November, 2007 Archive

Sunday, November 11, 2007

pumpkin waffles

 pumpkin waffles

I warned you, didn’t I? I have a lot of fresh pumpkin puree to use up. Call it my late German grandmother communicating her values to me from the great beyond, but I hate throwing away food. It literally makes me sick to my stomach, that in this land of excess and in a city that appears at times to have run out of ways to spend money so it churns out new ones daily that I am part of this ridiculousness, so frequently throwing away old eggs, milk days before its inevitable demise, fruit and vegetables we always forget about, elaborate dishes that bored me too much to eat twice.

This pumpkin, it’s gonna get used.

 pumpkin waffles  pumpkin waffles

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, November 10, 2007

our approach to food photos

balsamic reduction

As much as it flatters me when I get emails asking what my secret to taking pictures is, I rarely have a good response. I don’t think of myself as a real photographer, I never learned accepted techniques and I barely know what half the buttons on the camera do. If you like my photos, you’ll probably agree you can get far without this information (though I suspect you could get further with it).

poached egg

The majority of food photography advice I have read boils down to two main points: don’t use flash and style the food attractively. Honestly, these days I rarely do either.


While I of course use available light when it is, uh, available, in the evenings, when most food for this blog is cooked, I’m at a loss. Though for a long time I used a combination of available light/long exposures, a tripod and remote switch for evening pictures, I was only satisfied with the results about half the time. Often less.


Continued after the jump »

Friday, November 9, 2007

chicken with chanterelles and pearl onions

 chanterelles and pearl onions

Sunday night, along with roasted stuffed onions and that apple tart for dessert, I made Martha Stewart’s Silky Braised Chicken with Wild Mushrooms and Pearl Onions for my family when they came over for dinner. But if you want to know if it was any good, you’ll have a hard time getting a straight answer. I thought it was dry and could barely eat three bites of it. Everyone else didn’t mind, and even called it delicious. Then again, they may have just been polite.

tiny red onions

I’ve come to the realization that there are some recipes I would rather never write up. Here it is Friday night, five days after I made this chicken dish and I would still rather do Molly’s dishes than talk about chicken. Five days! Five days in which I have updated daily. Five days in which I decided I’d rather cook and write up something entirely new than get to that forsaken recipe. I am that ambivalent about it.

 braised chicken

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, November 8, 2007

apricot and walnut vareniki

apricot walnut vareniki

You know, I had great plans for tonight. As promised, I was going to tell you all about the recipe that didn’t make the cut for my dumplings article on NPR. We’d talk about the history of vareniki, their texture, the process of making them and what a scandalously good meal it was when we had these apricot and walnut vareniki for dessert.

But then, well, instead I went to the opening of a friend’s new gallery and like the eternal college student I am in the face of an open bar, I had several glasses of champagne and now here we are and eloquence, as well as grammar/sentence structure/coherent story telling escape me. Sad but true.

So let me just cut to the chase of it, shall I? Alex, though technically Russian was actually born in the Ukraine, and Ukranians, you see, have their own version of dumplings, and I think they are fantastic. Varenyky (Ukrainian) or vareniki (Russian) are derived from the word varenyk, which simply means “boiled thing,” but prefer to think of them as a less-bulky cousin of Polish pierogi. While they can be filled with any number of ingredients–sauerkraut, mashed potatoes or meat–cheese and/or dessert preparations are common. When I found an old Gourmet recipe filled with apricot and walnuts, I knew I had hit home.

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

elsewhere: dumplings and cake

sour cream chocolate chip coffee cake

It’s a fun, fun day at Smitten Kitchen–did you know that? Today I am presenting you with not just one new recipe but FOUR. Four recipes! Someone is trying to be the valedictorian of food blogging NaBloPoMo, huh? Valedictorian, medalist and also winner, mind you.

Funny story about that, actually.

Mom: So, what is this nablop thing? Is it a contest?
Me: NaBloPoMo? Oh, it’s just a Thing, mom.
Mom: A thing that you win?
Me: No, a thing that you do. To do. Because the other kids are doing it.
Mom: But why?
Me (totally irked because I am realizing I don’t get it either): It’s obviously too complicated to explain.

Right, so the four recipes! One catch: none of them are here.


The first three are in my most recent Kitchen Window column on NPR all about one of my favorite topics: dumplings. Yes, my dumpling obsession has actually outgrown this site, and it’s gotten so costly that I had to offshore it to India. Also Korea and Italy. Hm, I suspect that this joke is only funny to me. Nevertheless, over at NPR I talk about dumplings of the world, and include recipes for spicy lentil-potato samosas that can be baked or fried, beef-tofu mandu and spinach-ricotta agnolotti. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

pouring battercinnamon sugar sour cream chocolate chip coffee cake sour cream chocolate chip coffee cake

The fourth recipe–my mother’s sour cream cinnamon chocolate chip coffee cake–may be familiar to some of you who have been around for a while, but today it is in the Boston Globe, a sidebar to an article about, well, this site and little old me. Thanks be to Jonathan Levitt for making me sound coherent.

And just to keep you at the edge of your seat (my sense of self-importance is staggering, no?), tomorrow I’ll tell you about one of my favorite recipes from this batch, the one that didn’t make the cut. So you come back now, you hear?


One year ago: Ganached Guinness Goodness