Whatever, Martha

Last week, Martha Stewart caused something of an uproar in the blogger community when she said, in an interview with Bloomberg TV: “Who are these bloggers? They’re not editors at Vogue magazine…I mean, there are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. So bloggers create kind of a popularity, but they are not the experts.”

She’s since backtracked; a wise move considering that her empire includes an entire network of bloggers with MARTHA STEWART plastered prominently on their pages. At first I was offended by her off-the-cuff remarks, now I’m mostly amused. This was a telling, unguarded moment for Martha and one that reflects the vintage, bespoke bubble she’s living in with her dogs in Connecticut.

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The Clean Plate Club, Episode #6: Jim Cantiello, Kat Odell

Before I tell you all about this week’s Clean Plate Club guests, I need to tell you something important: this week’s episode features a voicemail from Martha Stewart. I repeat: towards the end, you get to hear an actual voicemail from Martha Stewart.

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me introduce you to Jim Cantiello and Kat Odell (though I think you may already know them). Jim is the charismatic MTV host–he tells great stories about his time there in the podcast–who is now Co-Executive Producer for The X Factor USA’s website; Kat is the editor of Eater LA and the star of the new Bravo show Eat, Drink, Love. That’s right: I cooked dinner for a Bravolebrity.

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Breakfast Crêpes with Eggs, Bacon and Cheese

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Our first weekend in the new apartment and it was my mission to make breakfast. I’d carried a box of foodstuffs from our old refrigerator to the new refrigerator so as not to waste anything and that box contained perishables like eggs, bacon, butter and milk. In my pantry, I had flour, sugar and salt. What could a person make with these things that wasn’t boring? A vision came to me, a vision of a nun on a beach dancing the hoochie-coochie. But then another vision came to me: Crêpes!

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The Top 5 Instructional Cooking Shows You Can Watch Online

Yesterday, buried in my post about Vegas Uncork’d, was a mini tribute to Mary Sue Milliken and a rant about how Food Network, and Food TV in general, no longer features shows with deeply knowledgable, seasoned chefs with a flair for instruction. Then I realized it hardly matters because most of those shows I loved (love) are available online. So what follows are five shows, all watchable right now, that I consider the very best in recorded cooking instruction; shows I go back to again and again because every time I watch them, I learn something new.

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A Cook’s Nightmare and A Cook’s Dream

Watching Martha Stewart on Hulu while doing the New York Times crossword puzzle (don’t be too impressed, I barely got four answers) I had a distinct memory of her having Julia Child and Jacques Pepin on as guests. So I went on to YouTube and sure enough the clip you see above surfaced. I love the moment when Martha’s whisking with Julia and Jacques peering over her shoulders; it is, as I quote Martha saying in this post’s title, both a cook’s nightmare and a cook’s dream. If only most of us could be so lucky.

[Update: there’s a whole battery of videos on Martha’s site of her cooking with Julia and Jacques. Now I know how I’m spending the rest of my afternoon.]

European-Style Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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Once I was at Murray’s Cheese with David Lebovitz and he stopped to admire the butter from Vermont.

I’ll confess, up to that point, I hadn’t given butter that much thought. For years I’d been buying Breakstones–you know, the kind that comes in the red box–and using it pretty universally. But then, after David talked about baking with Vermont-style butter, I began to wonder: “What would happen if I switched up the butter in my baking? How would that change things?” It took a few more years before I put that question to the test.

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A Sour Cherry Coffee Cake In Winter

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Most food blog posts are meant to inspire, but this one is meant to mock.

Yes I am mocking you! When sour cherry season rolled around last June, did I, like you, stuff myself silly, popping every last sour cherry into my mouth until I had none left? No, sir, I did not. Like a smart little squirrel, I pitted my sour cherries and then popped them on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Look, I even took a picture….

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Pfeffernussen, Orange Sables & The Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie of Your Dreams

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The Baking Bug isn’t a ladybug, it’s a wasp: once it stings you, you’ve been stung.

Such has been the case with my friend Josh Hume, director of my show on Food2 and a recent convert to the world of baking. He loves it. He calls himself Man Martha because of his love for Martha Stewart’s recipes and, most recently, he represented me at a Bon Appetit Magazine blogger bake-off. (Check out his bouche!) It’s no surprise, then, that Josh approached holiday baking this year with a fervor; not only did he bake cakes for several friends’ birthday parties (big, elaborate cakes) but he planned an enormous Christmas cookie exchange and assigned each person a different cookie to bring. My assignment? Pfeffernussen.

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