My latest food column for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine is here and it has my new favorite slow cooker dinner recipe inside. Here is a bit of it…

“Have you ever had a slow-cooker fantasy? You know the one, where you imagine walking into your house after a long day at work, push open the door, and are immediately hit by the smell of a homemade meal simmering away? Maybe it’s beef stew, a vegetable curry, pulled pork, or butternut squash soup? Me, too, and I don’t think we’re alone. There is something magical about a nutritious, affordable, warm, home-cooked dinner ready and waiting for you. Even if you did all the dinner planning, preparation, and filled that slow cooker mere hours before, the reality that dinner cooked itself is never anything less than extraordinary…”

Click here to read more of the story from Martha’s Vineyard Magazine – Slow & Steady and get the recipe for Slow-Cooker Moroccan Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato.

This recipe really is a winner – it looks like it took blood, sweat, and tears, but your slow-cooker secret is safe with me. Another benefit, Slow-Cooker Moroccan Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato tastes exotic but calls for a short list of easy-to-find ingredients. I like to serve it over couscous, though any grain or vegetable makes a suitable bed. Don’t skip the toppings – the fresh cilantro, squirt of bright lemon, and crunchy almonds make a big difference.


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How to Build an Entire Meal on a Humble Sheet Pan by me is up on Food52 and because it’s Monday morning I’m hoping this article will provide some dinner direction for the week.

Whether you are searching for a way to cook an unusual CSA vegetable, prepare fish for a crowd, or assemble a meal ahead of time, sheet pan dinners are your answer. And once you start crafting your own combinations of protein, vegetable, herbs, and sauce, you will be hooked on this foolproof technique.

Here, I’ll share 12 tips for getting started, some basic time and temperature guidelines to abide by, a few time-saving ideas, and two simple roast chicken sheet pan recipes. (If a roast chicken dinner two-ways isn’t a good place to start, then I don’t know what is.)…click here to read the whole story.


Photos by Elizabeth Cecil.



As you may haven spied on my instagram last weekend, the Martha’s Vineyard Cookbook Club met to discuss and eat from A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus by Renee Erickson. We ate lamb, chicken, roasted carrots and fennel, rice, artichokes, asparagus salad, watercress salad, bread pudding, and strawberry jam tart – everything was ah-mazing. We all left loving the book and its relaxed approach to simple (yet delicious!) food.

I brought this roasted chicken with capers and preserved lemon and roasted carrots and fennel with harissa to the party. Both dishes only have a handful of ingredients but are so impressive. If you haven’t tried roasted a chicken in this style you must…



Roasted Chicken – fried capers, preserved lemon

from A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus

1/2 cup capers (salt-packed preferred), rinsed well

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 (4-pound) chicken, back removed

1 tablespoon crunchy gray salt (I used kosher salt)

Julienned peel of 1 preserved lemon



Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Place a large, heavy ovenproof skillet on the bottom rack of the oven and let it preheat for 5 minutes.

Put 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the stick of butter into the hot pan. Return the pan to the oven for a minute or so, until the butter is melted and foamy. Carefully place the chicken pieces into the pan, skin side up. Holding the pan at an angle with an oven mitt, spoon the butter over the chicken, basting it for a full minute, until the butter has run down every possible surface of the pieces. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with the salt, crushing it between your fingers as you go.

Roast the chicken in the hottest part of the oven (bottom right, for most ovens) for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through. The chicken is done when the skin is nicely browned and the thickest part of the biggest piece measures 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Set the chicken aside on a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, strain the capers, if needed, and transfer them to a paper towel lined plate to dry for a moment. Heat the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil in a small saucepan over high heat. When the oil begins to move in the pan, carefully add the capers, reduce the heat to medium, and fry them until they flower and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes, or more for larger capers. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the capers back to the paper toweling.

Transfer the chicken to a serving plate and top with the fried capers and lemon peel. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Roasted Carrots and Fennel – harissa

2 bunches medium carrots, rimmed but not peeled, halved lengthwise

2 medium fennel bulbs, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices through the core

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more if needed

1 tablespoon crunchy gray salt (I used kosher salt)

1/4 cup store-bought harissa


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Arrange the carrots and fennel on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, turning to coat, then sprinkle with the gray salt. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan and turning the vegetables halfway through, until the vegetables are tender and well browned on the bottom.

Allow the vegetables to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, blend the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the harissa. Add the vegetables, turn to coat them evenly with the harissa mixture, and season to taste with salt.




A couple of weeks ago Design Mom interviewed me about our house and what it’s like to live year-round on Martha’s Vineyard. She sent along 10 really insightful questions for us to answer. The whole process allowed me to sit and reflect on how much work we (well, mostly Nick) has done to our house and organize my thoughts about the pros and cons of living here. I came out of it feeling even more grateful for this home and community. I’ve included the interview questions here and a link to my answers at the bottom on the post.

