Nothing sets me off like sanctimoniousness; that holier-than-thou, self-righteous, sermon-on-the-mount style of food writing. Often the sentiments are well-intentioned but everything is done so humorlessly, it’s hard for the average person to connect. And so it goes with vegetables. The general take, these days, seems to be that we should eat less dead bodies and more living green stuff. OK, I can get on board with that, though often the images associated with this new way of life are plates of kale and quinoa and other foods that start with a hard “K” sound. Can’t vegetables be sexy? Decadent? The kind of special dinner you might ask for on your birthday? Well, let’s not get carried away, but here’s a dinner that’s not at all good for you but is good for you in the broader sense because it’s got no dead bodies in it, just vegetables. Actually just one vegetable then lots of butter, flour, whole milk, cheese, and bread crumbs. There’s not a sanctimonious thing about it.
Ina Garten is one smart cookie. On a recent episode of her show, I watched her amp up the flavor of a potato leek soup by roasting the potatoes and leeks on a cookie sheet–getting them nice and golden brown–before pureeing them with chicken stock and topping the soup with crispy shallots. So when Vitamix asked me to make an autumnal soup recipe using their S30 model–a model ideal for making an individual portion–I knew what I had to do. Off to the store I went to pick up a butternut squash, an apple, an onion, some ginger, and some chicken stock, and then I went full Ina.
For Craig’s birthday this year, I didn’t take him to a fancy dinner as I’ve done in years past (see here, here and here). This year his birthday had two components: (1) a dinner at home with his favorite foods; and (2) a weekend trip to Palm Springs. You’ll hear about Palm Springs later this week, but this post concerns that dinner at home. When I asked what he wanted for his entree, Craig, a little like Garfield, had one word in his speech balloon: “Lasagna.”
At that same Jewish dinner where I made the chopped liver, I decided to try my hand at stuffed cabbage. Over Thanksgiving, my brother’s wife’s sister’s boyfriend’s grandmother (did you follow all that?), a Holocaust survivor named Anka, told me her recipe for stuffed cabbage. “The secret,” she let me know, “is raisins in the tomato sauce.” After that, stuffed cabbage was on my mind and when I started planning this dinner of Judaism I knew it would be my entree.
Do people who cook do it for attention?
It’s a surprising question, one I hadn’t really considered until I wrote that sentence. But, I mean, c’mon. You can’t be a fan of this blog and ignore the fact that, well, I’m kind of needy. With all of my videos, comic book posts, and my face always in the banner, you wouldn’t exactly call me a shrinking violet.
On this, the third episode of “Someone’s In The Kitchen With…” (though really the second official episode, since episode 1 had major technical issues), I play host to Cara Eisenpress & Phoebe Lapine from “Big Girls, Small Kitchen” who have a new cookbook out called, fittingly enough, “In The Small Kitchen.” Watch as the “girls” teach me how to make and plate sweet pea crostini while we kibbitz about cookbook writing, The Barefoot Contessa (they were on an episode of the show!), catering parties, and how to collaborate on a cookbook without killing your co-author. Also: if you have happen to be in L.A., Cara and Phoebe are hosting a book party this Thursday (June 2nd) at the Thompson Beverly Hills Rooftop from 7 PM to 10 PM. RSVP here. Oh, and don’t miss their recipe for Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce which I blogged about in the post below.
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.
Very Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipes: Butterhorns, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Port Wine Cranberry Sauce & Food Processor Apple Pie
There are crafty food bloggers out there (one might call them “smart” food bloggers, or “food bloggers who actually know what they’re doing”) who see a holiday coming and WHAM BLAM they have 1,000 holiday recipes posted weeks ahead of time so by the time the holiday rolls around you’re saturated with great holiday content. As you may have noticed (except for this post) I’m not such a “smart” food blogger. I did all my Thanksgiving post cooking so last minute that now it’s a day before the big holiday and here I am sharing with you a bunch of recipes that are probably coming 48 hours too late. But for those of you who are last minute planners (and I hope there are at least SOME of you), perhaps this will come as some sort of Thanksgiving lifeline? And even if not, these recipes are delicious even when it’s not Thanksgiving. So come with me and look at these Thanksgiving recipes, even if they’re a little tardy.