a cat.

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Poor furious Cocoa.

Now that you know more about me, tell me about you! What’s your favorite movie? Least favorite word? Favorite podcast? Inquiring bakers want to know! You can ask me something, too ❤

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Sister Weekend in Cambridge: What We Ate

Have you ever accidentally started a tradition? My little sister, Eliot, and I have—we’ve now spent three St. Patrick’s Days in a row together. Two years ago, she came to visit me. We rented a car and went to Maine last year. This past weekend, I took the bus up to Cambridge to visit her. I guess St. Patrick’s Day is just a thing we do together now (sans green beer).

Sister Weekend in Cambridge: What We Ate
At Fenway Park last fall.

When Eliot and I get together, we rarely have a concrete plan—our visits are mostly just finding ways to make each other laugh hysterically and deciding what to eat next. Since Eliot actually lives in Cambridge, we were able to make our own breakfasts and dinners (more about that here), but we went for brunch both days and even went out for pie!

Here are a few food-centric highlights from last weekend.

3 Little Figs {Somerville}

I was ravenous when I got to Eliot’s apartment early Saturday afternoon. She gave me a handful of cashews to keep me sane and then we walked over to 3 Little Figs, a little cafe and bakery in Somerville. We both got the Brunch Bowl, which involves all sorts of good vegetables (carrots, sweet potato, spinach), a poached egg, and flourishes of sesame, dried cherries, turmeric-tahini and ginger vinaigrette over a bed of quinoa. We both loved it so much that we’re going to try to recreate it at home! This meal was hearty without being too heavy—just what we needed to get through what ended up being a surprisingly busy afternoon.

Sister Weekend in Cambridge: What We AteSister Weekend in Cambridge: What We Ate

Once we finished our meals, we got Honey Matcha Lattes to-go. They were just barely sweet—perfect for a little afternoon pick-me-up on our walk back to Cambridge.

Sister Weekend in Cambridge: What We Ate

I will say that getting seating was sort of a pain, but it certainly wasn’t impossible. It’s sort of on the customer to eat in a timely fashion and move so someone else can have your table. With places like this, pay it forward is the name of the game.

Sister Weekend in Cambridge: What We Ate

Juliet {Somerville}

When deciding where to go to brunch on Sunday, we both looked at each other and said “Juliet.” It’s is one of my sister’s favorite spots and I can totally see why. The food is unfussy and delicious—I’ve never had anything there that wasn’t excellent. I tried their chilaquiles when I came up for Eliot’s birthday. This time around, I went with her suggestion: breakfast tacos. They come with an egg, potato, and cheese filling on corn tortillas. There’s a thin, but potent hot sauce too. They’re not Austin-style, but they are really good.

Sister Weekend in Cambridge: What We Ate

Eliot got scrambled eggs with greens, buttered toast, and some stupidly good dijon potato salad.

Sister Weekend in Cambridge: What We Ate

The only drawback I can think of is that Juliet, like 3 Little Figs, has limited seating. We took two seats at the bar though and thoroughly enjoyed watching the open-style kitchen at work. The main attraction was watching someone prep a batch of buttermilk pannacotta. Don’t be surprised if you see something similar on here this spring.

Sister Weekend in Cambridge: What We Ate

Petsi Pies {Cambridge & Somerville}

Eliot mentioned Petsi Pies to me a few months ago and we put it on the “must try” list. We popped into the Putnam Street location on Sunday afternoon to split a slice on the way to the Harvard library. They had pecan pie available and some sort of fruit pie (apple, maybe?), but as soon as the cashier said “Chocolate Pecan Pie,” the other two ceased to be options. The filling was fudgy and not at all gloopy, and had just the right amount of chopped pecans. Oh, and there was a chocolate drizzle. I looooove a chocolate drizzle.

Sister Weekend in Cambridge: What We Ate

I wasn’t crazy about the crust, which was sort of hard and one-note in flavor. It was flaky though and held a crimp, so maybe I am being too critical. Or perhaps I am just spoiled with my own Cream Cheese Pie Dough. Regardless, I will definitely go back to Petsi Pies on my future trips. I’m already planning to recreate the chocolate pecan pie filling!

Sister Weekend in Cambridge: What We Ate

Have a great weekend, y’all! I’ll be back with new recipes next week ❤

Sister Weekend in Cambridge: What We Ate

On Self-Care & Food Blogging

Disclaimer: I sat down to write a Friday Favorites post and this is what came out. If posts about mental health and self-care aren’t for you, don’t fret–I’ve got some new recipes coming your way next week. Oh, and you should make these this weekend.

