A lot of people are making a big deal about the fact that Hanukkah fell this year on Thanksgiving. “It’s the first time in thousands of years that this has happened!” someone said to me and I said back, “But America hasn’t existed for thousands of years?” There was an uncomfortable silence. The point is that many people, while eating turkey, were also eating latkes last week. And since we’re still in the middle of Hanukkah, it’s not too late to have a latke party. All you need are some potatoes (sweet or regular), some onion-like things (I’ll explain momentarily) and miraculous vegetable oil that’s capable of burning for eight nights straight.
You may have thought Oscar’s biggest upset last night was Meryl Streep stealing Viola Davis’s Oscar, but then clearly you weren’t at the Oscar party I attended. Our friends John and Michael invited us a week earlier and asked us to bring a dish that was a pun or play on words based on title or actor (last year, John made “Stanley Two-Cheese Dip”) and I treated the whole thing light-heartedly, polling my followers on Twitter (some good suggestions: “My Week With Maryland Crabs,” “Macarooney Mara”) before settling on the dish you see above, Glenn Cous Cous Salad with Albert Knobs of Feta.
The easiest mac and cheese is the one from the box. The next one up, though, may be this one: instead of making a béchamel with butter, flour and milk–an easy enough process, but a process nonetheless–you heat three cups of cream and dump a bunch of grated cheese into it. You flavor the resulting sauce with garlic, onion, mustard, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce until the flavors are bold and then mix it up with boiled macaroni. Pour into a baking dish, top with Parmesan and breadcrumbs, and into a hot oven it goes: 30 to 40 minutes later, you have a real deal mac and cheese that has dinner guests, like the ones you see above (that’s Michael and John), fighting for the first bite.
For my birthday this year, my brother Michael got me a very thoughtful gift. He got me an AeroGarden.
In case you’ve never seen one, an AeroGarden is a black plastic contraption that holds a very strong light. You place little pods in little pre-set holes, fill the base with water, plug the whole thing in and pretty soon those pods are sprouting plants.
Oh blog, you poor, neglected thing, I’ve abandoned you for almost a week! I was in Washington, D.C. cooking with three chefs for my cookbook and before I knew it I was back and it was the weekend.
So let’s catch up. How’ve you been? As you know, I’ve been busy–scheduling, cooking, writing, traveling–but before I left for D.C. it was July 4th and I made dinner for my brother and his wife Tali. I made those ribs you see above; don’t they look good? They cooked for six hours in the oven wrapped in foil as suggested by that pre-eminent food scientist Harold McGee in this article for The New York Times.