Wednesday, November 26, 2008

adios (and a few menu ideas)

Hi all,

Pardon my absence for a little while. Dan and I are heading down to Florida to spend some time with our family. On the agenda: catching up with the parents, reading the paper by the pool, eating oysters on my birthday, a day trip to South Beach, playing with the dogs, and consuming obscene amounts of my Nanny's cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. (Recipe to come.)

Speaking of which, looking for dishes to supplement that turkey or ham? Here's a few ideas from the archives:

Curried deviled eggs
Sausage rolls
Spiced cashews
Sweet and spicy peanuts
Sweet potato pancakes

Sparkling ginger cocktail
Big apple cocktail
Fall sangria

Braised red cabbage with apples and caraway seeds
Orzo with cinnamon brown butter and parsley
Roasted beets with horseradish and fried capers
Roasted acorn squash with maple syrup and nutmeg
Twice-baked potatoes

Pear crisp with vanilla brown butter
Pumpkin custard

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

snacks for thanksgiving (or any time)

Can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving? I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I don't even know what I'm making yet.

I volunteered to contribute a vegetable (maybe roasted brussels sprouts? or butternut squash?), a dessert (possibly a flourless chocolate cake, or roasted pears, or maybe a ricotta cheesecake?) and an appetizer (um..??). Luckily my mother-in-law is in charge of the turkey and my mom is picking up the rest of the slack. Thanks, Mom(s).

Over the past few years, I've always made some sort of hors d'ouevres for Thanksgiving. Nothing fancy—deviled eggs, blue cheese dip with celery sticks, or even guacamole and chips (hey, my family lives in Florida). Most people just want something to nibble on before the main event, so you really only need to serve one thing. A bowl of nuts is lovely. Or a platter of cheeses. Or some olives. Really, anything bite-sized that hungry people can grab as they hover in the kitchen, sticking their fingers in all the pots. An even better idea: place the snacks in another room to keep everyone out your hair and the stuffing.

Here's a few snacks I've made for recent dinner parties that I may revisit on Thanksgiving. What are you all serving?

Bacon-wrapped dates with parmesan
This recipe (available from many places, including Gourmet) has gotten me through many a dinner party. Smoky, salty, and sweet, these dates (shown above) are kind of the best thing you'll ever put in your mouth. If you serve them, dinner will be a success, even if you burn everything else.
(Serves about 6 people)

18 (1- by 1/4-inch) sticks Parmigiano-Reggiano (from a 1/2-lb piece)
18 pitted dates
6 bacon slices, cut crosswise into thirds (I tried this with regular and turkey bacon, and both work, although I prefer the pork)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Stuff 1 piece of cheese into each date, then wrap 1 piece of bacon around each date, securing it with a pick, or placing the dates with the bacon fold side down. Arrange the dates 1 inch apart in a shallow baking pan. Bake 5 minutes, then turn dates over with tongs and bake until bacon is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes more. Drain on a paper towel. Serve immediately.

Lamb meatballs
I've had this recipe by Melissa Clark bookmarked for awhile and my quasi-Mediterranean dinner for Megan seemed like the perfect time to try it out. These are not your average meatballs: the cinnamon, parsley, and mint add brightness and an extra depth of flavor. One change: grate the onion instead of mincing it. Bits of raw onion do no one any favors.

As you'll see below, I made many tweaks to this recipe.
In my ongoing quest to cut out gluten, I omitted the breadcrumbs and one egg. Although everyone liked the end result very much, if you can eat bread, I would recommend keeping the recipe as-is because it will make the meatballs more tender and juicy.
(Serves 4 to 6 people)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. ground lamb
1/2 cup minced onion (I recommend grating it)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs (I omitted this)
2 eggs (I used one)
2 Tbsp. chopped mint
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped dill (I used parsley)
1 Tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic

Preheat your broiler. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. In a large bowl, combine the lamb, onion, bread crumbs, eggs, mint, lemon juice, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of the dill (or parsley), 2 tsp. of garlic and 1 tsp. of salt; knead until combined. Form the mixture into 1 1/4-inch meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on the oiled baking sheet and broil as close to the heat as possible for 6 minutes, turning the pan halfway through, until firm and lightly browned.

