July, 2008 Archive

Thursday, July 31, 2008

napa cabbage salad with buttermilk dressing

napa salad, buttermilk dressing

Stop. No, seriously. Stop everything you’re doing. What are you eating for lunch today? Are you going to one of those delis that will put whatever you want in the salad and mix it with some mysterious, better-not-closely-considered dressing in a squeeze bottle and charge you $10? (Is this a NYC thing, or do they have these everywhere?)(Further, have I waded so far into the NYC bubble that I no longer know what people outside it eat for lunch?) Well, I want you to take a good long look at it and repeat after me: No more deli salads.

buttermilk dressing

Because have you seen this beauty? This should be your lunch tomorrow. This salad dressing is so good. So so so good. Oh, and the salad isn’t half-bad either.

People, I’m in love. Like just about everyone else who bakes, I seem to always have buttermilk left in the fridge, but it’s always too little to make something something frosted and fancy. I had no idea there was such a simple dressing out there that could use it up in half-cup increments, or heck, give you an excuse to buy more because it’s so darn good.

All I’m saying is, don’t say I didn’t warn you, okay?

napa salad with buttermilk dressing

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

blueberry crumb bars

blueberry crumb bars

I uploaded pictures of this recipe yesterday onto Flickr, but didn’t get to telling you all about it because I was feeling a little lackadaisical after that whole seven days in a row of posting thing. Three hours later, I received this comment: “Omg, post the recipe already!”

Hmmph! I thought. The natives are getting restless.

blueberries, rinsedmaking the pastrypatting down the basespreading the blueberry filling

But who could blame them? Just look at these things! And, oh, to taste them. (As I just did. Because the memory of their deliciousness was vague and I had to. For the sake of clarification.) They’re tart and buttery and fruity and tangy and crumbly… And well, I understand why anyone would get impatient. Can you imagine how much people would revolt if they knew that I had baked these a whole five days ago and have kept them from you since?

It could get ugly.

ready to bakejust from the ovenblueberry crumb barsblueberry crumb bars

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, July 27, 2008

huevos rancheros

huevos rancheros

I wasn’t even going to mention this dish. I’ve got no expertise in the realm of Tex-Mex cooking and generally think it’s best left to those who know what they’re talking about. Furthermore, despite the fact that I had eggs exactly this way daily when we were at a resort in Mexico last year, I suspect this isn’t the most authentic thing out there.

But it makes no difference because these ad-libbed and hodge-podged huevos rancheros and the smitten kitchen are at something of a standstill. They were dinner last Tuesday. They were dinner on Thursday. They were brunch today. And if this site is indeed a reflection of what goes on in our kitchen, well, then obviously it’s time to share them with you.

Also, because they’re awesome.

huevos rancheros

First, let me get my “semi-homemade” moment out of the way and I start by opening a can of beans, but by “beans” I mean Goya’s black bean soup, and no, I don’t feel bad about it. This is my favorite-est shortcut–these guys are so perfect right out of the can–with just the right amount of liquid–I see no reason to trouble myself with cooking and seasoning my own. Or at least not when I have a quick meal in mind.

salsa fresca mise

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, July 26, 2008

blueberry pancakes + pancake 101

blueberry pancakes

In the Great Deposit of Food Phobias post, a few of you said that you were afraid of making pancakes and my instant un-asked-for retort is that you all clearly didn’t grow up in my house, where I am pretty sure that knowing when to flip a pancake was one of the first cooking tricks I ever learned.

Mom made pancakes at least a couple weekends a month, and was loyal to the Joy of Cooking recipe, a page so batter-stained and grimy, I am pretty sure the book falls open to it even when the red ribbon isn’t at that page, which is never. And though I promise not to judge you, please, whatever you do, don’t say that Schmisquick word to my mother. It upsets her. I still remember sleeping over my friend’s house and coming over and saying that her mom made pancakes for breakfast, and that they were okay.

“Pfft,” my mother said. “She uses [that word that rhymes with Schmisquick].”

blueberry pancake love

Mom was ruthless, and apparently I wasn’t much better. In college, my friends and I took to driving out to the 24-hour IHOP in Arlington whenever it struck our fancy, but I never ordered pancakes. At IHOP. Because they tasted like they were from a mix. And my mother, rather than discouraging the “Pancake Snob” label my friends were giving me, beamed with pride.

But that’s enough about all the ways my mother poisoned me against anything but homemade things. I’d much rather take you on a tour of how easy pancakes can be.

blueberry pancakes

10 Pancake Tips
Continued after the jump »

Friday, July 25, 2008

garlic-mustard glazed skewers

garlic-mustard glazed skewers

Growing up, I couldn’t stand mustard. Hated it. It was spicy and gloppy and it usually looked like a bucket of yellow paint. Even a smidgen on a sandwich, burger or hot dog was enough to make me reject the whole meal. Er, you might have guessed I didn’t just learn how to be “difficult” yesterday!

maille whole grain
smoky hot paprika, my favorite spice

I still don’t like the yellow shellac in a squeeze bottle, ubiquitous in the U.S. from street carts to beach burger huts. (A Google search points me to a Mustard Museum in Wisconsin, by the way. You’re welcome!) But Dijon and I have struck a perfect harmony in the last couple years as I have realized it has nothing to do with that jaundiced stuff, and everything to do with two of my favorite things on earth: France and wine.

Continued after the jump »