April, 2008 Archive

Friday, April 18, 2008

peanut sesame noodles

peanut sesame noodles

The fact that today is a startling 78 degrees with low humidity and the sun is streaming in wide ribbons through every windowed wall is leaving me as torn as I have ever been between my simultaneous urges to Take Walk! Frolic Outside! Drinks Beers on a Terrace, Somewhere! And come home late tonight with my skin smelling like summer and my forehead re-freckled and fall into a deep sleep, my legs twitching like a puppy who dreams about catching frisbees… and, you know, bake some things for tomorrow’s Seder. Hrm, is it actually any question what will win?

japanese noodles

Nevertheless, I haven’t even told you about my Single Girl’s Dinner from Monday night. No, calm down, Alex did not finally tire of me, the dishes I create and my incessant complaining about the wrinkles on my forehead (and the IfYouLovedMeYou’dBuyMeBotox!), etc. He just had some clients taking him out to dinner and I was in no mood for take-out. Well, that’s not true, I was in the mood for takeout-like food, but I wanted it to be the way I like it which pretty much left me with the option of making it myself. Such is the life of the Too Picky For Their Own Good.

add-ins

I had cold peanut sesame noodles for the first time when I was 13 and had recently decided to go vegetarian. A friend who was also eschewing meat wanted to go to a Chinese restaurant and I was certain there would be nothing for us eat, but she ordered them for us and I was instantly, head-over-heels in love. If this was vegetarian food, I was in it for the long haul (or about until the age of 28, you know, whichever came first). However, it was many more years before I found a formula for it that allowed me to make it at home, any time I pleased.

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

17 flourless dessert ideas

flourless chocolate walnut cookies

Every year, I see Passover-friendly recipes that frighten me: brick-like honey cakes, “sponge” cakes that still haunt my mother (who receives these in lieu of birthday cakes most years, due to the misfortune of having a birthday that falls in the first week of April), dinner rolls that my father likens to “hockey pucks” and macaroons that nobody (besides me) likes. And every year, I wonder: what ever happened to impossible-to-hate flourless chocolate cakes and truffles? Desserts lifted with egg whites? Ground nuts instead of flour? Do people even realize that one of the most popular peanut butter cookies on earth has exactly no flour in it?

walnuts are my favoriteone bowl, mix by handjust egg whites, cocoa and sugarflourless chocolate walnut cookies

Well, you know what I say? This year in Dessert Epiphany. I promise to stop ranting from this point forward and instead use this post as a repository for the kinds of Passover desserts that you’d be proud to bring to dinner. And for those of you who do not celebrate Passover, fear not, matzo meal only shows up in one of these recipes, and even there, only in a crust. In short: you don’t need the reminder of 40 years in the dessert to find an excuse to make these, but if you ask me, it’s a good reason as any.

flourless chocolate walnut cookies

For example, did you know that Payard–yes, that Payard–makes a Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookie? It’s in his new book, Chocolate Ephiphany which New York Magazine gave us a preview of yesterday. I tried them out last night, and oh, an epiphany they were, and then some. I know what you’re thinking: just like chocolate meringues! Yet, they’re not–the egg whites are not whipped, just whisked with powdered sugar (a recipe for Passover-friendly powdered sugar is below) and really good cocoa. It couldn’t be easier, and it is gluten-free, dairy-free and a one-bowl (plus a cutting board) recipe to boot.

Continued after the jump »

Monday, April 14, 2008

caramelized shallots

caramelized shallots

This is one of those dishes where I want to tell you to stop everything and make these right now, but then I remember that I already said that this week, last week, the week before and a few other times in between. If I keep saying this, I’ll be like the girl who cried … cook! and nobody will take me seriously when a truly transcendent recipe comes across this page. Like today. So let’s just suffice to it so that this is a frighteningly good recipe and an excellent way to handle the early spring disappointment of a farmers’ market providing you nothing but onions and tubers. Instead you can caramelize shallots!

shallots

Now, I think we already know that caramelized onions are the bees’ knees but these are even more spectacular and that is because of the vinegar that is glugged in, which gives it a slight tang raising the sweet-salty butteriness to a “I will never eat anything else for the rest of my life” experience. And yes, there is a good bit of butter in this dish, enough that when I made it the first time a few years ago I skimped on it, the shallots stuck to the bottom of that pan and I was consumed with regret. Not this time, though. Rest assured that almost all of the butter stays in the baking dish, and does not cling to the shallots–and us, one hopes–in more than a barely-there layer.

shallots, peeled

Continued after the jump »

Friday, April 11, 2008

whole wheat apple muffins

whole wheat apple muffins

Sometimes on Fridays, my fingers actually get too tired to type even one more word and I am forced to do prehistoric things like pick up a phone to have a conversation. Seeing as it’s been one of those weeks–and I don’t have all of your numbers–I hope you’ll accept some gratuitous photos of these blissful muffins I made earlier this week in lieu of more than a two word description.*

apples from the greenmarket

dry ingredients

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

fork-crushed purple potatoes

fork-crushed purple potatoes

If there is any singular advantage of having a Cook This list with bullets numbering into the hundreds, its that one always has an idea of what can be done when they finally make it to the Union Square Greenmarket on the most stunning, spring-like Sunday one has seen since forever only to find that it was not filled with the ramps and leafy things of one’s spring Greenmarket fantasy but onions and potatoes as far as the eye can see. [One can also write the longest sentence ever.]

Because, you see, I’ve had a simple recipe for purple potatoes bookmarked for nearly a year now, but before last weekend, had yet to run into the purple potatoes required to make it. Yes, I said required–what? Oh, you think you could use just any potato? That dark, reddish blueish hued tubers are not a prerequisite to this dish? Well, I say you sound exactly like Alex and Alex is wrong, too.

fork-crushed

No, being my needling, fussy self, I wouldn’t make this dish until I found purple potatoes. According to NYMag.com, this potato was developed in Colorado way back in ancient times 2006 using “natural cross-breeding techniques that somehow results in a superspud containing freakishly high amounts of antioxidants.” Apparently, these purple nuggets found a fan in a chef named Michael Anthony who–although I am not the chef-gazing type–we like enough to have invited (heh–by way of opentable.com) him to cook a celebratory dinner for both our first (at Blue Hill) and second (at Grammercy Tavern) wedding anniversaries.

Continued after the jump »


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