Don’t Be A Creep, Make A Crêpe

Two very strange things happened the night before I left for San Francisco: (1) I decided to make crepes; and (2) After making crepes–with lemon juice and sugar (a standard treatment, as far as I could discern)–I sat down with Craig, who was watching “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” and, I kid you not, the characters on the screen started talking about crepes (including “Crepes Suzette” with lemon juice and powdered sugar). Don’t believe me? You can watch the scene (illegally, I guess) on YouTube. Now you know I’m not a liar!

Isn’t that weird? How often do you cook something, sit down to watch a movie and have the characters in the movie talk about what you just made? It’s like eating venison while your kids watch Bambi. It’s freaky.

Freakiness aside, though, it’s time you made crepes. Have you never made a crepe? You are a fool! Crepes are a cinch, especially if you have a non-stick skillet. I used the Joy of Cooking recipe and it took no time (except the 30 minutes the batter rests). It’s a simple, fun dessert and once you start making crepes you’ll never stop. (Though you may stop spelling them “Crêpes” because you’ll get tired of that accented e.) Here’s what you do…

A Say, Say, Savory Onion, Cheese and Bacon Tart

If it’s fair to mock Diane Keaton for ordering pastrami on white bread with mayo in “Annie Hall,” then it’s fair to mock me for not knowing much about savory tarts and quiche-like items. In my Jewish upbringing both in New York and Boca Raton, Florida I never encountered a savory tart or a quiche. Naturally, I’m sure I’ll get a flood of responses: “I’m Jewish and I ate quiche every day!” “My name is Shlomo Quichey and I resent everything you stand for.” Fair enough. I’m just saying from my experience, at many Jewish people’s homes, Bar Mitzvahs and buffet tables there wasn’t a savory tart or quiche in site. Satisfied?

My point is that savory tarts and quiches are unfamiliar to me. They are difficult for me to wrap my brain around: who would want to eat something that looks like a pie that isn’t sweet? It isn’t human. It isn’t right.

But it just so happened that at the end of last week I found, in my refrigerator, bacon, eggs and cheddar cheese. I entered those ingredients into Epicurious and came up with this, a fabulously well-reviewed bacon, egg and cheese tart. I had all of the ingredients. My interest was piqued. And as I said, this was fabulously well-reviewed. People wrote things like: “I was suicidal and this tart saved my life”; “This tart is better than my child. I sent my child to camp so I could spend more time with this tart.”

So for the specific tart-making directions, follow the recipe link. Here’s a vague overview.

First, you make and bake the tart crust:


I had some trouble, but I overcame.

Then you fry up some bacon:


In the bacon fat, you cook up onions (that’s a genius move). Then you add the onions to the tart:


Now to the onions, you add the bacon, cheese (I had cheddar, the recipe requires the other kind), and a cream mixture with nutmeg and other flavors.


You bake for a while and it comes out looking like this:


I must say, the result was truly excellent. The bacony, carmelized onions are transcendent, and the consistency of everything else–the egg/cream mixture, the tart dough–is sheer perfection. This is a savory tart for the savory tart doubter.

As you can see in the top pic, I served it with an arugula, yellow cherry tomato salad simply dressed with olive oil, champagne vinegar, salt and pepper. ‘Twas a winning dinner served with a crisp white wine. Was also a winning lunch served the next day without wine because I’m not a drunkard. As for how this new affection for savory tarts affects my religious affiliations, all I have to say is that Mel Gibson is my Co-Pilot! Now we’re all in trouble.

Ooh La La, Fancy French Toast

What to do with the leftover peasant bread you bought for the Eggs in Purgatory I championed in a video last week? After all, you had the bread sliced at the store and fresh bread like that goes stale pretty quick. Let’s see there’s eggs in the fridge, vanilla, milk… hmmm… why, could we make french toast? Why, yes we can!

Using this recipe from Epicurious it couldn’t have been easier. And now for a Flickr slide show to explain the rest (I stole this idea from Sam of Becks & Posh: thanks Sam!) Click a picture to read a clever little quip and then curse yourself for wasting your time. Enjoy!

The Best Part of Waking Up Is Soft Scrambled Eggs and Homemade Biscuits with Apple Butter. (Folgers sucks.)

