I have a theory that Starbucks has heightened our tolerance for bad, sad pastries. There’ve been moments in my life, at an airport, at a rest stop, where I break down and order a slice of a Starbucks lemon pound cake to go with my coffee. It tastes fine. It’s not bad. It’s sweet, cakey, nicely glazed. But it’s not, by any means, good. Most people don’t know that because most people don’t take the time to make their own glazed pound cakes; but if you do take the time, yours will be light, where theirs is dense. Yours will be authentically flavored, whereas theirs tastes synthetic. Yours will be made at home with love whereas theirs is made in a warehouse. Plus, if you make your own, you can use tangerines instead of lemons.
[Dirt Candy’s Amanda Cohen isn’t just one of the best chefs going today, she’s also a fantastic writer. Here’s her take on a sauce you met earlier this week, only with her unique twist. Take it away, Amanda!]
It’s not one of French cuisine’s mother sauces, nor is it a “daughter” sauce, but it is my favorite sauce and it was actually invented by a woman (Clémence Lefeuvre) so that already puts it one up on fussy old Escoffier. It’s beurre blanc (white butter) sauce and it will rock your world.
The question often comes up: “Do you like baking more than savory cooking? Or the other way around?”
I always give a thoughtful, complicated answer but there’s a much easier way to address the question: look to your right, scroll down. See where it says Recipes By Category? Look at the numbers. 36 salads. 22 soups. And (drumroll) 153 desserts. Um, so yes, I really like baking and, more importantly, I really like dessert, both making it and eating it.
It’s Father’s Day this weekend and no dessert makes me think more of my dad than Key Lime Pie.
The association isn’t based on any particular memory; it’s based on a series of memories of dinners at steakhouses or seafood restaurants where my mom would be taking too long tearing apart her lobster, my dad would look impatiently at his watch, until finally he could order his decaf coffee and a slice of Key Lime Pie.
You may recall, when we first moved into our L.A. apartment, that I described a courtyard with a lime tree in it. I’m embarrassed to say that even though I have many dishes in my repertoire that involve limes–oatmeal with ginger, coconut milk and lime; sea scallops with citrus risotto–I haven’t once plucked one off the tree and used it, not even in a drink.