There Is No Pie In Team

So far this winter I have made four separate arrangements with a babysitter so we could go out and enjoy ourselves like people with lives and social skills are wont to do, and I have had to cancel four out of four times due to illness of child. It’s frustrating, to say the least, so I’m giving up hope of going out and doing anything fun other than by myself until summer rolls around.

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Thanksgiving 2012

Consistent with the tradition in this house, there was no turkey for Thanksgiving. Turkey is boring and hard to cook well unless you take it apart. We did, however, have Milo’s awesome Lego turkey as part of the centerpiece. Also keeping with tradition around here, the meal was a seven-course exploration of whatever perfervid visions had swum into my insomniac mind during the preceding week. It’s funny; I was listening to the radio as I made the dough for the foie gras oreos—one such idea—and the guest was saying something like “The key to a stress-free Thanksgiving is never to cook something new for the first time when people are coming over.” I think that takes all the fun out of it; three out of the seven courses were things I just made up and figured wouldn’t suck.

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Crêpe Fear

I have a pepper thing that I’ll post tomorrow if we have power, but in the meantime, for all you non-Northeast dwellers, here’s a picture of a crêpe filled with apricot jam and topped with maple-calvados tinged whipped cream and the last fall raspberries. I’m slowly weaning the family off of pancakes and getting them into the many versatile joys of crêpes, especially the one savory and then one sweet format that makes for a pretty satisfying brunch.

Cup and a half of flour, same of milk, three eggs, half a stick (or more, if you want) of melted butter and a fat pinch of salt. Whisk it all together hard until frothy. Let it rest for half an hour if you can, then ladle it into a buttered iron skillet and tilt it around to spread into a thin circle. Flip it when the bubbles fix on top. Schmear half with filling, fold twice, top if applicable, eat. Makes . . . → Read More: Crêpe Fear

Time To Make The Doughnuts

Last year, Milo told me that instead of a birthday cake he wanted an Eiffel tower made of éclairs. So I made one. It was lopsided and barely held together with bamboo skewers and ganache, but it killed; the 7-year olds in attendance were blown away and laid gleeful waste to it. This time around, I was informed that instead of cake he wanted his name spelled out in homemade doughnuts. So I made them. Keep reading Time To Make The Doughnuts…

Pudding On The Ritz

When it comes to the subject of desserts, having a child around the house is a lot like having a crackhead with a law degree as a roommate. The incessant negotiations, bargaining, and meticulous parsing of every word in a simple phrase like “If you eat your dinner” are exhausting in the extreme. How much of the dinner? During what time frame? Will the quantity of sugar correlate with the volume or percentage of dinner consumed? Can we renegotiate these terms after a nonzero percentage of said dinner has been consumed, pursuant to the the stipulation that the painful levels of hunger expressed during the preparation of said meal have in fact vanished mysteriously, leaving only a tiny amount of hunger that is exactly equal to the quantity of dessert, but no more? Will there be seconds?

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Cake Effects

I dislike Tim Burton’s movies pretty intensely; his cheesy goth aesthetic reminds me too much of people I went to college with and his wanton mutilation of classic children’s stories is arrogant and disrespectful to artists much greater than he. (The suckiness of the rewrites doesn’t help). Nonetheless, this cake is pretty cool. If more cakes were scary and too awesome to eat, the Internet would be a . . . → Read More: Cake Effects

Le Prince D’Aquitaine À La Tour Abolie

I reread my France posts recently, and it already feels sort of like if it happened to someone else, especially the early ones (since I was so jetlagged). And there are still so many photos and so much information left to process. Since the freshness of the experience fades in inverse proportion to said processing, future posts in the “Things What I Learned In France” department are likely to be less literal and more an organic assimilation of the information I absorbed while there. This post is about an homage to Gascony that popped into my head as I unwrapped the many goodies I had stashed in my luggage, including a sampler of the Chapolards’ charcuterie–saucisson sec, saucisse sèche, and noix de jambon–which Dominique graciously gave me and which somehow ended up swaddled in plastic bags and dirty laundry and buried deep in the recesses of my suitcase for the trip home.

I kid, of course; bringing those things home would have been illegal. Also, there was the Armagnac. And the prunes, and the Tarbais bean and Espelette pepper seeds, and pistachio oil and truffle salt and other items that would be at the top of your must-have list if your plane happened to disappear into the Bermuda Triangle and leave you stranded on some desert island somewhere like in a certain TV show that actually managed to be more annoying than Twin Peaks. I’m all about the pragmatism.

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“It sits as lightly on a heavy meal as it does on your conscience.”

We ended up owning a vast cooler full of fruit pursuant to an under-attended neighborhood function recently, and the poor fridge was jammed to the rafters with watermelon and bowls of grapes and such. This highly non-local windfall was begging to have its volume consolidated, since the arrival of fruit fly season meant that keeping any of it outside the fridge for any length of time was a non-starter. I figured that the quickest way to compact it all would be to purée it (juicing not being an option since we haven’t replaced the broken juicer yet). And then there was all that gelatin in the cupboard.

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Sensitive Yet Masculine

Last week I read about peony jelly, and coming as it did on the heels of my lilac ice cream, I was excited to give peonies a shot. Our peony grows right next to one of the lilacs that I ravaged to make the ice cream, so given the lamentably short period of lilacular splendor it’s nice to know that other flowers can be used for similarly elegant culinary purposes. I’m not quite mentally ready to make jelly, though–it’s more of a mid/late summer thing in my mind–and since the lilacs all crapped out before I got to make crème brûlée with them I figured that peonies would work pretty nicely in their place.

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La Porte Des Lilas

A few years ago I read that lilacs are edible, so I made lilac ice cream. Now it’s become a bit of a tradition, and since today would have been my Mother’s sixty-sixth birthday, the timing is pretty evocative.

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Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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