April, 2007 Archive

Friday, April 13, 2007

the tart marg

the tart marg

What seems like a million years ago, Alex and I had some friends over for a fajita party at our old 500-square foot Chelsea bungalow. Lacking an electric citrus juicer, we spent a good part of the afternoon hand-reaming the juice out of dozens of limes so that I could make a few pitchers of the margarita recipe that was printed on the Classic Cocktails paper place mat I’d stolen from Stingy Lulus the weekend before. If you like your margaritas so tart you might have to close one eye to swallow a single sip and your memories few and far between, I cannot recommend this old-school recipe enough.


But, if you’re only going to invite over four friends, may I suggest you make slightly less than two-and-a-half pitchers? Because in the years since, rarely a month goes by that we don’t tell the story of Dave and Steve getting ejected from a cab that night in the middle of Times Square, Steve having his “to-go cup” tossed in the trash by a patrolling police officer, Dave getting in a non-sensical argument with the cop’s partner (Steve swears they were speaking in Brogue by this point) who called him a drunken disgrace and told him to go home but Dave pleaded that he was trying to go home but mean cabbie kicked them out and then, when the cops finally sent them on their way, Dave announcing, “Well, I think I handled that pretty well.”

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, April 12, 2007

gnocchi with a grater

toasted gnocchi salad

Do you ever feel like a kitchen incompetent? That despite what seems like The Entire Rest of the World being able to cook something flawlessly, even going so far as to boast, “This is so EASY to make!” each and every time you try it, you fail? Believe me, it’s not just you.

Before this past weekend, nothing made me feel more unskilled and less deserving of your readership than gnocchi, which was a damned shame because it’s probably my favorite pasta in the entire world. After reading countless accounts by others about what a “cinch” gnocchi is to make and how you will “never buy it frozen again,” I tried to make it about a year ago and it was a complete and total disaster. I am not mincing words.

gnocchi pillows

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

potato rosemary bread

potato rosemary bread

I killed a biga. I didn’t really want to get into it at the time, as I’m not exactly proud of my actions. It’s not like I didn’t know how not to destroy a pre-ferment, it’s not like I don’t like, no love ciabatta bread, yet I made it at the start of one of those weeks that seem easy-peasy from the outset but when the pace picked up, I let it linger, carelessly convinced it would wait patiently for me. It was my neglect that took its life. And yet in hindsight, now that I’m ready to own up to it, it may have also been some passive-aggressiveness on my part.

You see, we were watching Everyday Italian on the Food Network a few Sundays ago, and upon eyeing Giada slicing into large ciabatta loaf in a low-cut blouse, Alex said, “You know what you should make next time? Ciabatta bread.” Except he said in sort of a lingering, elongated fashion, like the tone I might use to say “Baileys on the rocks” or “salted butter caramel.” I know that tone, and I didn’t like it but of course, I didn’t say this. I actually said, “Great idea! I’ll start the dough!” And four days later, the biga had been left for dead. Curious, eh?

to the moon!

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, April 7, 2007

arborio rice pudding


The end of a mano? Though my mother bought it for me nearly two years ago as a Bridal Shower gift, I didn’t open my white Artisan KitchenAid until last week. Could I be more ungrateful? Possibly, but in a kitchen with only one tiny counter-top, there is no room for a heavy kitchen tool of limited use, and little reason when you’re an avid devotee of the electric hand mixer.

Oh boy, could I have been more stubbornly wrong? Perhaps what I was really afraid of was the vanilla bean effect, where one use of it would transform my relationship into an torrid love-affair, and there would be no going back. Because people, have no doubt: there is no going back.


Last weekend was the weekend of eggs by the dozen. Twelve yolks needed to be beaten into white ribbons, twelve whites needed to be reformatted as an enormous cloud, and then there were the pavlovas, plural, not to mention the giant vat of whipped cream filling. Just a few weeks ago, my work would have rewarded me with an aching arm and a most-certainly splattered kitchen wall from that moment when I wasn’t paying attention and titled the electric beaters back ever-so-slightly, because you know, that always happens. But this time, my baking left me with a distinct feeling of uselessness. My egg whites, yolk ribbons and whipped creams no longer needed me. Once I put ingredients in the bowl and turned the motor on, I could walk away and attend to other things. Freedom!

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, April 5, 2007

artichoke, cranberry bean and arugula salad

artichoke, cranberry bean and arugula salad

Sometimes I’m worried that I might be boring you guys. Yes, yes, being plagued by feelings of dullness and inadequacy, how very tired of me. But, let’s take some of the themes we have here; artichokes, beans, arugula, salad, bread and the most repetitive one of all: I ate something somewhere, and had to have it again ASAP so I tried to make it myself. Today, we’ve got all of them bundled into one. I try to say to myself, Deb, not everyone is infatuated by artichokes, arugula, beans and salads and every single way you can think of eating them either separately or together. I try to rationalize, although it’s not my strong suit. But then I imagine a world without people who get as excited as I do about artichokes! arugula! beans! and it makes me terrifically sad. Thus today I present to you: Artichoke, Cranberry Bean and Arugula Salad, or seriously the best thing I’ve gotten to eat twice in a week in way too long.

artichokes, stunners

We went out to dinner at really-you-must-go-there Dressler in Williamsburg on Saturday night with our most newly-married friends. Alex and Steve had leaden cocktails and I, well you know, I did that thing you do with your married female friends where you make sure they’ve ordered something with alcohol? Or you’ll start with the irresponsible rumor-mongering? Oh, I know this because it happens to me like every freaking day and people, there is always wine in my hand. We’re all caught up now? Onwards, then.

Continued after the jump »