Monday, April 29, 2013
I'll be the first to admit that fennel is an intimidating vegetable. A dense knot of layers with a good ten inches of greenery fuzzing about like a Mardi-Gras headdress? (Being from the Midwest, I like my vegetables homely and unassuming, thank you very much.) All that pageantry, and then you discover that fennel just tastes like black licorice. Um, no thank you. Until this spring, fennel was brooding down at the very bottom of my list of favorite vegetables, right next to—well, to be honest, there was nothing next to it. I thought there was nothing quite so bad as fennel.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Every once in a while I see a recipe that makes me drop everything to buy ingredients and make it immediately. I'm sure some of you can relate to this—flipping through a magazine or cookbook with pretty, pretty pictures, hearing the siren song of some delicious braised this or sauteed that, and heading straightaway into the kitchen like a cook possessed. For me, this is especially true when those pictures contain one of the following: crispy potatoes, oozy caramel, butternut squash, or melted cheese, melted cheese, melted cheese.
Then occasionally, I'll feel the call of a recipe that I just can't explain, which is what randomly happened with this chickpea soup. What? A soup the color of that cakey, sedentary cave mud from the last time I went spelunking? From the Bon Appétit issue featuring the most annoying interview ever? An entirely healthy pot of virtuous nutrition? Yes. That one. I want to make that and eat it RIGHT NOW.
Monday, January 28, 2013
aaaaaaaand... I'm back.
Since this is, actually, a blog about food, and seeing as how I have remained woefully silent during the two most important months in a gourmande's year (gravy month and gingerbread month, I like to call them), it's high time for me to prove my continuing legitimacy as a cook. My time has been vacuumed up by other writing—so much writing—but lest you think I've been silent because I haven't been cooking, let me assuage your fears. This has been an inspired time for culinary experimentation, and in some cases I've been so far out on a limb that it's a wonder I didn't come crashing to the ground. Much of the R&D in soup and chicken will show up here, in one form or another.
But I'll tease no further. Let's get down to business with some truffles. Sure, for my first recipe back, I could have gone with a banana-kale-nutritional yeast smoothie or some such nonsense, to help you keep your New Year's resolution. But I'm more of a devil-on-your-shoulder kind of girl. I'd never advise a vegetable smoothie when there are truffles to be had. (If you're one of the veg-faithful, I'll be accepting your carrot-fueled snarky comments at the end of this post.)
Thursday, October 25, 2012
I am one who is given to excess, particularly where apple-picking is concerned. Twenty pounds is near on half a bushel, which is just a charming way of saying too much! More than you need! But the thing is, twenty pounds never sounds like too much, not to me, especially when one is caught up in the crisp autumn air and the sunshine that makes the day just right and the perfectest apple-cider doughnuts you've ever tasted—the first bite crunches from a shell of cinnamon sugar and the insides are pillowy, light as air. They taste best right out of the paper bag, still hot from the fryer, while standing in the orchard. But be warned, because they may induce doughnut-fueled apple frenzy, symptoms of which include delusions that one can totally use half a bushel of apples, so let's go ahead and get picking!
The moral of the story is this: I need ways to use twenty pounds of apples.
Sorry to get your hopes up—this post is not about those doughnuts (although sometimes I wish it were. Curse you, stuff of my dreams!). No, this post is much more sensible, the kind of thing you can do when you've gnawed the last apple you could possibly gnaw, and yet an invincible mountain of Granny Smiths and Macintoshes still stares at you with apple eyes full of accusations. (What? They do.)
I've always been skeptical of baked apples. They seem like a fake dessert, like a health food in disguise at a masquerade dessert ball. It's as though they come from a different life, a world away: you might imagine them as a sweet from the French countryside, where your itty-bitty white-haired grandmother would hand you one, soft and still warm, and you'd munch through the syrupy mess of apple, brown sugar and butter while running off to play kick-the-can or freeze tag with flushed cheeks and sticky fingers. Whose life is that? I have way too many bad hair days to be that perfect.
Well, to be fair, one part of that flight of fancy is mine—lucky me! I married into a family with an itty-bitty, white-haired French grandmother. And these are her dessert; or, at least, they're her idea, one that Merrick wanted to try so badly that he actually made them himself, unprompted and I thought, 'here's my own October surprise!' And actually, it was a double surprise, because the apples turned out to be simple, not overly sweet, and just right.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
A visit to The Washington Square Tavern is an evening for good beer, good burgers, and good banter. It’s like going to a party at the cool kids' place—you know the ones, who ironically wear tweed jackets and stock their bookshelves with Kerouac and Vonnegut.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
I'm going to make a confession, here. I haven't spent much time at my stove this summer. I can't tell whether that's marvelous (I've hiked past waterfalls! Read in the sun! Broached ocean waves!) or shameful (I've neglected my recipes... and perhaps my writing... and all of you). You may recall that the same kitchen neglect happened last summer in that cluttered, itty-bitty sublet of mine, but just so you won't think that this is becoming my modus operandi, I'd like to point out that that was for a different reason entirely. That kitchen was... well, rustic.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Does "Turkish diner" sound like an oxymoron? If you've ever stepped inside the oddly-named Brookline Family Restaurant Turkish Cuisine, the phrase probably resonates more than you would think.
At this casual Brookline Village restaurant, the portions are generous, the atmosphere friendly, and you can order a fried egg until the middle of the afternoon. The difference here is that instead of that fried egg, you could order any number of Turkish breakfast selections, like Pastirmali Yumurta, an omelet with diced beef and feta cheese.
Read the rest of this review on the Brookline Patch...