When I started this blog nearly two years ago, I decided to post three times a week. It was a lot of work for someone who had no experience with this sort of thing, but I figured that if I was going to have a blog, I was going to take it seriously. With limited exception, I posted three times a week for the first fourteen months of this blog’s existence. 

That all changed last Christmas. I think I got burnt out from all my extra holiday work and then totally thrown off by an extended visit with my family in Texas. To put it simply, I got out of my regular routine and I’ve never quite gotten back into it.

On Self-Care & Food Blogging
Breakfast time on Swans Island.
Since returning to Brooklyn in January, I’ve had a few weeks where I’ve managed to get three posts up, but those have been few and far between. This summer, I somewhat intentionally put E2 Bakes on the back burner and only posted once a week. I had a lot going on–besides work, I quit smoking (three months off nicotine this week 🙌🏻). I also muddled through the end of a truly gnarly 18-month bout of depression. Maybe that’s too personal for a food blog, but it’s what happened. When my brain fog finally (finally) started to clear in the middle of August, I made some changes in the name of self-care.

On Self-Care & Food Blogging
View from the Red Hook Waterfront.
First, I switched grocery stores. Bet you weren’t expecting that. That may sound minor and totally out of left field, but if you’ve been around here long enough, you know that I think grocery shopping is a blast. Since I returned from Maine, I’ve made time every weekend to take the fifty minute walk down to Fairway Market in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a good way for me to clear my head (especially once I get to the benches near the waterfront), and I can’t help but be inspired by the quantity and quality of goods at that market. I still buy my coffee beans at Sahadi’s and hop over to Trader Joe’s and Key Food for things here and there, but I do the vast majority of my shopping at Fairway. With so many great options in my neighborhood, my new ritual might seem ridiculous to some, but I shop so frequently for others that this simple act of shopping just for me and at my favorite grocery store qualifies as radical self-care. Oh, and for those of you wondering, I take the bus home. <–I’m asked about this all the time.

In conjunction with my new grocery shopping ritual, I’ve also started taking better physical care of myself. I’ve written before about my weight and how I try to practice something like mindful eating. I’d love to tell you that I have a perfect, balanced relationship with food, but like a lot of people, I struggled after I quit smoking. It all came to a head when I made the mistake of stepping on the scale for the first time in years on the night before I left for a beach vacation. <–tip: don’t do that.

Since then, I’ve concentrated more on my meals and nutrition. Given the amount of baking and recipe testing I do every week, strict diets aren’t for me right now. Instead, I’ve spent time planning meals that are heavy on nutrients and limiting my snacking to fruits and vegetables. I’ve also spent more time consciously exercising; this is definitely helped by the smoking cessation. I still bake and eat sugar (obviously!) and have no intention of stopping, but I try to limit my consumption to once a day. So far, so good.

As a result of all these changes, I’ve got some new meal-time recipes to share with y’all over the coming weeks and months. Please consider this photo of a recent batch of Sausages with Roasted Grapes as a teaser.

On Self-Care & Food BloggingSo, why exactly am I telling you all this? Because another part of my new-and-improved self-care regimen has been to get back to regular posting. Blogging makes me happy; if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it. I have no plans to go back to three posts a week–with a day job and a social life, that is just too demanding. Two posts per week, however, has proven to be doable. You may not have noticed, but I have stepped up my posting since the beginning of September. With the exception of one Friday where most of Brooklyn lost internet access, I’ve posted twice a week since Labor Day.

My posting is not on an exact schedule right now, but I am headed in that direction again. For now, I am trying to post on Tuesday or Wednesday and Friday, all at around 1pm Eastern Time. I am planning to start posting earlier in the day soon, but as each post requires about 12-15 hours of my time, I’m deciding to concentrate on creating quality content for now and worry about timely publishing later. In addition, I’ll be debuting a more streamlined Recipe Index by the beginning of next week.

On Self-Care & Food Blogging
New favorite chocolate chip cookies. Coming at you soon.
If any of you have any recipe requests or ways that you think I could improve this little corner of the internet, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to reach out to me via email or on any of my social media accounts. Your feedback is always appreciated.

On Self-Care & Food Blogging
Out of the fog.
It feels good to be back on a blogging regimen these past few weeks. After all, this blog was originally created by me for me. I wanted a food blog for six years before I got brave and crazy enough to hit “publish.” The fact that any of you come here to read my ramblings and make my recipes is just icing on the not-so-proverbial cake. Thanks for reading.

