I’ve written a lot about holiday traditions—and lack thereof—in the previous weeks. I’ve written about creating rituals that sustain and hearten, and how the absence of such rituals can be particularly difficult in times of celebration and gathering. We all want, at the end of the day, to feel held, embraced, buoyed by the people around us, and the beauty we share with those people. But, increasingly, we live far from family, and often even farther from places that really feel like home. I’m still not sure Los Angeles feels like home to me, but, more than ever before, I want it to.
My list of New Year’s resolutions reads more like a home improvement to-do list than a set of self-improvement goals. I’m fine with my diet, but my walls need art, my closets need cleaning, my storage system needs reorganizing, my kitchen needs a major overhaul. Perhaps it’s because my publisher just sent the Kale & Caramel cookbook off to the printer in China and I’m already itching for the next thing, but I’m deeply interested in nesting right now. Nesting, and making homemade holiday gifts, that is.
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This post was created in partnership with Vermont Creamery. All opinions are my own.
Hello from Palm Springs! I came out early this year, on account of the wondrous occasion of overlapping judeochristian holidays and the not so wondrous occasion of a breakup. As many of you remember, the Palm Springs New Years holiday has been a regular celebration since 2011, and it’s become one of my favorite traditions in its richness of community, friendship, and, yes, complete and total relaxation. Also of note: My friend Micah cooks incredible meals for us the whole time we’re out there, which is nothing short of a revelatory relief for someone (ahem, me) who spends all day every day in the kitchen.
So I came out to the desert early this year, in anticipation of quiet and restoration and latkes. Liba and Micah had christened the house in advance of my arrival, filling it with the scent of tarragon and chanterelle risotto and the tropical bird-like squawks of their perennially sunny-dispositioned ten month-old baby girl. I brought cookies and peppermint bark and butternut squash (for latkes, duh) and a battalion of superfoods and a Vitamix. All would be well.
Every night we light a candle for something to remember. The first night, for peace. The next, for love. The next, for forgiveness. The next, for joy. We keep naming the things we want to hold most dearly until, on the eighth night, we recite them all, a litany of yeses that feels good and pure and true. This was my Hanukkah, growing up. A sweet ritual of remembrance we practiced, tenderly, holding hands, probably after om'ing, probably looking out on a gorgeous Maui sunset.
We weren’t religious Jews, per se, but there was always something of the spirit with us.
And it certainly didn’t stop me from adoring latkes.
These cozy toasts are succulent, juicy, savory, and light. I whipped ‘em up for Refinery29’s holiday appetizer feature last week, but they’re on heavy rotation throughout the year.
Oven roasting the tomatoes at high heat with whispers of olive oil and balsamic vinegar brings out their sweetness, which is met by the herbaceous lilt of basil. This divine union is completed with toasted pine nuts.