The Oscar Post: Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, Saveur Magazine’s Apple Cobbler (with vanilla ice cream, of course) and Dazzling New YouTube Technology

The day after the Oscars the questions were pretty standard: “What did you think of Jon Stewart?” “Were you disappointed Brokeback didn’t win?” “What did you think of Charlize’s dress?” Sadly, no one asked the one question I wanted to answer: “What did you have for dinner?”

The dinner, you see, was the best part of the whole night! Observe:

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

IMG_1.JPG

Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream

IMG_2.JPG

You’ve got nothing on me, Wolfgang Puck! Well: you have a restaurant fortune and a QVC Empire, but do you have my joie de vivre? Just count my exclamation marks and I’ll put you to shame!!!

Continue Reading

A Cobbler Recipe for Cobbler People: Cherry and Apricot Cobbler

In this world there are pie people, tart people, and cobbler people.

Pie people, bless their souls, say things like “bless their souls.” They wear aprons and buy toilet paper at Sam’s club.

Tart people are a little edgier, but not much. Their hair is cropped and they wear wire-rimmed glasses. They don’t favor Yanni, but they don’t dislike him either. In Sex and the City terms, tart people are Miranda.

And then there are cobbler people. We’re the rustics, the hands-dirty type. We like finger painting and eating glue. We’re impatient. We don’t care what it looks like as long as it tastes good. We are cobbler people.

What I like about cobbler is that it is so easy. You make the fruit, you make the topping, and you’re done. It’s a great way, also, to try different fruits and to celebrate the season. Except cobbler people don’t say things like “celebrate the season.” Pie people say that.

A few days ago I spotted apricots and cherries at Whole Foods. Remember how I told you to keep your eyes out for what’s in season? This was one of those times. So tonight I scrambled over there, loaded up on ingredients, and came storming back ready to make my cobbler.

Here are my apricots:

IMG_1.JPG

Here are my cherries:

IMG_2.JPG

After washing the apricots and cherries, I began the pitting process. Pitting cherries is the pits. I tried various techniques, but ultimately relied on my fingers. It took a while. Here are the results:

IMG_4.JPG

And here are the pits:

IMG_5.JPG

And the Pips:

IMG_6.JPG

Now you halve and pit the apricots. This wasn’t too hard, I used a paring knife:

IMG_6.JPG

The recipe I used (from Epicurious) has you toss the fruit with sugar, cornstarch and (rather unconventionally) almond extract. After which I poured it into the baking dish:

IMG_7.JPG

It baked for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. It came out smelling great:

IMG_8.JPG

Meanwhile, I made the topping. This was easy too. First I whisked together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt:

IMG_9.JPG

Then I cut up a stick of cold butter into squares. Notice how ingenious (and immodest) I am. I halved the butter lengthwise, flipped it over, halved it again (thus quartering it). Then I sliced down horizontally to get cubes:

IMG_10.JPG

Work the butter into the flour with your fingers until it resembles “coarse meal.” I never get this instruction because I am none too familiar with coarse meal. I imagine, though, that coarse meal looks like this:

IMG_11.JPG

Sam Neil, on the other hand, looks like this:

IMG_12.JPG

Here’s where our recipe gets sloppy. You pour in 3/4 cup of buttermilk and 3/4 cup of whipping cream:

IMG_13.JPG

Everything turns quite gloppy:

IMG_14.JPG

The cobblers I usually make have crumby toppings; this one would turn out biscuity. It made the actual toppping process (glopping the batter on to the fruit) a bit more difficult. “Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfulls” says the recipe. I managed ok, and it looked like this:

IMG_15.JPG

Then I baked for 40 minutes at 375 and it came out looking like this:

IMG_16.JPG

Pretty huh?

Now from the side:

IMG_17.JPG

Served us up a bowl:

IMG_18.JPG

And it was quite delicious. I was worried for a bit. I thought the cherries wouldn’t be cherryey enough. That the apricots wouldn’t be tart enough. That the topping wouldn’t be crumby enough. But nothing to worry about: everything tasted bright and terrific. This is a good early summer recipe. That is if you’re a cobbler person. And who wouldn’t want to be a cobbler person? We’re the best.

You Will (Maybe) Make This Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

If there was no Lauren there’d be no Maybe.

She felt that the rhubarb was too prominent, that the fruit wasn’t cooked enough. But tell me this doesn’t look delicious:

IMG_1.JPG

Here’s a good tip for all you aspiring gourmets out there: when you’re at the supermarket, pay attention to what’s in the produce section. Recently at Whole Foods I noticed prominent displays of strawberries and rhubarb. So tonight, when I was craving a diversion from my homework and the bread in the refrigerator, I typed in “Strawberry Rhubarb” at Epicurious and came up with this recipe (which, incidentally, has a 100% approval rating):

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB COBBLER WITH CORNMEAL BISCUIT TOPPING.

