I know this is the kind of stuff that makes people without children roll their eyes, or at least would have made me roll my eyes anytime prior to eight months ago, but seriously, nothing, nothing makes you a more productive person than having a baby. How else will you learn all of the things you can do in the two minutes he is occupied with a toy and may not see his other favorite possession, Mama’s Undivided Attention, sneaking off, stage left? Hit the loo! Get a glass of water! Put hair in ponytail! Balance your checkbook! Solve the Greek financial crisis.
A whopping eight years ago, I joined a friend and her family for an afternoon at the then newly-opened Neue Galerie, which seriously, you should check out some time when you’re in my city. (Look at me, playing tourist guide!) The early 20th century German and Austrian art is fantastic but even more wonderful is the Cafe Sabarsky within which models itself after a turn-of-the-century Viennese cafe. But really, I don’t want to talk about the Kadinskys or the Kavalierspitz today, I want to talk about this cake. That I had there that day. That I have not shut up about since.
As will happen from time to time (coughdaily), last week I got to longing for what I consider one of the greatest Cocktails Out There That Is Not a Manhattan, one that goes by the name Porch Swing as is served at Blue Smoke, a delicious mutt of a barbecue joint (Memphis babybacks, Kansas City spareribs, North Carolina slaw and Texas brisket, anyone?) on East 27th Street. The Porch Swing is a also a delicious mutt, with Pimm’s and Hendrick’s Gin and Lemonade and 7-Up and thin slices of cucumber (recipe over here) and omg is it October when mama can have a proper, strong drink yet?
Granitas have never exactly captured my imagination. Flecks of flavored ice in a bowl seemed rather dull, and their place in the dessert repository was kind of lost on me. Trust me, if I’m hoping you’re going to bust out some salted caramel dark chocolate mousse and you come out of the kitchen with pale icy chips? It’s going to be hard for me to feign enthusiasm.
A couple weeks ago, I had a fantastic warm asparagus salad at a nearby restaurant, one I immediately swore I’d make at home. It had segments of white and green asparagus tossed with goat cheese and a tarragon and lemony mint vinaigrette and it was piled on a bed of red endive, my favorite. It was stunning. It was delicious. Alas, this is not it. What a tease I am, right?
Everyone has a favorite lemon tart, don’t they? I think of them as one those pastries that people obsess over to the point that crafting a great one is practically considered a higher calling. And I’d joke about this (okay, well, just a little) but if you’ve ever had a good, nay, great one, you totally get it. An awesome one will blow your mind. Some are filled with only a simple lemon curd, others with a creamier lemon filling, some are studded with fresh raspberries or have bits of candied lemon peel inside and the rare one even has a chunk of a fresh lemon segment within. I have never met one I didn’t like.
The fresh cranberry gets no love. I can’t tell you how many recipes I have sifted through recently that boasted cranberry in their titles only to find out that they were actually calling for those shriveled and over-sweetened dried ones. Why must fresh cranberries be “the neglected stepchild of the season“? It is totally undeserved.