Fall Archive

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

baked pumpkin and sour cream puddings

pumpkin and sour cream pudding

Sunday night, I emailed off 497 pages containing 80,392 words to my editor (846 photos had been sent over before the weekend), went to bed at 2 a.m., woke up at 6 a.m. and a few hours later came home to a completely empty apartment and two entire hours to myself — two hours to nap or just stare slack-jawed at the ceiling fan and think about nothing for a while — and decided instead that I’d had enough of this pumpkin-free November I’d been having and went back into the kitchen to make pudding. That’s normal right? That’s what normal people do, right? Wait, don’t tell me.

the line-up
can also mix by hand

So, a manuscript has officially been delivered, a whole 6 hours in advance of its deadline. I am the eternal college student, apparently, though if you’d asked me 18 months ago when I was going to finish my book I could have probably told you right then “Five minutes before it is due.” I’m classy like that. I would hardly say that the cookbook process is finished — we’re still ironing out some kinks, there’s copyediting (I can’t be the only one who pities the copyeditor who must deal with the madness I pass off as grammar, right?), some reshoots, they’ve been kind enough to offer me design input though they’ll probably regret it when they see what bad taste I have… I won’t bore you with the details. But for the most part? I’m back! Whee! And there’s no place else I’d rather be.

for silky smooth pudding

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

pear cranberry and gingersnap crumble

pear, cranberry and gingersnap crumble

In my defense, I resisted this crumble for possibly even a single hour before going to the kitchen to assemble the ingredients. A whole hour, an hour in which we could have had a buttery, spiced gingersnap and brown sugar crumbled lid atop a glurp-ing puddle of soft, sweet pears and slumped, tart cranberries, bubbling through cracks in the rubbled surface. An hour in which I instead thought there were better things to do, like pretending to clean the kitchen while staring into space and imagining how good the crumble could be. They give out medals for this kind of valor, right?

the line-up
shedding pear skins

My husband and I, well, we’re exactly as exciting as you might imagine because we talk about pears a lot. I’ll take the blame, I’m sure I usually start the conversation, which goes roughly like, “Pears? Really? You just don’t like pears?” And he’ll say “They’re just so one note. They’re sweet and boring,” usually while slicing another of his beloved Granny Smith apples into perfect quarters. (He’s such a tidy eater people, I comparatively eat with the grace of a Hoover). And the thing is, I agree with him 100 percent, but I see these things as characteristics, not flaws. However, in baking, I agree that pears could use a little help. They like acid and they like berries; brighter fall spices like ginger play off them well and you’ll be surprised what a pinch of white pepper can do to wake them up.

de-bellied pears

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, October 20, 2011

cumin seed roasted cauliflower with yogurt

with feta-yogurt, pomegranate, mint

I do this dreary thing every October where I decide on the first day that requires a scarf and a hustle in your step to keep warm that the long, gloomy descent into winter has begun and soon the world will be brown, gray and frozen and this will continue until April or beyond and I might as well stock up on some farro and root vegetables and climb into my igloo because that’s all there will be for a long time. I am clearly no fun at all, and also a little blind as I declare this while stepping over crinkly flame-throwers of leaves, while the sky is still fantastically blue and generally, without even have stepped through a farmers market. Because the markets? Are actually as pretty as they get all year, tables overflowing with everything from carrots to late summer squash, hearty greens, tiny pumpkins, marble-sized potatoes and great big globes of broccoli and cauliflower. It’s now or never to haul it home.

hello, pomegranate season
berries of winter

In the early days of blogging, the phrase Cheese Sandwich Blogs was used to unkindly refer to blogs so dull that their authors would even describe what they had for lunch that day. What we learned, in theory, was that nobody cares what you had for lunch. And yet? I’m going to tell you anyway, because it’s been abysmal: Twice this week already, it’s been cold cereal. Last week was a string of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the kind of bread that I purchased for its extended shelf life. I’ve been passing lattes off as breakfast (it’s French and cosmopolitan, right?) and I think we’ve ordered pizza for dinner three times in three weeks (leading to three next-day lunches of cold leftover pizza). As it turns out, even people who love to cook more or less eat terribly when they’re working around the clock to meet a deadline. Or, ahem, have missed a deadline, not that anyone is counting. But today, today I had this for lunch and the world has so much brighter since.

mm, brains

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, October 13, 2011

apple pie cookies

As far as reentry* points to on-a-whim cooking go, these cookies aren’t the most obvious choice. I might have gone with something from the market, or something from a new fall cookbook or maybe just something practical that would feed us for the next few days, like a hearty stew.

how i make piebutter into flouruntil it's like thispie crust cookie lids, bases

Instead I went with cute. Like, unseemly cute. Borderline twee. I might as well tie a ribbon around them, had I any ribbon or the ability to tie it without yelling at it (it’s true; I’m ribbon inept), no doubt eradicating any sweetness in the gesture. I don’t know what came over me. One day I was craving apple pie because that’s what you do in October, you crave apple pie, the kind that you pull from the oven still gurgling under its vented lid, a trickle of juices making their way for the crimped edge, the kitchen smelling like fall blew up in it. But I wanted my very own pie, a pie I didn’t have to share and so the obvious place to have gone with this would have been with hand pies. But I’m finishing up the cookbook’s dessert section right now and lordy, I hardly need more butter-and-sugar laden confections lying around but, short of denying oneself pie (madness!) I wondered exactly how tiny I could make them and from there my brain latched onto the idea of cookie pies (or “tookie” pies, as my sidekick would call them). Teeny tiny adorable cookie pies. I may have finally lost it.

how to slice your appleapple insertsdip in cinnamon spice sugarcrimping

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

upside-down cranberry cake

Is it too soon in our relationship to say that I miss hanging out with you guys more? I hope not. The fact is that these days I am so deep in the throes of oh my god what was I thinking a certain cookbook I’m supposed to be halfway (ha! hoo! hee! I wonder if Knopf will find this so hilarious) finished with that it’s taking time away from hanging out here. Which is a shame, as it is my favorite place outside a certain striped carpet covered with The Mop Who Came to Live With Us and his toys and a bar I haven’t found yet that makes perfect Manhattans.

setting up
puddling the caramel

And it’s not like I’m not cooking up a storm, either. Yesterday, I made what I hoped would be an unfathomably deep apple pie for the cookbook. Think piles of amazing baked appleness for people who can never have enough filling (this, by the way, is for people who can never have enough crust). Alas, it was a (delicious) mess and I am back to the drawing board where I summon the confidence to start peeling another six pounds of apples.

sour cream batter

Continued after the jump »


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