October, 2007 Archive

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

cranberry, caramel and almond tart

cranberry, caramel and almond tart

It’s taken some time, but I have finally come to the conclusion that I am simply not very skilled at tart doughs. Yes, me, the girl who loves making bread and pasta and pretty much anything in the world that starts with kneading and gathering. Hey, I never said I was good at it.

These shrunk too much, these tore and crumbled, these not only shrunk but got tattered, this had to be pasted together in scraps and, you guessed it, this one went on a big diet in the oven as well. The thing is, you might look at the pictures and not know that the recipes were teetering on the edge of disaster, but that’s because you don’t know about all the filling that went to waste because they no longer fit after a par-baking. I’ve tried everything–pricking the doughs and weighting the doughs and freezing the doughs and sacrificing countless boxes of butter and hours of my life to the doughs and closing my eyes in a brief prayer before checking on their baking status but still, they fight me every time.

tartlet pansarranging the tart doughgorgeous, golden caramelcranberries

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, October 28, 2007

sweet potato and sausage soup

sweet potato and sausage soup

Because I am, in all likelihood, about seven years old on the inside but old enough on the outside to know that this might never change, I’m just going to admit from the start that the concept of sausage soup makes me giggle. It also sounds kind of gross, don’t you think? Sausage soup.Hee hee. In fact, when it appeared a few weeks ago as Epicurious’ Recipe of the Day, I sent the link to my husband who, also being seven or maybe seven and a half on the inside, would totally get a kick out of it. But then–and I hope that this doesn’t mean that he is growing up on me, because that just will not do–he actually said that it sounded good, and that we should make it for dinner.

mise en placechorizo

Well his taste buds–which cry for only tomatoes, salt, cured meats and chocolate–haven’t led us astray in the past, have they? Now that the weather has finally plodded into something resembling fall, soup season is officially on and what way to ease ourselves into it but with something hovering in the delicious middle-ground between broth and stew.

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

pumpkin butter + pepita granola

pumpkin butter

As if Alex and I weren’t lucky enough to win a trip to Napa Valley for a two-day grilling class on the stunning COPIA campus in August, we also got to meet Elise of Simply Recipes fame. Not only is she as warm, kind and knowledgeable as she comes off on her site, she’s one of those types of people who reach into their bag two minutes after having met you and proffers up a homemade gift, in this case, apple butter made from the early apples grown in her own backyard. “What’s a backyard?” Alex and I asked her, wide-eyed and baffled. Elise smiled politely.

apple butter apple juice

We ate it with a spoon, and I don’t mean weeks later; I’m talking about when we arrived back that Tuesday night near midnight. I confess that apple butter is one of these things I hadn’t known about growing up. Amusingly, my first knowledge of us came from watching Oprah shortly after her first or second major weight loss, and she told her audience that one of her secrets had been apple butter instead of regular butter on her morning toast. Needless to say, I was dubious that anything could take the place of real butter and the idea of trying apple butter fell largely to the back of my mind until that Tuesday night.

Continued after the jump »

Monday, October 22, 2007

gluten-free chocolate financiers

chocolate financiers

A firm believer in the jinx-ing gods, I always pause before I say these kinds of things, but I have a pretty good life both out- and inside of the kitchen. Food is my friend. The only things holding me back from eating everything and anything in the whole world are, in descending order, my pickiness and my waistband. I don’t know what it means to have food make me consistently sick. (Well, except Spaghetti Carbonara. But that story for a different time, or on second thought, never.) I scour ingredient lists because I don’t trust them, but not because my life could depend on it. I can eat all of the bread, pasta and cake, glorious cake that I want. And it is these things I have been thinking about since I dug into Gluten-Free Girl this weekend, the new book by the food blogosphere’s own Shauna James Ahern, someone I had the fortune to meet, along with her Chef, Danny, and other friends last weekend.

chocolate financiers

I first learned about celiac disease from an old coworker who had it. “What do you mean you don’t eat no cookies?” I would joke in mock-Aunt Toula tone because it was just that absurd to me that he would be the only person in our whole department to not eat my baked goods with glee. It came back on my radar through my friend Joc’s coworkers, Kim and Kelly and their site, Celiac Chicks, but I still didn’t really get it. No flour, I’d think? More flourless chocolate cake, then! Big deal.

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, October 18, 2007

pumpkin bread pudding

pumpkin bread pudding

Here is a recipe that every single person should have in their arsenal, and I couldn’t be happier that it is now in mine. After a week of flan that never set and floppy, leaky quiche crusts, there are no words for the serenity brought on by a recipe with TWO steps. Heck, the entire set of instructions tops out around 50 words.

pumpkincustardbread cubesmeasured

It was so easy that despite being at my wit’s end after Tuesday night’s fiasco, I made it anyway. Burrowing our spoons into still warm, bourbon-spiked (like I could resist) sweet fall comfort was heavenly, and as I chewed on those buttery bread cubes and pondered the ginger’s edginess, memories of cooking failures fell away, and there was just this, a blissful and eerily wholesome calm.

Continued after the jump »