Taking liberties with a recipe is one thing, taking liberties with a recipe name is another. When Dorie Greenspan first published the recipe for Pierre Hermé’s famous double chocolate cookies, they were called “Korova Cookies” for the restaurant where they were served in Paris. Then, one day, Dorie’s neighbor told her that the cookies were good enough to bring about world peace, so she renamed them World Peace Cookies and that went a bit viral. For some strange reason, though, these cookies never made an appearance in my kitchen. Maybe it’s because, in my small-mindedness, I thought: “How good could chocolate chocolate cookies be?” Then, last week, I made them and they were so good, so instantly adored, I knew I had to give them an even more appropriate name; the kind of name that could make a viral cookie go even more viral. And so Shirtless Ryan Gosling Cookies were born.
When I went to Paris in 2005, the warm croissants certainly set my heart aflutter, as did the cracklingly fresh baguettes and the dainty, delicate macarons. But the moment my heart almost stopped beating from the shock of deliciousness was the moment I tasted my first Pierre Hermé dessert, a dessert called H. Mogador that contained, “Biscuit au citron, gelee de fruit de la passion, ganache chocolat au lait et fruit de la passion.” It was basically a chocolate popsicle filled with passionfruit, one of my favorite flavors; I didn’t eat it, I inhaled it (watch me on video here). That dessert was the first thing I thought of when years later–this year, in fact–I found Pierre Hermé’s dessert cookbook (which he wrote along with Dorie Greenspan) at the used book store on my street. I immediately snatched it up.
On Saturday night, with 45 minutes left to go before our friend Dara was due to drop by for drinks, I made a drastic decision. I decided to make gougères.
This seemed like a drastic decision because: (a) I didn’t have the right cheese in my refrigerator and (b) I’d have to dirty the kitchen and a bunch of dishes just before the arrival of a guest. Things would be messy, things might burn. This was dangerous drink-hosting and I was living right on the edge. That’s what made it all so exciting.
When food icons have food blogs, you need to read them.
That’s certainly true of Dorie Greenspan’s blog. Her posts, like Dorie herself, are wise, witty and warm. And they’re full of good advice–like where to get pastries in Paris or how to whip up begger’s linguine–but the advice that’s stuck with the most was her advice, last April, to use the last remnants of mustard in the jar to make a vinaigrette.
It’s Apple Season, So Here Are Three Desserts You Can Make with Apples (Baked Apples, Apple Cake & Apple Cobbler)
Peter Meehan recently ranted about hectoring food snobs, the ones who make you feel bad for putting milk in your coffee (something he witnessed at an elite coffee shop) or who mock you for not knowing your various kinds of meat (hogget, anyone?) It’s with a sense of subtle restraint, then, that I gently prod you (I’m not hectoring, I swear) to make your way to a farmer’s market this autumn to buy some apples.
Not because it’ll make you a better person (it won’t) or because it’ll elevate your foodie status (whatever that might be), but because farmer’s market apples just taste better than supermarket apples. All you have to do to experience the difference is taste.
I don’t normally take pictures in restaurant bathrooms. Ok, so maybe I do, but that’s not something I like to talk about on the blog. The point is that the other day, I met my parents for lunch at Lupa (I’m going to blog about their tartufo, the best I’ve ever had, later in the week) and something in the bathroom made such an impression on me that I took a picture of it. You probably can’t make out the words, though, so let me explain.
Another quick, seasonal recipe from Dorie Greenspan. Take one pound of rhubarb, cut it into 2 inch pieces, place in a pie plate with 1/2 cup of sugar, orange zest (or lemon zest) from one orange or lemon and let sit for five minutes. Preheat oven to 400, cover dish with foil, and cook for 15 minutes. Check to see if sugar is dissolved: if not, stir around, and let it go a minute or two more. Then remove the foil and cook another five minutes. That’s it! Let it cool and serve with yogurt. A lovely, healthy spring snack.
For as long as I’ve been going to the farmer’s market (about five years now), I always eye garlic scapes with skepticism and fear. These tangly, green specimens look like a cross between a plant and an octopus. Even Craig, who loves octopi, approached the garlic scapes I brought home this weekend with great dread and apprehension….