March, 2012 Archive

Thursday, March 29, 2012

raspberry coconut macaroons

raspberry coconut macaroons

Every year around this time, behind the scenes, I go through my annual Macaroon Marathon, in which I decimate bags and bags of coconut in an effort to find a variation on the lowly macaroon worth noting, publicly. As evidenced by the fact that my archives are virtually coconut macaroon-free, I hadn’t thus far succeeded. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

this week's macaroon marathon
rolled in coconut chips, prettiest

Two years ago, insistent on making something my coconut-loathing but chocolate-adoring husband would find palatable, I made multiple attempts at chocolate-coconut macaroons. They were… brown. And tangly. And rarely chocolaty enough. I don’t remember them fondly. Last year’s experiments centered on whatever appallingly bad home economics had led me to having three (3!) bags of unsweetened coconut in my pantry, and my determination that they would leave my kitchen in cookie format. They were… okay. I am sure more skilled macaroon makers than I make excellent macaroons from unsweetened coconut, but I found them consistently more dry and scratchy than those that began with sweetened coconut. This week’s coconut macaroon trials were the most obsessive yet, with versions rolled in unsweetened coconut chips (gorgeous, but man, are those chips unpleasant to chew), chopped almonds (tasty, but hardly noteworthy), thumbprinted with the intention of filling the indentation with jam or chocolate down the road but I lost interest before I did (a sure sign that they were a snooze) and even flattened, with designs on a sandwich cookie. Were it not for the one in which I’d actually pressed a whole raspberry inside a sealed ball of coconut macaroon, I wouldn’t be here discussing macaroons today because although it was fussy and odd to construct, the flavor smacked unmistakeably of cookie destiny: coconut and raspberries were meant to be together.

coconut snow

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

soft eggs with buttery herb-gruyere toasts

soft eggs with buttery herb-gruyere toast soldiers

I wish I could tell you that I had good reasons for sharing this recipe today, earnest ones. If I were a different sort of writer, I might dig deep into my past and crank out a few graphs about my late German grandfather, who ate a soft-boiled egg for breakfast every morning for as long as my mother remembers. (Also, brisket for dinner.) Maybe I’d tell you about the period of 2004 when I did the same, pining for the perfect crouton, perhaps buttered toast fingers raised to a previously unfathomable level of deliciousness, but didn’t get to it until this week.

romano and gruyere, finely grated
minced parsley

And while each story would be in some ways true, none are the actual truth, which is that we’re talking about soft-boiled eggs today because omg I found the cutest set of egg cups, egg cups with chickens! and I had to buy them. Yeah, shopping. I told you the story would be better left to more artful scribe. To buy them, however, I’d have to use them, and to use them, it was time to consider the crouton, and not just any crouton but the very most intensely delicious crouton I could dream up. There’s an ample amount of melted butter and a slip of Dijon mustard, there’s Gruyère and a tiny bit of Romano cheese, whose kicky/nutty saltiness has me fixated lately. There are herbs, too, and this whole mixture is literally caked onto fingers of sourdough bread, then roasted in the oven until bronzed, fragrant and tormenting.

sliced sourdough

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Monday, March 19, 2012

carrot cake pancakes

carrot cake pancakes

If I could have a breakfast rallying cry, a breakfast mantra, if you will, it would be, It’s not cake! It’s breakfast! It would be rather dull, naturally. I know that the line between Cake For Breakfast and our various formats of Breakfast Cakes (muffins, coffee cakes and pancakes) is thin, I know the distinctions on either side of it are, at best, tiny, but they are what allows me to pretend I’m eating cake for breakfast when I’m really not, so I cling to them.

you'll need more than this
grating and grating and grating carrots

I said as much a few weeks ago when I made coconut muffins. Oh sure, they’re like a glorified macaroon, but! a macaroon full of healthy oils and Greek yogurt and whole wheat flour and a moderate level of sugar. They win at breakfast. Cake, 0, Breakfast 1, you could say. But when I spotted a recipe for carrot cake pancakes, replete with what we all know is the very best part of carrot cake, a sweetened cream cheese topping, I said, “No way, uh-uh. Carrot cake is dessert, not breakfast.”

grated nutmeg

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

potato knish, two ways

potato knish, two ways

Where have I been, you ask? Did I fly off to a small Caribbean island again, only to return to rub it in? Did my book project or adorable distraction eat me alive again? For once, no. I have actually been out climbing another (slightly smaller) culinary Mount Everest for you, and I have returned bearing not one, but two recipes.

both get peeled
onion, leek

I’ve been wanting to make potato knish almost as long as I’ve had this site. I thought I’d finally tackle it this winter, when carbs-for-warmth are the order of the day but New York up and decided to not have a winter this year and so it was a 60 degree day or never. I’m glad I went with it as knish are quintessentially old New York, brought to the Lower East Side tenements by Jewish Eastern European immigrants who knew, like most of our forefathers did, how to stretch staples into belly-filling delights.

russet potatoes and caramelized onions

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

multigrain apple crisps

apple multigrain crisps

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that we had plans to flee this so-called winter we’re having in New York and jet to a place where it’s always summer. It was dreadfully boring, by the way, all silky white sand that was cool under your bare feet, blazing aqua waters that you could walk a full city block into before you were in deeper than your waist and oh so quiet (rumor has it that they don’t even let these on the island!). Blissfully, there was nothing to do but read books, stare at the horizon and not think about life for a while. The most profound conversation we had in three days was whether a spot out on the water where the color slipped from a piercing aquamarine to a deeper cerulean to was due to a change of depth, or just the cast shadow of a cloud. The shadow of a cloud. Man, times were tough.


What I forgot to mention is that we weren’t bringing our son with us. Lest you think I’m immune to Mom Guilt — au contraire, it is the very pitch to which my life is auto-tuned, the backbone, nay, doctrine of my existence, governing all decisions from “Is that my son picking up a stray cheddar bunny from the seat of a random stroller and do I really have to stop him?” to whether or not I should admit that I was late to call yesterday because I was, in actuality, reading with my eyes shut for the 9th time that afternoon. Ahem, so, Mom Guilt in full swing, I decided to leave something special — petite apple crisps — in the fridge that he could have as a treat on the days I’d be away.

whole wheat, oats, raw, brown sugars

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