The Ricotta Liberation

Posted by    |  March 22, 2011  |  Filed under: Home, Ingredients

What is ricotta? Define it for me.

Betcha use the word “lasagna.”

Poor ricotta. It has no independent identity. It’s like one of the middle children in a family of 10 kids.  Not that lasagna is lasagna without it, but no one ever really thinks about it. And, yeah, it goes into cannelloni and manicotti and baked ziti, but those are just sort of the poor country cousins of lasagna. Read more

1,000 of my Favorite Recipes

Posted by    |  March 10, 2011  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

Oh dammit to hell! Why? Oh why does God take away the little things I love the most? First it was Gourmet magazine. I still get a pang of heartbreak every time I think about the irreplaceable Gourmet and the brilliant Ruth Reichl. Like a stubborn 3-year-old, I refuse to make Bon Appetit recipes when searching “I’m still a Gourmet girl, you bastards! You can’t just pass me off to Bon Appetit!” I want it back and still can’t believe it’s gone forever.

And now- late to the game, as usual- I just figured out that Mark Bittman’s New York Times column, The Minimalist is gone. I was searching for “pesto” in the Times this week when, predictably, Mark’s column popped up. Pesto happened to be mentioned in a retrospective for his farewell column of January 25, a period when I was still being pummeled by the fallout from the relo. I gasped audibly as I read, “TODAY marks the exit of The Minimalist from the pages of the Dining section, as a weekly column at least.” Alarmed at my exclamation, the kids all rushed to peer over my shoulder at my laptop screen, expecting to read an email that someone had died or see a disturbing photograph. Read more

Dark Chocolate Crackle Cookies with Orange

Posted by    |  March 8, 2011  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine Holiday Cookie Edition

There are two kinds of bakers: fat bakers and skinny bakers. The fat bakers just love to bake and consume far too much of their product and so… well, they’re giving their lives to the cause.

The skinny bakers used to be a mystery to me until I figured out their secret. They bake for the pleasure of baking and then find a way to dispose of the results without harming themselves. Some skinny bakers find outlets to sell their products- a great trick. Others find ways to foist the calories off on other people. They find circuits of things to bring cookies or pies to: meetings, parties, potlucks and picnics. They’re always looking for someone who just had surgery and needs a dozen cookies to cheer them up. Read more

The Outer Limits of Beets

Posted by    |  March 4, 2011  |  Filed under: Food Foibles, Home

Well, that was interesting.

I accomplished my objective, diverging from my morning breakfast rotation, which was boring the hell out of me. Now I know that I do not like beets in pancakes. Read more

Conch Fajitas

Posted by    |  March 3, 2011  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

For the full story on Conch Fajitas, go to this link. The snorkel boat captain suggested that I grill the conch steaks by pounding them very thin, wrapping them in foil with peppers and onions and cooking them quickly. That sounded like a fajita to me, so I improvised a marinade from what was in the fridge and the spices I’d packed. Read more

Conch Marinate

Posted by    |  March 3, 2011  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

If you’re headed to the Caribbean for Spring Break, give conch a try.  Conch is very mild, but not at all tasteless- similar to fresh scallops. It can be chewy if overcooked, but when uncooked or cooked properly, it is tender with a texture similar to al dente pasta.

This is my interpretation of what our snorkel boat captain dictated to me. The kids loved it, in spite of being initially freaked out by watching our conch being caught and dispatched.   Read more