"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, October 9, 2010

Melissa Atones by Writing a List

Hey folks, remember when I said my life was sort of kind of a little busy and kind of crazy? Nothing has changed! The bad news is, less time for blogging. The good news is, I'm still cooking.

That's right--these past few months I've been cooking one or two recipes a week out of Gourmet Today, and here they are.

Vodka, ginger beer and lime juice. What could go wrong? Nothing! The big revelation here was finding Goya Jamaican Style Ginger Beer, which is ten thousand times better than Cap't Eli's. I had a taste-test (of two) and declare this the winner.

Friend with overflowing garden + craving soup = thinking this is a pretty good recipe to try. Tons-o-greens in this--we're talking turnip, cabbage, beet, mustard, spinach, parsley...all made much less healthy by a few ham hocks.

And hey, guess what? 1 pound Salt pork DOES NOT EQUAL two pounds of meaty ham hocks! A) I curse Stop n Shop for being so White and b) sadly, I ruined this soup because I was too lazy to drive to Market Basket and get the effing ham hocks.

That doesn't mean I didn't give it a shot. But salty--holy jesus.

I have a friend, Burak. He's from Turkey, and he not only loves food in general, he loves food from his homeland. We are constantly talking about having a dinner party featuring Turkish food, or going to this or that restaurant that serves Turkish food, so it was with NO SMALL AMOUNT OF GUILT that I whipped up this recipe and didn't alert Burak (who lives two hours away in Portland) to come help us eat it.

I did tell him about it the next time I saw him, though, and carefully described the ingredients of the burgers, and the walnut sauce (which, btw, is just walnuts ground w/ a little water, lemon juice and spices).

When I mentioned cayenne, though, Burak brought me up short.

"That is not Turkish."
"It was just a little bit! Just, like, a tiny little pinch."
"No. There really is no cayenne in Turkish food."
"So putting cayenne in something makes it not Turkish?"
"That's right."

So there you go. That must be why this recipe is called Turkish-STYLE. And the bonus was I didn't have to feel guilty any more.

Hey, it's turning cold and what better to take the chill off than a little spicy chili? This is a southwestern-style lamb chili and it's not for the faint of heart what with all the New Mexico chiles and canned chipotle in adobo. Don't make this one for your granny.

How did I screw this one up? By not being able to find masa harina (not even in Market Basket) and just guessing that coarse cornmeal might be pretty much the same thing. Guess what--it's not. So the dumpling batter didn't hold together at all, and really what it ended up being was a flavorful thickener to this already pretty thick chili.

But--delicious! Plain Greek-style yogurt was awesome on top. Oh I forgot the other pain-in-the-ass moment, which was that I could only find lamb shoulder chops (bone-in). Ugh, so tedious to trim those. I hear that meat markets are coming back into style--I have to go find a few that I like because this supermarket stuff is for the birds.


That's all you need to know, really. Go make them.

Happy 17th birthday to O'Malley! As I do every year, I asked my son what he wanted for a cake. And as is his way, he was far more concerned with the tastes of his guests than what he desired for himself. It went like this:

"Zack doesn't like chocolate."
"Well, it's not Zack's birthday. It's your birthday. What do you want?"
"Aedan LOVES chocolate."
"And I'm guessing Brittany does too. What about Ben?"
"He'll eat anything."

Since O'Malley also likes chocolate, then we went through the chocolate cake options in Gourmet Today--Devil's Food Cake with Marshmallow Frosting, Double Chocolate Layer Cake, Chocolate Sour Cream Layer Cake, and so on. And O'Malley (as is his way) wanted the one that sounded the most sophisticated, which was this one.

This recipe involves making caramel (which I've done a gazillion times now, thanks to The Gourmet Cookbook)--but really the surprise in this recipe is that the orange caramel sauce is not really caramely in the way that you're thinking (like a kind of gooey ice cream topping). It's actually caramel-flavored orange juice, which you pour over the cake.

Not what I was expecting, but very good nevertheless. The kids loved it--ate it up with ice cream while they watched Harold and Maude. Isn't that a cool birthday?

It's nice to remember every once in a while that dessert doesn't have to involve flour and chocolate. This is a nice poached fruit recipe that calls for chai in the poaching liquid--this is great with vanilla ice cream or just on its own.

And that's my repentant wrap-up! Big thanks to the photographers of Epicurious-all the photos you see here are pulled from that site. I guess it's kind of a symbiotic relationship.

Happy fall, people! Go apple-picking.


Gluten-free recipes in this post: Chai-Poached Apricots and Plums, Gumbo Z'Herbes, Moscow Mule

Low-carb recipe in this post: Gumbo Z'Herbes

Recipe WIN in this post: Chockfull Blondies


Georgia said...

Loving the desserts! Glad you discovered Jamaican ginger beer -- solid.

Reading, Writing, Teaching, and Adventuring said...

I was pretty excited to make the "Chockful Blondies" after your high praise, but I must say I was disappointed--I followed the recipe exactly, used really fine chocolate (one bar 60%--brought back from Paris!, the other 70% organic, plus a little 80% to make 8 oz), went to Whole Foods to track down the unsweetened dried tart cherries--BUT to me these bars tasted pretty much like oatmeal cookies without the oats! This is a recipe I would modify drastically--MUCH more chocolate & almonds and I think NO cinnamon. Ah well, it was still fun to experiment! By contrast, I just made an 1820s Sedgwick Family recipe for "Jumbles" (a version of the same cookies served at Washington's inauguration) & they were very unusual and tasty! :)