August, 2007 Archive

Monday, August 20, 2007

napa, days two & three

In honor of our long weekend in Napa–you know, the trip that you won for us–I have done the unthinkable and brought the laptop in hopes to share snippets throughout our trip. Should we ever leave California, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled cooking next week. But I’m not making any promises.

charcoal chimney in napa

Oh people. Come, hither. Sit down, have some wine. Try to summon in your mind the awe-inspiring amount of information one can absorb in twelve hours of applied grilling class, all that direct versus indirect heat, smokers and infrared and Japanese ceramic egg grills, lump charcoal and applewood chips, muscle and protein, brine and sear, marinade and sauce and rub and ignition and meat, my god, so much meat even the pictures give me a meatover.

I’m about 29 heirloom tomatoes and 300 sugar snap peas from returning to my former, non-cavewoman self, and it’s going to be a day or so before I can get to all of the tasty stuff we learned. Until then, don’t let me forget to tell you about our beyond fabulous grilling partner, this meal, that one and the awesomeness to come before we leave on Tuesday, our bags bursting with bottles of Sinskey and jars of homemade gifts. We are hopelessly spoiled. We wish you were here.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

napa, day one

In honor of our long weekend in Napa–you know, the trip that you won for us–I have done the unthinkable and brought the laptop in hopes to share snippets throughout our trip. Should we ever leave California, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled cooking next week. But I’m not making any promises.

grapes from the vine

Day one, we splurged on the Mustang convertible and aside from the whole sunburn issue (duh), it is indeed awesome, and we don’t care if it screams tourist in every single way. I use the term ‘splurged’ loosely, as the full price of this (on special) is still half of one day of a cheapo car in NYC. California, I love you already.

convertible self-portrait

Up since 4 a.m. Eastern, by 2 p.m. Pacific we were so famished, the In-n-Out Burger seemed the only sane solution. I had my first hamburger since I was 12 years old. It was so worth the wait.

in-n-out burger, sodain-n-out burger, burgerin-n-out burger, friesin-n-out burger, ketchup

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, August 16, 2007

plum-almond tart

plum-almond tart

Even haiku-writing food bloggers get in ruts. We fall back on our old crutches–overused commas and em-dashes. We get lazy with our descriptions, referring to too many things as “awakening,” “a revelation,” “succulent,” and/or “meltingly tender.” Cute turns twee as growing things become “veggies” and delicious is replaced with “yummy.” And find that all of our posts follow the same predictable pattern–there was a previous belief, an eye-opener, a tried-it-at-home and a happily-ever-after with a recipe on top. Fine, I’m just talking about myself, but how am I to grow without owning up to my bad habits?

Why air this dirty laundry today? Because I was about to start this entry with “it started out so innocently” but then the five-alarm went off in my head: No. Stop. Alert! Code Red! Backspace! So, although it did, let’s just pretend you know that already. And let us talk about The Tart That Started It All instead.

cherry frangipane tartcherry frangipane tart

Madeleine is a new bakery that I walk by on my way home from work, a refreshing change from the All Cupcakes All The Time that dominates New York bakery scene these days. I prefer a macaron or wee French tart any day over a bland cake with teeth-achingly sweet frosting (though my resolve is known to weaken if that frosting is, say, pink). A few weeks ago, I picked up a small cherry tartlet for Alex and I to split, the type I see often at pastry shops but rarely try and was bowled over to learn the stuff between the cherries tasted exactly like marzipan, and if anyone remembers back this long, they will know that I looove me some marzipan.

tart shellpie weights

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

summer loving

tomatoes, everywhere

Oh, you know me, Miss Always Needing the Next New Thing, Miss No, I Don’t Want To Make That Flawless Recipe That We Loved Again, I’ve Already Made It. But this Sunday, the Union Square Greenmarket got the better of me, and I dug into the recipe archive and admitted that there were three recipes that if not made again, it would be a crying shame. And there will be no crying in the Smitten Kitchen, okay? (Not when there is enough shame about what ever happened to those leftover brownie bits from Friday, ahem, at least.)

orange cherry tomatoesafternoon delight

Because the tomatoes are in season, and if you’ve never taken a thick slice of an knobby and goofy-colored heirloom tomato and laid it on a piece of whole wheat sourdough miche and topped it with a few drops of fruity olive oil and some flakes of sea salt and sunk into a chair on your first bite, overwhelmed by the revelation of it, I want you to close your browser window, shut off your computer, and go out right now and do it. Or at least sometime very soon. You are owed this, I promise. I want you to have it.

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, August 12, 2007

brownie mosaic cheesecake

brownie mosaic cheesecake

Alex’s birthday was Friday, and if there is one thing I think we all know by now about my sous-chef, assistant photographer, sometimes (coughoften) dishwasher and starry-eyed compatriot is that he is the true chocoholic in this family. There is rarely a dish, from strawberry tarts to banana bread, raspberry-filled sandwich cookies to bretzel rolls that he does not insist could be improved by the addition of chocolate. Or cheesecake. Or brownies. But mostly chocolate.

Thus, when Rebecca at Eat wrote a few weeks ago about making a–you might want to sit down for this one–Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake for a neighbor’s birthday, I sent Alex the link and he immediately wrote back: That’s the one.

cubed brownies

Continued after the jump »