Winter Archive

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

roasted chestnut cookies

chestnut polvorones

As if I needed any further evidence that I was meant to live in Paris, it is my firm belief (though based only in fantasy) that at any time of the year over there, I will have unfettered access to things made with chestnuts, one of my favorite foods that only get a lukewarm reception in this country. Sure, we roast them on “open fires” in December (in our smoking jackets, of course, while our dog brings us the evening paper) but the rest of the year, they’re relegated to nostalgia. Even in New York City, I rarely see such delights as chestnut paste, which I attempted to smuggle back into the country after our last trip, not realizing that airport security would consider it a liquid and force me to throw it away (I still get a little weepy when I remember this). And don’t even get me started on our woeful absence of marrons glace, or candied chestnuts. Okay, fine, get me started.

roasted

In short, they are an obsession. I think they’re one of the most delicious things on earth and thus, it would be only logical that I would make them and share with you how you could do so at home. Except, I’ll never make them because they’re exceedingly fragile and time-consuming to make and were you to try, you’d quickly realize why it is de riguer to cough up five dollars for a single one at a candy shop. “Come on, Deb” I hear you saying, “That’s rather defeatist of you!” but here, let me tell you what the very first step is in candying chestnuts: roast the chestnuts and peel them in one piece. And now let me show you what happened the last time I tried to:

i am very bad at this

Continued after the jump »

Friday, January 22, 2010

mixed citrus salad with feta and mint

mixed citrus with feta, mint and onion

Like many New Yorkers, I have a healthy fear of the Upper West Side’s Fairway Market (the Harlem one isn’t so bad, but the Pulaski Skyway is technically closer to my apartment). Sure, they sell everything in the world, but from my rough estimation, the store contains everyone in the world at any given moment and it turns out, the quickest way to turn me into the kind of person with plumes of smoke pouring from my ears as I white-knuckle a shopping cart is to ram into the back of my ankles with yours. Ahem. So yes, I don’t shop there very often.

the citrus lineup

But last weekend! Last weekend I went to their new store in New Jersey… ah, New Jersey with its wide-open spaces and aisles wide enough for two shopping carts in opposing directions and acres upon acres of refrigerated produce space. I about lost it when I saw more than a dozen varieties of citrus and suddenly this citrus salad idea that I had been kicking around in the back of my head became The Next Thing I Absolutely Had To Make.

cara carapale pink grapefruitcara cara, peeledpeeled, sliced into wheels

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

vanilla roasted pears

vanilla roasted pears

I think this should be your new favorite way to show off. If your dinner parties are anything like mine, dessert arrives with more of a whimper than a bang. Oh yes, that trifle looks lovely, that cheesecake is most certainly the bomb, most people are probably thinking, but I just crawled out of a vat of deeply braised short ribs and I’m gasping for air. Doctor, gimme an apple, stat! I forgot what fresh food looks like.

pears aplenty
bosc peelings

Except, what was that you said about butter and sugar? Oohkay, sure, I’ll have a little bite. I mean, what’s a meal that doesn’t end with a sweet note? None that I want to be part of, to be honest. But when you want to unlock sweetness’s hold on richness, oh friends, please do this.

peeled, halved, cored, stems removed

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Monday, November 23, 2009

gingerbread apple upside-down cake

gingerbread apple upside-down cake

I know everyone says that this whole early-baby thing “goes by so fast” and “blink and you’ll miss it” and I believed them, I really did. But I hadn’t prepared to take a bite of this cake last week and push it away disinterested because it’s “too fall/wintery for right now”, look at the date on my phone and realize that, holy gingerbread (see how baby-friendly we’re getting here at SK?!), it’s freaking November already. And not early November, but days before Thanksgiving, thus, late November. And forget November, what happened in October? I remember nothing, not one single thing save a vague recollection of an overlarge can of Crisco.

apple overboard
peelings

Despite my protestations, it turns out this gingerbread-spiced molasses-heavy caramelized apple upside-down cake is perfect for the holiday-decked winter months whether I’m ready for them or not. It’s intensely flavored, dark and coppery and goes about as perfectly with some barely sweetened, softly whipped cream as I imagine it would with a dark beer or hard cider (as in, why did I not think of that sooner?).

apple slices

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

whole lemon tart

whole lemon tart slice

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.

partially baked unshrinkable tart shellmeyer lemonwhirled fillingpouring the filling

But I do have a favorite, and it is so ridiculously simple that when I made it last week I actually kicked myself for waiting so long since the last time I gave it a spin. Where are my priorities? Seriously. I won’t slip up again.

whole lemon tart

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