The Apple Pie Cake (and a few warnings on working with fondant)

posted in: Desserts, Recipes, Regrets | 1

Last weekend was Karol and Dave’s wedding. And Karol — as evidenced by numerous blog posts chronicling her bake-off victories — is a master of making apple pie. The perfect golden crusts, tall mounds of apple-y ooze, and her signature crimped, lattice-woven tops, were the delight of many parties she has treated myself and friends to throughout the years. I wanted to honor that at her wedding somehow. But a wedding must have cake.

Hearty, Meaty Pasta Bolognese (and a failed attempt at a vegetarian version)

There was nothing I was craving more than a luscious red sauce studded with slow-cooked morsels of meat this chilly fall week. This is a diversion from my everyday, quick-cooking routine, which has lately been focused on what fall vegetables are still in season. But, it was cold out, and I had weekend time to spare. A hearty, meaty, proper bolognese sauce was calling like a wintry elf in red stockings. But…

Beet and Melon Salad (and A Lesson On Losing)

Being burglarized is not fun. You come home, find out someone’s snuck in through your window, pushing around your tomato plants on the fire escape to steal your stuff inside. I lost my Macbook Pro, and a camera. No, not fun. But what they didn’t steal were my plants, my food, my goshdarn enthusiasm for all that, and a crusty laptop tucked in the closet, going seven years strong.

Mission Impossible?: Whole Wheat Croissants

posted in: Regrets, Ruminations | 28

I am not a pastry chef. I’ve only begun to work with yeast in the last two years, tinkering mostly with pizza doughs and a little lazy-cook sensation called No-Knead Bread. I’ve never attempted to make my own croissants. So, foolishly, I thought I’d skip ahead that French classic and try to make whole wheat croissants instead (which I have never laid eyes on professionally-made). Following that train of illogic, we come to the only logical conclusion: that they turned … Read More

The Scotch Bonnet Black Beans Disaster

posted in: Recipes, Regrets | 13

I love it when people who are not necessarily big cooks tell me about a recipe they crafted themselves. It’s usually peppered with personal experience, and told in a way that reveals their trial and error with the ingredients and overall pride for its deliciousness. This type of story fell on my lap recently when an acquaintance emailed me his recipe for black beans and brown rice. It was simple, but fresh somehow. He insisted on starting out with dried … Read More

Beet Budino No-No

posted in: Regrets | 12

First things first, happy New Year. I trust that everyone’s risen from bed and had their hair of the dog by now. For those who’ve been up longer, I hope that your New Year’s Day dessert experience went better than mine. Or perhaps the word would be more “fruitful” than mine. Because my first culinary lesson of 2008 is that beets and sweets are not exactly interchangeable.

White Pepper Ice Cream

I got an ice cream maker. I was watching the episode of Good Eats all about premium ice cream and how simple it was to make, and the next day I ran out to buy an ice cream maker. For $50 I’ll never have to go to the corner bodega to grab a pint of Haagen-Dazs again — sweet. The first batch, a basic vanilla ice cream made from the recipe in the Cuisinart machine’s instruction booklet, was refreshing, sweet, … Read More

The Nightmare that became Christmas Dinner

posted in: Regrets | 8

I’ve finally garnered the nerve to document my ill-fated cooking adventure on Christmas. I’d had a half-baked notion this year of roasting a chicken stuffed with sticky glutinous rice spiked with Chinese sausage, shittake mushrooms, and other seasonings commonly found in a zongzi, or bamboo leaf-wrapped rice dumpling. The original idea was to serve this in individual Cornish hens, but after taking a glance at the tennis ball-sized fowl wrapped in plastic in the grocery store, I realized that this … Read More