"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Chicken in Pumpkin Seed Sauce

Looking for a way to spice up your life in the midst of all this snow? Why not give Chicken in Pumpkin Seed Sauce a whirl?

I have to warn you though, right off the bat. This is not the dish to jump into if you're pressed for time. It says it takes 1.5 hours, but given all the various kitchen implements you have to use, I'd say 2 just to be on the safe side.

Of course, I jumped into this dish while pressed for time.

Ay Carumba--(I get to say that because this is a Mexican dish)--you boil the chicken in one pot, toast the pumpkin seeds in a pan, roast some spices in the same pan, grind the seeds and the spices in a grinder (more on that later), boil the tomatillos and serranos in another pot, grind the onion and garlic in the blender, add the tomatillos and serranos, put that mix in another pot (hopefully one of the ones you've used already), add chicken stock (from your boiling chicken) and Oh Yeah, don't forget you're supposed to be also roasting the poblano under your broiler after which you're going to grind THAT in the blender with chx stock and cilantro while in the meantime you're boiling the tomatillo stuff with the ground pumpkin seeds for a while and then you put the whole mess over the chicken (which you've removed from the stock) and throw it in the oven. Then run off to whatever class (mine was karate) and hope your husband remembers to take it OUT of the oven.


OK, now speaking of "phew", here's another thing to warn you about. This is one of those dishes where the spices come through in your sweat. We've got onion, garlic, allspice, clove, cilantro, pepper (three kinds), and cumin. So all I'm saying is, make sure your bedmate eats some too. I never was so happy to take a shower the next day, 'cause can I just tell you, people, about the combination of karate sweat and Chicken in Pumpkin Seed Sauce sweat? Not pretty.

Oh, how did it taste?

Totally awesome. I would make it again in a second. In fact, I'm planning on having some for lunch.

P.S. Do not use your husband's expensive $200 burr grinder with which he meticulously grinds his coffee to grind your pumpkin seeds and spices. Here's why:

1. he will kill you
2. the motor gets too hot and your pumpkin seeds will turn to pumpkin butter
3. this makes it very hard to clean and get all the pumpkin seed debris out of the grindy thing, even if you take it all apart.
4. see #1

Easier to use a food processor.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Burnt Orange Ice Cream & Clam, Bacon and Potato Pie

Lest you worry I've been setting off the smoke alarms again, the "burnt" in Burnt Orange Ice Cream refers to the caramelization process of the sugar and orange rind that provides the base for this luscious dessert. (and yes, yet another recipe in the book that calls for caramel) My only issue with making this ice cream was that I have very dark anodized cookware and it's hard to see what color the sugar is turning...I had to keep snatching some out with a fork and dropping it in a measuring cup to evaluate it. I think in hindsight I could have let it cook a little longer, but it was still a wonderful orange-y ice cream...not too far, actually, from those Creamsicles of my childhood. And great over brownies, which is how I served them to my book group.


There's no big mystery to Clam, Bacon and Potato Pie--it's essentially Clam Chowder Pot Pie. Now, this seems weird for some reason when you mention it to people, but c'mon--this is a nation raised on frozen chicken and beef pot pies--why not clam pies too? Expand your horizons, you can do it!!

And of course it's delicious, and why wouldn't it be with a buttery homemade pie crust? The chowder is thick and infused with thyme, and it's got bacon, also known as Best Secret Ingredient Ever.

Dr. S. LOVED this, but Mrs. S., again worried about her figure, just pushed it around her plate. It's funny, she'll eat 12 oz. of clam chowder for lunch, but put it in a pie shell and she won't touch it.

Here's a photo of the pie, right out of the oven.

Neither of these recipes are on Epicurious, but if you must have one or both let me know and I'll post them.