On a rainy, windy day like today - you know, the type of day where a major hurricane is heading your way - all I want to do is cook. Maybe it's just a nesting instinct, or maybe it's my desire to maintain some order when the elements are clearly out of my control. On a day like today, I want to make a big pot of soup or chili, or simmer a tagine in my Le Creuset, so that the entire apartment smells like fall. Today I'm craving comfort foods - roast chicken, butternut squash soup, pasta carbonara with kale, and pumpkin bread. Things that take a little while to make, because, let's face it - when the subway system is shut down, I'm not going anywhere! But most of all, when the world feels really unpredictable, I want to be with friends and family. Moments like these me so grateful for my wonderful husband (and two adorable cats), and for our amazing network of friends here in NYC. I just wish we all lived on the same block so we could have a big dinner party!!

Actually, last night, we did just that with a few friends out in Brooklyn. After a day listening to scary weather reports, we turned off the TV and sat around a candlelit table, ate homemade chicken pot pies and salad, drank wine, and listened as a friend played guitar and sang us some songs he had written. (More on this in a future blog post...!) It was a sweet time of fellowship – and given the impending storm – made us that much more aware of the things that matter most. Good conversation, good food, good music - all in the company of great friends - does it get any better?!

If you're apartment-bound and wanting to do a little comfort cooking, here are a few of my fall favorites. Just take a look at what's in your pantry and get to cooking. And while you're at it, why not invite the neighbors over? (If the power goes out, these dishes all taste even better by candlelight!)

Butternut Squash Soup with Spiced Pears

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Swiss Chard

Spicy Turkey Chili

Whole Wheat Chicken Pot Pies with Kale

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Butter

Roast Chicken with Lemon and Thyme

Lamb Tagine with Apricots, Figs, and Chickpeas

Pasta Carbonara with Garlicky Greens

And for those of you with a sweet tooth...

Harvest Pumpkin Muffins

Old Fashioned Gingerbread

Nutella Shortbread Brownies

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy cooking, and if you're in the path of Hurricane Sandy, stay safe!!