I’m so mad at myself. I figured out how to make homemade potato chips in such an easy, head-smackingly simple way, I’m going to make them all the time and gain a million pounds. It all started when I thought about the shallow-frying technique I used to make pita chips and tortilla chips; why wouldn’t that work for potato chips? Turns out it does, better than expected. If I wanted to, I could have a plateful of homemade chips in front of you in 15 minutes. Warning: this is a dangerous thing to know how to do. You’ll never stop wanting to do it.
Any time I’ve ever made deviled eggs, I’ve basically spooned a gloppy mayo-yolk mixture into floppy egg whites and masked the ugliness with either smoked paprika (see here) or weird garnishes (see my Deviled Eggs Three Ways). The problem was always that filling: never stiff enough to pipe, always wet enough to spoon. This time around, I decided to change my game by deferring to a master chef’s technique; that would be April Bloomfield’s.
One thing that I like about cooking is that even if think you know a recipe, there’s always a better version lurking around the corner. It’s always possible to make something better. So, for example, homemade hummus: I’ve been making it for a while. Generally, I just strain a can of chickpeas (reserving the liquid), toss it into a food processor with some garlic, some tahini, some lemon juice, a splash of olive oil, salt and a little of that liquid. Whir it up and I’ve got hummus. I’m usually pretty happy with the results.
On Saturday morning, I woke up with a throbbing headache, totally dehydrated and desperate for coffee. That’s always the sign of a successful Friday night (ours involved seeing “Blue Jasmine” so you know it was wild). A few hours later, feeling better, I was craving some greasy food to accompany my viewing of “It’s Complicated” on Netflix. I remembered that I had corn tortillas in the refrigerator; what if I fried those up and made nachos? I immediately got to work.
Remember that time I made a stovetop-charred eggplant dip (aka baba ganoush)? Really? You don’t remember that? Because that was like a week or two ago. You really ought to have your memory checked.
Anyhoo, I realize that many of you may have been intimidated by the idea of stovetop charring. “Put an eggplant on my stovetop?” said an old granny who reads my blog. “Not in my house!” Here, granny, is a smart alternative.
Sometimes you don’t want to cook, you just want to play with fire. I bet many chefs would admit as much (see: guys and grilling, for example). The other day, still on the hunt for our next apartment (a tedious hunt, by the way) I found myself, in a trance, wandering into my kitchen, turning on the gas stove, and holding a skinny Japanese eggplant over the flame with tongs. Was I having a serial killer moment? Maybe. But I’d learned this technique from Chef Anita Lo while writing my cookbook.
Spring peas require patience. You have to take the time to go to the farmer’s market to find them and then you have to remove them from their pods. If you have a lazy afternoon ahead and you want to sit on your front porch rocking in a chair and chatting with neighbors, by all means, shell a bunch of peas. Me? When a recipe calls for fresh peas vs. frozen peas, I always opt for frozen peas. Because they’re always so good and sweet. And because I don’t have a porch. And because I’m lazy. Stop judging me.
When a significant other goes out of town, most people use that opportunity to watch bad movies, to pig out on ice cream, and to spread out gratuitously in bed while sleeping. Me? I make risky foods. No, I don’t mean risky in a danger sense–I’m not eating supermarket ground beef tartar–I mean in a “will this be good?” sense. I take bigger chances when Craig’s not here because if I screw up, no one’s there to scrunch up their nose. So on Saturday morning, when I woke up and wanted breakfast, I opened Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book and studied the recipe for a sandwich that she says is Mari Batali’s favorite. It’s basically boiled eggs on arugula doused in Bagna Cauda. I didn’t have any bread and I didn’t have any arugula, but I did have the ingredients to make Bagna Cauda. And eggs. And, also–somewhat weirdly–farmer’s market Brussels Sprouts. An idea was born.