On Self-Care & Food Blogging

24 Hours in Maine: What We Ate

It’s no secret that I love Maine. I first went in the summer of 2012 and haven’t missed a year since. If I ever decide to move out of New York, you can bet that’s where I’m headed. I’ll be the one running a pie shop out of an airstream trailer. Until then though, I’m just biding my time between road trips.

24 Hours in Maine: What We AteThis past weekend, I took an early bus up to Boston, met up with my little sister, Eliot, and rented a car. The plan was to drive up to our AirBNB in Portland, see what was happening there, and then take our time driving down the coastal highway back to Boston. When it comes to vacation, we do best without structure, so our only concrete plan was to eat as much great food as we could. I am here to tell you that we succeeded.

24 Hours in Maine: What We AteUnlike my usual trips, which are during the summer and up to an island with no restaurants or grocery stores, this trip was just days after a huge snowfall. Lots of things were shuttered until April, so in terms of finding things to do (and more importantly, things to eat), we just had to go with the flow. Here’s what we did.

Dinner: Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine

24 Hours in Maine: What We AteWe were only going to be on vacation for 24 hours, so we planned for our Friday night dinner to be our “big” meal. After scanning Yelp, we settled on Eventide Oyster Co. We ventured over around 8pm without a reservation. The place was packed, but the hostess was super friendly and gave us a place to stand and order drinks (a cider for her, a root beer for me). She said it would be about 45 minutes, but we got a table in thirty! Eventide specializes in small plates of fresh seafood (all local, of course) and recommends two per person. We ordered the Lobster Ceviche, Scallop Crudo, Fried Pollock, and Clam Chowder. Everything was great, but we both agreed that the Scallop Crudo and Fried Pollock were our favorites. I will say that both of us were too full for dessert after sharing four plates, so you might consider starting with three and adding another as necessary. After tax and tip, we got out of there for $70–not bad! If we’re ever back in Portland (and let’s be real, we will be back), we’ll definitely go to Eventide again.

Breakfast: Coffee by Design in Portland, Maine

24 Hours in Maine: What We AteWe got up early on Saturday morning, checked out of our AirBNB and went in search of coffee. We landed at Coffee by Design, a chain that started at the L.L. Bean flagship. We were greeted by a friendly barista who took us through the pastries they had to offer and gave us tips on where to find parking (hint: there is none). We got two large coffees, a sausage & goat cheese scone, and a potato-based chocolate cake doughnut from The Holy Donut. The scone was insane, as all things with breakfast sausage and goat cheese ought to be. I’ll be recreating it soon! The doughnut was good, but did have a distinct potato flavor that overshadowed the chocolate. A doughnut is a doughnut though, and neither of us had any issue finishing it.24 Hours in Maine: What We Ate

Snack: The Standard Baking Co. in Portland, Maine

24 Hours in Maine: What We Ate24 Hours in Maine: What We AteAfter breakfast, we found some parking near the water and decided to do a little looking around. We ended up in K. Collette, a high-end home goods store, where my sister bought the embroidered buffalo pillow of her dreams. While we were checking out, we got to talking with the cashier. It quickly came up that I am a baker, and she said we just had to get to The Standard Baking Co. down the block. It’s set back from the street behind a hotel parking lot, so if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss it. That would be a shame. They specialize more in bread than sweets, but we made it out of there with an Apricot Galette and a Raspberry-Almond Galette. They’re made with a shortbread dough and filled with homemade preserves–perfect road snacks. The Standard Baking Co. was our last stop in Portland before we got on the coastal highway and headed south. Our buttery galettes were the perfect treat after our side trip to Cape Elizabeth. You can tell Eliot was into the Apricot version.24 Hours in Maine: What We Ate

Lunch: The Ramp Bar & Grill in Cape Porpoise, Maine

24 Hours in Maine: What We Ate24 Hours in Maine: What We AteNo trip to Maine is complete without a lobster roll, and after a couple of side trips to Biddeford and a seasonally-abandoned Old Orchard Beach and a lot of shenanigans, we were starving for one. We got off the highway in Kennebunkport hoping that literally anything was open. Just as we were hitting the end of the line and about to give up, we found the The Ramp Bar & Grill. It’s situated on Cape Porpoise and has an amazing view of the water. The restaurant is tiny and is covered top-to-bottom with New England sports and political memorabilia. We settled in among the year-round locals and ordered our lobster rolls. They came with housemade potato chips and a dill pickle, and were just what we needed to get through the rest of our trip. The lobster was tossed with butter and mayonnaise and served in a toasted bun–no surprises here. Neither of us care for mayonnaise, but we make an exception for lobster rolls.24 Hours in Maine: What We Ate24 Hours in Maine: What We Ate24 Hours in Maine: What We Ate24 Hours in Maine: What We Ate

