December, 2007 Archive

Thursday, December 13, 2007

apple cranberry crisp

apple-cranberry crisp

It has been over a year since I sounded-off about my mild irritation with Michael Chirello–salient takeaways included that I found him fussy and often in excessive use of needlessly pretentious ingredients–and I’ve spent most of it feeling bad about it. I mean, he cooks honestly; he uses as good ingredients as he gets his hands on and he’s not afraid of adapting old stand-bys to make them more feasible for entertaining. These are all good things. I will not now nor ever abide throwing fistfuls of carefully cultivated gray salt into boiling pots of pasta water, but I’d rather pay attention to someone who cares enough about the nuance in flavor that they create than someone who acts like it doesn’t exist.

Unfortunately, we’ve had another setback. A significant one, one so bad I have had to something that crushes my spirits and raises my shackles and throw the entire dish in the garbage. And the error was so easily avoidable, I just… can’t let it go. I hate throwing away food.

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

chicken and dumplings

chicken and dumplings

I’ve been thinking this week–probably more than anyone should–about what it means to be a perfectionist. I never considered myself one before; fussy, maybe; needly and exacting at times. Oh, and I have been known to cut cookie bars with a ruler, but I never thought it was about being crazed with perfection–I just don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t use a tool readily available to them.

Nope, I’m thinking that being a perfectionist isn’t about so much what you do, but how you react when little, obviously unsubstantial things go wrong. You over-browned an edge of the cake but it has absolutely no bearing on the final flavor. You accidentally measured wrong and now the aforementioned brownie bars aren’t all even.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

chocolate pretzel cookies

pretzel cookies

It’s not exactly news that I have a soft spot for pretzels. I’ve made pretzels into rolls, soft pretzels for a Superbowl Party and once, in the words of Alex, intentionally ruined dinner so we’d have no choice but go to the neighborhood restaurant with some curious egg noodle dish with crushed pretzels on top.

I see pretzel cookies all of the time, but they’re usually just cut from pretzel-shaped cookie cutter, and not actually twisty and knotted, which I consider totally unacceptable. It’s like one of those things I saw Sandra Lee use the other day which cut her pie lid into the shape of a lattice, without actually weaving it. Meh, I say. That would totally ruin half my fun.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

pear crisps with vanilla brown butter

vanilla brown butter pear crisp

It has been seven days since I told you about the fennel ice cream I made last week, and indicated that I would be telling you about what I was going to pair it with (actually, I said “pear” it with, because I can never resist the opportunity to make people roll their eyes) within a day or two. And it’s been a week! My nerviness knows no bounds! How do you put up with this teasing? Will there be mutiny on the smittenkitchen bounty?

It’s probably not going to help when I tell you the following:

Vanilla
Brown Butter
Pear
Crisp

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

latke redux

latkes

When I brought you rugelach pinwheels last week, I told the story of watching women make this on the Martha Stewart Show and grumbling to myself about why they felt the need to change a cookie that was just perfect from the outset. Why fix what wasn’t broken?

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

ratatouille tart

ratatouille tart

When I made my version of baked ratatouille back in July, I had intended to follow up with suggestions of other things you could do with leftovers, or leftover ingredients, as I always have leftover components but have not yet found a store that will sell me two-thirds of one zucchini and a half an eggplant. I really hate having a quarter eggplant leftover, because I’m very unlikely to use it and incapable of throwing it away, so what usually happens is I stash it in the fridge where it gets forgotten about, rots, is found a month later as when I scream in horror and throw it away afterall, having flashbacks to that time I lived with three friends and we were cleaning out the fridge and found something completely awful way in the back and Dave said “sorry, that was my kiwi” and I was like, “uh, that’s a lemon.”

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