Disasters Archive

Thursday, May 21, 2009

slaw tartare

slaw tartare

I had great plans for our holiday weekends, my friends. We were all going to kick it off by making homemade hamburger buns that we could use right away, or stash in the freezer until the weather cooperates. Really, nothing should have been simpler. Most hamburger buns are an enriched white bread, which is ridiculously simple to make, and rolls are so much quicker to bake than large loaves. Because isn’t it funny how in this day and age where so many of us grind our own meats for our signature burger blends that we’re generally still getting those buns from a bag or bakery?

hamburger buns, duds

Well, eight hours of frustrated cooking later, I can tell you that the force was not with us, or at least nowhere within a mile radius of the dud recipe I chose. It took all of the flour (and the patience) I had to (barely) pull it together. It nearly overflowed in the bowl twice. The suggested height of the buns didn’t yield anything you’d want to prop a burger on (but perhaps some falafel, with its pita-like proportions) and the flavor was nothing spectacular. A few hours later, they were already stale (never a good sign). And thus it is with a heavy sigh that I tell you that this will not be the Smitten Kitchen-approved hamburger bun recipe I’d dreamed of. Stay tuned this summer: homemade hamburger buns will be mine. Ours.

red onioncornichoncaperstartar sauce

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, September 4, 2008

the duds of summer

stringy

This is me admitting defeat. You see, all summer I have been discussing this “queue” of recipes that I have auditioned and photographed, but never told you about. They’ve sat on my hard drive like a to-do list, taunting me, certain that I’ll never get to the bottom of it. Every time I swear I am going to bang them all out in a week of daily, brief posts, something better comes across our counters and I must discuss that first. Like bourbon peach hand pies. Or a dimply plum cake. You understand, don’t you?

innardsceleryasparagus sliversbaby potatoes

The queue won’t go away and summer is more or less over, which means that it’s time for me to admit that the things left in the queue aren’t that great. Oh, they’re not bad. They’re not inedible. We did clear our plates, though certainly not the leftovers out of the fridge the next day. They’re just not wonderful or magical or seriously, why have you not dropped everything yet and run to your kitchen to get this started. And I think that there are enough recipes out there, and in here, that are show stoppers that it’s not necessary to make ones that drew a big “eh!” from our mouths.

So, in the interest of me zeroing out my blogging-to-do list once and for all, let us get this show on the road:

new potato salad

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, January 31, 2008

candied grapefruit peels

grapefruit peels, step 10

This all started with Homesick Texan. No wait, this all started with last year’s orangettes, to this day one of the most popular posts on this site. No wait, this all started with a lifelong (can you say that? when you’re just 31?) love of grapefruits. My favorite way to eat them is the same exact way my mom showed me, halved in a bowl with each section loosened with a arched, double-serrated grapefruit knife. First, I’d pop all of the sections into my mouth in probably under two minutes flat. But then, then came the “grapefruit soup,” I’d call it. Mom would help us scrape all of the residual grapefruit bits into the bowl, then squeeeze every last bit of juice, discard the empty shell of a peel and this, this my friends is the best grapefruit juice you’ll ever drink in your life. You must drink it straight from the bowl. I could live on it, and it alone.

grapefruit peels, step 1grapefruit peels, step 2grapefruit peels, step 4grapefruit peels, step 3

Which brings us to the Homesick Texan, who mentioned in December that “everyone knows the juiciest, largest and sweetest ruby red grapefruit comes from the Rio Grande Valley” and it was funny, because I hadn’t known that at all. But given the price of the grapefruits we’d been seeing in the stores ($2 a pop), their sorry state (dented but still appallingly shiny with wax) and their flavor (average at best) I was just itching to find out. So, we ordered ourselves a little sampler from South Texas Organics and quite a few days later were presented with exactly what we were promised: the very best ruby red grapefruits, from South Texas.

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

anything-but-clementine clafoutis

clementine segments

Sometimes I cook things even though I have significant doubts that they will be in any way delicious. Why is this, how is this so, you ask? Because I live in a mental place I affectionately call Hope. I wish to be surprised. I aspire to be wrong from time to time (though not, as Alex can but probably will not argue, because he is polite, too often, and certainly not if it would make him right) because if the sum of the parts that together comprise the world as I know it is all there is, I’d be kind of bummed. I’d be kind of bored.

clementines

Often enough, things exceed my expectations. There are better-than-Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soups, there is Fennel Ice Cream and Red Velvet Cake and, loudest as of late, there is brining.

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, December 13, 2007

apple cranberry crisp

apple-cranberry crisp

It has been over a year since I sounded-off about my mild irritation with Michael Chirello–salient takeaways included that I found him fussy and often in excessive use of needlessly pretentious ingredients–and I’ve spent most of it feeling bad about it. I mean, he cooks honestly; he uses as good ingredients as he gets his hands on and he’s not afraid of adapting old stand-bys to make them more feasible for entertaining. These are all good things. I will not now nor ever abide throwing fistfuls of carefully cultivated gray salt into boiling pots of pasta water, but I’d rather pay attention to someone who cares enough about the nuance in flavor that they create than someone who acts like it doesn’t exist.

Unfortunately, we’ve had another setback. A significant one, one so bad I have had to something that crushes my spirits and raises my shackles and throw the entire dish in the garbage. And the error was so easily avoidable, I just… can’t let it go. I hate throwing away food.

apple-cranberry crisp

Continued after the jump »


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