The idea of making a roulade seemed, at first glance, somewhat intimidating. There was the rolling, then unrolling, and finally, the re-rolling. The instructions seemed intricate and the cake seemed delicate. Visions of a cake suddenly collapsing and crumbling under its own weight flashed before me, wiping away my mixing and baking efforts in a moment.
But then I stopped, and remembered that this was not the first time that I faced what seemed to be an insurmountable cooking hurdle. There had, after all, been many intimidating cooking projects before this one. I had made flan, caramelizing sugar. I had made oat bread, coaxing the yeast. I had made spanakopita, Continue reading
When I think of apple sauce, I can’t help but thinking back to those plastic cups, sold in packs of six, filled with what looks to be nothing more than puréed apples. Apple mush. Bland, flavorless, apple mush.
This recipe is not a Continue reading
This past weekend, Caitlin graduated from law school. But she didn’t just graduate; she graduated with style, earning a number of academic honors and awards.
But a few days before the graduation, I found myself sitting around with a lot of extra egg whites (you’ll see why in a few days). Rather than toss perfectly good egg whites, I decided to make meringues. And rather than make the simple spiral meringues, I decided to spice them up a bit — literally and figuratively!
After a healthy dash of cinnamon, and a few twirls from my piping bag, Continue reading
One of the things I most admire about man, is his ability to create art – his penchant for creativity. Art is, of course, a loose term, as anyone who has visited a modern gallery knows. One man’s junk will always be another man’s treasure. A piece of art will always be undervalued to one and overpriced to another. But that’s not really the point, at least as I see it.
For me, the point is to discover what I consider to be art, to stumble upon a work and to declare it, by my fiat alone, some thing of genius. In the world of architecture, I throw that label on Santiago Calatrava, whose sweeping shapes and arcs on the Milwaukee Art Museum take the viewer from one work of art into another.
In the world of literature, I favor From Paris to the Moon, a work of non-fiction that captures Continue reading
Despite my blog name, there’s very little overlap between my time in the kitchen and my time in the courthouse. But last week, Caitlin gave me a fitting opportunity to meld the two seemingly disparate fields.
The day after St. Patrick’s day, Caitlin sent me an article by Clarence Darrow, the famous criminal defense lawyer. In the early 20th Century, Darrow represented a number of high-profile defendants, but none more famous perhaps, than John Scopes, the public school teacher who faced prosecution for teaching human evolution in Tennessee.
Several years after the verdict in the Monkey Trial, Darrow published his thoughts on selecting a jury in an article that appeared in Esquire. At the time of publication, Darrow was at the end of his illustrious legal career, and near his death. Yet, the article held nothing back.
“Selecting a jury is of the utmost importance,” he notes, and “choosing jurors is always a delicate task;” sentiments no less true today. But the insights he offers Continue reading
Thanksgiving is no time for experiments. On any regular Thursday, the pizza parlor is just a phone call away. But on Thanksgiving, there is no such luxury.
This year, I stuck with Ina Garten’s recipe for roast turkey. Though, unlike the two previous years, I decided to brine my turkey – a technique which I had not yet tried. Brining – the process of immersing the meat in a salt-water mixture – works to dry and salt the meat by osmosis. That is, excess salt from the juice flows into the meat, while excess water from the meat, flows into the juice. Which doesn’t sound great: who wants dry, salty meat?
Fortunately, the osmotic process is not finished. As the salt enters the meat, Continue reading
Cooking is inherently creative.
Standing alone, butter, flour, and bittersweet chocolate chips are nothing to get excited about. No one clamors for a cup of fresh flour or a few handfuls of unsweetened chocolate. But combine these three ingredients with sugar and an egg, and suddenly, you have chocolate chip cookies. After vanilla extract and salt, you can really get creative. Add toffee chips. Or white chocolate chips. Or maybe crushed Girl Scout cookies.
Halloween offers the opportunity to get even more creative in the kitchen. On any other day, Continue reading