I’m sure you’ve seen glimpses inside our house on my instagram page but if you haven’t here is a sneak peak inside. Someday I want to share the before pictures too but that requires some organizing and digging. And what’s with this big chicken you’re asking? I decided to spontaneously roast a whole bird earlier in the week and it was such a good move for many reasons: 1. One-pot dinner! 2. We’re on day 5 of cold and rain 3. I ate the leftover vegetables with eggs for breakfast this morning 4. I made stock in the slow cooker for soup tonight. So much goodness has come out of this simple meal.


Spring Roast Chicken

1 4 to 5 pound chicken

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds

1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters

Small bunch scallions, ends trimmed

1 lemon, sliced into rounds

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 F and toss all the vegetables, sliced lemon, a few glugs of olive oil, salt, and pepper, in the bottom of a roasting pan. Put the chicken on top of the vegetables, tie the legs together, fold in the wings, and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle over salt and pepper.

Roast for 1 1/2 hours, rotating the pan half way through. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Psst – I know the edges of the vegetables look burned but I promise they don’t taste that way.



1. Tell us who lives here! All the quirks. Maybe how you and your husband met, what you both do for work, and a few unique details about your kids.

2. Tell us where, exactly, you live. Describe your neighborhood, neighbors, why you love it, why you don’t love it, housing prices (NO ONE EVER TALKS PRICES!), and the cool things nearby. Also, MARTHA’S VINEYARD! All the things we couldn’t get from a guide book!



3. How did this home become yours? Describe the process of finding and then making it yours. Was it hard? Effortless? Any tricks to buying in your area?



4. A 1924 cottage! Tell us how hard it is to modernize a property like that! All the nitty gritty details that no one ever tells you before a project like this.



5. You write cookbooks! Tell us about that. Where did you get your start? Give us some interesting highlights!



6. You and your husband are both artists; how does that affect your design choices? Is it more difficult to choose how you want to live with your kids? Are you more unwilling to give in to ugly toys or messes? How do you integrate their style with your own?

7. What are the quirks of living on MV?! Any celebrity sightings?



8. What do you hope your kids remember from this home and you as their parents?

9. What has been your absolute favorite thing about living with your own kids? What do you already miss?

10. Please finish the sentence: I wish someone had told me (and I had listened!)…






Most people I know are just beginning a spring cleanse of some sort. Although this season seems to push us all towards cleaning up our eating habits, the people I talk to all seem to be doing it for different reasons. One friend just weaned her baby and wants to experiment with her diet, another recently returned from a warm vacation full of sugary drinks, and a third has watched her diet suffer due to family stress. For me, I just feel gross and want to feel better (those samosas yesterday didn’t help). Nick and I are starting the Whole 30 next week and despite not really knowing what it is (okay, I know the basics but need to research all the details) I am really excited to dive in.

This pretty chicken dinner fits into most programs, maybe with a few tweaks, was yummy, and is something I’ll make again. We ate it with rice but a big skillet of garlicky greens would be even better.



Ginger-Scallion Chicken Breasts in Parchment

Serves 4: From Clean Slate

1/3 cup dried shiitake mushrooms

1 cup boiling water

1/4 cup tamari

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

1 piece (4 inches) peeled fresh ginger: 3 inches finely grated; the remainder sliced

4 scallions, white and light-green parts only, finely chopped; plus more, julienned, for garnish

2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts



1. Preheat oven to 400F. Soak mushrooms in the boiling water until soft, about 15 minutes. Lift mushrooms with a slotted spoon or a sieve; thinly slice mushrooms.

2. Stir together tamari, sesame oil, vinegar, honey, and sliced ginger in a baking dish. Stir together chopped scallions and grated ginger in a bowl.



3. Cut chicken in half lengthwise to make 4 pieces total. Make a slit in one side of each piece to create a pocket, leaving other side intact. Spoon scallion-ginger mixture into each piece, dividing evenly. Transfer chicken to baking dish with tamari mixture. Marinate at room temperature, turning halfway through, 20 minutes.



4. Cut four 12-by-17 -inch pieces of parchment. Fold each in half crosswise to make a crease, then unfold and lay flat. Arrange a chicken piece on one side of crease of each parchment rectangle; top with mushrooms and sauce. Fold parchment over ingredients, creating half-moon shape. Make small overlapping pleats to seal open sides. Cook on 2 rimmed baking sheets 10 minutes (chicken’s internal temperature should be 165 F). Open packets, garnish with julienned scallions, and serve immediately.