November, 2010 Archive

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

apple latkes

apple latkes with yogurt

A couple years ago, I became determined to make apple latkes. I mean, why not carry the deliciousness of latkes over to dessert? Why should potatoes have all of pan-fried-until-crunchy fun? Not confident in my ability to shred apples and stir in eggs and flour without an established recipe’s guidance, I found about 75 matching recipes online, each attributed to some other place, and all parading under the title “apple latkes”. I made them (and peace with my cast-iron skillet at the same time, hooray) and declared them pancakes, not latkes. They were not what I was looking for, but at least they were tasty.

green apple haulready for the shreddershredded applesready to fry

Fortunately, I’m over my need for other people to tell me how to cook (and just in time!) and set about making some real, proper apple latkes this week. What’s the difference? A true latke is more of a fritter, with only enough egg and flour to hold it together in the pan. A pancake is, well, a puddle with stuff inside. I think about this stuff, I really do. I take latkes, and the proper classification thereof, very seriously.

frying the latkes

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

sweet corn spoonbread

sweet corn spoonbread

What an awkward time for me to admit this, as no doubt these will grace some tables this week I’ve been gracefully invited to, but I’m not really into, well, mashed things: potatoes, yams, parsnips, root vegetables and other purees that serve as the piles to sop up everything awesome that runs off our main courses before our forks can catch it. I mean, I won’t pushed mashed potatoes away; it’s not that they actually taste bad. It’s just that I’ve never been convinced that they taste better than the sum of their copious amounts of various combinations of butter, cream, buttermilk, sour cream, crème fraîche, cream and goat cheeses. No, really, I mean copious. Jeffrey Steingarten, a man whose essay collections you should read if you have not already, found that the magic formula that elevated mashed potatoes to, well, the kind you’ll probably gush about on Thursday night fell somewhere between one and four sticks (a pound) of butter for every two pounds (two to three) of potatoes. I know, I know: “Deb, you are such a party pooper.”

some stuff you need

But I delight in cornbread. And this, corn bread meets pudding meets soufflé under the alias of spoonbread, is something that I would happily heap on my plate and eat it without fear that my heart might give out before I can get to the pie. A Thanksgiving without pie would be unacceptable, afterall. I’m not saying this is health food — guys, I hope you know I would never do that to you so close to the eatingest holiday of the year — it is, afterall, whole milk, eggs and butter, but it has a richness that suggests so much more.

splashy but worthwhile

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

creamed onions with bacon and chives

creamed pearl onions

Could anything be simpler than creamed onions? I mean, it’s cream, and then it is onions. And you cook them together. The end. Or perhaps the beginning of another piece of evidence that I can take the simplest thing and make it, er, long-winded. First, I involved Thomas Keller, or rather, he beckoned me. I was getting a pedicure a couple weekends ago (figuring I’d put my family and also those other moms at the gym class I took the baby to out of their misery) and on the armrest was that week’s New York Magazine, boasting Thanksgiving recipes from some great New York chefs within. Obviously, I turned there first and though, again, creamed onions are really just cream and onions therefore not inherently interesting, the recipe was from Thomas Keller and he is a master of taking the seemingly simple and making it amazing. I was in.

tiny onions

Next up, finding pearl onions. Look, I did not go to every stand in Union Square on every day that the Greenmarket was open, but I looked once or twice and didn’t find them. I finally ordered them from Fresh Direct, cringing anticipating that they’d be shipped from Timbuktu or someplace halfway around the globe, only to learn that they’d been grown in New Jersey. Just like me! Win.

browning up the bacon

Continued after the jump »

Monday, November 15, 2010

sweet potatoes with pecans and goat cheese

this fall thing I made

This is the kind of thing you come up with when you have a one year-old who, like many one year-olds, wishes to eat sweet potatoes with every meal. Sure, the goal is for the kid to eat exactly what the rest of the family is eating for dinner, but there are only so many days in a row we can feign excitement over a side of sweet potatoes and I have only so much heart to deny the kid something he delights in. And so I spent a good part of September and October roasting sweet potatoes, repeating the task enough times that I made two great discoveries.

roasted and downright marshmallow-y
goat cheese

The first discovery came about through laziness. Tired of slicing thin pieces and laying them out over two trays, one day I cut very thick rounds that would fit on one tray and discovered that like steak, if you want three layers of texture (two satisfyingly firm exteriors and a soft center), you want a thick piece, high temperatures and to flip your “steaks” halfway through for even cooking.

terrible photo of a good salad

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

upside-down cranberry cake

Is it too soon in our relationship to say that I miss hanging out with you guys more? I hope not. The fact is that these days I am so deep in the throes of oh my god what was I thinking a certain cookbook I’m supposed to be halfway (ha! hoo! hee! I wonder if Knopf will find this so hilarious) finished with that it’s taking time away from hanging out here. Which is a shame, as it is my favorite place outside a certain striped carpet covered with The Mop Who Came to Live With Us and his toys and a bar I haven’t found yet that makes perfect Manhattans.

setting up
puddling the caramel

And it’s not like I’m not cooking up a storm, either. Yesterday, I made what I hoped would be an unfathomably deep apple pie for the cookbook. Think piles of amazing baked appleness for people who can never have enough filling (this, by the way, is for people who can never have enough crust). Alas, it was a (delicious) mess and I am back to the drawing board where I summon the confidence to start peeling another six pounds of apples.

sour cream batter

Continued after the jump »


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