May, 2009 Archive

Sunday, May 17, 2009

asparagus, goat cheese and lemon pasta

asparagus goat cheese pasta

A couple weeks ago, I had a fantastic warm asparagus salad at a nearby restaurant, one I immediately swore I’d make at home. It had segments of white and green asparagus tossed with goat cheese and a tarragon and lemony mint vinaigrette and it was piled on a bed of red endive, my favorite. It was stunning. It was delicious. Alas, this is not it. What a tease I am, right?

giant spiral pasta

After trying and failing to find all three elements — the green asparagus, white asparagus and the red endive — for the next two weeks, I gave up. Oh, and sure, you could use all green asparagus and regular pale endive, but you’ve met me, right? I’m a pain in the butt and without the visual, it was going to be no fun at all for me. It would not do.

asparagus

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

almond raspberry layer cake

almond raspberry layer cake

My mother turned sixty-five last month, a number that’s just impossible for me to get my head around because she’s my mom, and grandmothers are 65, not moms. Oh wait. I think I just got it.

almond battertiny almond cake, cooling on the floorraspberry jam fillingwhipped bittersweet frosting

My mother is the original marzipan fanatic in my family, and the biggest cheering squad behind my single homemade attempt, not to mention all of the other almond-flavored confections I’ve given spins on this site. Thus, needless to say, for her birthday, it was an almond cake or bust and this one fit the bill perfectly — a strong almond flavor, and it came together quickly.

detail

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Monday, May 11, 2009

broccoli slaw

broccoli slaw

I have been craving broccoli something fierce lately. Yes, broccoli as in helloooo, need iron much? Because I am apparently that predictable of a pregnant woman. Not that this bothers me, I’m actually relieved to be craving something, anything but grapes for five minutes. Why I can’t be a normal pregnant woman, mainlining ice cream sundaes and pickles and peanut butter simultaneously, I don’t know, but if grapes and broccoli must be my (terrifically boring) torch to bear, so be it.

thinly sliced broccolitoasted almondsdried cranberriesred onion

Alex has a cousin that sometimes graces family gatherings a slaw-style broccoli salad I adore, with chunks of raw broccoli and dried cranberries and some toasted pine nuts or almonds, in a mayo-based dressing. Alex and I don’t agree on this — he of the oh so very difficult vegetables and sweet things cannot be paired persuasion and me of the can’t hear you, too busy cronch-cronch-cronching — thus I’d yet to give it a spin at home. Yet last week I saw a link from Apartment Therapy’s Kitchen in which they’d made a broccoli slaw very close to the one I like where a commenter suggested people try it with my favorite Buttermilk Dressing instead. I love it when other people give me better ideas of what to do with my own favorite recipes.* Almost as much as I love that dressing.

buttermillk dressing with shallotsbroccoli slaw

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Friday, May 8, 2009

rhubarb cobbler

rhubarb cobbler

I am ashamed to admit that I have been quietly bigoted against cobblers for as long as I can remember, the dessert that is, not those dudes that save my shoes from NYC sidewalks. And like so many other baseless biases, my issues were not hinged on actually trying one, but an assumption that there could be nothing good about them. I mean, biscuits and fruit? Biscuits? Why on earth would anyone want to bake a fruit dessert with biscuits on top when they could have thick crumbles, granola-like crisps and don’t even get me started on buckles, clafoutis, grunts, slumps, pandowdys and brown bettys, drool. Biscuits are for salty butter and barbecue and fried chicken, thank you very much.

egg yolk biscuit doughbiscuit doughbiscuitsbrushed with cream, sprinkled with sugar

Well, I am glad I have gotten over my issues, and no surprise here really, it came in the form of an old recipe I found from my current dessert guru fixation, Claudia Fleming. This is the cobbler that could challenge any cobbler-biased ways, and should you already be smitten with them, do know that this might be the best darn baked fruit dessert I’ve ever baked. The biscuit-like topping is amazing — cakey but still light and crisp, flavorful and rich. The rhubarb is tart but softened by the scrape from a fresh vanilla bean and the scent when you let all of this simmer together in your new oven is perfection — and was the most delicious way to break in our new oven.

rhubarbrhubarbvanilla beansrhubarb vanilla bean filling

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

endive and celery salad with fennel vinaigrette

endive and celery salad

I know you all think I must be immune to this, but I go through phases of Down With Cooking all of the time. Sometimes, I’m just extra tired. Sometimes, the food outside the apartment is way more tempting, as it has been since we’ve moved into a new neighborhood full of intriguing sandwiches, hummus joints and more new flavors than I could pack into a year. Other times, I lack inspiration, or worse, an appetite as I did through that needling first trimester. I have cold cereal for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly for lunch. I fib my way through it on this site, plugging in recipes I have backlogged and sticking to simple things like snacks of pickled grapes in hopes that if I do not force it, it will come naturally back to me. I fear cooking becoming a chore, though I know even this worry is a luxury exclusive to people who share blocks with six eateries.

fennel seedstoasting the fennel seedstoasted fennel seedsground fennel seeds

Four days after we moved apartments and kitchens, we took off for four days in the country. I didn’t unpack the kitchen before we left and I didn’t unpack it when we got back. We were at a standstill, this newer smaller kitchen of mine. Nothing fits in it, including the fridge (though it’s in there anyway, ugh, I’ll discuss that mess when I’m able to without grinding my teeth). The dishwasher we’d swooned and were sold over was broken, we needed to buy a cabinet for the living room before we could even unpack our dishes, the sink was borked, the wall had no room for our pot rack and we accidentally forgot to unpack the entire bin of perishables (mayos, jams, boullons, mustards, yeasts, cheese, butter, shudder) finding the box 10 days later (post-heat wave with no air conditioning yet, to boot) suitable for nothing but the trash bin. It was not looking very promising.

celery

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