Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recipes recipes recipes

Everything that can be frosted is now frosted.
Some of the best dishes to come out of my kitchen in the last year were cooked in the last 10 days. Since I have no stories to tell today, I’ll just describe the food and link you to some excellent recipes: 

-After the flaming bananas foster at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, this "fancy pants" banana pudding is the most delicious banana dessert I’ve ever eaten. I flagged the recipe in Salon a few years ago and finally got around to making it last week for a family party. It was lots of work and monumentally fattening, but worth it. The recipe says it serves four "demurely" so I doubled it for nine. Don’t do this! Francis Lam must hang out with sumo wrestlers. We gave leftover pudding to the neighbors and were eating banana pudding for days and days. Ladies, are you prejudiced against Jessica Simpson’s clothing line? Until I tried on one of her sweater dresses -- flattering, affordable, jaunty, even sort of elegant -- I was a horrible snob about Jessica Simpson clothes. I decided to wear my cherished Jessica Simpson sweater dress today for the very first time. I lay in bed this morning happily thinking, today's the day. I put on the dress. Too tight in the arms. Banana pudding.  

-This pork roast out of Real Cajun by Donald Link is juicy, flavorful, and cheap. My sister said, “Don’t you feel that when you cook a pork shoulder you somehow end up making money?” Yes. Pork shoulder is a magic cut. This isn’t the usual cook-until-it-falls-apart pork shoulder recipe (bo ssam, pulled pork, carnitas) but a bona fide tied-up roast infused with the mighty flavors of garlic, fennel, rosemary, salt, and pepper. My father, who is not a man to use such words, called it “succulent.”

-Isabel baked some Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies. They're all over the internet and look stupid and gimmicky and they are stupid and gimmicky, but they’re also delicious. And filling. You eat one and you can’t even think about eating another until the next day. I like a cookie with a built-in stopping mechanism. You should try these. Unfortunately, Isabel has been too busy to show me the exact recipe she used. She told me to do an image search for Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies and the first picture that appeared would take me to the recipe. Maybe that's it, maybe it isn't.

-Last summer in Peru I met a British woman who casually mentioned a Stilton and broccoli soup she makes using her Vitamix. It was one of those concepts that I couldn't get out of my head. I came home and immediately bought a Vitamix. Last week I finally made broccoli and Stilton soup using a Nigella Express recipe and my Vitamix. It's a fabulous soup. Although. Although it really isn’t as good as plain Stilton. I ate bits of Stilton as I was crumbling it for the soup and it seemed criminal to dump this perfect, voluptuous cheese into a big pot of broccoli and broth. Have you eaten plain Stilton lately? Make it happen. And when you’ve had enough plain Stilton, make the soup. I don’t know why Nigella calls for "garlic-infused olive oil" when you can just put smashed garlic cloves into the oil as it heats. Also, this soup needs lots of salt.

-Owen’s Mandarin class got these maple-brown sugar oatmeal cookies for snack yesterday. You need maple sugar to make them and I wouldn't go out and buy it just for these, but if you have some in the cupboard, go for it. They're chewy and hearty and have the icing of a Starbucks maple nut scone. I used maple extract in the icing per the instructions, but next time wouldn’t. So artificial tasting. I used to like that brash artificiality, but am growing up. The Mandarin kids ate all the cookies and they also ate all of our bread. I’ve been hiding everything I don’t want them to eat. It had not occurred to me they would eat a loaf of bread.

-Last night, I made creamy quinoa soup, something I’d tasted in Peru and loved. I chose this recipe  from Barbara Kafka’s Soup: A Way of Life (I can’t see that title without rolling my eyes) which looked about right, even though it's Ecuadorian. Very tasty, rib-sticking, chowdery vegetarian soup. Not as wonderful as the soup I had in Peru, but nothing I make at home is ever as good as what I eat on vacation. 

I don't know what I'm making for dinner tonight or what cookbook I'm cooking from next or if maybe it's time to come up with a new organizing principle for the blog. I'm sitting here at the library wondering if I should work this afternoon or go see Captain Phillips. It seems like a waste of a flexible work life -- or should I say "work" life? -- if I just sit in the library on a sunny fall day when I could be sitting in a pitch black movie theatre. 
This won't surprise you, but the Safeway version of the cronut was dry, stale, bad.

25 comments:

  1. I made some choices about what food I'm going to stuff in my mouth this week and the oreo stuffed cookies make me question all of these choices.

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    1. They would test anyone's resolve.

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  2. How was Captain Phillips? I'm just taking a wild guess that you went...

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    1. Timing wasn't right so I saw (or tried to see) All is Lost. HORROR MOVIE. For me, anyway. Terrifying, that raging ocean. Much more frightening than Somali pirates. I had to leave after 30 minutes.

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  3. I still haven't made it to Dominique Ansel at 4am for a cronut, but there is a bakery on 32nd Street {Paris Baguette} that sells a horrifically greasy, but crunchy and delicious knockoff.

