But also, here is a photo of the dog.
This used to be, as a friend once described it, a blog about food and pictures of my dog. It’s evolved a little bit away from that in the past few years, but here’s a roundup of some of the recipes I’ve made over the last few months, partly inspired by my reading and by the new cookbook club I started at the library.
Tsimmes from Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten: Fine, but not as good as the tsimmes my friend brought to Rosh Hashanah last fall; I should have used her recipe. I tried the Barefoot Contessa’s because (a) it took less time, and (b) that was the cookbook club book.
Pita chips from The Food52 Cookbook: As advertised: better than store-bought chips. I made these to bring to the first cookbook club.
Pasta with tomato sauce and cheese, with a side of Brussels sprouts in the cast iron on the stove top: first time I’d made Brussels sprouts in a while, I forgot how good they are. (Not that good left over. Get ’em while they’re hot and crispy.) This isn’t really a special recipe but it’s here as proof that I don’t use my kitchen solely to bake cookies.
“Green casserole”: I don’t particularly enjoy munching on spinach leaves and neither, it turns out, does my two-year-old, but we will both happily eat “green pasta.” 1. Cook any short/medium shape of pasta as usual. 2. Put a whole bag of spinach in the food processor with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and one clove of garlic. 3. Drain pasta, and while the empty pot is still warm, add a couple tablespoons of butter, some milk or cream, grated cheese, and salt and pepper to taste, then mix in the spinach. 4. Add the pasta back into the pot and stir to coat. 5. Optional: add more milk or cream, dump it all into a casserole dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 minutes. If you do this, make sure you take the pasta out when it’s al dente, or it may get too mushy.
Winter vegetable crunch: My friend brought me some salad she’d made, a combination of Brussels sprouts and carrots, and it was delicious. I borrowed her recipe (lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, mustard) and used purple cabbage and rainbow carrots. Everything into the food processor! This was the first time I bought a cabbage. (It goes a long way. This would be a good salad to serve if you have a lot of people coming over.)
See also: pizza (below)
Last-minute chocolate cake from Garlic & Sapphires by Ruth Reichl: The cake didn’t rise much (not even all the way to the top of the bread tin). It was good warm, but not great leftover – definitely needed ice cream or whipped cream. Probably wouldn’t make again, but will try “Nicky’s Vanilla Cake” from the same book.
Pear clafouti from Wintersweet: This recipe called for cranberries also but was very, very good with just pear. I’ve made it both ways now. Easy and delicious.
Oatmeal raisin cookies from Flour (again, and again, and again)
Pumpkin cookies from Martha Stewart Cookies: Like all pumpkin cookies I’ve ever made, a little wet and cakey, though the flavor was good.
Pumpkin “bread” (cake) from my mom’s recipe, with the caramel icing from Faulknerian Family Spice Cake from The Food52 Cookbook (minus about a cup of confectioner’s sugar): This pumpkin bread really doesn’t need icing, but I made it in muffin tins (halve the baking time) for my daughter’s second birthday party, and, well, cupcakes should have a little icing. It was a good combination.
“Easy as pie” Apple cake from the New York Times: A friend brought this over for brunch and this was the recipe she used. I think I made it too, afterward, but I don’t remember. Apple cakes are usually pretty foolproof.
French toast: French toast seems fancy but is actually very easy. Soak bread in egg/milk/vanilla mixture, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and cook it on both sides over medium heat till golden-brown. Slice some bananas into the pan with butter too so they caramelize and put them on top, or use fresh fruit.
Guinness Brown Bread from Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten: The bread fell apart when I tried to turn it out of the loaf tin. Flavor was OK but not outstanding. Rather than make this again I’d just make Boston brown bread.
Cranberry orange bread from America’s Test Kitchen: My mom brought me some fresh cranberries from the Cape and this was one of the ways I used them (see also: pear clafouti). If you only have dried cranberries, soak them in water or juice before adding them to the batter.
Banana bread from Flour (again)
Sprinkle cookies from Smitten Kitchen: A friend made these for our December book club/cookie swap and they were so much better than sprinkle cookies usually are that I made a batch a few days later. So good – and fun for kids to roll the balls of dough in the sprinkles!
ACTUAL BREAD from King Arthur Flour’s recipe for Pain de Mie. One of my goals for 2018 was to start baking sandwich bread instead of buying bread at the grocery store, and I tackled it on January 1. It came out beautifully! (For years I have been avoiding any recipe that called for active dry yeast, after being burned – not literally – too many times by less-than-active yeast. No more!)
Emboldened by my success with the sandwich bread, I made pizza dough from Smitten Kitchen tonight: her “rushed” version from the first book takes about six minutes to put together and has just a 30-minute rise, so it is actually manageable for dinner without much planning ahead. We topped it with pasta sauce, Italian herbs, shredded mozzarella, black olives, and kale.
She quickly mastered the ancient art of putting olives on one’s fingers