Blueberry Bran Muffins

Blueberry Bran Muffins

How I have been remiss!  It used to be that an Ina recipe landed on my blog almost every other month.  There was her spanakopita and her cheese straws.  There was her panko-crusted salmon with french lentils and her maple-roasted winter squash.  Every dish, it seemed, was a winner.

And with six of her cookbooks sitting on my shelf, each neatly arranged according to the spine’s color, there was no shortage of recipes at my disposal.  There were even two recent books — Make it Ahead and Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust — that, horror of horrors, I had not yet acquired.

Bran Muffins

I was desperately falling behind on my Ina testing.

Fortunately, the St. Louis County Public Library Continue reading

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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I am not a huge meat-eater, and red meat is particularly rare.  Though I still do enjoy the occasional burger and roasted chicken.  Caitlin is almost exclusively vegetarian.  So the hunt is often on for a new twist on vegetarian cooking.

I came across this recipe while flipping through our copy of the Vegetarian Times (that, by the way, is not a sentence we’re likely to hear around town).  The potato chips offer a fun and crunchy twist on the standard stuff vegetable recipe.

With our CSA in full swing, these zucchini boats Continue reading

Homemade Pizza with 00 Flour

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I had never heard of 00 flour when I first bought it.  My regular grocery store had never heard of it.  Even Whole Foods seemed unfamiliar with it.

Finally, after searching The Hill, Saint Louis’s Italian neighborhood, I found a grocer who carried this Italian flour.  Having tried it, I’m glad I did; it makes an extraordinary pizza crust.

As Saveur notes, 00 flour is ideal for pizza crust because it is finely ground and because it has a lower gluten content than other flours.  In Italy, flour is graded from 1 to 0 to 00, with 1 describing a rough grind and 00 describing the finest grind.

Gluten is the natural protein that remains when starch is removed from wheat grains.  It creates the elasticity you feel when biting Continue reading

Parker House Rolls

Parker House Rolls

I don’t love the magazine Food & Wine. I signed up for a subscription by cashing in some airline miles due to expire.  At the time, I was willing to try six months of content at no cost.

The food in the magazine looks great. It’s exquisitely staged and photographed on glossy magazine paper. The colors pop while the copy rolls along. But there’s just something about the magazine that I don’t love. Between the advertisements for exotic cruises and high-priced jewelry, the magazine gives the impression that none of its subscribers actually cook the recipes – that the subscribers have people for that kind of stuff. Food & Wine’s recipes look great to try – but they also look like, at least most of the time, that the recipes are tried only after they are cooked by the wait staff.

Parker House Rolls

In my mind, the average Food & Wine subscriber is not the apron-wearing, oil-splashed, cooking type, Continue reading

Magically Moist Almond Cake

Magically Moist Almond Cake

It’s funny. Of all the cookbooks, blogs, and cooking shows, sometimes the best recipe is on the box, staring right at you.

In my last post, I vowed to use my cookbooks more often.  Well, here I am, extolling the recipe on the Bob’s Red Mill package.  In fairness, though, as recipe-testing goes, a company’s own recipe must undergo a fairly thorough testing procedure.

A cookbook may have dozens, if not hundreds, of recipes.  Product packaging will have one or two recipes in which to tout Continue reading

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chili Sauce

Chicken Enchiladas

I have a resolution of sorts.  We have all of these cookbooks around the house.  Cookbooks on grilling and baking.  Italian, Greek, and French cookbooks.  New Orleans and Sante Fe cookbooks.  And nearly every cookbook written by Ina Garten.  And yet, more often than not, when I look for a recipe, my first instinct is to look online.

My resolution is to break that habit, even if ever so slightly.  It seems only logical.  Recipes online are often unreliable and hard to reproduce.  Even my own recipes Continue reading

Cranberry-Chocolate Biscotti

Biscotti

One of the problems of having a food blog is – quite obviously – making sure that you have food to photograph. This problem is particularly acute when making dinner or when otherwise cooking at night. Photography at night is a no-win situation. There is no natural light, leaving only the harsh glow of the incandescents. When it comes to dinner, there is the option of photographing on long exposures while the meal grows cold, or simply hoping for presentable leftovers. When it comes to other recipes, the challenge is saving enough for a future daytime photograph.

And that’s the rub here. I made these chocolate-cranberry biscotti Continue reading