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    1. I LOVE Paris Baguette--makes me remember Seoul

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    2. I am unfamiliar with both Dominique Ansel and Paris Baguette. New York? Seoul?

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  4. Hi TipsyBaker! About a year ago, I played with the Books app on my phone and discovered your book. I bought the book immediately when the sample ran out, I liked it so much. And then I found this blog, and have creeped you since.

    I think I was biased to like you since I learned about the premise of your book, because FROZEN PB&J??? and I have wondered about the cost/merit of making stuff homemade too. From there it is easy to actually like you, cause you're a thoughtful, observant writer. Thanks for sharing your stories.

    Kristen

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  5. At least those cronuts are 4 for $5. I tried my first one here in Orange County: $4.00 for one. I ate it for lunch, figuring it was at least the same amount of calories. Very delicious. Remember to have them warm it up for you first though.

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    1. Four dollars is what a good cronut costs here, too. It's a lot, isn't it? I'm waiting for market forces to bring it down.

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  6. Donuts are good, croissants are good, eclairs are good. I was prepared to like cronuts, so I bought one at the culinary school bake sale. I love to eat other items they make, so I think the source is good. Does any one else think that not only are cronuts bad, they are a bad idea?

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    1. I've had 2 makes of cronut. The Safeway cronuts are terrible and if I'd eaten those first I might never have tried again. But the kind you can buy at this weird surf board shop/cafe in our town are fantastic. They're crispy, light, and filled with pastry cream. Made by Beth's.

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    2. Okay, I will try again, but it would be wiser in so many ways if I just rejected them at this point.

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  7. I just linked to that banana pudding recipe and am thrilled--that lady has the same complaint I do: who got the idea that vanilla pudding with sliced bananas in it can be called banana pudding? Thanks for that link, I'm excited to eat my own weight in banana pudding.

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    1. I thought of you when I made this.

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  8. I love love love broccoli soup, but I use cheddar (the Cooks Illustrated version with a bit of spinach and parmesan.) And I don't buy the extra extra sharp kind, but the kind that's already shredded in a bag from Trader Joe's, called just "sharp." I know it's lazy, but last time I made it I bought pre-chopped broccoli in bags and pre-shredded cheese, and used frozen chicken stock which I always seem to have endless deli cups of in my freezer, and grated parmesan from a tub, and even frozen spinach. Lazy but wise, because thus I didn't consider it a big deal to make, so I did make it. And now I have delicious soup in the freezer. (And I'm going to admit that I also used a dumb little plastic container of chopped onion and shallots. Shameful.)

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    1. No, no, no, not shameful! You're the one who made me stop feeling bad about buying peeled garlic. You can't change your mind now. I love those prepped vegetables. I just wish TJ's would do a better job with their pre-chopped kale. They don't take it off the thick, woody stems before chopping so it is useless in a salad.

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    2. I love peeled garlic, and sometimes I think it's warranted to buy chopped onions just so you can throw everything together without breaking out the cutting board. But I feel a little bad because it's a waste of a plastic container.

      I hate the kale at Trader Joe's! You have to pick through each piece and remove the stem. It's worse than useless. I'm growing my own this year. I had a red Russian kale plant given to me by a friend that I studiously ignored until it was suddenly a big, beautiful plant and I made salads every day until it gave out mid-summer. (Anchovy-lemon dressing, roasted hazelnuts and aged gouda--best salad I've ever had; stole the idea from a hipster spot in Brooklyn I ate at last year.) So I planted a whole six-pack of red Russian kale and intend to baby them.

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    3. I tried planting kale this fall, but the chickens dug it up. I have a planter on the deck and I'm going to try it there, where I've been having big success w. lettuce. I'm going to try your kale salad which sounds delicious. I eat kale salad every day and have a great formula, but don't want to wear it out.

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    4. Yum - what's your kale salad recipe?

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    5. Hi Vicky,
      Two bunches kale, thinly shredded. I like the frizzy kind and usually use a bunch of that and a bunch of the flat dark kind for variety. Nuts, toasted. Raisins or other dried fruit. Chopped apple. Ricotta salata or feta. Lemon and olive oil dressing. It keeps for a few days so you can eat it whenever you're hungry and it satisfies the whole range of cravings -- for crunchy, salty, sweet, fruity, substantial.

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    6. That kale salad also sounds really good. I'll try that next.

      I, too, thinly shred, practically chiffonade, the kale, then massage it to break it down a little. When I had the salad in the Brooklyn cafe, I was confused by how tender the kale was until my friend clued me in that it gets a massage! Kale is so sturdy it keeps even after being massaged and dressed (but the roasted hazelnuts go soggy, so I add those portion by portion.) I do not know when my obsession with this salad will end.

      So far the chickens are ignoring the kale, mostly because they have been happily digging up my new herb bed instead. I anticipate chive-flavored eggs any day now.

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  9. Love reading through your blog! Have you had a chance to look through New Midwestern Table by Amy Thielen? It's my new obsession. Would love to see your take :)

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    1. I'll check it out. I've never seen it.

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