The Bake Off: Canelé, Caramel Tart, Chocolate Raspberry Star and a Giveaway

It’s been icy, snowy, cold and not at all hospitable. I baked all weekend, because nothing says happy like the smell of baked goods in the oven. I wobbled through my first experience with canelé. I made a sensational and surprisingly simple caramel chocolate tart. And then I baked for Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. Two days of baking. Thousands of calories. Highs and lows. It was a dramatic three days in the kitchen. I’ve long been a canelé fan but once I tasted an official canelé in their Bordeaux birthplace, I was a goner.  [I thank Kate Hill for this education, in addition to all my porky-knowledge.]   This little sweet packs a punch. It’s got everything I’ve ever wanted in a pastry.There’s that crackly crunchy caramel crust, rich […]

our rib sticking breakfast: polenta, egg and cheese

This morning, I was feeling particularly clever as I assembled polenta cakes, a brown butter fried egg and shavings of excellent cheese into a breakfast we needed to face the day. It starts the night before, so serve polenta tonight with your favorite braise. Make extra. Tomorrow, fashion it into griddle cakes. Fry them hard in a hot pan with grapeseed oil. Salt and Pepper. In another pan, brown some butter. Use good butter. I used my homemade butter which browns beautifully. Fry a stunning egg, perhaps a pale green beauty from Painted Hand Farm. Salt and Pepper. Shower it all with a ridiculous amount of Pecorino shaved with a vegetable peeler into long ribbons. Dive in. Think about adding sautéed mushrooms. Or a layer of flash fried pea shoots. Or some of last […]

bo ssam: a party in a flash

Why Bo Ssam? It’s been cold, gray, snowy and miserable. That’s it. I call a halt on weather talk. Instead, let’s talk party food. Because we’ve all been holed away at home for too long and socializing is an important part of getting through the worst of these dark months. Start with a pork shoulder. (When is that not a good idea?) At least, that’s how I felt mid-week last week when I started thinking about Bo Ssam, a recipe I’ve wanted to make since I first read Momofuku. the excellent and adventurous cookbook from David Chang and Peter Meehan. The recipe is available online from the New York Times, and Sam Sifton does a great job explaining why you want to make it. Once the recipe appeared there, bloggers and […]

Happy Gotcha Day, Morty!

One year ago, this little skinny miniature schnauzer came to us. We named him Morty. He had been dropped off at the shelter, two years old, never groomed, and not neutered. Two days later, everything changed. He was, er, fixed, groomed (shaved), driven three hours and handed over to us. He arrived with the Polar Vortex. He needed a sweater. Louie is happy to have a friend, and in no time at all they have become inseparable. Morty perfects the “look”.   And he patrols the front door. Welcome home, little guy. We’re so glad you’re here. Happy gotcha day.

pineapple papaya salsa

I’ll admit, I struggled with the name. It’s a little jammy in texture, but acts like a condiment. Whatever it is, I’m in love with this pineapple papaya salsa (a word which, by the way, just means sauce, so I call this salsa, ok?) Honestly, I’m not even sure if it falls in the savory or sweet column. Tropical fruit always calls to me around this time of year. It’s bleak and gray and precipitating outside. Walk into the grocery store and there are faux tiki carts in the produce section. What am I supposed to do when they taunt me,  filled with pineapple, mango, banana. Plantains often end up there. Ugli fruit and other citrus. I hang around the cart wishing for a daiquiri […]

how to eat (a lot of) black radish

About a million years ago, long before I ever thought I would write a blog, let alone a book, I was invited to a friend’s home for Passover. Jean had a family, two kids, a dog, a house and school pickups and all those other things that I, single girl, city dweller, didn’t even have on my radar screen. The dinner was sensational. The foods, some traditional and familiar to me, others new experiences. The dinner was better than any I ever had at my grandmother’s table (sorry, Gran). (Except maybe the chopped liver because that was my grandmother’s God-given gift: the lightest chopped liver in the world. Sorry, Jean.) Jean served a black radish spread/condiment before the meal, alongside the chopped liver. I couldn’t get enough […]