September, 2007 Archive

Friday, September 14, 2007

chocolate babka

chocolate babka

If you’ve ever tried to recreate something you loved when you were growing up in your own kitchen, you know how difficult it can to match your taste memory to the reality of ingredients and step-by-step directions. Sometimes, even when you get the flavor right, it doesn’t feel right, but you hold out for those rare times that everything falls into place.

After realizing that both Alex and my families loved the same decadent grocery store chocolate babka growing up, I set out to find a recipe to recreate it at home. I waded through dozens and dozens, convinced that something was off in each of them, continually closing my eyes and trying to remember exactly what makes it what it is.

two and a quarter poundsreduced to rubblebig fat buttery doughthe kitchen was such a mess

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

grandmothers of sils’ apple-yogurt cake

grandmothers of sils' apple & yogurt cake

I used to be a fennel/anise/black licorice-hater, too. I say “too” because I know that it’s impossible to bring the flavor up without at least someone in the room saying “ew.” Like beets in anything or nuts in cookies, its presence is a deal breaker for a surprising number of people.

But I have always been certain that the foods we like to eat we were introduced to in a way that warmed them to us. Mike and Ikes? Ew. Ouzo with seltzer in tall glasses as we snacked on salty pistachios while sitting out on the balcony of my professor’s hotel room with a handful of my classmates after a long day of painting on the Greek island of Corfu one summer? It was impossible not to love, creating a clear delineation between my anise-hating and anise-loving days on the timeline of my tastebuds.

tastebud timeline

[Oops, got a little carried away with the Tastebud Timeline idea.]

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Monday, September 10, 2007

tortilla de patatas

potato tortilla

Ever since we had dinner at Ti­a Pol for the first time six months ago, I have been bitten by the tapas bug, and with little warning this wee hallway of a restaurant on 10th Avenue replaced Tabla as my favorite in all of New York City.

I didn’t know that there were any higher small-plate callings than the Floyd Cardoz’s boondhi raita, that is until I tried Alex Raij’s garbanzos fritos, and though it makes me sad to have evolved beyond my Bread Bar obsession, I feel strongly enough about these chickpeas that if you haven’t had them yet, you should close your browser, turn off your computer, get on a plane if you must, wait patiently through the forty minutes it will take just to sit at the bar because these babies will leave your up-to-then favorite bar snack in the dust so quickly, its tasty little head will spin. Be prepared for a fast and fierce addiction.

sliced potatoesjust made it

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

an elaborate ruse

rainbow carrots

“Do you know what the special is at Klee tonight?” I said as I walked in the door from work on Tuesday.
“Egg noodles with hazelnut pesto, sprinkled with crushed pretzels.”
“Are you saying that you want to go to Klee for dinner?”
“No. I’m just saying that there is a special that sounds really good. Doesn’t it?”
“It does.”
“We haven’t been there in months and months.”
“Debbie, are you saying you want to go?”
“Alex, I didn’t say that. I was just, you know, noting that if we wanted to eat that, we’d have to do so tonight. They won’t have that special again for a whole week!”
“I thought you wanted to make the carrot thing tonight.”

and then

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

lemon layer cake

lemon layer cake

I know people are prone to wild disagreements over Food Network personality Paula Deen. Sure, some gush that she is a “hot-damn pistol” and exactly like their “favorite aunt, who doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her” even at the expense of their readership and others think she’s just hated on because she’s a successful woman, most people cast a far less sympathetic glance in her direction, if not for her Big Pork connections, then for her Fried Butter Balls, seen as her obvious attempt to “kill us all.”

batterseparating eggsseparating eggszesting lemons

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