Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Long post about recent social events and what I cooked

We clocked some serious recipe mileage over the last few days. All dishes made from Gourmet Today.
Guests: The parents of Isabel's best friend, who have become friends in their own right 
Topics discussed: the perfidy of middle-school girls, gravlax, wallpaper, Cheerful Money, football.
Pisco sours. This highly alcoholic South American cocktail is supposed to be creamy, frothy, tangy and white. As prepared using the GT recipe, this drink was all those things, but it was also lumpy. Although GT says you can use powdered egg whites instead of the real thing, you can't, or, if you can, you need more detailed instructions.
mussels on the half-shell with ravigote sauce. The first time I've ever made anything "on the half-shell" and it wasn't as hard as feared. In fact, it wasn't hard at all. You should make these for Thanksgiving; they were great and the recipe is here.
You steam the mussels, remove from shells, marinate in an oniony vinaigrette, then place them back in the shells. Everything can be done ahead. I omitted the chervil because I've never been able to find anywhere, ever. My other piece of advice would be to get the biggest mussels you can find.
wine-braised chuck. Really good pot roast.
roasted brussels sprouts with pancetta. Really good brussels sprouts
red leaf lettuce salad with citrus dressing and pine nuts. Not an especially good salad.
hazelnut gelato. I prefer Jack Bishop's recipe from Complete Italian Vegetarian.

Guests: my mother and our cousin Ana Maria
Topics of discussion: the cuteness of chickens, the ugliness of turkeys (at least in my mother's very strong opinion), Cheerful Money, new mammogram guidelines, Thanksgiving table settings
chunky butternut squash and white bean soup. Chosen because my mother requeseted "bland, comforting" foods. It wasn't all that bland; it was delicious. I hope it was comforting. Floating on top are toasted pumpkin seeds.
pear fool. You poach pears in lemon and wine, puree them to a Gerber consistency, layer with whipped cream. See photo at top of post. Bland and comforting.

Guests: my husband's parents who are in town from Boston for Thanksgiving
Topics discussed: the appropriateness of the movie An Education for a 7th-grade girl (too late, already took her, she'll live), ginger cookies made by a long-deceased Wasp relative for which no one has a recipe, family, Cheerful Money
black bean soup with ancho chili. What it sounds like.
grilled cheese sandwiches with curried mayo and fennel. You take an already fattening food and make it more fattening by adding mayonnaise. Brilliant idea! These were fantastic. Recipe here
banoffee pie. Sickly sweet, sticky, and I'm wondering if it will hurt the chickens to eat the remains. Probably. I ordered this once a long, long time ago at a restaurant in Ireland and remembered it as ambrosial. Apparently my tastes have changed. Crust, dulce de leche, bananas, whipped cream. The recipe is here, if you're interested.
In other news, I wrote a story about my attempt to buy a Thanksgiving turkey which you can read here. 

Will start the Moro cookbook right after Thanksgiving. 


  1. I'm noticing a lot of talk about Cheerful Money. I don't think I can motivate myself to read about WASPs since I don't know any WASPs. I must have met some since I attended that Ivy League university in Connecticut; but maybe you have to be one to identify one.

  2. Tipsy Baker, you are awesome. Found you through your DoubleX article. The Hunt for the Perfect Turkey was so good, the writing off beat and bouncy. Nice flow and revelation. And then I followed to here. What a cool site. Just to let you know!


  3. I'll chalk up the lack of comments on this Tipsy post and on the doublex article to Thanksgiving. Even Internet traffic goes down when this damned holiday comes around.
    But the doublex article is No. 2 on the site's most-read list at this hour. Way to go!
    One thing about the mussels dish, which was irresistible -- the suggestion is for as big mussels as you can find. But I disagree. The ones we ate were maybe even on the smallish side, but they were perfect. Big mussels -- a bowl of which I had at a restaurant recently -- are yucchy. Little mussels can be almost oyster-like.

  4. Ah! But we DO have the recipe for the molasses cookies and in Ethel's own handwriting. I am not sure Ethel was a WASP. The definition is elusive. She was born in Michigan in 1890, attended U of Michigan, and lived all her married life in Akron Ohio. My father, definitely a WASP, would say that if you even spent a week in Akron you could not qualify as a WASP. He always called it
    A-Cron (long A). a very waspy thing to do: distainfully butcher the name of a far off non-waspy place.

  5. I want that recipe!!! Can you photocopy it for me in Ethel's own writing? Does it really contain lard?

  6. So, are we having turkey or not?

  7. The writer of has written a superior article. I got your point and there is nothing to argue about. It is like the following universal truth that you can not disagree with: The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist. I will be back.

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