On Saturday morning I did a remarkable thing: I made a feast for breakfast. Well, not quite a feast. A mini-feast. A feast in the sense that it took more effort than, say, popping an Eggo waffle in the toaster or making the breakfast I usually eat: air. This was my breakfast plate after it was assembled and though it’s lacking some fruit and some home fried potatoes I’m perfectly content with what’s there.

What is there? On the left you will see a homemade biscuit topped with homemade apple butter. The apple butter came to us from Heidi Swanson and the biscuits came to us from Cook’s Illustrated. (Both those links will take you to my version of the recipes.) Making biscuits in the morning takes minimal effort, the only hitch might be if you don’t have buttermilk. You can turn regular milk into buttermilk with vinegar or lemon but having the real deal makes a difference. Why not buy some next time you’re in the store and treat yourself to biscuits in the morning? Why do you hate yourself so much?

But I’m not so interested in the biscuits and apple butter, though they were wonderful. I want to wax poetical, for a moment, on the eggs. Study those eggs in the above photo. Don’t they look otherworldly? That’s because I prepared them in the gourmet style, the one that great chefs suggest in fancy cookbooks though it wasn’t a fancy cookbook that led me to this technique, it was someone’s food blog. Whose? I don’t remember but it’s someone who reads this site because I found it after they left a comment. Do you know who you are? Show yourself in the comments and I will commend you with medals and plaques and ribbons and sashes!

The technique is so simple that I can’t imagine anyone messing it up, it simply requires patience. And it is soooooooo soooooooo worth it. Every “o” in the previous sentence magnifies the “worth it” by ten so you should take me seriously. By cooking them slow like this they take on a custardy richness that’s difficult to believe considering that the same substance on a high heat would taste like burnt rubber.

Here’s how you do it:

Melt 2 Tbs of butter in a non-stick pan on MEDIUM heat. Crack three eggs into a bowl [*six, if making for two people], break them up with a fork, and then pour them into the non-stick pan. At this point, lower the heat to very low and begin stirring. Keep stirring. Stir, stir, stir and do it for 30 minutes. Ok, you can take breaks. Ok, you can occasionally turn up the heat. But take your time. It looks like this while you do it:


I confess that I did turn up the heat a bit prematurely but only a small notch. This small notch, though, made the difference in getting it done faster. Next time I’ll be more patient. Either way, these scrambled eggs were the best I’ve ever had and I made them! That’s saying a lot. Give it a shot and start your day in style. And please, for the love of God, don’t use Pam for this method. And use real eggs not egg beaters from a carton. (These last two sentences were NOT intended for my mother.)

A Muffin with a Cupcake Complex: Pumpkin Muffins with Molasses-Ginger Glaze

I scan recipes in magazines the same way I scan menus at restaurants: I’m looking for something bizarre, something new, something I’ve never before experienced. Sometimes the results are icky (see squash-sausage soup below), and sometimes they’re delightful. Case in point: pumpkin molasses ginger muffins.

What might pumpkin, crystallized ginger and molasses taste like in a muffin? That’s the question that sends me out to the grocery store late at night, on a quest for ingredients; it’s what causes me to spend the time it takes to prep the muffin tins, to prepare the ingredients, to mix it all together and to clean it when it’s over. I am a man on a mission: a mission for unexpected flavors combos; the genesis of something new on the tongue. I am also on a mission to make you click to read more. You know you love it!

Pancake Perfection on a Sunday Morning

When it comes to whipping up something fast for breakfast, I very rarely have the impulse to make pancakes. Eggs are as extravagant as I get: I drop a clump of butter in the skillet, crack the eggs on the counter and three minutes later I’m in gooey eggy heaven. Yes eggs or maybe oatmeal. Certainly not pancakes. Pancakes would take forever, wouldn’t they? Especially pancakes as photogenic as these?

You know looking at that picture there, that may be the single most impressive photograph of something I’ve made in the history of this website. Maybe it’s the natural light. But in terms of wanting to lick the screen, I’m swooning over those dark brown crispy circles framing the tender, cakey pancake beneath. Don’t you want to know how I did it? Would you believe it only took 10 minutes? Then click below!

Everybody Ought To Have A Scone

If there was a betting pool and the bet was: “Is Adam pregnant?” you may do well to put aside preconceived notions about gender and childbirth and take seriously the following fact. I have strange cravings for scones in the middle of the night. Not only do I have these cravings, I listen to them and answer them by making scones very very late at night. Biology be damned—either I’m pregnant or I really really like scones. Or maybe both?

