Monthly Archives: October 2010

Something Good

Well my…this is a little embarrassing.  Here I’ve been, cooking and baking up a storm this month and October is almost over and I’ve only blogged once.   I’ve been writing a little for Good Bite, working too much, and experimenting like a mad woman scientist in the kitchen for Food 52’s contests.  They bring out the competitive, perfectionist in me.  In a good way I think.

You know how almost every great chick flick has one of those cheesy, guilty pleasure, iconic fashion/shopping/makeover/couple falling in love montages?   That is what I am about to do…but with food pictures.  Because that’s my kind of montage.  Here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

First there was the Boston Cream Cake… my first time making one – I used the yellow cake recipe (my favorite) from Smitten Kitchen, a chocolate ganache icing from David Lebovitz and a pastry cream from I forget where (but it’s not important because I was rather disappointed with how that turned out).  Next time, I intend to use Tartine Bakery’s recipe.  I pine and dream of this bakery and yet I’ve never even been to it.  We will alas meet one day sweet Tartine, it’s in the cards for us.

Enter Gwyeneth Paltrow’s Turkey Ragu from her website Goop.  This is my ultimate cool weather, sock wearing, hunker down and hibernate comfort food.  It’s simple, elegant and your whole house will smell of savory deliciousness and piney rosemary for approximately three hours.  Trust Gwyneth.  Trust the ragu.

Then came the nutmeg doughnut muffins.  Oh boy.  These were, make your mouth so full because you can’t just take petite, modest, dainty bites because they’re too luscious and they’re beckoning and evil and will make you consume 3 in one whole setting doughnuts.  I had been wanting to make these for awhile and finally one Sunday morning I did, and they were even just as good the next day.  Day old doughnuts get stale.  Doughnut muffins do not lose their luster.  They’re just another reason for me to adore Molly Wizenberg.  Make these!

Slow-Braised Beef Short Ribs, courtesy of Cecilia, for lending me her beautiful candy apple red Le Creuset dutch oven and Wolfgang Puck, who does not mess around.  Make these for people you really like.

Then we got really crazy and made gnocchi, which proved to be the perfect vehicle to serve and enjoy the short ribs with.  We’d never made gnocchi before.  (It’s not as hard as you think).  We didn’t know that and we still dove right in and had fun doing it!  They didn’t hold their shape well but I’m sure with practice…

We also had rosemary caramelized parsnips (Sara Foster’s recipe and one of my go-to fall favorites – though we failed to get a picture).  The salad consisted of mixed greens tossed with fig balsamic vinaigrette that I made, toasted pine nuts, dried bing cherries, red pear slices and goat cheese.  YUM.  Dessert was also a Sara Foster recipe (from her “Fresh Everyday” cookbook) – “individual chocolate pudding cakes,” that I drizzled with warm homemade salted butterscotch sauce and cream.  Also YUM.

For fear of photo montage overload, I’ll post the rest tomorrow or Sunday and for now, I’ll leave you with a list (because I love making lists).

Things I am Enjoying Right Now:

  • Australian musician Sarah Blasko and her cover of “Something Good,” from The Sound of Music.
  • Curling up on the couch with Indian food and Harvest Curry bread from the bakery (for dipping of course), a puppy dog and Something’s Gotta Give.  Diane Keaton is so honest and exquisite in that movie.  She’s so effortlessly classic and cool.
  • Modern Family as always, but especially this past week’s Halloween episode and how it made me laugh so hysterically to see Mitchell in a Spiderman costume.
  • Sneaking M&M’s from the trick or treater’s Halloween stash.  Seriously, I need to stop or they won’t have any candy come Sunday.  Oop’s…
  • This adorable sweater that is currently en route to me and reminds me of something Emma Pilsbury would wear, even though I’m not really into Glee, I think she’s precious and want to raid her character’s wardrobe sometimes.
  • Having my English cup of PG tips in my black & white Metropolitan Museum of Art mug, standing over the kitchen island, eating a cold, dark chocolate Mcvities digestive.

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This Calls For Cake

Tonight has been an evening of blue plaid flannel, Oktoberfest beer accompanied by a delicious, spicy acorn squash, black bean, corn and sausage chili – (I’ve actually been craving chilli), Earl Grey tea (with honey and half and half), writing, productivity and good news.

It seems as though some luck is lingering in the air for me today and I hope it knows how encouraged it is to keep on lingering!

First, I happily discovered that my recipe for Rustic Root Vegetable Salad with Citrus and Thyme for Food 52’s “Brown Bag Lunch” contest (as in, the one I conceived last week, not knowing what on earth I was doing, flailing around the kitchen like a mad scientist) was deemed an “editor’s pick!”  What a serendipitous act.

I am also happy to announce that although I’ve been on sort of a hiatus from Goodbite, due to major site renovation/construction, I am about to begin writing for them again and I am very excited!

This morning, I also entered to win this darling beauty (it’s even in my color!)  I am crossing my fingers and if I win one, The Pioneer Woman and Oscar Wilde will forever have my gratitude.  (I chose him as the man from history that I’d like to have dinner with).  We could talk fashion and battle our wits out over a big slab of cake and he could make me laugh.  Then I’d make him something fabulous in the new Le Creuset dutch oven he helped me to win.  ; )

Therefore, with all of this good news and my heart (and stomach’s) burning desire to do some baking, I am going to celebrate tonight by making a devil’s food cake with browned butter icing, in the spirit of fall of course.  Not that you ever really need an excuse to bake a cake.  I tend to go crazy after even just a few days of not making anything!  Here is the recipe for the root vegetable salad, enjoy!

Rustic Root Vegetable Salad with Citrus and Thyme

  • 3 parsnips
  • 1 medium sized butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 orange (zested and then halved)
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme
  • about 1/8 of a cup of toasted pine nuts
  • a handful of dried cranberries
  • goat cheese
  1. Peel the parsnips with a vegetable peeler, cut them in half and cut diagonally (they should sort of resemble french fries).
  2. Peel the butternut squash with a big, sharp knife and cut into cube sized pieces.
  3. Put the parsnips and squash in one bowl. In another bowl, combine the melted butter, olive oil and honey and whisk together. Then pour over the vegetables and toss with a big spoon or spatula until they are evenly coated.
  4. Place them on a baking sheet, sprinkle with kosher salt and several fresh thyme leaves. Give a little squeeze of half of the orange, for a little juice. Place in the 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, checking a few times in between to toss the vegetables and shake the pan a little.
  5. Put the vegetables in a large bowl, add the toasted pine nuts (these can be toasted at 350 degrees for about 5-10 minutes – make sure you shake the pan), the dried cranberries and the orange zest. Toss together. Add a few little dollops of goat cheese on top and serve!

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