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

Sesame Tofu Stir-Fry with Brown Rice and Carrot-Wasabi Soup

Sesame TofuIt’s funny.  Some of the easiest things to make can sometimes be the hardest.  Case in point: rice.  People have been cooking rice for thousands of years.  It is a staple crop and a foundation for meals for hundreds of millions of people around the world.  And damned if I can only make it well once out of every two tries.

I mean, I could always get a rice cooker, that could gauge the temperature and weight of the rice, and take all the chance out of my hands.  But I already have so many kitchen appliances.  And I only make rice so often.

Instead, I just stick to my saucepan Continue reading

New Orleans Pralines

Pralines

I will admit that my recipe headline is a bit redundant. When I think of Pralines I only think of New Orleans. I can imagine no other city evoked by these confections. It may, of course, be my own bias, having grown up in New Orleans, and having passed Aunt Sally’s Praline Shop in the French Quarter countless times.

A few weeks ago, Caitlin and some of her fellow bridesmaids hosted a bridal shower.  The bride-to-be was one of Caitlin’s childhood friends and the groom-to-be was another New Orleans boy (we make such good husbands).  With that in mind, the food and drinks for the evening were to have a Maryland (for her) and New Orleans (for him) theme.

Pralines

Among other items, I volunteered to make pralines for our guests.  At first, we had thought about ordering the pralines, but that seemed expensive, not to mention the threat of breakage.  So we transitioned to the plan that had me making several dozen pralines.

And several dozen I made.  My first batch was a complete and total failure.  I Continue reading

Soba Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Tofu

Soba Noodles

Until recently, I had never heard of Soba noodles.  Not once.  When I first heard them mentioned, I ran into the grocery store and emerged with some form of lo mein noodles.  The second time, replete with the knowledge that they were closer to whole wheat spaghetti, than chinese noodles, I came back with, well, whole wheat spaghetti, unable to locate the soba noodles.

Finally, I decided to no longer leave it up to chance.  I walked into the grocery store – our neighborhood Schnucks no less — and asked whether they carried Soba noodles.  Within a few seconds, a store employee had brought me exactly what I wanted – a clear package with Japanese characters adorning the label.  This was it.  I had found the elusive noodle.

In this case, Schnucks carried these Yamaimo Soba Noodles in their Asian aisle.  I had never seen Continue reading