Roasted Rhubarb

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.

Deviled Eggs

There are certain dishes that I don’t like until I make them myself. For example, this may come as a shock to you, but I used to hate–and I mean hate–macaroni and cheese. I know! But I grew up in a non-cheese household (longtime readers know that my dad hates cheese) so whenever I’d go to someone’s house and there’d be mac and cheese for dinner, I’d have to make up an excuse not to eat it (“I’m allergic,” I’d say.)

But then, once I got into cooking, I made a few mac and cheeses (here’s one here) and once I understood the basic components of the dish–the bechamel, the way the cheese melts into the sauce, the way it all bakes in the oven–I could stomach other people’s mac and cheese because I understood what it was and how it was made.

Now, after last night’s effort, I feel the same way about deviled eggs.

Purple Cauliflower with Aioli

The other night I made a stew (post to come later in the week) but I started too late: it wouldn’t be ready until 10:30. “10:30?” yelped Craig. “But I’m starving.” It was 8 when he said this.

I sprung to action. In a plastic bag on the table was a head of purple cauliflower I bought at the farmer’s market on Friday. It cost $3. I cut it into bite-size pieces and put it on a platter. Then I made aioli.

Well, to be honest, I made two bad attempts at aioli and then I finally–thank the Lord–made aioli. Here’s the technique I perfected:

Take a egg yolk and put it in a BIG bowl. Take a clove of garlic and put it through a garlic press. I almost never use a garlic press, but for aioli it works better (at least based on my attempts) because the garlic gets pulverized. Put the garlic in the bowl with the yolk, add some salt and pepper, and then grab a whisk. Here’s where it gets tricky. Whisk all of that together and then, as carefully as you can, put one single drop of olive oil in the bowl. Whisk that in. Then do another drop. Whisk again. Go drop by drop and the aioli will stay thick. You want it to look like mayo: if it breaks down into oil and solids you’ve messed up. But my third try rewarded my patience: I went drop by drop and then I advanced to the barest trickle. Eventually I had the aioli you see above and it was terrific.

So as your loved ones get cranky next time you’re cooking, whip up some aioli and have a purple cauliflower ready. To quote Escoffier, “You can never go wrong with purple cauliflower and aioli. Bitch.”

How To Make Your Guests Love You In Five Short Steps

1. Buy Medjool dates, remove the pits.

2. Stuff each date with a square–or stick–of real Parmesan (1- by 1/4 inch)

3. Wrap each date with 1/3 a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick.

4. Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 5 minutes, then turn with tongs and bake 5 to 6 minutes more (until the bacon is crispy).

5. Serve to your very happy guests.

[Based on this recipe.]

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