Saturday, January 15, 2011

I bet there are a lot of startled children out there this week

Looks like someone's baking a fruitcake.
Here's how you make Dorie Greenspan's gorgeous beggar's linguine: Boil water for pasta and melt a stick-and-a-half of butter (!) in a skillet. Add chopped almonds, pistachios, figs, and golden raisins and cook until the fruit is soft, the nuts are starting to toast, and the butter is dark gold. Cook the pasta. Drain and toss with the mixture in the skillet, making sure that every strand of linguine is coated with butter. Add a half cup of grated Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and the grated rind of an orange. Toss some more. Serve.

Magical! This is not for everyone, but it's definitely for me. If I ate this in a restaurant, I would go straight home and post a report on Chowhound about the genius chef. This dish was easy, cheap, unusual, incredibly delicious, and worth the price of Around My French Table. I will make it again soon.

So that was last night's dinner. Owen lit candles for the table, and I also served a special dessert.

I bought creme brulee dishes at a garage sale 15 years ago, back when I thought life would be full of dinner parties and creme brulee. I have never once used them. Dorie Greenspan has a creme brulee recipe and for Christmas my father gave me a torch, so it was time to dust off the old dishes. That was gratifying. I don't think I got the sugar topping thing quite right -- the shell was very, very thin. But at least there was a shell, and the cream tasted lovely. I will experiment more with this.

Sadly, while eating this nice dinner we had a big argument over what we should all watch on TV together afterwards. Because of the whole Tiger Mother business, the word "garbage" has been banging around in my head.  I would never call my children "garbage," ever, but, probably emboldened by Amy Chua, I did tell Isabel to stop being such a . . .  something else. I felt bad. I felt I was right. I felt bad. I felt I was right. I felt bad. I was right.

Harsh, but right. 

Anyway, we watched The Town. It was good. 

More Around My French Table reports:

-Greenspan's gorgonzola and apple quiche. Delightful. Not eggy -- gorgonzola-ey.

-Greenspan's cheese souffle. Also delightful. Not eggy -- cheesy. I ate so much I had to put myself to bed right after dinner. Interesting to compare Greenspan's souffle formula to Julia Child's: Greenspan uses more than twice as much gruyere, more than twice as much milk, but only slightly more egg. I prefer Greenspan's recipe.


  1. i love your post title. and i think you're right. and i want some of that pasta dish for breakfast.

  2. The pasta sounds great, unfortunately my husband always gives me strange looks when I put fruit in pasta or rice dishes.

  3. I love that pasta dish and I'm so, so happy that you did too.

  4. I usually am also of the opinion, like Colleen's husband, that fruit doesn't belong in pasta or rice dishes. But in this case it was a good marriage.
    But generally speaking I do think that raisins and such should only be eaten by themselves, and that they mar cakes, salads, pasta, rice, cookies, etc.

  5. I used to make souffles all the time. i love them. i am inspired....i will have to think about NOT making the julia child recipe.........

  6. One of the most rational and thoughtful responses I've heard is from Lisa VanDamme of the VanDamme Academy in Southern California: