January, 2007 Archive

Sunday, January 14, 2007

leek and mushroom quiche

mushroom and leek quiche

Come on, be honest. Is there anything better than a homemade quiche? I could eat it with a pile of baby greens for dinner every night of the week. Or lunch, brunch or a post-gym snack. Is there anything more versatile? Oddly enough, I didn’t have a proper quiche pan until yesterday, when a trip to my beloved Bowery Kitchen Supply put me face-to-face with one for ten bucks. (Alex’s favorite kitchen name, ever, is Fluted Removable-Bottom Tart Pan, followed by Reamer. What, you didn’t know I was married to a twelve-year-old?) I was actually there to get my knives sharpened (mwa-ha-ha, it sounds so sinister, right?) and to look at pasta-makers (this excitement for later, but yes, I can barely contain myself, too), and within 2.5 seconds, I knew we were having quiche for dinner.

Unable to decide between Julia Child’s leek quiche and her mushroom variety, I opted instead to use a little of both. She suggests you braise the leeks for 30 minutes with a little butter, water and salt and you should listen to her. Remember those brown-braised pearl onions from the coq a vin? Well, they’ve got competition. She has you cook mushrooms in a way I haven’t before, but it will now be my go-to method for sautéed mushrooms because it was divine: a pat of butter, a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of port, cooked low with the lid on for eight minutes. How does she do that? How does she take something you’ve done your whole life and convince you each time you could have been doing it better because they’ve never tasted this good?

mushroom and leek quiche

Continued after the jump »

Friday, January 12, 2007

cream cheese marbled brownies

cream cheese marbled brownies

Last weekend, en route to the Professional Bull Riders Showdown at Madison Square Garden, and after some beers at what, without a doubt, must be the most sordid bar in Manhattan, Jocelyn’s roommate told me that even the sound of a baby crying could immediately bring on PMS-like symptoms for her. She’s that repelled by them. I laughed, because she’s damn funny, but then it hit me: earlier this month I held a friend’s 3-month old baby, marveled at his wrist-less arms and ankle-less legs (hidden beneath rolls, you see) and sniffed his tiny baby noggin and since then, I cannot stop eating chocolate. It’s getting worse and worse. What is usually just a two to three day bout of increased chocolate cravings every, oh, 28 days or so is incessant. Unending. Borderline obsessive, minus the borderline part.

cream cheese marbled brownies

And now we’ve graduated beyond the cookies that brought us no world peace to cream cheese-swirled brownies. I try, I really do, to offset the inevitably amassed results of the fact that I am incapable of avoiding the ingestion of cocoa mass: boiled brussel sprouts, dull vegetable udon soups, miles and miles of crunchy salads as well as distances on my other tormentor, the roller-blade like hulking machine mass at the gym, but all of this just dances around the fact that in the freezer, a few marbled beauties wait impatiently for our reunion. I mean, I couldn’t bring them all work, could I?

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, January 11, 2007

cauliflower and brussels salad

cauliflower and brussels salad

Oh boy, so we already know what a pest I can be, right? Well, yesterday I had the honor of running what should have been simple errands and yet each was more aggravating than the last, from the Verizon guy that seriously did not understand what to do with my $100 phone credit, the dress which simply did not exist and a line of ten people keeping me from just asking where it could be found and an Aveda employee, oh just don’t get me started because I have nothing nice to say about their eerie breed of worker ants on 5th Avenue. When I got home, frozen like a cranky popsicle, I eagerly dug into the bag of groceries Alex had picked up for our dinner only to find that the store had only white cauliflower left, and I’d wanted the purple, orange and green! I decided that the recipe was boring and I didn’t want to make it at all if it couldn’t be pretty, and oh my god, could I be more annoying?

I was talked back into cooking with the lure of an attitude-adjusting peanut butter cookie from Billy’s Bakery. Have I told you how awesome they are? I know, everyone has had peanut butter cookies before and they’re fairly basic to make, all bearing the signature fork criss-cross mark on top but these, these are something above-and-beyond. After much analysis, as they are kind enough to frequently leave samples out when I come in to get coffee, I’ve determined that the root of their awesomeness is a mixture of chunky peanut butter, peanut butter chips and a light sprinkling with sugar that superfine, indeed. When I find an excuse besides filling our gullets, I promise to try to make my own Billys-style transcendently good peanut butter cookies to share with those of you scattered far from NYC’s west side.

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

artichoke ravioli with tomatoes

artichoke ravioli

It’s not exactly news that I am obsessed with artichokes. Heck, I even decorated this site so that it would never clash my favorite food. (Honey, the living room is next.) So, the fact that it took me almost ten days from the moment I first saw an artichoke ravioli recipe in January’s Gourmet to make is really only testament to the fact that I’ve spent more time this month swatting Resolutes off my elliptical trainer and lazily ordering dumplings for dinner in the New Year than involving myself in multi-hour recipes.

making artichoke ravioli

But fear not, that all fixed itself last night as my husband had to work and I took that as an excuse not to. I found this second attempt at making pasta (Does gnocchi count? Because although that would make three, it was a mess best forgotten.) ten-thousand times easier, possibly because you whirled everything in the food processor and it was done in five seconds, no kneading whatsoever. The recipe suggests you let it sit for an hour to let the glutens relax, which I think is brilliant; it’s also a perfect chunk of time to get everything else ready.

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, January 7, 2007

pancakes, english muffins, frisee salad

Frisee Salad

Catch-up time! Yet another glorious side-effect of having my nose buried in and my psyche over-identifying with Julia Child’s life in France is that I find myself questioning why so often, we opt for the simple over the fantastic. Why the bagel from Murray’s on a Saturday morning when we could be enjoying our lazy mornings with inordinately good homemade fare? Plus, I tend to wake up hours before my more sleep-skilled roommate, and isn’t cooking a more noble investment of my time than reading the internets and watch the food teevee? Well, we opt for the simple because, unlike Mrs. Child, we have day jobs and I spend my mornings loafing because er, I’m not exactly the most earnest individual, yet sure enough in the last couple weekends breakfast around here had been sublime.

Saturday Morning Pancakes

Last Saturday morning, just like my mother did almost every weekend when we were kids, I made pancakes, just plain-old, oat bran, yogurt, nut, seed and dried fruit-free pancakes before running out to catch the last day of the Edward Hopper exhibit at the Whitney. Mark Bittman’s recipe in the New York Times last month was almost exactly like the Joy of Cooking on my mother always used, replete with the confusing step of adding melted butter to cool ingredients, causing odd clumpage, which is of course quickly rectified in a hot griddle, but still. It always made me feel, and still does, like I did something wrong.

Continued after the jump »


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