Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider writes The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog about improvising as a daily practice. Her cookbook The Improvisational Cook is now out in paperback. More

Sally Schneider is the founder of The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog that inspires you to devise, invent, create, make it up as you go along, from design and cooking to cultivating the creative spirit. It's been called a "zeitgeist-perfect website." She is a regular contributor to public radio's The Splendid Table and the author of the best-selling cookbooks The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook, which was recently named one of the best books of the decade by The Guardian. She has won numerous awards, including four James Beard awards, for her books and magazine writing.

Sally has worked as a journalist, editor, stylist, lecturer, restaurant chef, teacher, and small-space consultant, and once wrangled 600 live snails for the photographer Irving Penn. Her varied work has been the laboratory for the themes she writes and lectures about: improvising as an essential operating principle; cultivating resourcefulness and your inner artist; design, style, and food; and anything that is cost-effective, resourceful, and outside the box.
  • Cherry Season Made Simpler

    No more removing pits from cherries: This recipe allows you to keep pits and stems on the fruit for an easier, memorable dessert. Here, the story of how the author discovered this easy method of preparing cherries and guidelines for how to create it yourself in your own kitchen.

  • The Formula for a Satisfying Breakfast

    All you need is a savory base, a fried egg, and some grated Parmigiano for a meal that works all day--but especially for breakfast. Includes a recipe that offers a roadmap for how to make countless variations on the same culinary concept.

  • How Cell Phones Saved the Onion Dip

    A phone call from a panicked novice chef ends with a revelation: Cell phones and computers make excellent teaching tools. The author offers her ideas for how technology can help even more people become comfortable in the kitchen; she also provides her recipe for the onion dip that inspired it all.

  • Recipe: Real Onion Dip

    This real version of classic onion dip is made with caramelized pan-fried onions instead of salty, flavor-enhanced dried onion soup mix. Served with excellent potato chips, it is the ultimate cocktail party food.

  • Ramps: The True Sign of Spring

    Ramps, wild leeks that appear at the start of spring, bring back a flood of memories to the author, reminding her of when she first encountered the plant--and why she continues to seek out wild foods and country living even though she spends most of her time in a city.

  • How to Improvise in the Kitchen

    Variations on a chocolate cake show just how much fun--and how good--an improvised recipe can be. Here, guidelines on how to play a little culinary jazz, and the chocolate cake recipe that inspired it all.

  • Amaretti: Seven-Layer Cake for One

    A late-night craving demands something wildly good--and easy. A leaning tower of crème fraiche-smeared amaretti soothes the beast just fine.

  • Easter at the Next-to-Last Minute

    The days fly by so fast, so much so that suddenly we find ourselves in April with trees in bud and the holiday upon us. Easter is suddenly here. Simple recipes for herb-scented lamb, vegetable ragout, and more will welcome spring the right way.

  • Recipe: Fragrant Olive Oil Cake

    This is a lovely cake yet without an overtly olive oil flavor; rather, the oil, along with orange and lemon zest, contributes to its unique floral-herbal fragrance and delicate texture.

  • Recipe: Crushed New Potatoes

    The crushed new potatoes are mixed with crème fraiche, chives, and cracked coriander for something simple yet truly memorable.

  • Herb-Scented Roast Leg of Lamb

    This method produces lamb that is truly, uniformly tender. The rosemary-thyme-and-lavender salt is a fragrant seasoning that carries the mellow Provençal flavors into the flesh.

  • Recipe: Crushed Olives with Herbs

    In addition to being a great seasoning for lamb, this paste, made of coarsely crushed olives with lemon and herbs, also makes a great tapenade-like hors d'oeuvre spooned onto toasted peasant bread.

  • Recipe: Spring Vegetable Ragout

    This vibrant ragout is made of spring vegetables whose flavors have an extraordinary affinity for each other--asparagus, peas, fava beans, spring onions, artichokes, morels, tiny new potatoes. This ragout would also be terrific with rendered bacon or pancetta fat instead of olive oil.

  • Sayulita, Haven of Coastal Mexican Food

    In this fishing village 35 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, tourists mingle with jovial locals over boiled corn, homemade flan, and oysters cooked on makeshift grills. Everywhere there are soft tacos made with pork, marlin, shrimp, and, often, birria -- stewed goat in a rich, red chile-based sauce

  • Recipe: Corn With Crème Fraiche, Lime, and Chili

    Inspired by a street food offering in Sayulita, Mexico, this revisionist version is a great use for less-than-perfect summer corn or leftover grilled or boiled corn on the cob. An intense version of creamed corn, it makes a terrific side dish.

  • Recipe: Soft Tacos With Roasted Meat

    Shredded meats, slow-cooked or roasted, warmed in their juices, make perfect fillings for soft tacos. I usually eat these at the stove, one-by-one as they come out of the pan. This is less a recipe than a rough method, distilled from several trips to Mexico.

  • Making Your Own Flavored Oils

    Flavors like tender herb, garlic, and citrus are easy to make, and vastly improve any dish that uses olive oil. All you need is olive oil, salt, an appropriate flavoring and a little imagination. Your reward is a wonderful addition to any dish that uses olive oil.

  • Butter Like You've Never Tasted

    In times of stress and anxiety, creamy, hand-churned butter can be a wonderful comfort food. In fact, Good butter is like a perfect cheese but better in these moments: purer, simpler, direct, and voluptuous. And in a pinch, you can make your own.

  • Rocks in My Kitchen (With Recipe)

    Surprised? The classic technique of cooking with stones produces succulent chicken and crisp skin without the fuss, and make satisfying dishes on the fly. Rocks can be a great impromptu solution in the kitchen. Plus, they double as a doorstop. Includes an original recipe.

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Writers

Up
Down

From This Author

Just In