I know what most people think of crêpes — they’re difficult, they require planning ahead, they’re fussy (coughFrench), they rip easily, the first one always goes in the trash — but I respectfully disagree, especially about that last bit (it goes in the nearest mouth). In fact, I think think that a great big stack of crêpes and a few easy fixings are the best thing that can happen to brunch. Hear me out:
As a person who at least two to three nights a week doesn’t understand why we plan menus and grocery lists when we could just be eating an egg on toast, scrambled, crispy, poached or soft-cooked and smashed, I, too, would expect this site to have more frittata recipes than it does. (It has one. Sorry.) But I don’t make them much at all because they always feel like a lot of work for something that’s essentially a baked omelet with none of the 2-minute butter-drenched speed of a French one. (We’re also on an omelet kick.)
Do you think carrots get nervous around me? I managed to go a full two years after launching this site to bake with them the first time (classic cupcakes, not egregiously carrot-y) and from there, I haven’t stopped harassing them. They’re in salads with harissa and feta, and roasted with cumin in avocado salads, in savory Japanese fritters and in sweet American breakfast pancakes, in afternoon-ish cakes with apple cider and olive oil, and in celebration layer cakes with graham cracker crumbs and cream cheese frosting. They’re in miso-ginger dressing, and then a miso-ginger soup, and then in another soup-salad twinset with crispy chickpeas and tahini.
Just in case there was anyone still out there mistaking me for some sort of domestic diva, or even a moderately skilled at being domestic, you should know that it has taken until the spring of the year 2016, nearly a full decade after starting a food website where I’ve had the brass to coax others along in the kitchen as if I had some sort of innate greater understanding of it, for me to learn how to use my broiler. Prior to
consulting experts reading my oven’s manual um, Googling it a few months ago, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why other people managed to broil things whenever they needed for as long as they needed but mine shut off after 4 minutes. It turns out that cracking open the oven door keeps the temperature from getting so high in the oven that it goes into a panic a shuts off, freeing me fulfill my lifelong fantasy of setting all my food on fire.
A friend from high school texted me a couple weeks ago to say that he’d made the Spinach and Cheese Strata for Christmas morning brunch and it was a big hit. Ever the smartass, I asked him where he’d found a whole room of people willing to eat bread and he said that this was Pittsburgh, where every salad has french fries on it and I said it sounded like a heavenly place and then he pointed me to this to prove his point.
I’ve always been a little wary of commercialism here*; I don’t want to be yet another person telling you how to spend your hard-earned money or indicating in any way that there’s a correlation between buying fancy things and being a great cook. Nope, nope, nope. Because of this, we’ve only had one “gift” guide to date, a very basic one, a budget-minded kitchen starter kit populated with the stuff I find it hard to cook without; that was six years ago.
Among the great Ashkenazi soul food traditions — bagels, lox, chicken noodle soup, challah, brisket and its cousins, pastrami and corned beef — few are more deeply rooted in the communal psyche than kugels, or starch-based puddings that hail from southern Germany. The word kugel, meaning sphere, globe or ball, originally referred to dumplings dropped over a soup pot, the version baked casserole pans became my people’s favorite, always made in vast quantities, served on Shabbat or holidays in squares and usually shoved in the hands of unsuspecting relatives and guests in disposable foil tins on their way home. The smart ones know resistance is futile.