May, 2010 Archive

Thursday, May 13, 2010

braided lemon bread

baked lemon braided bread

I know this is the kind of stuff that makes people without children roll their eyes, or at least would have made me roll my eyes anytime prior to eight months ago, but seriously, nothing, nothing makes you a more productive person than having a baby. How else will you learn all of the things you can do in the two minutes he is occupied with a toy and may not see his other favorite possession, Mama’s Undivided Attention, sneaking off, stage left? Hit the loo! Get a glass of water! Put hair in ponytail! Balance your checkbook! Solve the Greek financial crisis.

dough, ready for first risedough, rolled outcream cheese fillingwith cream cheese filling

And with a whole day, while the baby “weekends” with his grandparents? One can out-brunch all of their earlier brunch efforts. One can even braid a sweet yeasty bread and discover the directions on the recipe used forget to mention that your [giant, cream cheese and lemon curd-stuffed elegantly woven] soft dough will be impossible to transfer from your work surface to the parchment-lined baking sheet, call in one’s husband to help and together you two can spend the better part of a half hour getting the braid off the counter, mostly intact, without worrying that a little weeble-wobble in the next room is chewing on laptop wires (again). Baby-Free Saturday was wild, people. Please try to contain your envy.

i bought lemon curdhow to set up your braidstart braidingbraiding done

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

mushroom crêpe cake

crepe cake slice

I spent my very first Mother’s Day weekend nearly baby-free and in the kitchen. I know, how did that happen? You see, Jacob sojourned at his grandparents’ and I was very sad and missed him terribly and then I drank wine without worrying about the repercussions, got 10 hours (!) of uninterrupted (!) sleep (!) and discovered that I can really cook a lot of things without a cute to the point of distraction baby in the next room and I was a little less sad. And then we hosted brunch for both of our families. The end.

the mother's day brunch spread
drop biscuits and patted-out scones

Oh, you want to hear more about brunch, don’t you? Well, there were drop biscuits. Patted-out scones. A crazy braided sweet bread that I promise to tell you about soon. Buttered whole wheat toast triangles and cheesy scrambled eggs. Fruit salad. Mimosas and Bloody Marys. So much bacon, my apartment still smelled like a smokehouse the next day. And crêpes, stacked and filled with creamy mushrooms and cheese.

mushroom crepe cake

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Friday, May 7, 2010

pecan cornmeal butter cake

pecan cornmeal butter cake, berries

I spend a ridiculous amount of time falling in love with recipes from the title alone and then talking myself out of making them. Take this Pecan Cornmeal Butter Cake recipe run alongside a New York Times article about Durham, North Carolina, where hundreds of acres that were once used to grow tobacco have been transitioned to sprout peas, strawberries, fennel and artichokes, and that now house chickens, lambs, rabbits and cows. The warehouses once used to dry tobacco are being converted to art studios, bio labs and radio stations. You know, because I didn’t have enough reasons to love North Carolina.

brown butter, toasted pecans please
pecans, powdered + granulated sugar

I fell instantly in love. Delicious sounding title? Check. Great story? Check. A good fit with my South infatuation that flares up every time the sun comes out? Check. A recipe not tied to a season we’re not in? Check. The word ‘butter,’ anywhere? Oh check. So why didn’t I make this a month ago? It uses eight egg whites. (Boo to the better part of a dozen leftover egg yolks.) It calls for white cornmeal, which despite my hunting, I was unable to find in New York City, or frankly anywhere above the Mason-Dixon line. (I know I could mail order it but I dug my heels in; I can buy eight different types of mozzarella at my local bodega but not white cornmeal? I am spoiled.) It calls for 10 4-inch tartlet pans, which I have, because I’m insane (even my son agrees), but know that the vast majority of home cooks do not, because they are not.

batter, after three hours chilled

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

spring asparagus pancetta hash

asparagus pancetta hash

A few times a year, I go on a Dinner Intervention, which might sound a little more gentle than it is. It sounds like a “Honey, I was thinking I’ll do something different with dinner this week” but in reality it is more of a “Gah, I am so sick of take-out and fobbed together meals! I’ve had enough!” wherein I throw down the proverbial spatula and demand we do better.

heads

Dinner is not my strong suit; I love side dishes and “tapas-style” meals (a joke consisting of bits and pieces of leftovers from the fridge meals.) I’ve got pancakes, slaws and potatoes down pat, but when it comes down to what I consider the Holy Grail of home cooking — Getting Dinner On The Table with any regularity — I fall woefully short. Seeing as we can get great salads, hummus platters and cracker-thin pizzas delivered in no time, why would I want to bother cranking up the broiler?

toes

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

oatmeal pancakes

my oatmeal pancakes

I don’t gush much, do I? I mean, I try not to be a gusher, someone who oohs and aahs so much, it loses meaning after a while, you know? I make exceptions of course: slaws, for one, and of course, Wee Jacob. I mean, look at him. Gushing is not optional for this mama.

huckle buckle, love this book

Nevertheless, I hope I do not go over my allotted amount of fawning when I say this: This is one of the most stunning cookbooks I’ve ever seen. I just gasped when I opened it. The photographs are gorgeous; softly lit and you can see the clear crust and crumb of everything inside. The recipes are beautifully typeset. I’ve been thinking about this stuff lately, ahem, I notice it.

oats

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