Fun with Chiles

This will shock none of you, especially if you know me in real life, but I’m something of a wimp.

Roller coasters? Terrifying. Horror movies? As if. (Though I do love Rosemary’s Baby, but mostly for Ruth Gordon). And, in the culinary department, I’ve been avoiding chiles for most of my adult life. Sure, I can handle a few pickled jalapeƱos in my nachos–and, as everyone knows, they’re a key ingredient in Eggs Adam Roberts–but the idea of cooking with raw, un-pickled, fiery chiles has never appealed to me. Until recently…

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Berry Blasted Oatmeal

There are two kinds of childhoods to have in America: the one where you’re allowed to have sugar cereal and the one where you’re not.

I’m the product of the former sort of childhood and Craig’s the product of the latter. If scientists were to study us to see how my consumption of Lucky Charms, Corn Pops, and Frosted Rice Krispies (yes, that was a thing) and Craig’s non-consumption of these breakfast sugar bombs affected us in later life, they probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I have an enormous sweet tooth and Craig usually wants to skip dessert. Also, I do crossword puzzles in pen, get to the movies twenty minutes early, and I almost always choose escalators over elevators when given the choice. Whether this is the result of eating sugar cereal as a child is anyone’s guess.

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A Bold New Vision For My Cookbook Collection

Since you last knew me, I’ve developed a few food-related obsessions. The first one is plates. I collect vintage plates now on Ebay and Etsy and I have quite a collection (OK, here’s a peek on Instagram). I’m also obsessed with old cookbooks, usually ones that have historic value (The Lutece Cookbook, for example) but sometimes I purchase cookbooks that are pretty campy and semi-historic (The Uta Hagen Cookbook, The Liberace Cookbook, The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Cookbook). Those collectible cookbooks held the highest position on my old cookbook shelf, a shelf that was beginning to look like a real mess. Here’s what I’m talking about…

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Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know I’m late to the party with this one (the party being the “put tahini into your desserts” party) but I’ve also not been blogging for two years, so cut me some slack!

The truth is, during my blogging hiatus, I was much more likely to make recipes that I’d already made before than to try new ones. That was part of the relief of not blogging: there wasn’t this sense of, “I’ve got to feed the beast.” (Sorry for calling you a beast.) But now that I’m back in the saddle, I find myself thinking of you, my beautiful beast; and so when I had friends coming over for dinner the other night, I decided not to make my usual chocolate chip cookies. I decided to make the kind with tahini.

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A Most Excellent Breakfast Taco

One reoccurring theme you’ll discover on Amateur Gourmet 2.0 is that I watch a lot of PBS cooking shows. I learned how to make a daiquiri watching Simply Ming, and then, watching Rick Bayless’s show, I learned how to make a most excellent breakfast taco.

If Ned Flanders became human and grew obsessed with Mexico, he’d have a show a lot like Rick Bayless’s. There’s an “aw shucks” charm to Bayless, but also a huge breadth of knowledge, which–at the end of every episode–he translates into something you can do at home. (Some have accused Bayles of cultural appropriation, but I don’t think that’s true of his show: most of it is a platform for Mexican chefs to show off what they do.) Anyway, this breakfast taco…

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Saved By A Boston Shaker: A Perfect Lime Leaf Daiquiri

One of the best things about starting this blog again is the help that I get from you, my loyal readers.

A commenter with a wonderful name, Adam, chimed in on my last post about cocktail-making (see: “The Time I Made A Lime-Leaf Infused Daiquiri But Couldn’t Open The Cocktail Shaker”) and suggested I try a Boston shaker. I read up on it, and the concept made sense to me: instead of a vertical, tightly-sealed bullet, the Boston shaker works at an angle. At least that’s how it seemed. Then I got confirmation of that yesterday when I popped into Barkeep in Silverlake to ask all about it…

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A Week in New York with Meals at Pearl Oyster Bar, Mimi, Flora Bar, Daniel, Bar Bolonat, Union Square Cafe, Cafe Altro Paradiso, Hearth, and King

Craig’s in the middle of editing his new movie ALEX STRANGELOVE for Netflix (can’t wait for you to see it) in New York and though I planned to just stay in L.A. for the duration of the edit, two things did occur to me when he asked me to come out for a week: (1) it’d be good for our marriage for me to support and nurture Craig through the difficulties of the editing process; (2) I COULD EAT AT A BUNCH OF NEW YORK CITY RESTAURANTS!

I won’t tell you which was the more compelling factor, but there I was, last Monday, arriving at JFK and taking a cab into the city.

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A Story For The Weekend

I’m sitting on a bench in the West Village, waiting for Craig to finish editing, and since I have some time to kill I’m going to tell you a story about something that happened to me a few weeks ago. I was at a party in West Hollywood on the top of a building and Craig, and several of our friends, had made their way up to the roof. I’d just poured myself a plastic cup of red wine and wasn’t sure what to do, so I put the plastic cup in my mouth, biting the lip, and started my way up the ladder. At some point, I wanted to see how much further I had to go, and–like a modern day CARRIE–I lifted my head up and completely doused myself with cheap Pinot Noir. I had to walk through a room of attractive strangers searching for paper towels while dripping purple/red fluid.

The moral of the story is: never leave home.