My formula for a good recipe is as follows:

EASY TO DO + DELICIOUS RESULTS = GOOD RECIPE

This recipe was incredibly easy. My one mistake was with the rhubarb.

First, wash and dry the strawberries:

IMG_2.JPG

Then wash and dry the rhubarb:

IMG_3.JPG

Here’s where I made my mistake. Well, I’m not sure if it was a mistake. The recipe says to cut the rhubarb into 1/2-inch thick slices. I found this confusing. I mean, are we talking width or length? Should I have cut it like celery?

I ended up making little rhubarb sticks of 1/2 an inch width:

IMG_4.JPG

If I had to do it again, I’d go the celery route.

In any case, you put the rhubarb and strawberries in a bowl with flour, sugar and ground cloves. (I think the ground cloves make the recipe terrific; adds a lot of depth to the flavor):

IMG_5.JPG

IMG_6.JPG

Pour into the pie dish:

IMG_7.JPG

Now make the topping. There’s flour, sugar, butter, and corn meal:

IMG_8.JPG

IMG_9.JPG

Mush it up with your fingers until it resembles course meal. Then add buttermilk and stir with fork:

IMG_10.JPG

[I don’t know why I’m giving you these instructions. Just follow the Epicurious recipe!]

Pour the topping on the strawberry mixture:

IMG_11.JPG

And bake at 400 degrees for what I think is 25 minutes. (Follow the recipe, dummy!)

IMG_12.JPG

Doesn’t that look delicious?

Here’s what it looks like in the bowl:

IMG_13.JPG

I think Lauren’s main complaint was that the fruit wasn’t cooked down enough. Someone on the Epicurious site makes the same point and suggests cooking the fruit first before adding the topping. I had never cooked with rhubarb before, so I didn’t know the difference. In any case, I think this is a perfect Springtime Sopranos-watching dessert. Unless you’re Lauren. In which case, the fruit wasn’t cooked down enough.

Cobbler Sex City

Nothing says sex like apple cobbler. The bubbling sticky apple juices; the savory, buttery cobbler topping. Sometimes, when I’m feeling lonely, I break out a bottle of wine, turn up the Barry Manilow and bake myself an apple cobbler. I pour it over my head like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance and scream in agony. Apple cobbler is hot.

Last night, however, my cobbler and I had company. Friends came over to watch “Sex and the City” and, rather grudgingly, I spooned them up heaping portions of sex cobbler with a side of vanilla ice cream. Does this make me a voyeur? Or does this make my friends exhibitionists?

Either way, the recipe I used comes from Saveur magazine which usually contains recipes so exotic and forbidding that you can’t cook anything without a vast supply of squirrel meat and pigeon brains. Luckily, the most exotic cobbler requirement was nutmeg.

Due to time constraints, I am unable to reproduce every minute detail of my cobbler making. Suffice it to say, there were apples:

IMG_022223.JPG

I was forced to use Granny Smith instead of the suggested Cortland. All Oedipal implications of Granny apples in a sex cobbler shall be stifled.

After coring, peeling and chastizing the apples I sliced them and tossed them in a combination of: granulated sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, freshly grated nutmeg, ground cloves, honey, apple cider and the juice of one lemon. I then baked them for 30 minutes, producing this lovely image:

IMG_022222.JPG

While they cooled, I sifted together 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp baking powder:

IMG_01.JPG

I then cut in 10 tbsps of cold butter, stirred in 1/2 cup of rolled oats and 6 tbsps of heavy cream. I poured the combo on top and it looked like this:

IMG_01.JPG

And then I baked it for 45 minutes in an oven at 375 degrees. People started arriving.

“What smells so good?” they asked, removing articles of clothing.

“People!” I yelled, “This is not Eyes Wide Shut. Put your clothes back on.”

Finally, halfway through “Sex and the City,” the cobbler was done:

IMG_2.JPG

At this point, the living room couches were humming with sexual tension.

“BRING US COBBLER!” the guests demanded, breaking out in a communal cobbler sweat.

I served them up sexy bowls:

IMG_33.JPG

They snapped them quickly out of my hands and began feeding each other cobbler with such velocity and unbridled energy that several neighbors came over to ask what the fuss was about.

“Sorry,” I said, “It won’t happen again.”

“Is that cobbler?” they asked, and began streaking their way through the apartment.

“All naked neighbors please leave!” I shouted, to no avail.

The following image is just one of many examples of cobbler lust at its worst. In this ribald sex pic, AG reader “Carrie” spoon feeds cobbler to AG model “Andrew.” This is not safe for work!

IMG_32.JPG

9 months from now the Children of the Cobbler will be born. Their ravenous cobbler appetites will wreak havoc across all 50 cobbler-serving US states. Cobbler corruption will breed a new race of cobbler eaters; stalking their way across the country thirsting for bubbling apple juices and savory, buttery toppings.

Which is why, in the future, I’ll save my cobbler-making for those magic nights home alone. Just me, Barry Manilow, and 12 simmering apples slathered on my head. What a feeling!