November, 2006 Archive

Saturday, November 25, 2006

blondies, infinitely adaptable

blondies, infinitely adaptable

I’m back! But not really, as I got home an hour ago, whipped up a batch of the only blondie recipe you’ll ever need for our favorite blondie’s umpteenth 25th birthday and now I have about 45 minutes to find something in my closet that camouflages my sling because ugh, it’s such an eyesore. (On the flipside, when I don’t wear it and someone bumps into me I get all outraged like ‘don’t you know my shoulder is injured?!’ Well, no Debbie, they don’t.)

Although I am certain the last thing anyone wants to think about today is eating, baking, desserts or the next big cooking holiday, this recipe will usher in what I hope will be a month peppered with ideas for gifty kitchen confections. I know a lot of people this time of year make small gifts bags of baked goods, or larger tins for parties, and while I typically don’t, this gives me a chance, too, to try out a lot of bookmarked recipes while also never showing up at a party empty-handed. Also, I finally have an excuse to buy a candy thermometer.

blondies

Continued after the jump »

Friday, November 24, 2006

interrupting this lazy

empty city

I confess to have a case of the “what have I gotten myself intos” this afternoon, as I should be upstairs watching a Harry Potter movie for the 86th time with my in-laws, nursing my turkey gut and resting up between movie one and two right now instead of down in the office cranking up my laptop, but after making it to the 24th day of 30, with a busted wing no less, this seems no time to cave.

A day late and buck short, an illustrated list of things for which I am thankful:

My cousin’s pink flamingo collection,

my cousin's pink flamingo collection

Adorable little cousins that know the right answer to “did you eat your turkey?”,

there are better days to be a turkey

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, November 23, 2006

apple pie

apple pie

I’m an all-butter crust kinda gal; I’ll exchange flavor for flakiness any day of the year and, like a lot of us, I’m pretty freaked out by shortening in general. But, I caved this year. One too many articles about the best non-lard crusts resulting from that magical blend of both vegetable and butter fats, plus the seal of approval from the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook (and as we all know, I’ll do anything they say) and there I was, scooping tablespoons of that white stuff from a can. To compensate for the butter lost, I used some Danish butter, so rich that but ten minutes after the pie went in the oven, the unmistakable scent of buttery brilliance hit the air and we swooned.

I’m also not one to use recipes for pies, a little sugar, a little flour and spices to taste always seem easier than hoping any cut and dry method will consistently produce the same results. Yet, the last couple years my apple pies have each been missing a little something so I thought I’d go back to the structured approach and build out from there again. Alas, we won’t know how this baby turned out until long after we’re tucked in with night caps and food comas, so I guess we’ll just have to assume it’s blissful.

I hope all of your feasts, festivities, and afternoons with friends and families are too.

not moundful enough
Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

My sharp-eyed husband caught this bourbon pumpkin cheesecake recipe while I was — typically — flipping through a Gourmet magazine last year. Although it was a total hit at Thanksgiving, my fleeting recipe attention span struck again this year, but as I began hunting for a new and different fall-themed cheesecake it was made clear I’d still be welcome at the table with something else — just a little less so.

boubon pumpkin cheesecake

Like any good newlywed, last year I made two cakes — one for the family we would spend the afternoon with, and one for the family that had reserved our evening shift. I had intended to do the same this year until I realized that I’d left the base to one of my springform pans at my parents. Already having two batters and crumb crusts prepared, I cursed several times, refilled my wine glass and decided I’d try to make twelve cupcake-sized cheesecakes with the second batter. (Why oh WHY did I not buy these the fifteen times I have seen them at the store and fawned over them? The headaches $15 could have saved me!) While the full-sized cake looks lovely, the jury is still out on whether those cupcake cheesecakes are ever coming out of the pan, and it’s not looking very promising.

oh, i went there

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

wild mushroom pirogies

wild mushroom pirogies

Less than six degree’s separation from my absorption with diminutive baked goods is an almost equally powerful obsession with all forms of stuffed dough, from wontons, gyoza and pot stickers to tortellini, ravioli and turnovers. I am a woman obsessed with eating every type of dumpling this big world has to offer; something about the possibility of biting into something both mysterious and fantastic gets me every time, and forgives the fact that no matter how easy a filling is to whip up, one will inevitably be stuffing, crimping, folding, pressing, deflating and sealing up the little guys up for an hour.

pressing edges, sexy blue sweatpants

Last night we welcomed dumpling season with a lazy girl’s wild mushroom pirogies, lazy because although pirogi/vareniki dough is quite simple to make, it’s got nothing on the simplicity of tearing open a packet of wonton wrappers. I couldn’t resist cutting them into their proper round shape, however, and with a scalloped-edged cutter to boot so they ended up looking as festive as our wine-drenched spirits felt. Their deep, earthy flavor has little in common with the more-popular potato, meat or cabbage varieties, but this doesn’t mean that you should skimp on the butter-fried onions, vinegar if you are Alex and sour cream if you are me. (Though I have been known to top mine with all of the above, drawing disapproving clucking from the Russians.)

scallop-edged pierogies
discarded (not the wine)

Continued after the jump »


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