Thanksgiving Practice Part One: Ooh la la Gougeres!

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Christmas Eve is at the in-laws for the annual “Christ-mah-kah” celebration. Christmas day is at my Mom’s. New Year’s Eve is celebrated each year at my dear friend Rebecca’s house. But Thanksgiving? That day is all mine. The menu each year is fairly traditional, but I always round it out with a few new additions, particularly after I have drooled over the new recipes in the Thanksgiving issues of all the gourmet magazines that I promptly scoop up once they hit the shelves. With most of the new recipes, I like to have a practice round.

I have been dying to make some variation on gougeres, those delectable little savory cheese pastry bites, ever since we learned to make them in that cooking class I took a couple months back. The chef warned that we really needed a stand-mixer to make them, and since mine won’t be in until December, they seemed a Christmas, rather than Thanksgiving treat. But then Gourmet magazine had to go and publish this totally amazing sounding gougeres recipe in their Thanksgiving issue, and I decided to throw caution to the wind, and employ the handheld mixer for the task.

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“I boo”

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It’s kinda hard to believe…

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Mark Bittman, Mark Bittman – Farfalle w/ Garbanzo Beans & Broccoli Rabe

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To sauce or not to sauce…that is the question. Personally, I have never taken a shine to living by the rules, particularly when it comes to what I do in my own kitchen. Sure, some things just make sense – never forgetting salt, for instance – but I think this whole business of telling me that I need to use less sauce on my pasta, cause that’s how they do it in Italy, is kind of pretentious. Sure, as Mark Bittman says in the NY Times article, it made sense to guide the public in this way 20 or 30 years ago, when Americans were drowning their overcooked pasta in sugar-filled Ragu from a jar. But as a nation, we’ve grown (in more ways than one), and if in this example, our American tendencies are pointing us to the healthier route (more veggie-full sauce, less starchy pasta), then I say God Bless the USA. Besides, it’s usually yummier.

Continue reading Mark Bittman, Mark Bittman – Farfalle w/ Garbanzo Beans & Broccoli Rabe

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