The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is often a blur of lights, sugar and parties. But at some point during the days of turning out cookie dough and shaking up wintery cocktails, I think you should slow down and make chocolate pudding.
Pudding is a classic dessert, but when did you last make it? I find it quite elegant in its simplicity, and it's appropriate for special occasions. Just right for December. An old-fashioned dessert for the most nostalgic time of the year. ...
The truth is I don't remember seeing stuffing on the Thanksgiving table. We had turkey every year, and I know there was cranberry sauce. Potatoes, always. Mashed or scalloped and afloat between thick layers of butter and cheese. But stuffing? I can't picture it and if it was on the table I'm not sure who in our family would have cooked it.
You may think, what the heck does this girl from Miami know? A girl from a city where they call it "Sangiving" and the traditional American staples of this holiday might share a table with gallo pinto, taquitos, and tres leches....
Plums, apples, peppers, I want to galette you all up.
Pate brisee, the French version of classic pie or tart pastry, and I are going to be friends for a long time. The thing is it's just so easy. A few whirls in my stand mixer, and it's done. How could I not keep rolling out this dough?
Used in a quiche, this dough bakes up beautifully flaky and crisp, even on the bottom.
Galettes, flat round cakes of pastry, are pie-ish without having to deal with lattice or crimped corners. I'm taking good fruit, slicing it and tucking it into slabs of dough. Rustic, I suppose — simple and beautiful without being perfect....
Cheese and crackers are fair game for entertaining, and I'd be pleased with a good Gouda or something triple cream and soft with fancy crackers. But why not step it up?
Dressing up a cheese platter doesn't take much more effort. The holidays are imminent, and I'd like to offer a trick to keep up your sleeve: Baked Feta With Blackberry and Rosemary Compote. Test it on a few friends this weekend and you'll have a go-to appetizer for the season....
After many dinners together, I can tell you Danny is a soup hero.
He is always willing to whip up soup, and though it may seem unlikely, the soups we've shared are some of my favorite meals. They're modest, as he'll tell you. Nothing too fancy. Soup is not necessarily made to impress; it's simply a homemade meal to feed, comfort and nourish you, and to let you know that you are loved. When it's raining all afternoon or you've caught the inevitable cold, it's all you want....
In most parts of the United States, tomatoes say summer and squash screams fall. Those are easy. But what's the season for peppers? They always seem to be available at the grocery store and never arouse the fervor seen for other seasonal treats, like peaches or strawberries. So let me tell you, bell peppers are at their best in late summer. Right now.
I know this because an increasing number of varieties are front and center at the market. Purple bell peppers have joined the usual red, green, orange and yellow. Baskets of tiny sweet peppers about the size of cherries are on display, which are now in my kitchen awaiting culinary inspiration....
Roasted vegetables are a staple in our home. Anything in the crisper drawer may end up slicked with oil, scattered on a baking sheet and sent into the oven. The results are always worth it, not that it's not much work on our part. Roasted tomatoes are a no-brainer right now, and they are easy enough to toss into pasta or salads for a quick weekday meal.
Still, I feel like I've been doing it all wrong....
By the time I was halfway through my pile of cherries, the tips of my fingers were already stained a deep shade of red.
Cherries are in season (at $1.99 a pound some places!) and they are sweet, plump, and what I want for breakfast or dessert.
Last week's cherries were off to the oven. It was only four days after finding a recipe for a whole-grain skillet crisp on the food blog, a Sweet Spoonful, that we had a skillet full of bubbling cherries on our table. The 20-minute cooling time was a terrible wait....
There were peaches on the counter that would not be ignored. You could smell them before seeing them and they demanded something more grand than our morning oatmeal.
A cornmeal skillet cake has been on my to-make list for a while, and this low-maintenance cake that only bakes for about 20 minutes hit the spot. Peach slices float in browned butter at the bottom of the skillet, almost syrupy, before thick batter is spooned over the top. The crumb bakes up tender and the cake is heavy with the perfume of ripe seasonal fruit, herbs and the nuttiness of browned butter....
Not everyone flips out over black beans. Pinto beans don't typically ignite passions. Lima beans don't get much love.
But chickpeas are a different story.
Their popularity has surged. You're likely to find them anywhere, any time, and on any table. Fried. Braised. Slicked with oil for a simple salad. On the pages of the hottest cookbooks, including the beautiful books of chef Yotam Ottolenghi. There's even chickpea flour....
I wouldn't ask you to crank up the oven right now if it wasn't worth it.
My AC is struggling to get our apartment to a temperature lower than 75 degrees, but I want you to set the oven to 450 degrees. Just for 20 minutes or so.
Your whole meal will be on the table in less than an hour.
The resulting tofu and vegetable dinner is fresh, fragrant with citrus, and spiced. It's filling but light, which is my preference for most meals during the summer. Once assembled, the dish is beautiful with shades of red, green, and purple, and it is as flavorful as it is colorful. Let it brighten up lunch on a cloudy summer day....
Someone in my home has jam envy. And it's not me.
There was a night when I was out of town and Danny stayed up stirring until he ended up with eight large jars of strawberry-rhubarb jam, except that this batch never quite thickened. We forgot about jam for a while. But June brought apricots, and now there's a batch of my jam in the fridge. It's been a part of breakfast (and dessert) ever since. ...
Bacon, herbs and potatoes. Nobody has to work very hard to sell this one.
This is potato salad the way I prefer it, without a jar of mayonnaise in sight. Vinegar and mustard stand in, giving the salad a sharper, fresher taste. We'll use those perfect little red potatoes. Don't even think about wasting time removing the skins. They add texture and nutrition.
Thyme, chives, rosemary and parsley bring color and vibrancy to this picnic standard. The bacon vinaigrette is irresistible, especially when dotted with whole mustard seeds and infused with thyme. A pat of butter thickens the vinaigrette into a more silky consistency right before you pour it over the steaming potatoes, ready to soak up all the flavor. ...
Reagan calls dibs on adding the sugar.
Barely taller than the blender resting on the counter, she carefully pours a tablespoon of the white granules in with the raspberries and calcium lactate.
Then it's her father's turn. Steven Finch gently places small scoops of the now blended raspberry mixture into a sodium alginate bath.
Reagan roots for success. She cheers when she sees the raspberry ravioli hold its shape as expected in reverse spherification....
A bag of frozen peas belongs in every freezer.
You might sprain your toe (painful for at least a good month) and a bag of frozen peas make a decent ice pack that conforms to the shape of your foot. Not that I would know. A bag of frozen peas, quick to thaw, is more importantly always ready to perk up a meal. Stir it into pasta and dinner is instantly more vivid and appealing. Or you could make a quick soup that tastes like it cooked for much longer than it did. You could purée the peas with mint and olive oil to create a stunning spread for bruschetta....