I am the first to admit that I do not create nearly enough of my *own* recipes. Oh, I tweak, I adapt. I skip some things and add others. But I don’t often enough decide that I want something enough to go out and find my own way to get there, which is a shame because when I do, it is never nearly the disaster I expect it to be.
November, 2008 Archive
I have lamented tart crusts for years, as it seemed that no matter what I did–chill the crusts, weight the crusts, arranged small prayer circles outside the oven–they shrunk on me. No matter how many fingers I crossed, no matter how many Guaranteed No-Fail tricks I auditioned, no matter how many pounds of butter I had sacrificed in my quest, the crust I’d remove from the oven would hold as little as half of the volume of the one I put in, leading to thin tarts and pools of extra filling and oh so very many gray hairs.
“So it’s a pie?”
“Well, it’s pie-like. I mean, it has a bottom crust and a top crust and it is filled with stuff. So yeah, pie.”
“No, we have had barley sitting in the pantry for like a year so we’re going to eat that first.”
“And it has mushrooms and ricotta in it!”
“Ew, no. It’s a vegetarian Thanksgiving entree.”
“Can we have bacon on the side?”
Are fruit salads one of these things that I assume everyone in the world makes, but really, it is just my family? It could be, but I still think they’re essential. There is nothing better to break up a brunch of cheesy baked eggs and breakfast bread puddings, and dessert courses that seem to be a chain of pies, gooey brownies and cakes than than a big bowl of fruit. Of course, a bowl of whole fruit rarely works as anything but a centerpiece, and this is where the salad part comes in.
The fresh cranberry gets no love. I can’t tell you how many recipes I have sifted through recently that boasted cranberry in their titles only to find out that they were actually calling for those shriveled and over-sweetened dried ones. Why must fresh cranberries be “the neglected stepchild of the season“? It is totally undeserved.