Herbed yogurt sauce
This sauce is also great with grilled meat. You can also add a chopped cucumber to turn it into a slightly more substantial side dish.

(Serves 4 to 6 people)

8 oz. container Greek yogurt or plain whole milk yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped mint
1 clove garlic, minced
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sweet potato pancakes
I love potato pancakes and was inspired to make them with sweet potatoes from a recent article in Mark Bittman's blog. The recipe was sort of loose and seemed deceptively simple, having only one ingredient: sweet potatoes. After scraping burned bits of sweet potato out of my frying pan, I can conclude it's just deceptive. So I regrouped, added two eggs, and produced a light and slightly sweet potato pancake that held together.
(Serves about 6 to 8 people)
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, grated
2 eggs
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. salt, plus more
2 Tbsp. butter

Combine all ingredients except the butter in a large mixing bowl. Stir until combined. Heat a medium-sized frying pan to medium-high heat and add the butter. When it melts and starts to bubble, spoon 1/3 cup sized portions of the shredded potato mixture into the pan. Let the pancakes cook for about 3 minutes, then flatten with a spatula and flip, cooking about 3 more minutes on the other side, or until browned. When done, drain the pancakes on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately with 1/2 cup sour cream mixed with the juice and zest of one lime.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Sometimes, this dinner party's not so easy. Like when you've got three pots on the stove and it's an hour before six people arrive, and the lights in the living room keep flickering on and off and on and off. Until they go dead. You think about lighting 50 tea lights, but a dark, candlelit room might seem a bit creepy to everyone, especially those guests you don't really know all that well yet. So you drag out the stepstool and try to reach the overhead light, and curse all 5 foot 1 inches of yourself. Luckily, your helpful, slightly taller husband comes and switches out the dead light bulbs, just in time for you to rush back to the stove and rescue the potatoes from burning. That light fixture--it looks a little loose to you too, right? You start to imagine it crashing down on someone's head and the eventual lawsuit and the fact that you'd have to repay the injured party in meals. Lots of meals.

Deep breath.

And then your friends arrive, coming in from the cold, shrugging off their winter coats. Thoughtful people that they are, they're bearing wine, and homemade pumpkin ice cream, and (gluten-free!) chocolate cake, and a wedge of Humbolt Fog, your favorite cheese ever. And wine glasses are filled and passed around and thoughts of that damn wobbly light fixture start to fade. And dinner is fine. There's juicy chicken legs with crispy skin and no one cares that the potatoes are slightly burned. Everyone drinks a lot and has fun. Which is always good. So much so that they even offer to wash the dishes before they leave. Which is incredibly generous (thank you, Mark), but also a no-no. I mean...right? Absolutely not. So everyone heads home except for the last friend standing, and you linger until after midnight finishing up the wine and talking sleepily about the virtues of Mariah Carey until it is bedtime. And even though there is a scary amount of dirty dishes staring you down, you wash them smiling.

Sometimes it can seem like a marathon when you have people over, but there is always a pay-off in the end. The immediate pay-off of friendship rekindled or solidified, but sometimes thank-you notes the next day, and a copy of the New Yorker food issue waiting for you on your doorstop. Which motivates you to plan your next dinner party.

Hearty fall dinner for six
Bacon-wrapped dates
Sweet potato pancakes
Roasted chicken with potatoes and tomatoes
Braised red cabbage with apples and caraway seeds
Pumpkin ice cream
Chocolate cake with chocolate sauce

Braised red cabbage with apples and caraway seeds
I amped up the vinegar and honey in this recipe (from the Joy of Cooking) to make the cabbage even more tangy, but if you're timid about vinegar, start with 3 tablespoons and taste as you go.

