September, 2008 Archive

Thursday, September 18, 2008

black and white cookies

black and white cookies

Black and white cookies are the kind of New York City deli classic that I love recreating at home. If you’re not from around here, you might not have ever seen or tasted one, but that doesn’t mean you’re missing a whole lot. Nearly every one I have tried since setting foot in NYC in 2000 has rather disappointed. Because the cookie is really a cake, they get stale quite quickly, but this doesn’t convince deli and bodega owners to yank their plastic shrink-wrapped versions before they’re sold. Your best bet? Make them at home and wow all of the Brooklyn natives in the audience.

cake batter for cookies

Back in the day, black and white cookies were actually made by bakeries from their leftover cake batters, with just a little extra flour mixed in so the cookie didn’t spread all over the place. Sometimes called Amerikaner Cookies, they’re also occasionally referred to as “half-moons” Upstate and in New England. However, with a chocolate cake base, not the traditional vanilla/lemon one, they’re not the same thing, not to split hairs or anything.


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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

bread without a timetable

bread without a timetable

It has been way too long since I baked a loaf of bread. You see, I went on a bit of a bread-baking bender after taking a class a couple years ago. There was White Batter Bread and Chocolate Orange Bread, a Fougasse, a Pumpernickel (later updated to my now-favorite Russian Black Bread), darling Bretzel Rolls, ever-so-popular No-Knead Bread, homemade English Muffins, a Potato Rosemary Bread (nom), an Italian Bread that felt like it took 100 years to make, oh and then some miniature Soft Pretzels, and this doesn’t even include the insane homemade pizza bender that followed. Is it any surprise I took a little break from bread-making for a while shortly after I started by yeast by the jar?


Nevertheless, it took something new and different to lure me back, something it would be near-criminal not to share. I’m talking about bread that doesn’t require you to dote on it or force you to adhere to an unforgiving schedule. Like, whoa, right?

first roll in flourfirst risesecond roll in floursecond rise

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

spinach quiche, revisited

spinach quiche

The strangest thing has happened to me this summer; my obsessive pining for the next new recipe has waned. Gone are the days when the thought of cooking something I have already made was enough to make me not cook at all. Instead, it seems that this site is finally working for me: I have an archive of recipes I adore, largely ones that work as they should, and the answer to “What should we have for dinner?” is now, quite frequently, “Ooh, those kefta meatballs were so good. Let’s have them again!”

Eager to break the routine of working and eating by myself nearly every single day since I began freelancing this summer, I had a friend over for lunch on Friday, but I also had a lot of work to get done that day. Was this the time to make that new savory tart I have been eying for the fall? No. Was this time to go to the store and buy more stuff, when our refrigerator was already brimming with the remnants of our North Fork farmers’ markets finds the weekend before? No.

simple tomato salad, zucchini carpaccio

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Friday, September 12, 2008

eggs in tomato sauce

poached eggs in tomato sauce

You know when you see someone cooking something on television and your stomach nearly lurches into a grumble and you know instantaneously what you will have for dinner that night? Isn’t it even better when it’s healthy?

garlic, red pepper, olive oil

That’s what happened when I was getting a lot of work done watching the Martha Show a couple weeks ago and one of her producers came on to show a quick little dinner she’d been making for her family that involved a quick tomato sauce with eggs cooked right in it. It reminded me of the baked egg dish I cannot resist ordering when we go out for brunch at a deliciously Art Deco place in our neighborhood, that I still couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried at home.

tomato puree
sauteed spinach with garlic

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

braised romano beans

braised romano beans

About a month ago, I told you that tomato season is the highlight of my culinary year, or at least the highlight of the parts I can buy at a Greenmarket. And then I went on about slow-roasted tomatoes for a few paragraphs and proceeded to leave you right there. At slow-roasted tomatoes. Because you know what? Once you discover them, you might lose the few weeks that follow.

romano beans

But eventually, you get into what I call Tomato Season, Phase 2. This means you’ve already had a month of slow-roasted and simply dressed tomato salads, and you’re ready to actually use tomatoes as an ingredient again. You get curious. You forget that you’ve got interminable months ahead of dry, flavorless, pink-hued cotton-like tomatoes, believing that there are enough tomatoes to last you until spring. I’ve got four recipes like this in the queue.

innardsknife workbasebraising

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