Marion Cunningham’s Raw Apple Muffins

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Three recipes, that’s where I draw the line when it comes to sharing recipes from a cookbook. Anything beyond that, and I’m no longer advertising a book that you should buy and I’m just poaching recipes for my own gain. So it’s with great sadness that I post my third and final recipe from Marion Cunningham’s wonderful Breakfast Book. Together we’ve made her raised waffles (a recipe I actually got from Kim Severon’s SpoonFed but it comes from The Breakfast Book) and her Last Word in Nutmeg Muffins. Now comes another muffin recipe, but a peculiar one; a muffin that’s more fruit than muffin. And that’s what makes it great.

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Apple Pie Cookies By The Seat Of My Pants

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It’s considered a hard and true fact in the food world that baking is a precise discipline and that cooking–sauteing, roasting, salad-making–is looser, freer, more of a vehicle for personal expression.

Why does that always have to be the case? Isn’t it possible that, if you know a thing or two in the kitchen, you can whip up a batch of cookies with as much freedom and joie-de-vivre as you might employ while making am omelet? I decided to challenge the status quo yesterday by making a batch of cookies without following a recipe.

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Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples

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If there’s a time of year to break out Molly Stevens’s new Roasting book, this is it. Thanksgiving dinner is all about roasting. If you deep-fry your bird, you’re missing out on one of the great aspects of Thanksgiving–the lovely aroma of a slow-roasting bird wafting through your house or apartment. Keeping in the spirit of roasting, your side dish should be roasted too. That’s why butternut squash is a good choice.

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It’s Apple Season, So Here Are Three Desserts You Can Make with Apples (Baked Apples, Apple Cake & Apple Cobbler)

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Peter Meehan recently ranted about hectoring food snobs, the ones who make you feel bad for putting milk in your coffee (something he witnessed at an elite coffee shop) or who mock you for not knowing your various kinds of meat (hogget, anyone?) It’s with a sense of subtle restraint, then, that I gently prod you (I’m not hectoring, I swear) to make your way to a farmer’s market this autumn to buy some apples.

Not because it’ll make you a better person (it won’t) or because it’ll elevate your foodie status (whatever that might be), but because farmer’s market apples just taste better than supermarket apples. All you have to do to experience the difference is taste.

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Roasted Apple & Pear Sauce

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No one gets very excited when you say “apple sauce”–well no one except, maybe, people who just had their wisdom teeth out–but throw the word “pear” in there and the word “roasted” and you start to whet people’s appetites. My appetite was certainly whet when I saw this recipe in The Barefoot Contessa’s newest book, “How Easy Is That?” (When my friends Patty and Lauren saw the book title, they burst out laughing, because they recognized it as one of Ina’s favorite things to say.) To make the sauce, all you need is what you see above in my attempt at a still life, plus some brown sugar and a little butter.

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Caramelized Apple Pancakes

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People who live in warm climates aren’t allowed to eat pancakes.

It’s true: pancakes are for cold winter mornings, still in your pajamas, curled around a space heater and holding your coffee mug close to your face. Pancake batter is basically cake batter and the only way you can justify eating cake at the start of your day is to keep warm; so Floridians, stay away. This recipe is for those of us who saw our breath this morning.

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Pot Roast

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When I think pot roast, I think Americana, I think 50s sitcoms and a beleaguered housewife who intones: “Oh, darn it, I burnt the pot roast!”

It’s not a dish that I ate much growing up, eating–as we did–most of our meals out. My first real pot roast memory, actually, comes from Atlanta. I ordered pot roast at one of my favorite, kitschy restaurants there–Agnes & Muriel’s–and got very sick afterwards. I don’t blame Agnes & Muriel’s, but I did blame pot roast. I avoided it for years.

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Alex’s Birthday Dinner

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You may recall that the worst meal I’ve ever cooked for people in my life was the meal I cooked for my friends Alex and Raife in March of 2007 (see here). Rereading that post, I don’t think it was as awful as I remember it being; but the pressure was high because Alex, one of my closest friends from college, had never experienced my cooking (she’d only seen me defrost California Pizza Kitchen pizzas when we lived together) and I wanted to impress her. Well, I’m pretty sure I didn’t.

Luckily, Alex has a birthday. And now she lives in New York and so does our friend Raife who was also there at that disastrous dinner. So to celebrate Alex’s birthday, which was in October, I invited them both over for a gigantic do-over. How did I fare?

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