4 slices bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch strips.
3 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
1 medium head red cabbage, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
1 large Granny Smith apple, sliced into matchsticks
6 Tbsp. apple cider or red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. caraway seeds

Heat a large, nonreactive skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the bacon and cook until it releases its fat and starts to brown. Add the onions and cook until translucent and slightly golden. Add cabbage, apple, vinegar, honey, salt, and caraway seeds; then cover pan and cook over medium-low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very soft but not falling apart, about an hour.

Roasted chicken legs with tomatoes and potatoes
This recipe, from Jamie's Dinners, could not be simpler. Like a lot of Jamie Oliver's dishes, you just chuck everything into a pan and roast until done. It's the combination of ingredients that's brilliant: the chicken gets crispy, the tomatoes form a delicious jammy sauce, the potatoes soak in the savory chicken juices, and the garlic roasts in its own skin, creating a delectable, spreadable paste.

6 chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks
2 large handfuls of new potatoes, sliced in half, length-wise
2 pints cherry tomatoes
10 cloves garlic, skins on
1 Tbsp. chili flakes
1 handful basil leaves
Olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Season your chicken with salt and pepper and place the legs in two roasting pans. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic cloves dividing them equally between the two pans. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Bake for about one hour, pull out the pans and stir the potatoes and tomatoes to keep them from sticking. Scatter the basil leaves on top and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken skin is golden brown and crispy. Insert a knife into the thigh to check if the chicken juices run clear (a sign of doneness). Serve hot, on a large platter. Tell guests to squeeze the roasted garlic out of the husks and mix it with the potatoes. Amazingly delicious.

Friday, November 21, 2008

dinner party on design*sponge

Hi everyone,

I'm on Design*Sponge today! Grace was nice enough to let me contribute some fall cocktail recipes (like the fall sangria above) for her Friday "In the Kitchen With" feature. I couldn't be more excited to be part of a site I've read and loved for years. It's really an honor.

Hope you enjoy these drinks this weekend!

PS: Hello to any new readers—have a look around and say hi in the comments!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

dinner on the cheap: brunch

Yeah, I know. Brunch isn't dinner. When I was a kid, sometimes my mom would make eggs and bacon for dinner, which always seemed exciting for some reason, but that's not what I'm talking about here.

I'm talking about having people over for brunch instead of dinner. It's a great alternative for lots of reasons, especially cost-wise. A dozen eggs can cheaply feed a lot of people—at least six or more, depending on whether you're making them sunny side up or in a quiche. Don't like eggs? Brunch-y baked goods like pancakes and waffles are equally affordable when made from scratch, although they can be a bit more time-consuming. That's why I'm in the egg and bacon camp.

Still not sold?

--Brunch is inherently more casual. Which can be extra nice for people with kids or people who aren't into cocktail parties.
--There are less courses, meaning less money and clean-up.
--Usually, brunch isn't as much of a time commitment as dinner. A few hours, tops.
--Brunch is a good alternative for a non-drinking crowd, but if your guests are into drinking, you can serve mimosas, bloody marys, or seabreezes.

--You (and your guests) have to wake up early.
--You need to serve coffee. Or tea. Or anything with caffeine. Otherwise you might have a group nap on your hands.
--Brunch doesn't have as much of a dress-up, special occasion feel.

Mainly, though, it's a nice kick-off to the weekend. A homemade morning meal puts everyone in a good mood and then leaves you the rest of your day to do whatever you want.

A few weekends ago, my friend Amanda came over for brunch. We ate eggs, caught up on each other's lives, and then went on our merry, separate ways to the gym. There's something really satisfying about making time for friends without it being a big production. Sure, we could have gone to a restaurant, but it was nicer to linger in the living room rather than being stared down by a hungry line of brunch-goers waiting for a table.

