The Otium

[remodeling soon!]

Delicata Squash & Cardamom Sticky Buns

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I don’t remember any of the Christmas gifts I received during my childhood.  Rather, my most vivid memories of Christmas morning was waking up to the sweet, buttery smell of freshly-baked cinnamon rolls or sticky buns.  My mom would let my sister and me each open one present before she made us eat breakfast — but to me, breakfast was the real present, as I will never forget how those sticky, gooey rolls tasted.  My childhood winter holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve — were all punctuated with this same memory of rich cinnamony or caramelly rolls for breakfast.  So to this day, I still associate the heartwarming love and comfort of a quiet winter holiday with sticky breakfast rolls. (more…)

Blueberry & Coconut Mochi Waffles

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It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in Hawaii — 14 years and 2 months, to be specific — and the longer I’m away, the more I feel disconnected from the lifestyle.  But what keeps me feeling at least marginally tied to the islands is my parents and their obligation to continue to send care packages. (more…)

Coffee & Cinnamon Encrusted Bison with Brandied Plum & Molasses Sauce

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Since picking up a copy of Cooking Slow a few weeks ago, I’ve thought a lot about — and reconsidered — the way I cook.

The book’s thesis is simple, and makes perfect sense:  meat cooked at (or just slightly above) its doneness temperature will never become overcooked, no matter how long it cooks.  Of course, cooking at low temperatures requires much longer cook times than those to which we’re accustomed.  A roast chicken, for example, would take 6-8 hours in a low oven, rather than the 1.5-2 hours our mothers taught us.  The patience of a slow cook is rewarded, then, with perfectly-done meat — no leathery char on steaks that are still bloody in the middle, no dry chicken wings when the breast is still raw. (more…)

Mozzarella, Chive, & Olive Oil Corn Muffins

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We’ve been going through a rare rainy spell in Boise this week.  The rains have brought with them chilly autumn weather.  But it’s not that crisp fall air that makes me want to buy every variety of heirloom squash I can find at the market.  Instead, it’s that damp, bone-chilling kind of autumn weather that makes me want to cozy up to a bowl of chili and turn on my furnace [yes, already!]. (more…)

#savingtheseason Berries: Boysenberry Shrub

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It’s a hard time of year.  The new semester has begun, and I am busy with my new crop of students.  By the end of a term, I have grown so comfortable with the subject matter I’m teaching and so familiar with (and fond of) the personalities of my students, that I struggle to adjust to a new class and a new semester.  Add on Boise’s relentless heat, I get home from work in need of a cold pick-me-up. (more…)