It’s So Easy To Make Your Own Corn Tortillas

IMG_1282

This weekend my brain burst open like a piñata when I discovered, after much hemming and hawing, how easy it is to make your own corn tortillas. At Christmas, Craig’s parents bought me a tortilla press (which I’d put on my list) and I very matter-of-factly shelved it away when I got home, telling myself that one day, some day, I’d dig it out and use it. Then, last week, I made a trip to Grand Central Market in downtown LA (more on that later this week) and bought a bag of Maseca. Turns out that’s all I needed–along with the tortilla press–to make the most incredible corn tortillas at home. Look how easy it is.

Continue Reading

If You Have A Grill, You Should Be Grilling Pizza

IMG_3356

Our friends Mark and Diana, who live up the street from us, have made a terrible mistake. The mistake is this: they fed us grilled pizza and now we’ll be demanding it on a regular basis.

How did I not know this? I mean, I knew this–I’ve watched Ina Garten throw a grilled pizza party on T.V.–but I didn’t know how good it was. Do you know? Here’s what happens: because of the high heat of the grill, the pizza gets charry and crisp on the bottom (like what happens in the high-temperature oven at a fancy pizza restaurant) and then you top it with whatever you want to top it with, you close the lid, and moments later you have totally excellent pizza. And if you shape your pizza dough into a large oval, you can feed a big group of people quite happily, as Mark and Diana did last night for us and our visiting friends Patty and Lauren.

Continue Reading

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

cutupcornbread

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.

Continue Reading

The Best Dinner Rolls of Your Life

IMG_4242

Who invites friends over for dinner rolls?

On Thursday night, I did that very thing. I texted our friends who live in our building and said, “Hot dinner rolls and honey if you want right now!” It was a strange text, one that I thought might be met with radio silence. But one friend, our friend Rob, said “Yes!” and came over moments later to experience the best dinner rolls I’d ever made. And he was not disappointed.

Continue Reading

Easy Pumpkin Bread

IMG_1686

For as long as I’ve been cooking, I’ve been making the pumpkin bread you see in the above photo. (Proof: see this old post from 2004.) It’s one of the easiest recipes I know–dump a bunch of stuff into a bowl, stir it together, and bake it–and the rewards are rich: the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg will waft softly from the oven as you do the dishes and because the recipe makes two loaves, you can freeze one of them to enjoy later on in the month. The only tricky ingredient you’ll need to find is a can of pumpkin and that’s not tricky at all.

Continue Reading

Bananas Foster Bread

fosterbananas

As a kid, I was a sucker for platitudes. Especially this one, which I heard at EPCOT: “If you can dream it, you can do it!”

Things don’t change that much, I suppose: this weekend I had a dream and I decided that I could do it. The dream was Bananas Foster Bread. I wanted the concentrated banana flavor of Bannas Foster integrated into a bread. I didn’t really know how to do this, but I used my intuition. I started by making Bananas Foster and then separated the bananas from the sauce, using those bananas as the bananas in the bread. Inspired? Insane? Something in between?

Continue Reading

Brown Butter Banana Bread

IMG_1.JPG

Inspiration strikes me more as a writer, than a cook. “Write a play about a parrot that saves a family from genocide,” says inspiration. “Thanks inspiration,” I say and go on to win five Tonys.

But as a cook? I’m pretty uninspired, I’d have to say. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a happy cook, a passionate cook, I care about the food I make. But am I inspired to tweak that which I am cooking? Rarely, very rarely. Which is why, when making the banana bread from Molly’s “Homemade Life” for the second time (I didn’t blog about it the first time, but it’s a great banana bread made with butter instead of oil that has candied ginger and chocolate chips), I was surprised to hear a voice in my head whisper, like the voice in “Field of Dreams,” “brown the butter.” Brown the butter? You’re supposed to melt the butter, not brown the butter. “Brown the butter,” the voice persisted. I can’t! That’s not what you’re supposed to do. “BROWN THE FRIGGIN’ BUTTER, MORON!” All right! All right! I’ll brown the butter.

And brown the butter I did.

Continue Reading

Katy’s Pizza

IMG_1.JPG

Pizza god Adam Kuban of SliceNY and Serious Eats had this to say the last time I made pizza: “AmGour: I love ya and all, man, but you gotta spread that dough out thinner!”

A thin crust, it turns out, is the sine qua non of perfect pizza. The great pizzas of New York–Di Fara, Franny’s, and Una Pizza Napoletana–all have relatively thin crusts that don’t overwhelm the other pizza elements. But, I must confess, when I’m at home making pizza my goal isn’t to recreate these laudable thin-crust pizzas; my goal is to recreate my friend Katy’s pizza, from the days when she lived close by in Atlanta.

Continue Reading