My in-laws had their 35th anniversary this past week, and if you’ve been taking notes up until now (though why would you) you can imagine that this only created one requirement whichever dessert I brought to a barbeque this weekend: chocolate. Also, if it could have chocolate on top of that chocolate, it would be good too. And did we mention chocolate? Because we’re really into chocolate, and no amount of chocolate would be too much. This guy I married, who thinks that there are few higher kitchen callings than a chocolate-crusted, ganache-coated cheesecake with cubes of brownies inside? He didn’t develop this obsession in a vacuum.
Even haiku-writing food bloggers get in ruts. We fall back on our old crutches–overused commas and em-dashes. We get lazy with our descriptions, referring to too many things as “awakening,” “a revelation,” “succulent,” and/or “meltingly tender.” Cute turns twee as growing things become “veggies” and delicious is replaced with “yummy.” And find that all of our posts follow the same predictable pattern–there was a previous belief, an eye-opener, a tried-it-at-home and a happily-ever-after with a recipe on top. Fine, I’m just talking about myself, but how am I to grow without owning up to my bad habits?
Why air this dirty laundry today? Because I was about to start this entry with “it started out so innocently” but then the five-alarm went off in my head: No. Stop. Alert! Code Red! Backspace! So, although it did, let’s just pretend you know that already. And let us talk about The Tart That Started It All instead.
Madeleine is a new bakery that I walk by on my way home from work, a refreshing change from the All Cupcakes All The Time that dominates New York bakery scene these days. I prefer a macaron or wee French tart any day over a bland cake with teeth-achingly sweet frosting (though my resolve is known to weaken if that frosting is, say, pink). A few weeks ago, I picked up a small cherry tartlet for Alex and I to split, the type I see often at pastry shops but rarely try and was bowled over to learn the stuff between the cherries tasted exactly like marzipan, and if anyone remembers back this long, they will know that I looove me some marzipan.
Have you ever eaten, like, a lot of cabbage over a few week period? I mean, a lot a lot. More cabbage than most people eat in two years, a lot. Well, thank goodness my cabbage-patching was not for nothing as my second NPR Kitchen Window column is up today about, you guessed it, coleslaw. (The first one, in March, was about Russian Zakuski.)
I have to admit that I am particularly pleased with these recipes, though I know that it is silly that it should warrant a confessional. On this site, I have published a couple coleslaw variations over the last year (an Indian-spiced, updated classic, and a green onion version), but I knew there was so much more out there. This article forced me to attack some of the ideas I have had brewing, though I simply can’t condone eating them in the frequency and quantity that we have.
Recipes on NPR include:
- Blue Cheese Coleslaw
- Napa Cabbage and Sesame Seed Slaw
- Spicy Radicchio Slaw with Pecans
- Pickled Coleslaw (a.k.a. my take on Zabar’s Health Salad I promised you way back when)
May your coleslaws never lack luster again!
Elsewhere: Coleslaw: You Could be a Star
Update, wholly unrelated: You know you have truly *arrived* (I kid) when your hosting service emails you to tell you that you’re getting too fat and they had to air lift you to another server. I’m not sure if anyone else would have noticed, but load times have been very sluggish lately, and this site has been down more than once, not including the time Alex and I decided it would be fun to delete it altogether. I am hoping this will be the end of the problems. And now, back to the roughage!
Adding to my infinite list of gastronomical oddities–I consider meat a side dish, cilantro tastes like dirt to me, I don’t drink tea and the only seafood I can stand is mussels–Alex and I finally ate at Mario Batali’s heroical West Village gastropub, The Spotted Pig, two weekends ago and all I’ve been able to talk about since were the salads.
With house-cured bresaola, prosciutto and various homemade sausages on the menu, it’s not named after swine for nothing. And while these are not to be overlooked, the salads were something of a symphony. I’ve said before that I don’t go to fuss-worthy restaurants because I fancy myself some sort of in-the-know foodie; I go for inspiration. Restaurants that don’t give me any new ideas for the Smitten Kitchen rarely get revisits.
Bored of tapas? Over at NPR, I have a guided tour of Russian hors d’oeuvres, called zakuski, each as unsubtle, garlicky and brined as you should expect from my husband’s pickled-crazed people. It includes recipes for my mother-in-law’s famous eggplant caviar, Georgian kidney bean salad, salted mushrooms and the most complex, flavorful best black bread I have ever eaten. I hope you love it as much as we do.
Elsewhere: Mighty Russian Morsels