April, 2009 Archive

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

cinnamon swirl buns + so much news

cinnamon buns in oven

Friends, we have so much catching up to do. I promised before I went to the Bahamas that when I got back, I’d have some cool stuff to share, but somehow it is over four weeks later and we are really overdue for a pow-wow. Plus, it’s Tax Day and I’ve been moping around all week with my pockets inside out since I was presented with a bill with an impossible number of zeros after it, and hey, wouldn’t we all rather focus on the cheerful stuff? Of course. So without further ado:

living room teeny tiny kitchen eeee!

The Smitten Kitchen is moving: Well, not urls, thank god (though in a fit of obsessiveness last week, I decided at once to go on a domain shopping spree and you can now get here via smittenkitchen.org, smittenkitchen.info or smittenkitchen.net. Wish I could go on normal people shopping sprees, like for shoes.). But as I have alluded to — namely through griping about the packing and the sorting and the boxes, and lord, the boxes — we’ve found a new apartment and we’re moving this weekend. And we can’t wait. I lived in the East Village when I first moved to NYC in 2000, and am thrilled to have found an excuse to move back. Perhaps I’ll even check out this “Trader Joes” you kids are always going on about!

But who cares about the neighborhood? Let’s get down to the brass tacks. That sound you hear? It’s the sky opening up and the angels singing in the new smitten kitchen, as there is a large white machine whose sole purpose is to wash dishes for us. I can barely handle all of this excitement at once. Alex, who we all know deals with the brunt of the dishes here, is already wondering whether we can just pack up this week’s dirty dishes and just wash ‘em when we arrive this weekend. The jury is still out on that one.

Continued after the jump »

Monday, April 13, 2009

simple potato gratin

potato and mushroom gratin

I think that gratins get a bad rap. I mean, if you’re ordering them in restaurants, swimming in layers of triple creams and crusted with four different varieties of cheese, they might even (most deliciously) deserve it. But after coming home from the farmers’ market in our new neighborhood (!) last weekend with potatoes and shiitakes and no real inkling of what I wanted to do with them, I turned to Alice Wates — her books are increasingly become my cooking bibles these days — and realized that something I’d never much associated with easy, light meals, a gratin, was exactly what was in order.

sauteeing the shiitakessliced potatoeslayering the gratinadding the milk

At its simplest, a gratin is sliced potatoes, a cup of whole milk (yes, milk though you’re welcome to gild the lily with half, full and double creams) and a few pats of butter on top. Adding a wee bit of a cheese between the layers goes surprisingly far — once it is all baked together, you’ll feel like you’re eating a macaroni-and-cheese level dish, minus that extra pound-and-a-half of cheese, not bad for four ingredient dish! — and if you season it well, you wonder why you don’t make them more often.

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, April 9, 2009

chocolate caramel crack(ers)

chocolate caramel toffee crack

Yes, crack. As in “made with crackers”, as in “crackly like toffee” but also in reference to the addictive nature of this stuff. I may make what seems like an elaborate cake a week these days, I might bake my own icebox wafers and fill and frost my cupcakes but these things right here? They’re the thing everyone asks for by name, and they take almost no time to make.

Thus, despite that fact that this recipe is incredibly easy to find elsewhere on the web, it only seems right to give it a home here as well. Because if there was one person out there that hasn’t made it yet that makes it after reading this, my work here will be done.

making brown sugar caramelcaramelizing the matzocaramel-coated matzospreading the chocolate

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Monday, April 6, 2009

artichoke-olive crostini

green crostini

My husband and I have different packing personalities. First, I need a clean apartment, you know, before I wreck sections of it at a time. Then I need to go through every single thing we own before any of it gets packed and determine whether it should stay or does it need to go. I cannot stand the thought of moving, well, useless baggage to a new and supposedly clean slate of an apartment. Then each box has to have a separate topic; if desk stuff gets in with book stuff, I get itchy and start pacing the floor. How does Alex pack? Oh, he puts stuff in boxes until everything’s packed. I probably don’t need to tell you who is better at getting the job done.

olives, capers
artichokes, olives, etc.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

chewy amaretti cookies

chewy amaretti cookies

We’re starting the long and brutal process of packing up our apartment, brutal because as I am sure you know, the longer you live somewhere, the more uh, “stuff” you accumulate and forget about. We’ve lived here over four years, the longest I’ve lived anywhere besides my parents house, which means that weeding through our belongings is part “so that’s where my Tonic CD went!” (he swears he was joking) and part “you had a recipe binder?”

really complicated ingredientssugar pulsed with almond pasteadorably piped almond blobschewy amaretti cookies

Oh right, I did. Remember those dark days before the internet, when curious cooks actually had to clip recipes from newspapers and magazines, and keeping those clippings organized in some sort of book or box? Nope, me neither. Going through this binder is fascinating for me as I see what kind of recipe hopes I’d had ten years ago — a surprising amount I’ve actually gotten to. And of course there are things that I completely forgot about, like almond cookies that are made with only three ingredients (okay, four, I added salt).

chewy amaretti sandwiches

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