January, 2007 Archive

Friday, January 5, 2007

in which world peace eludes me

world peace cookies

[But I die and go to cookie heaven.] When Dorie Greenspan included Pierre Hermé’s recipe for to-die-for chocolate cookies in her Paris Sweets cookbook, she called them Korova Cookies (Sablés Korova), after the restaurant off the Champs-Élysées for which Pierre Hermé created these cookies, not the milk bar in A Clockwork Orange. In her most recent book, she calls them World Peace Cookies, as her neighbor became convinced that a daily dose of these cookies was all that is needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness.

While world peace is truly a lofty and admirable goal, it’s unfortunately not cutting it in my apartment as if you were standing in front of me holding one, I would probably try to take it from you. (Just ask my husband.) I don’t know if it because this is another frantic entry in those 28-day, must eat chocolate or else I will die, files or because they are the best chocolate cookie I have eaten in my entire life but there is nothing peaceful about my relationship to them.

My original intention was to do what I typically do when I want to make something gloriously unhealthy but limit my intake of it — bring the remainders to work, foisting the calories on those youthful things with whom I share cubicle walls. But, unable to part with them, we’ve hidden them in the freezer which I can assure you, is not working either. They’re not even particularly charming when frozen, but they do still exist, or at least several of them do. So there’s that.

trying to hide away the world peace cookies

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, January 4, 2007

balthazar’s cream of mushroom soup

balthazar cream of mushroom soup

A couple months ago, I briefly mentioned making a wild mushroom soup from Gourmet magazine that was, you know, good, but also, eh. But shame on me, really, because last year we found the perfect, best-ever, fail-proof, tastiest recipe so why did I fall for the shiny new thing? Isn’t that the point of all this trial-and-error, anyway? I’m always trying to catalogue Recipes That Work, also called Recipes to Share you know, the ones that you try and you think “This is it. This is everything I have ever wanted from a [insert beloved grub here],” even if yes, I know, most people probably do not share my fanaticism about beloved grub. Lemon cake? Done. Banana bread? Found that too. Easy-peasy rustic loaf? Yup, and hooray for that. Chocolate cookies so good, it may bring tears to your eyes? That’s for tomorrow, because I am a tease, and also because I think about them again, I might eat five. Best-ever mushroom soup? I will never doubt you again.

2 lbs, 1 oz of mushrooms

What was missing from the bland mushroom soup was bulk. So many varied soup recipes come down to a similar process: a sauté of onions, leeks or garlic and herbs, a pile of vegetables simmered in stock until soft, then pureed and topped with cream, grated cheese or a splash of booze or if you’re super-lucky, all three. But if you want to make it taste like more than watery vegetables, you’re going to need some volume. Balthazar’s cream of mushroom soup has over two pounds of sliced mushrooms with a relatively small volume of broth coaxing it gently into soup form — there’s nothing more worthy of your spoon. You might, ahem, even determine that it tastes so good, that no, you will not share it and will instead eat it standing over the pot, hungry husbands be damned, even when they catch your selfishness on film. But then again maybe not, as you’re probably a nicer person than me. One can only hope.

will not share

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Tuesday, January 2, 2007

really simple homemade pizza

really simple homemade pizza

5 p.m. yesterday found me in the kitchen, chopping carrots into snack-sized sticks and trimming the ends off uncooked green beans so that we could have a snack. And then I laughed because what could be more of a New Years cliché but raw crudités and the promise of a healthier tomorrow. Yawn. Or, at least yawn to the traditional notions of health food; I actually made us pizza and an enormous salad for dinner.

But first, a small detour. Alex and I went to brunch at a friend’s apartment in the Upper East Side yesterday, stopping at Eli’s on the way home for provisions. Despite it’s unseemly pricing structure, I used to love this store but yesterday it just left a funny taste in my mouth as I realized that I’m just not the customer they’re after. Pre-made cookie and dinner roll dough? Pre-chopped vegetables? Day old chocolate cake? I suppose if I was frightened of my kitchen and had endless funds at my disposal, this place would be a godsend. But instead I just felt like pleading to their customers: pizza dough is so easy to make! Lately this has become like my battle cry, trying to convince people not to be so afraid of failing at a recipe that food choices are instead left to companies who possibly have their best interests in mind, but most definitely not before their bottom line.

simple salad

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