Brunch for Amanda
Mushroom and parmesan frittata
Spicy roasted potatoes
Fruit salad with yogurt and almonds

Mushroom and parmesan frittata
If you don't like mushrooms, you can substitute any type of sauteed greens, tomatoes, or cubed, roasted potatoes. You can also use any other type of cheese.
(Serves 4 to 6 people)

3 tablespoons butter
4 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used criminis, or baby bella mushrooms)
1 Tbsp. thyme
6 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan
pinch of salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and thyme and sautee until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cheese, salt, and pepper until combined. Drain any liquid from the mushrooms, patting them dry with a paper towel, if needed. Add the mushrooms to the egg mixture. Pour the mushroom-egg mixture back into the skillet (make sure it is oven-proof) or into a 9-inch ovenproof casserole dish. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the frittata is puffed and golden around the edges and slightly soft in the center. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Spicy roasted potatoes
This recipe came together sort of spontaneously--I had potatoes, tomatoes, and an onion in the fridge, all of which went into a roasting pan, creating a spicy, savory version of hash browns.
(serves 4 people)

1 lb. fingerling potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, whole
1 onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
pinch salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place the vegetables in a roasting pan, and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle on the red pepper flakes, paprika, salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Bake for 15 minutes, then toss the potatoes, and bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until they are browned and soft inside. Add a sprinkle of coarse salt and serve hot.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Link time!

Ina Garten's interesting-sounding recipe for roasted shrimp cocktail sounds like a great Thanksgiving starter. [via Serious Eats]

Thanksgiving wine picks from The New York Times. What makes a wine "Thanksgiving" appropriate, anyway? Eric Asimov, the paper's wine critic says it's challenging to find wine that can complement such a wide variety of dishes, but isn't that the case with almost any meal? [via the NYT]

A pretty and delicious-sounding fall cocktail, the Northwood #2, made with apple cider, maple syrup, and rum [via BA]

The Chicago Sun-Times has the best meatless Thanksgiving dinner I've read about in awhile. It's from Molly Harrison, the chef at Green Zebra, a well-regarded vegetarian restaurant in Chicago. The menu: mushroom-chestnut cobbler, glazed sweet potatoes, roasted beet salad with oranges and cranberries, and apple crumb pie. Yum.

But even better is her advice. Here are a few smart tips from Harrison we can all use when it comes to Thanksgiving or any dinner party:

-Keep it simple. Don't over-complex your meal; cook simply. Or make it a potluck and ask each guest to bring a dish.

-Use foods in season. For example, don't use strawberries for Thanksgiving. Instead, use apples --they're in their prime. Serve baked apples, apple butter, casseroles with apples, apple pie. Serve fall and winter squash. Simply cut it in half, put it on a tray, add some butter, salt and pepper and roast it in a 350-degree oven for an hour or so. Use beets, root vegetables -- they are very tasty.

-If you find making homemade rolls impossible, bake easy-to-make popovers or even bake refrigerated or frozen rolls or bread.

-Don't sweat it if your dish doesn't look like the picture in the Martha Stewart magazine. Your guests didn't see the photo. Don't bring it up.
[via the Chicago Sun-Times]

Thursday, November 13, 2008

a cold-weather salad

I tend to think of main-dish salads as hot weather food. Fall is for soups, and stews, and warm roasted things. But like a lot of people, all this hearty eating eventually makes me feel a little heavy. And bulky sweaters can only conceal so much, you know. So I revisit salad. A nice big plate of mixed greens is great, but when you add a few seasonal ingredients (roasted squash, nuts, apples, braised meat) you've got a dinner worthy of company and something easy enough to throw together on any weeknight.

A few weekends ago, I cobbled together a roasted duck salad inspired by a recent visit to Northeast Kingdom, a super charming restaurant in Brooklyn. I didn't get the recipe from the chef, but I mentally cataloged all of the components (shredded duck, pomegranate seeds, chopped dates, parsley) then tried to reproduce it at home. I made a few changes, adding oranges and pistachios and omitting the dates. Although the restaurant's version had more of a spicy sweetness, my orange zest-infused dressing paired well with the duck. Speaking of which, this was my first time cooking duck. I'm not sure why I put it off for so long. I guess duck always sounded complicated and greasy, but I can happily report it was no more time consuming or difficult than cooking chicken or turkey. If you're still duck-shy, you could substitute slices of roasted squash, grilled steak or chicken.

