Harvesting Prickly Pear Fruit

by autumn on August 26, 2014

Harvesting and Processing Prickly Pear Fruit // Autumn Makes & DoesIf there’s one thing I’ve learned definitively about harvesting and processing the bright magenta fruit of the prickly pear cactus, it’s that everyone pretty much does it their own way. Last week, we went over to Paul’s grandmother’s house and she put us to work on her prickly pears and gave me crash course on her process.

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Prickly Pears // Autumn Makes & Does

It has been a big week of food-learning here! Last weekend we learned about harvesting and cooking both prickly pear cactus paddles (nopales) and their bright magenta fruit, which are at their peak of ripeness right now. I sampled some smoked nopales, which were so darn good–bright, smoky, chewy–that they bumped a smoker up a couple spots on my must haves list. Tomorrow is the—wait for it–Prickly Pear Festival and I’m pretty amped about it. Expect a lot of bright pink treats here in the coming weeks because we also spent this afternoon harvesting a couple big bowls full of prickly pear fruit. I think I’ve found the desert equivalent of when the first rhubarb shows up at the Union Square Greenmarket :)

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Freeze Kefir Ice Cubes for Your Smoothie

by autumn on August 20, 2014

Kefir Ice Cube Smoothies // Autumn Makes & Does

I can be a bit skeptical of tricks, shortcuts, and hacks just because I don’t always want to do something the easier, faster way–especially when it comes to cooking. Sometimes I do want to stand over a steaming pot, just stirring for an hour. I do, however, love cooking smarter and I’m pretty excited about the smart trick in my latest piece for Serious Eats.

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Kefir Panna Cotta

by autumn on August 18, 2014

Kefir Panna Cotta // Autumn Makes & Does I have long complained, even when I lived in New York, land of “you can have whatever you want whenever you want it,” about the sad availability of good, full-fat buttermilk. It’s rare (I hope) that I turn into a self-righteous food snob over a single ingredient, but full-fat buttermilk is an exception. My cakes, ice creams, and cornbread do not want runny, reduced-fat buttermilk. The end. [click to continue…]



In the grand tradition of everything happening all at once, we moved again this past weekend, we’re crossing our fingers hard that this time next month we’ll be closing on a house, and I have a couple awesome freelance projects to share that just came out! First–and I’m still pinching myself over this one–I’m over at the amazing cocktail mag PUNCH today with a piece on a crazy DIY booze hack that I found in a community cookbook from the 70s. There’s imitation butter extract involved, so I do suggest you check it out.

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Fig, Goat Cheese, and Black Pepper Milkshake

by autumn on August 7, 2014

Fig, Goat Cheese, and Black Pepper Milkshake // Autumn Makes & Does

I’ve been happily, gratefully, joyfully buried under a pile of freelance work over here. We’re still working on settling in too. Unfortunately, our temporary housing situation turned out to be a bit more temporary than we had hoped, so we’re moving to temporary housing situation #2 this weekend. So, moving. Still. The good news is we’ve been looking to buy (!!!), which–god help me–after a few weeks looking at fixer-uppers I do feel like I have enough material to start an entirely new blog about trying to buy a house for literally as little money as possible. REAL TALK.

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Fig Custard Cake

by autumn on July 21, 2014

Fig Custard Cake // Autumn Makes & Does

One of my favorite perks of my new living situation is the figs. Paul’s parents have two (!) HUGE fig trees, one yellow and one black. The trees produce a ton and I’ve been the gracious beneficiary of many a Safeway bag full of them in the past few weeks. Still, it’s never not going to seem like some kind of sorcery to see a fig just growing on a tree in front of someone’s house. [click to continue…]



I saw some pomegranates growing in an alley and it BLEW MY MIND.

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Candied Jalapenos with Tequila

by autumn on July 17, 2014

Candied Jalapenos with Tequila // Autumn Makes & Does

I realized that I haven’t gone into much detail here about probably the biggest adjustment for me related to our move: we’re living in a town of about 7,500 people, shoved up against the Pinal Mountains. It’s an almost 2 hour drive to the nearest city (and Whole Foods). This is just the life I had been craving for a really long time, so I’m crossing my fingers hard every day that we can make this work. So, long story short, there’s no Union Square Greenmarket here. My local farmer’s market is a few folding tables for a few hours on Saturday mornings and I’m totally smitten.

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The First Meal in a New Place

by autumn on July 11, 2014


Hello from the winning side of the of a cross country move. Even though I had completely deluded myself into believing it would turn out otherwise, things got pretty bonkers there at the end. We didn’t have the time or energy for a lot of extravagant  “last _______ in NYC” escapades. The last thing I ate was double dark chocolate talenti straight from the container on the floor of our old apartment and the last thing I drank was overpriced bourbon at the airport, which both ended up being pretty perfect. I didn’t have many NYC hurrahs left in me.

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