Blueberry Disaster

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I fully support, endorse and celebrate the spirit with which Nancy Silverton wrote her newest book, A Twist of the Wrist. For a chef as particular as Silverton (and believe me, having made her sourdough bread from scratch, that woman loves detail) it’s refreshing to see her let down her hair, so to speak, with a book that grants the reader permission to skip the farmer’s market in lieu of canned, jarred and boxed foods. For any other chef, it’d be an act of heresy; for Nancy Silverton–of the La Brea Bakery & Pizzeria Mozza, both groundbreaking California institutions–it’s an act of humility. The book seems to say, “Look, home cook, I know you’re busy; so here’s a way to make delicious, restaurant-quality food at home for much less money in much less time.” What could be wrong with that?

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Gettin’ Figgy Wit’ It

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The internet has changed how we cook. Before the internet, I might’ve gone to the store and seen figs (as I did the other day) and said, “Wow, those look nice, but I have no idea what to do with them.” Now, because of the internet, I bought the figs, brought them home, Googled “fig dessert recipe” and found this one from Kim Goodfriend on KQED. It’s a super easy, super-awesome recipe that takes no time and requires little effort. Sound good? Let’s get figgy wit’ it.

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Easy Tiramisu

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Tiramisu is a dessert I’ve only eaten at restaurants–usually with my family. For some reason, the alchemy of its components always eluded me. It seemed like it might be very tricky to make. And then, for the Sopranos finale, I decided to give it a go. I pushed aside all the more complex recipes that involved egg yolks and heat, and used one right out of the Sopranos cookbook. It took less than ten minutes and the results were pretty dynamite. Here’s how to do it.

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For The Love of Pavlova

A miracle took place in my oven the other day. Set to 170 degrees, I placed a baking sheet inside with a mound of beaten egg whites and sugar, and out came this:

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That is pavlova. It’s named after the ballerina Anna Pavlova. I’ve seen Julia Child make it, Nigella Lawson and The Barefoot Contessa (whose recipe I used). But I’d never been driven to try. How good could it be? Just egg whites and sugar–no fat? Just a big crispy blob of white?

Oh how wrong I was. This wasn’t just good, it was shockingly good: crispy on the outside and gooey, like a marshmallow, on the inside. And then, to be totally decadent, you top it with whipped cream and berries:

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For the berries, I made Pim’s strawberries in hibiscus and vanilla syrup. That berry mixture on top of the whipped cream on top of the pavlova was like going to the moon with the most beautiful person on Earth, having sex all the way, while listening to your favorite band play live as little puppies lick your toes. You get the idea. Pure bliss. Heaven, thy name is pavlova.

[Note: Craig said it was “too sweet” and made a face.]

[Note 2: Craig said that after eating an entire tub of Swedish fish.]