Roasted duck salad
(Serves about 4 people)

For the salad:
2 boneless duck breasts, skin on
5 oz. baby greens (I used Earthbound Farm's herb mix, which was nice)
2 heads endive, sliced
2 oranges, segmented
1 handful pomegranate seeds
1 handful pistachio seeds, shelled
salt and pepper
olive oil

For the dressing:
1 Tbsp. minced shallots
2 1/2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. orange zest
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the duck breasts on a foil-lined cookie sheet, skin side up. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Roast for about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the duck. The juices should run clear when the center of each breast is with a knife. Remove from the oven, wrap the duck in the foil, and let it rest for about 10 minutes to seal in the juices. Unwrap the duck (watch out for the hot steam), then remove the skin and set it aside. Using a serrated knife, slice the duck and skin thinly and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk all of the dressing ingredients together until combined. If you want to make the dressing a bit richer, add a spoonful or two of the pan juices from the roast duck. Yum. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, endive, and fruit. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss until combined. Plate the salad and arrange the duck slices on top. Sprinkle with pistachios and sliced duck skin.

Serve with:
Roasted acorn squash (click, then scroll down for the recipe)
Pumpkin custard

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Hi all,

Ready for turkey day? No? Maybe these links will help whet your appetite:

For the budget-minded (and who isn't these days?), the ever-impressive Jacques Pepin makes a five-course dinner for six people--for under $24. What's on the menu? Short ribs with mushrooms, cabbage slaw with mustard dressing, sweet and sour glazed squash, sauteed cabbage with kielbasa, and baked apples for dessert. [via the Washington Post]
A dinner party-worthy fall side dish: Spaghetti squash with ricotta, sage, and pine nuts. [via Serious Eats]

Melissa Clark reinvents the Thanksgiving breadbasket. Her corn and black pepper crackers sound like a major step up from Pillsbury twisty breadsticks. [via the NYT]

20 Thanksgiving menus
from Bon Appetit. [via BA]

Monday, November 10, 2008

a very special soup

Last week's election was one of those days I'll always remember, down to the smallest details: the excitement on everyone's faces emerging from the voting booths, the album I listened to when waiting in line to vote (Vampire Weekend's Vampire Weekend), nervously refreshing a million times at work, what I wore (a purple sweater vest over a white t-shirt and jeans), and most importantly, what I ate.

Instead of going out to watch the returns, Dan and I decided to hunker down in our apartment with our neighbor Caledonia (of peach jam fame) and her adorable daughter Selena. We've only hung out together a few times, and mostly know each other in the unfamiliar-yet-entirely-intimate way of being neighbors in an old building with thin walls. But we both wanted to be home on election night and agreed it would be more fun to spend it together. The day before, Caledonia emailed me to say she would make soup and Selena would make cookies, and I agreed to provide the salad and wine. This was not a time to fuss with food--my stomach was in knots the entire day. More than anything, I just wanted a strong drink.

But when I walked into Caledonia's apartment and smelled this spicy, tomato-ey aroma, I instantly relaxed a bit and exhaled the breath I had been holding all day long. There was soup. Everything would be okay, no matter what. We poured wine, gathered around the TV, and cheered as each blue state was announced. Obama's speech and the excitement leading up to it will always be the center of my memory of that night, but my memories are always intertwined with food, and the scent of that comforting soup will always be there too. A bowl of soup and a mix of anxiousness and elation and feeling permanently connected to people I'm just beginning to know.