This scone recipe comes from (where else?) The Barefoot Contessa cookbook. These are the lightest scones I’ve ever had. Light as a feather and stiff as a board. You can throw them together really quickly. [Here’s the finished product photo, to get you excited.]

The recipe calls for dried strawberries but I subbed raisins and that was fine. Here’s what you’ll need: (I halved the recipe, but here’s the full recipe in case you’re really really REALLY pregnant). Makes 14 to 16 large scones.

4 cups plus 1 Tbs all-purpose flour

2 Tbs sugar, plus additional for sprinkling

2 Tbs baking powder

2 tsps salt

3/4 lb cold unsalted butter, diced

4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup cold heavy cream

3/4 cup small-diced dried strawberries

1 egg beaten with 2 Tbs water or milk, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 cups of flour, 2 Tbs sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour and butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss the strawberries with 1 Tbs of flour, and add them to the dough, and mix quickly. The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is well combined.


Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4 inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into squares with a 4 inch plain or fluted cutter and then cut them in half diagonally to make triangles. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.


Brush the tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outsides are crisp and the insides are fully baked.

That’s it! I will say: (1) these are best right out of the oven, slathered with butter or–in my case–raspberry jam (confiture?) from Le Pain Quotidien; and (2) they were a tiny bit salty for my taste. So maybe less salt? But all in all, me and my baby are glad I made them. They really hit the spot.

Impulsive Late Night Biscuit Ecstasy

Say what you will about me—call me bitter, call me mean, call me sometime, won’t you?—there’s one thing you can’t say: that I’m not impulsive.

Take these biscuits for example.

I had absolutely no reason to make them. I have bran muffins from the other night, remember? And I’m studying for the bar, remember? But I got bit by the biscuit bug and after reading a simple-enough sounding recipe in Cook’s Illustrated I vowed to whip up a batch at 11 and have them ready by 12.

Well my expectations were wildly surpassed: the biscuits were done at 11:40 and, more importantly, they were the best I’ve ever had. BETTER than the Silver Skillet’s which refused to share their recipe. Now I don’t need it.

Very quickly then I will share the recipe with you since I think you should make them too. The only strange ingredient you’ll need is buttermilk. I say strange because you’re not likely to have it in your fridge, but not strange in that you can’t run out and get it anywhere. And it adds a lot to the finished product.

Here is our ingredients list:


2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 Tbs double-acting baking powder

1 Tbs sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1.5 cups cold buttermilk, preferably low fat

To form and finish biscuits:

1 cup (5 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour, distributed in rimmed baking sheet

2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted

Now for the recipe. I’ll interspirce the steps with pictures from the process:

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Spray 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Generously spray inside and outside of 1/4 cup dry measure with nonstick cooking spray.

2. FOR THE DOUGH: In food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda to combine, about six 1-second pulses. Scatter butter cubes evenly over dry ingredients;


pulse until mixture resembles pebbly, coarse cornmeal, eight to ten 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add buttermilk to dry ingredients


and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated (dough will be very wet and slightly lumpy).


3. TO FORM AND BAKE BISCUITS: Using 1/4 cup dry measure and working quickly, scoop level amount of dough; drop dough from measuring cup into flour on baking sheet (if dough sticks to cup, use small spoon to pull it free). Repeat with remaining dough, forming 12 evenly sized mounds.


Dust tops of each piece of dough with flour from baking sheet. With floured hands, gently pick up piece of dough and coat with flour; gently shape dough into rough ball, shake off excess flour, and place in prepared cake pan. Repeat with remaining dough, arranging 9 rounds around perimeter of cake pan and 3 in center. Brush rounds with hot melted butter, taking care not to flatten them.


Bake 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees; continue to bake until biscuits are deep golden brown, about 15 minutes longer.

Cool in pan 2 minutes, then invert biscuits from pan onto clean kitchen towl;


Turn biscuits right side up and break apart. Cool 5 minutes longer and serve.


It’s times like these where those who insist on using prepared dough from a tube baffle me. This took me NO TIME and the results were, to quote Will Farrell as James Lipton: “Strumtrulescent.”

Seriously, these biscuits were light as a feather and tasty and buttery and perfect. As a bonus, I opened up my Nectarine-Apricot-Ginger jam and dammmmmmn girlfriend it tasted great. What a great combo. All on a whim. And what a whim it was.

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