Thursday, May 03, 2012

Oh Isabel, I would NEVER

meat n' potatoes n' beans
Slab bacon, chorizo, greens, boiling potatoes, white beans, water, salt, heat, a couple of hours. That's the caldo Gallego from Teresa Barrenechea's Cuisines of Spain and it was a tasty, easy, and sensible weeknight meal. You could make this with any sausage, and I would vote against chorizo, or at least the greasy chorizo I bought at The Spanish Table. You could skip the slab bacon, but I wouldn't. You could use any greens, but I'd nix cabbage, which becomes water-logged and makes the house smell bad. The recipe is here, though not exactly as it appears in the book. Be sure to use boiling potatoes, which are creamier and more appealing than grainy russet potatoes in a soup like this. Also, the dish needed a lot more than 1 teaspoon of salt.

The other night Owen and I were milking Natalie when a neighbor walked by on the street with his two goats on leashes. Owen was very taken with this goat-walking concept and asked repeatedly when we could take our goats for a walk. I replied: never.

At dinner, I mentioned Owen's goat-walking idea. Isabel rolled her eyes. Then she gave me a stony look. She said, "You just want me to have a reaction to that so you can write in your blog that I rolled my eyes and gave you a stony look. You'll write: 'Owen was cheerful and eccentric and had a zany plan and then teenaged Isabel rolled her eyes and gave me a stony look.'"

I laughed. My Isabel is so smart!

Speaking of smart, this is a very intelligent post, followed by intelligent and civil debate, on the subject of raw milk.

This week I made two very good recipes, one great recipe, and one unbelievably great recipe. All non-Spanish.

First, the very good:
lemonade cookie, peanut butter-chocolate cupcake

-The lemonade cookie from Karen Barker's Sweet Stuff contains no lemonade and doesn't taste like lemonade, which was a disappointment. It just tastes like a delicious lemony sugar cookie. I'd make these again. Recipe is reprinted here.

-I must have overwhipped the frosting for the peanut butter-chocolate cupcakes from Amanda Hesser's Essential New York Times Cookbook because it curdled and didn't look so hot. But it tasted like creamed fudge. We liked the cupcakes, but liked the frosting even better. Recipe here.

Now the great:

-an 1878 recipe for johnnycake,  also from The Essential New York Times Cookbook, sounds like it will yield one large cake, but actually produces many fragile pancakes. They're trickier to fry than ordinary pancakes, so be sure to read Hesser's footnote on technique. I can't find this recipe online and don't like retyping recipes into the blog except on rare occasions. I feel like I'm stealing. But if I link to recipes reprinted without permission is it any better than printing recipes without permission? What do you think?

Finally, the unbelievably great:

-I made the breakfast pizza -- mozzarella and Parmesan, bacon, egg, chewy white crust -- from the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook a month or so ago, right after I got back from Big Sur, and I had a post half-written that I never finished. I made the pizza again this week and it was as good as the first time. I will make this again and again and again. You mix the dough the night before and while assembling the pizza the next morning is definitely harder than pouring cereal, it's not all that hard. The other day I ate a little piece for breakfast, a little piece for lunch, then a little piece for snack. It tastes even better cold than hot. I can't get the dough to stretch quite as wide as the recipe says, so my pizzas are smaller and I only use 2 eggs per pie. This is nice because you can eat the parts with egg for breakfast and the non-egg parts later in the day. (Cold eggs: yucky.) You can omit the chives, scallions, or shallots, or all three. You could even leave off the eggs, which my husband would prefer. While all the dishes I described in the post were delicious, I think this is hands down the most delicious.
love, love, love
I got the recipe out of The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook, but it also appears in The Essential New York Times Cookbook. Or you can find it right here.


  1. Would you be willing to email a johnnycake recipe to just one person? A person for whom johnnycakes are an important but lost piece of her heritage?

  2. oh yes. first thing in the morning.

  3. Sophie is always asking if we can walk the cat--I think she and Owen would get on well...the lemonade cookie looks right up our alley, and I am going to a mozzarella making party this weekend. We are trying to arrange a clandestine raw milk purchase at a local farmer's market. Hope I haven't blown our deal by mentioning it on your blog ;)

  4. Isabel has your number! That's hilarious, and she sounds delightful. Thanks for the breakfast pizza recipe. It sounds wonderful, yet very dangerous. How did you eat your johnnycakes? Plain, or like pancakes?

  5. Oops, forgot to ask. Are the New York Times Essential Cookbook and the Big Sur Cookbook on your list to review?

  6. Ginny - I doubt the authorities read this blog. Can you even walk a cat
    Beckster -- Johnnycake with syrup, definitely. And no, just cooking from other books sporadically. Not many Spanish breakfasts and cupcakes.

  7. Essentially you are dragging the cat

  8. Essentially you are dragging the cat

  9. My daughter made me call Petco and ask if they sold leashes for hamsters so she could take her rodent for a walk. I think the guy answering the phone put me on the PA because I had to repeat, "Yes, I'm looking for a HAMSTER LEASH. A leash. For a hamster!" at least three times. Well, one good (?) thing about becoming a parent, my fear of looking ridiculous is gradually eroding due to episodes such as that one.

    I love egg on pizza since having it for the first time in, yes, Spain. With a creamy blue cheese melting deliciously all over the crust, too. I can see what I'll be making for brunch this weekend.

  10. Laura Beck5/4/12, 6:27 PM

    I vote for post the recipe if it is a great one with the credits. Can you really "steal" a recipe?

  11. Thank you for linking to the raw milk article. I don't think I've ever seen such civil discourse in internet comments before.

    That breakfast pizza looks awesome.

  12. People do walk cats. There was a feature in the New York Times a while ago, complete with video

  13. So is there a trick for getting egg to cook on a pizza? I've tried it a couple of times and it either never solidifies (only a slight exaggeration) or it turns completely rock solid. I'm pretty sure there's a middle ground in there, but I have no idea how to get there.

  14. H. -- I am well aware of this problem. In the most recent pizzas, one egg was perfect and the other was totally overcooked and they were maybe an inch apart. I don't know if there's a solution to this problem, other than a better oven.

  15. I'm sorry, but I can't tell you how much better it makes me feel that you know what you're doing and yet share this problem. I just bought a new oven (convection, even), so: sigh. Try, try, again. It's great when it works, though!

  16. Isabel may roll her eyes but she is still the creator of The World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie!

  17. I think age of the eggs will also make a difference. I would definitely choose two eggs the same size, from the same carton. Of course, your eggs are likely from your hens. I don't suppose you know if they were the same age or not.

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