Last Minute Gougères


On Saturday night, with 45 minutes left to go before our friend Dara was due to drop by for drinks, I made a drastic decision. I decided to make gougères.

This seemed like a drastic decision because: (a) I didn’t have the right cheese in my refrigerator and (b) I’d have to dirty the kitchen and a bunch of dishes just before the arrival of a guest. Things would be messy, things might burn. This was dangerous drink-hosting and I was living right on the edge. That’s what made it all so exciting.

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How To Make Authentic Guacamole


My first experience with guacamole was the one in The Barefoot Contessa book, a flavorful guacamole that has the requisite avocados, red onion and lemon juice, but departs from the norm with fresh garlic and a few hits of Tabasco. Up until last weekend, if I were sent to the store to shop for guacamole ingredients, I probably would’ve stuck to The Barefoot Contessa formula. But then my friend Mark entered the picture.

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Rachel Wharton’s Pimento Cheese


Because we had some technical issues with the first broadcast of “Someone’s In The Kitchen With…”, I’m afraid many of you missed Rachel Wharton’s very winning recipe for pimento cheese. As you can see by the picture, this is a pimento cheese to be reckoned with: it’s spicy, it’s tangy, it’s creamy, it’s fluffy and it’s very, very hard to stop eating. (Cholesterol be damned.) So for those who missed the video, here’s how you make it.

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Deviled Eggs, Three Ways


There was the lobster salad, a big bag of potato chips and some cookies I’d received in the mail. Was that enough to feed four people? I’d need some kind of appetizer. I didn’t have time to go to the store. What did I have in my refrigerator? Pesto, a jar of cornichons, and Sriracha. And eggs. A plan began to form in my head, a plan involving eggs and THE DEVIL.

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Radishes with Butter & Salt


Everyone has a favorite dinner party moment. Me? I have to confess that my favorite moment comes at the end: when the food’s been served, the wine bottles are empty and I collapse on the couch with an extraordinary sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and relief.

For Craig, it’s the opposite: he loves the moment at the beginning, when people arrive, the wine gets poured and we sit around chatting until the first course begins. I can’t wait to serve the first course but Craig often tut-tuts me for rushing the pre-dinner portion. Which is why, last week, I put out a big bowl of radishes.

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Molly’s Slow Roasted Tomatoes (Pomodori al Forno)


A journey of a thousand miles may begin with one step, but a recipe of several steps begins with precisely 2,408 miles. Specifically: the distance from New York to Seattle.

It was on the plane from New York to Seattle that I read last month’s Bon Appetit magazine which featured our friend Molly Orangette’s recipe for slow roasted tomatoes. The recipe was adapted from the one at Cafe Lago, a restaurant Molly writes lovingly about in the accompanying article, and a restaurant that’s back-to-back with an apartment where Craig used to live with his friends Ryan and Kristen.

The story might’ve ended there, with me reading about Cafe Lago’s Pomodori al Forno on the plane, except the story–like those slow-cooked tomatoes–gets richer as it goes along.

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Baked “New” Garlic with Creamed Goat’s Cheese


You’ve seen it at the farmer’s market, you’ve read about it on Ruhlman’s blog. It’s the tall, stalky plant that look like Beaker the muppet when held upside down.


[Image assembled haphazardly in Photoshop with picture from Ruhlman’s blog and a stretched-out picture of Beaker.]

It’s new garlic, or Spring garlic, or green garlic (depending on who you talk to) and it’s prized in the food community for its subtlety, its nuance, and its unique, Springy flavor. I’d cooked with green garlic before (see green garlic soup) and yet I hadn’t been entirely won over.

But now I’m whistling a different tune, thanks to my new favorite cookbook: Roast Chicken And Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson. The recipe he offers is truly simple, and yet in its simplicity lies the key to unlocking the mystery and the beauty of new/green/Spring garlic.

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Smoked Salmon Dip


Cooking is a funny process. If I gave you a spoonful of cream cheese and a spoonful of sour cream and told you to put them both in your mouth at the same time you’d gag and say, “Sick, man, get out of my face.” But if I mixed that sour cream and cream cheese together in a bowl and tossed in horseradish, lemon juice, dill and pieces of smoked salmon you’d say: “Ooooh, look at that lovely dip. Let me have it!”

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