July, 2012 Archive

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

zucchini rice gratin

zucchini, tomato and rice gratin

As promised, I am here to aid you with you midsummer afternoon’s zucchini nightmare, er, bounty. But please, just because I try to help people who weren’t wary enough of friends bearing baskets of zucchini doesn’t mean that I should be mistaken for someone who never lets zucchini expire on her watch. I went away for the weekend and left my last haul to meet a terrible end in my kitchen. Let this gratin be my zucchini repentance.

sliced zucchini
lightly roasted tomatoes and zucchini

I started making this zucchini rice gratin a few years ago. At the time, well, rice wasn’t my thing. I wouldn’t say I didn’t like it, just that it never, ever occurred to me to make it, which likely related to the fact that I burned it 100% of the time I made it, which led to pot-soaking and -scrubbing and a plague about our apartment known as a Grumpy Dishwasher. It hardly seemed worth it for a bit of rice. I’ve since figured out that nearly every package of rice lists the wrong amount of water (I always need more) and that on the gas stoves I’ve had, even the thinnest wisp of a flame, the lowest I can make it before the burner goes out entirely, will cook my rice in about 2/3 of the suggested time. I share these tips just in case any of you out there also need to go to Rice Remedial School, though you guys seem smart. I bet you’ve got this figured out already, and long before you wrote a cookbook that uses it no less than three times.

mixing rice, onions, herbs, parmesan

Continued after the jump »

Friday, July 27, 2012

zucchini bread pancakes

zucchini bread pancakes, maple yogurt

For someone who doesn’t garden, lives pretty far from farms and couldn’t even keep a couple herbs alive on her kitchen windowsill, I take zucchini population control pretty seriously. Sure, I don’t have to lock my car door in August, I don’t have a CSA dumping boxes of it unceremoniously on my porch and then running away like a thief in the night, and it’s been a long time since I lived in a house with bats in the backyard, but I get it. The problem is real. We all must do our part.

two seconds from zucchini to shreds
grated too much, just made more

But zucchini is pesky. It’s not like tomatoes, which are like the prom queens of the summer farms, perfect no matter how you dice, slow roast, scallop or sauce them. I never have enough tomatoes and they’re usually gone for the year before I am done with them; the same can rarely be said for zucchini. It can be a little slippery when cooked, weepy when raw. It’s hard to get it roasted or grilled to a crisp. Sure, it’s good battered and deep-fried, but I have a theory that my Rainbow flip-flop would be too. I’m not going to test it, though. I’m sure you understand.

mixing dry and wet pancake batter

Continued after the jump »

Monday, July 23, 2012

peach pie

peach pie

I am sure I’m not the only person who has ever been out to eat and bit into something they knew they’d love and nearly sobbed with disappointment over what could have been but was not. “Why? Why did they have to go and ‘fix’ this? It wasn’t broken!” No? It’s just me? Well, good on you for having some decorum, or at least a better poker face than your narrator. I’ve done this when I discovered curry powder in a sweet potato pirogi (really, I’m grimacing as I type this). It’s not a popular opinion, but I feel this way about bacon in chocolate chip cookies. And if everyone could stop putting cardamom pods in vanilla ice cream and custards, I wouldn’t mind one bit. I like vanilla. I don’t think it needs any flavor enhancement.

lots of peaches into boiling water
poach for two minutes slipping the peach skins off
sadly, they didn't make it peach peeling, second try

Not that I’m innocent in this area. It seems that as long as web pages need updating, magazines need printing and food shows have new seasons to fill with programming, we’re going to have “new spins on the classics,” and I too have been known to hide bourbon in banana bread, do all sorts of unnatural things to latkes, and no, I will not apologize for the time I made a red velvet cake with red wine instead of the accepted vat of food dye. I found all of these things to be worthwhile improvements on the status quo in the same way that the person about to leave me a link to their favorite bacon chocolate chip cookie (the one that will change my mind) recipe in the comments does, but no doubt someone else out there found that that bourbon clashed terribly with bananas and feels justly that I owe them some cake.

chilled pie doughs

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

bacon corn hash

bacon corn hash, wisp of steam

I just realized we are almost halfway through with summer and while I should be totally stoked about this — seeing as we’re melting through our fourth heatwave so far this summer in NYC and given what awesome things are in store for the fall — I am spectacularly bummed as I am just getting used to having an avalanche of delicious summer produce at my disposal and haven’t had time to do half of what I wanted to with it yet. Plus, this guy turns three at the end of the summer and I can’t, I won’t accept it. More time, please! For everything.

oatmeal strawberry cookies so much broccoli slaw
summer salsa fresca summer squash torte, simplified
cherry chocolate chunk scones buttermilk cornmeal chicken tenders

I missed you last week, a crazy week that did not entail, as hinted, a vacation but the heard-it-all-before-so-I’ll-spare-you tune about too much to do and too little time. I’ve been cooking more this month then my absence let on, just not a lot of things that seemed worth stepping up to this internet microphone to clear my throat and tell you about, things like oatmeal strawberry cookies (utterly delicious, but only for the first hour, after which they became chewy and sad, sigh) and a spectacular amount of broccoli slaw (five batches already this summer, a record). A summery salsa fresca with the first cherry tomatoes to go with our huevos rancheros and a streamlined version of this summer squash torte we can’t get enough of (there are new notes in the recipe, but I’d like to reshoot it and add more details soon, too). I made heart-shaped tiny whole wheat cherry chocolate chunk scones (closet Cherry Garcia fiend, here) for a friend’s daughter’s second birthday party and I’ve been fiddling around with various baked chicken tender recipes (for times when you crave crunchy chicken but have little desire to deep- or shallow-fry anything), looking for a winner.

diced red potatoes

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, July 7, 2012

blackberry gin fizz

blackberry gin fizz

Look, guys. It’s Saturday. I don’t want to blow anyone’s cover or make you feel worse if you shivered out the week in an over-air-conditioned cubicle but I have to tell you: I think everyone is on vacation but us. I think they’re on beaches, building sandcastles, accumulating freckles, having lobster rolls for lunch and cherry pie and juicy peaches for dessert. I don’t think they’re thinking about us at all. I’ve already broken my please-don’t-be-so-dull-as-to-discuss-the-weather-Deb rule once this week and I don’t want to do it again, nevertheless, given the state of That Which Shall Not Be Named, I think it’s about time we stopped pretending that we’re actually going to be turning on our stoves until sometime in October.

blackberries
straining to strain the puree

With all that out of the way, may I offer you a drink? It’s cold; the ice clinks against the side of a very full glass which, you know, is about the finest sound there is. It’s the kind of fizzy that gently mists your face as you lean in for a sip, which would be annoying in, say, November but is exactly what I always hope for in July. It’s magenta and seasonal and it has an old soul, something I kind of dig that in a drink. Shortly after I moved to NYC, I remember going to a bar with a friend of mine from college and she ordered a Sloe Gin Fizz. I looked at her like she had two heads. “Is that an old man drink?” I told her, with (clearly) all of the class I could muster. But she insisted that there was something grand inside that glass, something worth getting to know. I, of course, ignored her, and ordered my usual a gin-and-tonic.

blackberry puree

Continued after the jump »


css.php