Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Now with Video!

So each year, one of my favorite newer thanksgiving traditions involves my friend Samantha and panicked phone calls. It started a few years back when she asked me for a from scratch recipe to make for her family. There was a voicemail I saved for years desperately asking about the difference between corn bread and corn muffins and that was all it took. We were both hooked. Eventually, I'll get her up to cooking the bird, but for this year, it is, by her request, gougeres.

And, since I have my shiny new camera, rather than just fabulous still pictures, I figured I'd help her out with a video demo, too.

The recipe is adapted from the French Laundry Cookbook, because that is what I served her when she had them, but you know, I think I still prefer a combination of milk and water rather than simply water. So my version would be like this:

.5 cup water
.5 cup milk
7 tablespoons (3½ ounces) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon kosher salt, or more to taste
Pinch of sugar
1¼ cups (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
4 to 5 large eggs
1¼ cups grated Gruy√®re (5 ounces) or cheddar, or cheddar and parmesan, or you know, cheese.

You'll have to find your own distractions while you wait for 10 minutes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sometimes, the big companies can do something right

If I came up with peppermint tootsie pops, I would be livin' large now. This is hands down my favorite commercially available seasonal candy. Even more good than Cadbury mini eggs. Seriously.

Monday, November 17, 2008

On Welcoming the Power of The Cookie in Your Life

It's become reflexive for so many people.

"No, no, don't do anything special for me..."

Well, why the hell not? I'm certainly guilty of it too, particularly where food is concerned. We have translated cooking into, instead of an act of community, survival, sharing and comfort, an act of effort, of time lost, of conditions and obligations. As a professional, I worry that someone will hold themselves up to impossibly high standards when really, I'm so damn flattered that you would make anything for me that you could probably poison me and I'd still say thank you. Maybe. Depends on the gentleness of the stomach pump.

And when I'm doing the cooking? Well, man, this is what I DO, how I'm wired, this is my "to be". I don't care if it is nut gluten sugar fruit chocolate dairy egg free (although that would be depressing. And tricky. Steamed rice cake, maybe?) I want to cook for you. Hell, it's a chance for me to show off, and if humans didn't want to show off they wouldn't have invented language.

The Power of the Cookie works because we are flattered by generosity when we receive it, and because we get a similar rush of good feeling when we DO it. So rather than deny myself those happy endorphins from giving to others I just bake. And it doesn't matter what time of year it is.

It's just nice that right around now, people are so much more willing to take generosity of spirit as it is offered, and enjoy it, without feeling obligation.

Now if I could just get more people to act that way in July.

sugar free sweet potato madelines

Thursday, November 13, 2008

42 Days

It doesn't seem like very much time, does it?