May, 2007 Archive

Friday, May 18, 2007

homemade oreos

homemade oreos

Just before I left for the airport Monday morning, I stopped short and ran back inside, not because I forgot my power cord or business cards or anything normal like that, but to make myself a turkey sandwich. My flight left late, of course, and by the time I had time to unwrap my semi-smooshed last bit of home-cooked anything, I was so hungry, I was ready to ask the 18-month-old next to me to share one of his drooled-upon teething biscuits. Proust may have had his madeleine and my husband may have his pickled green tomatoes, but I had that turkey sandwich and in the one bite I allowed myself before the drink cart finally brought me something to wash it down with, I had found a happiness I didn’t know could exist at the front end of a much-dreaded three day business trip to a nine-acre enclosed glass pod.

homemade oreos

It was the best thing I ate for days. What followed were stale, overly-sweet muffins falsely advertised as bran, potato chips I’d found myself eating because they were “free!” with my choking-dry turkey sandwich purchase, a banana days before my idea of what it’s prime should be, a tomato slice that was actually chewy, a fat-free yogurt so loaded with fake flavorings and artificial sugar that it took me half a bottle of water to get the taste of a single spoonful out of my mouth, and trauma induced by a room service menu boasting a “fried cheese collage,” although frankly not half as gross as the “mixed vegetable pasta” that arrived at my room an hour later. Pushing translucent, brown-edged lettuce around on a plastic tray in the Nashville airport Wednesday night, I up and dumped the whole thing in the garbage, deciding that life is too short to eat food that horrifies you in every way. Of course I had the luxury of doing that because I’d be home later, though the last laugh was still on me as my flight was delayed and I got in at about 1:30 a.m. so tired that my husband waiting up for me with that “I’m awake! I didn’t nod off!” harried look on his face almost brought me to tears. Also, because he is cute.

homemade oreos

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, May 13, 2007

baked eggs + chive biscuits + bloody marys

mother's day brunch

Today, I have failed you as a food blogger. I’m not proud. I cooked and cooked, we and our loved ones ate like kings, there was not a single recipe that shouldn’t be archived and returned to and yet, in the whirl of things we forgot to pick up the camera. (Hangs head in shame.) You get no photographic evidence of the shredded hash browns, chive biscuits, egregious amount of thick-cut maple-cured bacon, baked almond-orange French toast, insanely spicy bloody marys, plain yogurt I flavored myself with real vanilla and just a pinch of sugar. You’re just going to have to trust me that it was grand.

Since we’ve been together Alex and I have twice taken our mothers and those dudes they married for Mother’s Day brunches. I’m not going to say that we haven’t had good meals, but we’ve never had a great one. No matter who cooks it (and really, it’s always a short order cook; the chef with his/her name on the menu isn’t called in six hours early just to flip eggs), in the end most brunch menus look exactly alike and with the prices jacked up for the holiday, you’ve got to question the sanity of a $50 over-cooked egg. I don’t overcook my eggs, do you? And yet I’ll pay someone else to, and to serve bacon that’s never quite crisp. My bacon is always crisp.

Continued after the jump »

Friday, May 11, 2007

raspberry-topped lemon muffins

raspberry-topped lemon muffins

Oh my god, people. Just OMG. Let’s just make this one succinct, for once? Surely, I am capable of concise thought, right? These muffins are the shockingly good. Make them.

That’s not enough? Fine. Two lemons worth of grated peel are muddled into a paste with sugar, and that sugar is used to bake a simple buttermilk and vanilla muffin that is topped with a whole fresh raspberry. If it sounds simple, that’s because it is, but the flavor is anything but. The lemon peel gives what should be a sweet, harmless muffin a bitter, intense edge, and the raspberry, an almost sour contrast whose impact rivals the best blueberry muffin you’ve ever had. What I once thought was my favorite approach to lemon cake is no longer. There’s a new muffin in town.

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

pickled garlicky red peppers

pickled garlicky red peppers

Flashback: The Great February Pickle-athon: Inspired by Cathy’s fantastic account about pickling Brussels sprouts with fennel fronds on Serious Eats, I decided it time that I go beyond the giardiniera and the lightly-soused red onions and into the great thereafter of vacuum seals and factory-like precision. Of course, I didn’t use her recipe–why would I do that? I knew it would work! What fun could that be?–but one I’d seen several pickle junkies swear by on Chowhound.

february pickle-athon

Continued after the jump »

Monday, May 7, 2007

pineapple upside-down cake

pineapple upside-down cake

I gotta tell you–I get so boring in the summertime. As soon as that warm weather hits and a bright blue sky becomes de rigeur and not something worth stopping the presses over, any near-religious attraction I had to the shiny and the new goes into hibernation until the fall. Do I want to start a sourdough that will take seven days to make? Well, since you asked, not really. How about that baked pasta dish that been buzzing like a bee in my bonnet for weeks? Um, well, maybe. If it rains or something and there’s nothing else to do. Do I want to try some new, crazy variant on a classic cake with cardamom? No, no, no!

pineapple tire

Well, then what do I want to do? I want to go to the beach, and I want to go to barbeques. I’ve got goals, you see: I want to perfect the mint julep this summer and uncover a way to travel with all the trappings of a freshly squeezed Tom Collins. I want to bring buckets of just-made slaw, make more of my famous vegetable skewers that could fit on eight grills and I want to arrive with the kind of cake you don’t have to make a big deal out of; no frosting, no filling, no baubles, jimmies or piping and a minimal number of bowls. The kind of cake you’ve been eating your whole life yet a bite of it in the off-season will bring you back to a lazy spring weekend and a pinata filled with airline bottles of Petron.

Continued after the jump »


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