July, 2008 Archive

Thursday, July 24, 2008

chocolate hazelnut biscotti

chocolate hazelnut biscotti

Last week I stumbled into my new favorite coffee shop for The Latest Morning Coffee, Ever because I am still adjusting to this new schedule of having “everything” but also “anything” to do at any given time.

espresso powder

[One of these days I’ll get into all of these changes–the way that I stomp on the grave of business casual attire; the fact that, yes, I still get up early each day and shower and put on mascara; oh, and more relevantly to this site, the breakfasts and lunches I put together (that is, once I get past the yogurt and PB&J sandwich phase, though no promises that will be be happening any time soon)–but for now, suffice it to say that I am still in the Adjustment Phase… Hence the 12:30 p.m. “morning coffee.”]

biscotti batter
so, so so sticky

As it was obviously time for lunch–but still, my internal screams for delicious, bitter, cold coffee demanded to be placated–my stomach was grumbling as I walked in, and I had zero resistance when my hand literally bumped into the jar of chocolate-hazelnut biscotti while going to order a much-more-earnest skim latte. And while that wee biscotti was quite delicious, especially once dunked* in my coffee, it served to remind me that I am so overdue to make a batch of real biscotti.

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

herbed summer squash and potato torte

potato summer squash torte

This poor things isn’t going to be winning any beauty pageants, and especially not in the rushed, omg-it’s-10p.m., why-aren’t-you-ready-yet way I cooked it, but this torte should not be underestimated. It’s some delicious stuff.

summer squash

green onions

Though this is far from the most pitiful offender on the cooking backlog list, I still won’t admit how many weeks ago I made this. However, I do remember that I had a hankering for potatoes that week, and not just any potatoes, but yukon golds. As Alex always says, my cravings come with very specific instructions.

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

nectarine, mascarpone and gingersnap tart

nectarine, mascarpone and gingersnap tart

So far, the summer in New York City has been relentless–hot, sticky, humid or rainy just about every single day, and often a combination of all four, so I wasn’t kidding when I said this heat is getting to me, and has all but sapped my desire to cook. But I didn’t mean “cook” per se–I don’t wish to eat take-out every night–I meant the kind of cooking that requires the oven to be on for more than 10 minutes.

ginger snaps, one snapped

Besides, why would you even need to cook for longer than that in the dead of summer? The farmers’ markets are teeming with the kind of produce that require no or minimal heat to make them tasty, like zucchini and tomatoes and perfect stone fruit that can be easily sliced on top of a tart with an eight minute spicy gingersnap crust and a mascarpone and sweet cheesy custard filling.

pressing the crust
sweet cheesy custard

I had a barely-baked tart like this on my mind since I spied one that the adorable Shutterbean made for Father’s Day with cherries and a graham cracker crust. It seemed so smart for summer–everything that everyone loves about cheesecake, minus the bad proportions (I’ve always preferred a thicker crust and thinner cheesecake than you normally get) and long baking time–i.e. perfectly suited for summer.

Continued after the jump »

Monday, July 21, 2008

sauteed radishes and sugar snaps with dill

I realized something frightening over the weekend: I am so far behind on posting recipes we’ve auditioned over the last couple months, I could pretty much post every day for the next week and only just then begin to be almost caught up.

So, I decided that I would. I am going to post every single day for the next week. And look, I know you’re thinking: that it’s unseemly hot out and you’re in all likelihood either on a vacation or counting down to one and you honestly couldn’t care less about turning on a stove right now–and well, sadly, me too.

sugar snaps and orange juice

But that’s where these recipes will come in. They’re sides and light mains and good pot-luck fare and some relatively simple desserts and you know, the kind of stuff that you might get you rethinking your No Cooking Until September stance. I promise not to saddle you with any roasts or stocks or Things With Fourteen Ingredients. The last week of July is no time for noise like that.

shallotsradishes

Continued after the jump »

Friday, July 18, 2008

why we’re afraid to cook + salad olivier

salad olivier

I’ve had an entire week to read your cooking phobias as they rolled in and you know what? I had a lot fewer cooking fears when I started this process! I mean, fish? offal? phyllo? Why hadn’t I thought of those? Thank goodness I warned you I’d be doing some outsourcing.

your cooking phobias

[View the details of your cooking phobias over here.]

But really, when you read 363 tales of kitchen apprehension in a row, several times, certain things smack you in the face. Like the fact that we’re all such worrywarts, aren’t we? And so irrational, determining that just because something went horribly awry once, it will continue to do so for ever and ever and..

You’re right, I’m talking mostly about myself, but surely at least some of these reasons are familiar:

Why We’re Afraid to Cook

1. Our mother or mother-in-law cooks it better: Whether it is out of respect, deference or certainty that your version will pale, it seems that there are many of you who don’t even want to touch dishes that are others’ signatures.

2. The Food Police scared us: They’ve struck an absurd amount of fear into our hearts, now our panic over undercooked chicken and eggs or imperfectly canned food is so great, we cannot approach either calmly or rationally. (Don’t worry, I’ll get to all of these in time.)

Continued after the jump »