November, 2007 Archive

Friday, November 30, 2007

fennel ice cream

fennel ice cream

I’m patting myself on the back right now–no, not for finishing NaBlo, because I think we have already established that an 86 percent effort doesn’t count–but because I have finally made the fennel ice cream from the October Gourmet and it is absolutely wonderful. You have no idea how many things have had the balderdash to get in my way.

It actually starts long before October, when I was trying to make the roasted banana ice cream from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. In a small kitchen with one counter, I rarely take pictures of my mise, as it is simply disgraceful. Things are piled and messy and muddled and as long as I can find a clear corner to work on, I excel in ignoring everything else. We all have our skills, non? This usually works for me (ahem) except for that day that it didn’t, and the ice cream maker, all of its parts and sticky, delicious banana batter ended up splayed across the kitchen floor, breaking the plastic paddle that churns the ice cream. Alex and I ordered a replacement part ($8 piece, $9 S&H) from Cuisinart that night which took EIGHT weeks to arrive, abruptly halting my ice cream making season in its tracks.


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Thursday, November 29, 2007

q&a vol. III

sunday morning hash browns

Ah, NaBlo… It wasn’t enough for me to fail you once (friends over into the wee hours), twice (came home to heat not working, cannot blog while burrowed under ten blankets) or three times (I had already blown it twice, what’s one more?)–I have to go for a nice even number like four. Why no new recipe on Wednesday? Well, if you skip to question six, your answer awaits!

Until that situation rightens itself, I will have to bore you with one more Q&A, this one still leftovers from questions asked a few weeks ago. Hey, I promised I’d get to them, wouldn’t I?

A lot more cooking will follow this post, as I literally have more excuses to cook in the coming weeks than I have actual days in those weeks. I couldn’t be happier.

Shall we begin again? [Q&A Vol. I] [Q&A Vol. II]

measuring spoons

Mary asked are there any on-line sources for food or cooking paraphernalia that I would recommend.

Since I’m spoiled living in New York City, land of a thousand restaurant supply stores and dozens of kitchen specialty boutiques, I don’t do a lot of online shopping for cooking supplies. Even when Amazon can beat a price (it often does) the cost advantage is lost in shipping charges, oh, and my impatience. Beyond Amazon, Sur La Table is wonderful as well.

Mary also wants me to show you our cookbook collection, but I of course forgot to take a picture.

So, I have spent most my adult life trying to avoid buying every cookbook I want–there are too many, so many are just okay, and my space is too limited. I looked to buy tomes, tour de forces only–Joy of Cooking, How to Cook Everything, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and the Gourmet Cookbook (probably my least-used cookbook of all). Needless to say, having a food blog has gotten me over largely over my purchasing conservatism, but I like only like to get a new one only once in a while, or it gets lost in the shuffle. Some of my current favorites on the shelf are David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours and my two newest, Molly Stevens All About Braising and The Silver Spoon, which Alex surprised me with a few weeks ago but I haven’t started into–yet. My list of coveted cookbooks is endless.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

rugelach pinwheels

rugelach pinwheels

Picture this: You’re toweling off after your morning shower, your oatmeal in the microwave, looking into the mirror and thinking as per usual, “my god, am I pale. When is vacation again?” when you hear this noise from the living room. As you get closer, so does the noise, a fluttering, scratching and absolutely frantic in every little way sound. Is it (groan, another) mouse? Why does it sound like a bird? How could there be a bird in the wall? What if it’s stuck? It really sounds spazzed out in there. Calm down, Deb. Surely it’s nothing. It’s probably just a bird on the outside of your thin circa-1870 tenement walls. Sit down, eat your oatmeal, everything is going to be… #$%!!!! BIRD! BIRD! BIRD! BIRD! A BIRD FLEW OUT OF THE RADIATOR. Omg, it is THROWING itself against the window. Halp! HALP!

filling rugelach

You do the logical thing, and call your husband, who is not yet at work, how dare he leave you at home with a WILD ANIMAL banging into the walls. You open the other window, wide, afraid to go near the one that the bird is throwing itself against because, duh, you’ve seen the movie. But it won’t pay any attention to that window, it wants to go out this window and you think, “wow, you really aren’t that bright, are you?” but no, you do not utter the word “birdbrain.” You know who’s in charge here. You finally get your husband on the phone; he’s laughing, you mentally file divorce papers.

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, November 25, 2007

curried lentils and sweet potatoes

curried lentils with sweet potatoes

Thanksgiving usually marks the end of my yearly fall fanaticism, and the beginning of the inevitable resignation to winter that goes into full-swing after the New Years. I’m no longer obsessed with the myriad of fall flavors, its squashes and medium-body soups and wines, I just want to stay warm. I hibernate, so to speak. I start cooking meals at home with more regularity; I find excuses to stay in.

chard potato mise

After all of the holiday buzz this curried lentil and sweet potato dish landed exactly on that bridge, a lazy Sunday after a flurry of a holiday weekend. It’s from the New York Times Thanksgiving coverage two weeks ago, from an article by Melissa Clark about vegetarian dishes fitting the meal. But really, it had my name all over it, because the sweet potatoes were made spicy, not saccharine, and the Indian-spiced lentils and greens were exactly the health kick I needed after this weekend of heavy intake, with the ease of a one-pot meal. I don’t need a holiday dinner to find an excuse to make it.

sweet potatoes

I know it’s not easy on the eyes–heck, it would be a great contestant in an ugliest gourmet contest, but as Cathy so aptly notes, the best home-cooked food is rarely ready for its close-up. Honestly, it was so good, we couldn’t have cared less.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

tiramisu cake

candles, tiramisu cake

Last Saturday was my darling Jocelyn’s birthday and you just know I wasn’t going to even think about showing up without birthday cake. Fortunately, just about everyone we know agrees that two of the best desserts on earth are cannolis from Venieros on First Avenue and homemade tiramisu. I was actually kind of obsessed with figuring out a way to make a cannoli cake, but in the end copped out, not feeling daring enough to invent a recipe and having waited until the very last minute (3 p.m.) to actually start baking.

Not for the first or last time, Dorie Greenspan came to the rescue. As if Baking: From My Home to Yours wasn’t awesome enough, it actually includes two cake sections, one devoted solely to “Celebration Cakes,” or the exact type you’d want to bring to a birthday party. But all are so much more exciting than just yellow cake and butter cream frosting, such as Black and White Chocolate Cake, Big Carrot Cake, Perfect Party Cake and Tiramisu Cake. I stopped right there, and started this:

tiramisu caketiramisu caketiramisu caketiramisu cake

Which ended up like this:

tiramisu caketiramisu cake

And was received like this:

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