Election night dinner
Spicy chickpea, sausage, and tomato soup
Spinach salad with parmesan and green apples
Humbolt Fog cheese
Ginger cookies and ice cream

Chickpea, sausage, and tomato soup

Apologies for the blurry photo above, it was snapped with much haste. In reality, this is a very pretty soup, deeply flavored with cumin, jalapeño, and sausage. Caledonia says she clipped this recipe from a copy of Bon Appetit dating back to 1995 and has held onto it since. After tasting it, I agree it's definitely a keeper. Serve with chopped cilantro and avocado. A dollop of sour cream might be nice too.
(Serves 6 to 8 people)

1 tsp. olive oil
3/4 lb. turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
8 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup canned diced peeled tomatoes with juices
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced seeded jalapeño
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried
3 15- to 16-oz. cans chickpeas, undrained
2 cups canned chicken broth or beef broth
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado, peeled, sliced

Heat olive oil in heavy large Dutch oven (or stock pan) over medium-high heat. Add turkey sausage and chopped garlic and sauté until sausage is golden brown and cooked through, breaking up sausage with back of fork, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes with their juices, sliced jalapeño chili, ground cumin and chopped fresh rosemary and simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chickpeas with their liquid and chicken broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer soup 15 minutes. Stir in fresh lemon juice. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before continuing.) Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle soup with chopped fresh cilantro and top with sliced avocado. Serve immediately.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

peanut butter chocolate madness

I have reservations about sharing this recipe with you. I'm not really sure it's a good idea. These cookies are dangerous. Like, evilly good. Way, way too fast to make. And so darn foolproof that you might be tempted to bake them all the time. Every day, possibly. And then you'll gain ten pounds and hate me.

Sigh. Maybe I should give you more credit. You're not like that, are you? You won't eat one cookie, then sneak another one when no one's looking, then--what the hell--eat three more. And then brush the crumbs on the carpet. Ahem. No, you have willpower and healthy eating habits and can be trusted around a bag of chocolate chips.

So here you go. Go forth and bake. Just keep these babies away from me.

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
Even though you might eat your weight in these cookies (by Amy Fritch via Gourmet), they have no butter, oil, or flour. Which sort of offsets the guilt, right?
(Makes about 3 dozen cookies)

1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheets (or line them with foil for faster clean-up). In a large bowl, stir together the first four ingredients until smooth. Add the chocolate chips and stir until incorporated into the batter. Roll teaspoons of the dough into balls and arrange about 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Use the tines of a fork to flatten the balls to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, making a crosshatch pattern. Bake cookies in batches until puffed and pale golden, about 10 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets for at least 2 minutes. They may still be soft and crumbly when you transfer them onto a rack or plate, so do this carefully (I used a pie server to avoid breakage). As the cookies cool, they will get firmer. Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

a victory song

We'll be back to regularly scheduled dinner party programming tomorrow. But for now, let's just practice these words again and again: President Barack Obama.

I can't wait until January 20. Until then, I'll be playing this song.

The Underdog, by Spoon

Picture yourself in the living room
your pipe and slippers set out for you

I know you think that it ain't too far

But I hear the call of a lifetime ring

felt the need to get up for it

oh you cut out the middleman

get free from the middleman

You got no time for the messenger,

got no regard for the thing that you don't understand,

you got no fear of the underdog,

that's why you will not survive!

I wanna forget how convention fits

but can I get out from under it?

Can I gut it out of me?

It can't all be wedding cake

It can't all be boiled away

I try but I can't let go of it

Can't let go of it,

Cause you don't talk to the water boy

and there's so much you could learn but you don't want to know,

You will not back up an inch ever,

that's why you will not survive!

The thing that I tell you now

It may not go over well

And it may not be photo-op

in the way that I spell it out

But you won't hear from the messenger,

don't wanna know bout something that you don't understand,

You got no fear of the underdog,

that's why you will not survive! (Hey!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

chicken vs. broken glass

Happy election day eve to my U.S. readers. I hope everyone gets out to the polls tomorrow and votes for Barack Obama, the only candidate fit to lead this country out of the incomprehensible mess we're in.

To bring it back to food, a more appropriate topic for this blog, here's David Sedaris on undecided voters:

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

I mean, really, what’s to be confused about?


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