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cherries are more patriotic

By on Jul 7, 2013 in baking, dessert, fruit | 1 comment

I needed to make a pie. The farmer’s market was in full swing.  The 4th of July was upon us. If I followed the saying “as American as apple pie,” well… I would be out of luck. You see, this is the Midwest. Apples are still tiny little hard things dangling from craggy branches. Cherries. Cherries are in season. And yes, I could go to the grocery store and find some sad apples that were trucked in from thousands of miles away, but I would rather support my local farmer, and notably cherries are red, and the word “red” is even in our national anthem. Need I say more? Why yes, yes I do. There once was a time in our history where the government actually encouraged people to grow their own food for the greater good of the whole country. Victory Gardens from WWI and WWII. Yes, of course, agribusiness was made very nervous by these, and reportedly they did...

lemony bitchet cookies

By on Jan 8, 2013 in baking, dessert, experimenting, fail... or not | 0 comments

I know, I know… “lemony bitchet cookies? What the heck do you mean?” Well, obviously there is some reference to the delightful children’s books by the fictional Lemony Snicket wherein an unfortunate batch of orphaned siblings battle and endless string of disappointments, but still I know you are thinking, “yes, yes, but isn’t that a rather lame name for a cookie? Isn’t that a little bit much of a stretch?” And I would agree. Except it was catchy sounding and more, shall we say, ‘family-friendly’ than the alternative title I gave them. Which was “When life gives you lemons… well fuck you” cookies. Uncensored. Because who are those three asterisks after the ‘f’ really going to fool? And why, you ask? Well therein lies the story. We all know the phrase “When life gives you lemons, make...

blackberries and basil

By on Jul 29, 2012 in baking, dessert, dinner, experimenting, fruit | 0 comments

I am deeply suspicious of anyone who claims to know exactly what they want. Is it what they want right then? What they think they are supposed to want? What they wanted ten years ago but never got and are still telling themselves they want it? Does it take into account the myriad situations life throws at you that might make you reconsider everything you know? And if you achieve exactly what you want… what next? And what do you do if you can’t get what you want? Do you listen to the Rolling Stones, who sing that you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need? In the fluidity of our everyday existence, there is always uncertainty. And uncertainty is an excellent pairing for food. Yesterday morning I found myself finally with the time and means to go to the farmer’s market proper (a big one with multiple vendors, not the single...

rise of the popover

By on Jan 24, 2012 in baking, breakfast | 2 comments

After weeks of raising a wary eyebrow to the kitchen, eschewing all self-held beliefs about cooking at home and dining on an endless line of sandwiches from the local sub shop, one morning the cook arises to brilliantly cold winter sunshine. She stands in the kitchen, hair a wild mass, bleary eyes surveying the pile of dishes she neglected to do last night because she did not want to empty out the dish rack. Her eyes raise again to this strange world outside where the world appears full of light and life, and somewhere, deep in the recesses of her brain, there is a click. Dishes get put away, dirty ones get washed, and somewhere in the middle of that the oven gets heated to 425°, and a fresh clean small bowl and whisk are pulled out, and the decision to stop writing her food blog in the third person constantly is thrown out the window. One egg is cracked in, clean fresh-smelling flour...

a pot pie to summon the snow

By on Dec 18, 2011 in baking, dinner, experimenting, love | 0 comments

The calendar clearly says December. For two days a hale crisp chill permeated the atmosphere, and it seemed winter had finally arrived. And then as quickly as it came, it left in favor of strange 40 degree weather that leaves you on edge, unsure if the coat you wear out at 4PM will be heavy enough once the night descends in less than an hour, or if that pair of gloves will even be necessary. No matter. It is still the time of year for pot pie, a giant colorful pile of vegetables swimming in savory herbed sauce, topped off with a decadent layer of flaked pastry goodness. Traditionally this would be a full crust, but this particular cook loves a good biscuit. When done with a little patience, you can produce a biscuit at once light and flaky and dense and doughy, perfectly perched on the delicious melange of vegetables.   It begins with a simple layer of humble cooked potatoes,...

crispy sweet childhood

By on Dec 6, 2011 in baking, dessert, love | 0 comments

Crispy, buttery sweet dough cradles the dense chew and subtle grassiness of whole oats. Chocolate chips hide coquettishly amongst the oats, batting creamy eyelashes at the small warm bits of pecan that lie sleepily in the nooks and crannies. Joy has already been found in the slicking of the dough from beaters and fingers as haphazard piles of dough, made spiky with the whole oats, get dropped onto a waiting cookie sheet. The joy compounds when the cookies emerge, freshly baked and smelling of happiness, from the oven. There are those who swear by a chewy cookie, those who swear by a crispy, and who am I to argue with either? This is not an adherence to a strict line of cookie ethos. This is an attempt to return to the beloved cookies of my youth, the ones from before I knew about (rudimentary) baking chemistry, real butter, and parchment paper, when all that mattered was that Mom...