October, 2007 Archive

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

over-the-top (irksome) quiche

quiche crust

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.

Okay, I was kidding on that last part. Or was I? As you can see, this cooking experience has left me all sorts of wobbly. The truth is that I knew it would be ten times fussier than your average dough + filling + bake = quiche but I was intrigued. The photo on Food & Wine looked so towering. Nobody would ever write a mocking tome about it.

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, October 14, 2007

flan flop

sugar

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.

But it’s Sunday now, and I demand answers. To rewind, Jocelyn was making turkey tacos for dinner (which were delicious, by the way) and I wanted to make a flan for dessert. I scoured my cookbooks and cooking websites, deciding to (danger! danger!) combine two recipes to get what I desired, namely a dreamy coconut, caramel and rum flan with a real caramel layer on the bottom (or top, once you flipped it out of the pan).

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, October 11, 2007

butternut squash and caramelized onion galette

butternut squash and caramelized onion galette

I love fall. I mean, I know how decidedly unoriginal that is to say, but I can’t help it. I just want to inhale it, take a picture of every flame-thrown tree, mull over all of its cider and crunch through all of its dried leaves. I have been fortunate enough to marry someone who feels exactly the same way, but the only problem is figuring out how to make fall longer than it is and that solution, my friends, is to drive north to catch the early show.

upstateupstatesandals in octoberupstate

We headed upstate last year for the weekend and stayed at the most sigh-worthy B&B–where every window is ringed with tiles of stained glass and a man named Richard makes you amaretto-brushed French toast on Sundays–and made a point to get back there this year. Of course, its hard to predetermine when fall will peak; last year, we felt that we were a week too late, this year, we went a week earlier and felt that we were two weeks early. I hear an 80-degree October will do that.

Nonetheless, I have a whole new appreciation for early fall. I used to eschew its predominantly green cast and lack of ta-da shrubbery, but now I really get its charm: how else will a few superstars stand out?

Continued after the jump »

Monday, October 8, 2007

hello dolly bars

hello dolly bar

As much as I have said more often in the last couple months than you should ever let me get away with that I am so busy! and no time! the truth is that really, truly having no time for the things I really want to have time for terrifies me. I always wonder: are we really so busy or are we just busy being busy? Are there truly ‘not enough hours in the day’ or are we just not using the ones we have well enough? I feel if I allow myself to sorry can’t, too much going on right now I might fall down a slippery slope wherein I start saying that even before I have considered what I am busy with. Come on, surely you know the type.

What I mean is: there is a woman with two children, one under a year old, in our west coast office that wields our interoffice overnight mail for the very best of causes: baked goods. Got a promotion? New employee? Had a bad day? Leaving for greener pastures? Any and all events, no matter how small or mighty, are greeted with a bundle of butter, sugar, chocolate and‚ well, I haven’t figured out all of the ingredients yet, so I just call it “crack” and you will hopefully know that I mean that it is a very good thing.

sweetened condensed milkbutterscotch chipsshredded coconut graham crackers

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Friday, October 5, 2007

gazpacho salad

gazpacho salad

A small miracle happened in our apartment this week: we paid someone to clean it, and seriously, you could lick the floors [but of course, really shouldn't for a reason that rhymes with Shmatatouille, not that I really want to get into it].

I have spent too much of my adult life trapped in this faux-Buddhist state of thou shalt clean thy own messes; it’s good for you, I reasoned. Cleaning should be a Zen experience. Please, stop laughing. Quit it.

Needless to say, at some point between work and more work, errands and, I don’t know, waking up on Saturday mornings with a desire to leave the apartment and not scrub the edges of it, our little penthouse turned into a place we were not exactly proud of. And when you are as obsessive as I am, this is a very bad thing. I’d look around the apartment before I left each morning and sigh; this is not what I wanted for us, and come home too tired to do anything but sigh at it again.

chopping tomatoes, tomato knifekirby cucumber

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