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.
October, 2007 Archive
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh, hi. Did you miss me? Are you hoping for a new you’ve-got-to-make-this-omg recipe today? Well, I’m sorry, because apparently the flan was just the beginning of a string of cooking failures. It’s a shame because I was really excited about this one. First, it was quiche, and real women, you know, eat quiche. Second, it had two pounds of mushrooms in it, and I have a mushroom story (no, not that kind!) I have been meaning to tell you for a year, and this would have been my perfect chance to share it. Third, it was a Thomas Keller recipe, and although I may not be his number one fan, I hear that the man can really cook. Finally, it was called “over the top” and if there is one thing I can’t say no to, it’s a dish a simple as quiche made into something absurdly involved.
1 a.m. Saturday, I texted Alex to say: “Being dragged to M Shanghai now. Flan was an inedible disaster. Will turn in cooking credentials now.”
Really people, it was that bad. My friend Molly took one look at it, pushed it away, and said, “I think I’ll skip this one. Sorry, Deb.” Jocelyn had one bite and pronounced that “This is the first thing that you have ever cooked that I actually didn’t like.” Darren smartly pretended he was too full from dinner to try it. And I nibbled on my spoonful, trying to figure out how something with such glorious flavors as rum, coconut, caramel and vanilla–from a batter that smelled so good, I wanted to wear it as perfume–could go so horribly awry. Oh, and then I drank some bourbon and forgot about it.