Monday, August 31, 2009

Silver Palate Tears

Some very sad news hit the wires today. A friend of mine texted me about it. Sheila Lukins, of the Silver Palate, passed away from brain cancer. From the obit in the New York Times, it sounds like things went very quickly. I'm very sorry for her family.

I fell in love with The New Basics Cookbook when I started living and cooking on my own, post-college. This was also the cookbook that I gave to folks as a wedding gift, I thought it was such a useful resource. The other two books I picked up later. One of the best things about any of these books is the sidebar notes and tips. These were the references for me for all sorts of new ingredients, ones that were foreign to my suburban Virginia upbringing. I just wish I'd been able to make it to their store.

After having lived overseas and currently living in New York, I get to have ready access to most of the components of these recipes. A few recipes now seem a bit dated and overly rich, although most of my friends still swear by some of them. Many of the dishes they explain are ones that I've been able to enjoy at restaurants around the city, something which always inspires me to try to put them together them for myself. I feel as though the Silver Palate ladies could make that possible through their books.

I wish Ms. Lukins her place at that great big dining table in the sky.

Buon appetito!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Julie/Julia Movie

This afternoon, I took in one of the greatest guilty pleasures ever invented: a mid-day movie. I'd originally taken off a couple of days to travel to see family, but then I screwed up my knee last week by twisting it as I walked up the stairs exiting the subway. With my travel plans scuttled, I reached out to a few friends to see about catching up, as I still needed to take the vacation days. One of the first ones to confirm that he was available had mentioned over a dinner of lobster rolls and Old Bay french fries at the Mermaid Inn a few weeks back that wanted to see Julie & Julia when it came out.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Torta al Cioccolato

I had an Italian-themed group dinner to go to on Sunday. It gave me the perfect excuse to bake the Apricot Crostata that I'd tried out for the first time earlier in the week. As you can see, the response it received was pretty much the same as it had been when I'd made it for the folks at the office. I think I was a bit surprised at the reaction to it, but maybe it was that it just looked so different from typical potluck desserts that everyone wanted to grab a slice. I'm definitely filing this one away in my "keeper" file.

The other dessert I brought was a recipe that I don't think I've made in at least ten years: Torta al Cioccolato.* It was a standby Italian dish that I used to bake when I had dinner parties. I'm not sure why I stopped preparing it except that I don't really have people over to eat dinner anymore. I just haven't had the time, energy or money to throw something together the way I used to do. Having a small apartment doesn't help either. This gathering was a great excuse to test drive it again.

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