Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sweet Thanksgiving - FB2B, part 81

Just look at this beauty. It is my contribution to a Thanksgiving feast to which I've been invited. A chocolate-pecan pie with a healthy dose of bourbon. The original recipe was given to me by a former roommate from college. Over the years, I've tweaked it and adapted the ingredients until I think it is fool-proof and a little bit more like me. It is a great dessert to bring to share for any dinner.

This pie is a bit rich, and made even more so by the optional addition of whipped cream at the end. It is always completely devoured at any dinner to which I've brought it, no matter in what city or country I've lived. I'm bringing it to what another former roommate had years ago termed an "Orphans' Thanksgiving." This is just a roundup of friends, co-workers and associates who would not have anywhere else to go to share a meal with which to celebrate the holiday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Goat's Cheese Salad - FB2B, part 80

As a friend pointed out to me recently, on a topic having nothing to do with food, it is rare to get a hit right out of the park on the first shot. Recipes are much the same way. Even the best-written, best-tested ones might not work the same way in every kitchen or in every cook's hands.

America's Test Kitchen's recipes are thoroughly tested and vetted. I really enjoy watching the methodology behind their process as they demonstrate it on their PBS show. Their magazine also makes a good read, but I confess that I haven't really used many of their recipes. This same friend had, however, strongly recommended their Fall 2007 issue very highly so I decided to buy it.

Among the recipes included in the magazine was one that has been my nemesis in the past: Goat's Cheese Salad. While I think I followed the instructions to the letter, I'm not sure that my results came out as well as those of the testers. Still, I think that it was a good first try.

When the goat's cheese rounds came out of the oven and were gently laid upon a nest of fresh Greenmarket lettuces, they didn't look so bad. The melba toast crust and baking them in an oven made a huge difference from my previous attempts at a similar recipe in which I coated them in breadcrumbs and pan fried them. These held their shape and, upon the first bite, they were delicately creamy and not at all chalky. This recipe is going to go in my "keeper" file.

Buon appetito!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fall into Apples - FB2B, part 79

Fall has been a bit late in coming to New York this year. The humidity and higher temperatures of late summer seem to have stuck around for at least a month longer that usual. This is one of my favorite seasons. The biggest impact has been that my internal food clock has also been thrown off and the foods that I normally would indulge in haven't been very appealing to me.

That has all started to change in the past couple of weeks which means that I've started to tackle my seasonal recipe repertoire. One of the dishes that brings back great, warm memories of my time living in England (where winter-like weather can linger for months and months without ever really snowing), is Apple Crumble with Custard. Tart apples baked until soft and sweet covered with a cookie-cakey topping, drenched in creamy, rich custard. This is what got me through many a rainy weekend day in London.

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