After lunch, we destroyed some perfectly beautiful untouched snow across from the public school in Kennebunkport and drove around a Franciscan Monastery between Kennebunk and Wells before getting back on I-95 and heading back to Boston. It was a quick trip, to be sure, but it was just right: uninterrupted sister time and lots of great food. If you ever find yourself in coastal Maine for 24 hours, this is the way to eat your way through it.24 Hours in Maine: What We Ate

On Gratitude

Thanksgiving is almost here. In the last few weeks, I’ve posted three new pie recipes, my “ideal” stuffing, and even a couple of holiday breakfast recommendations. I toiled over cranberry sauce this past weekend in a last ditch effort to give you another recipe for your turkey dinners, but realized that you had likely nailed down your menus already.

So today, I have no recipe to share or any pie-making tips. No, today I have something much more important: gratitude. That’s what this holiday is really about anyway. The big meal is nice and all, but it’s not what makes Thanksgiving…well, Thanksgiving.

I’ve mentioned before that 2016 has been a rough year for me. It started off with the amicable end to a meaningful romantic relationship and has been a wild ride ever since. I moved. I switched careers (again). I worked entirely too much. I mourned.

When things don’t go your way, it’s easy to get sullen and nasty. You think too hard about the state of your life and all the things you don’t have instead of the things you do, and suddenly you’re miserable. And people should be allowed to be miserable without explanation. But the thing about misery is that it doesn’t hurt anyone else–it only hurts the person feeling it.

I won’t say that I haven’t been a miserable wreck at all this year. That simply isn’t true. But I have made a point of looking for the good, even if the only decent thing that happened that week is that my bodega finally started carrying the 12-ounce cans of Sugar-Free Red Bull.* If, every night, I can think of one good thing that happened that day, then I must be doing alright. But I have a lot more than one thing for which to be grateful.

*This hasn’t actually happened, but a girl can dream.

On Gratitude

1. I am grateful for my family. I have not always been the best sister or daughter. I have put my family through a lot in the last 31 years. But they have always stood up for me and sometimes done things that seemed impossible, and for that I am thankful. This year, my mom came up to New York to help me move. I called to ask in January, and before I could even finish the sentence, she said “I’ll book a ticket.” I had barely packed and it was absolutely freezing, but she never complained once. My parents gave me the best birthday gift ever–they partially funded my girls’ trip to Swans Island, Maine. I really needed that week with my friends. My sisters are my heroes. They have taken more than their fair share of crazy phone calls. Our running text chain is my favorite thing on earth. How lucky that we were all born with the same sense of humor. Bottom line: I won the lottery on families. I have no idea how I got so lucky.On GratitudeOn Gratitude

2. I have the best friends in the world. When your life falls apart, it’s your friends who help you put it back together. I could elaborate, but there are too many things to say. And so, I’ll just say thank you.On Gratitude

3. I get to cook and bake all day everyday. When I started really getting into baking, I was working as a nanny. While every family I’ve worked for has allowed me to do some cooking for them, I haven’t really had my heart in full-time childcare in years. When I was feeling stuck professionally earlier this year, a personal chef job seemingly fell out of the sky just when I needed it most. Now, I bake at home in the mornings and cook for a family of four in the afternoons. It’s definitely exhausting, but my heart is in it.

4. I live in New York. I have literally always wanted to live here. I had an idea nine years ago that being a New Yorker would be glamorous, and it is sometimes. The rest of the time, it’s crazy. If you really want to live in New York, prepare to work all the time, pay way too much rent for a tiny apartment, and constantly be hustling. Nothing is easy here. But, nine years in, I feel like I sort of know what I’m doing.

5. I have everything that I need. There is money in my bank account–not a ton, but enough. I have clean, nice clothes. There is always food in my refrigerator. I have a roof over my head.On Gratitude

6. I am grateful for this excellent schnauzer. Her name is Stella. She smells like Fritos and dirt, and she is perfect.On Gratitude

7. I’m grateful for this little corner of the Internet. When I clicked “publish” last year, I had no idea what E2 Bakes would become. It’s a lot of work running a blog: recipe testing, writing into the wee hours, spending money on ingredients. And then there’s the agonizing over whether anyone will read the post I’ve spent 12 hours creating. Thank you to each and every one of you for reading, commenting, liking, sharing, and (most importantly) making these recipes in your kitchens. Nothing makes me happier than hearing how my recipes are working for you.

I may have had a rough year, but as you can see, I have plenty of goodness in my life. I hope you do too! What are you thankful for? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!