In my last post, I bemoaned the fact that I had not been trying out enough recipes from the Barefoot Contessa (a.k.a. Ina Garten). Well, sure enough, I am back in form, with a second Barefoot Contessa in less than a month’s time.
I had always wanted to make a tres leches cake, having always been eager to order the dessert at the Mexican restaurants we might frequent. I loved how moist and sweet the cake was.
And as luck would have it, Continue reading
From apples in pie, to peaches in cobbler, and from cherries in clafoutis, to bananas in pudding, certain fruits have their calling. With blueberries, they answer to pancakes. Nothing says pancakes, like blueberry pancakes. That is, unless you’re making blueberry oatmeal pancakes.
Replacing most of the flour with oats turned out to be a great adaptation for an otherwise classic recipe. I should have stopped there though. Once I had oats in my mind, I immediately thought raisins – another one of those traditional pairings. After dropping blueberries in the batter, I changed to amaretto-soaked raisins. It was not to be. Raisins and oats, I learned, are best left to cookies. But at least Continue reading
In feeding my clafoutis addiction, I got into the habit of picking a handful of plums and peaches every Saturday morning at the Farmers’ Market. The peaches, both white and yellow, would make their way into my Peach Italian Ice. The plums, I decided, would partner perfectly with pancakes.
Plums were first cultivated in China about 2000 years ago, but didn’t arrive in the United States until about 1880, when the renowned botanist, Luther Burbank, began importing Japanese plums into California. Indeed, at last count, California was home to nearly 200 varieties of plums. Unfortunately, most plums are characterized Continue reading
Angelo Brocato’s Italian Ice Cream Parlor is an unassuming place, sandwiched between an Asian restaurant unsure about its own ethnicity, and a sports bar with saloon doors for an entrance. On one corner of the street sits a warehouse, with stacks of rolled carpet piled high in all directions; on the other corner rests Junque Antiques, the building itself looking several birthdays older than its wares.
Parking for Angelo Brocato’s is limited to an empty gravel-filled lot, or whatever spaces are available at 45-degree angles on the wide sidewalk on the river side of North Carrolton Avenue. The parlor itself occupies a one-story storefront in the mid-city neighborhood of New Orleans, a safe distance from the reverie of the French Quarter. Inside, the store displays the black-and-white portrait of its founder, and the wire-rimmed chairs, apothecary jars, and Continue reading
I have an impatient streak. It’s why I don’t play golf, and why I can’t read music. It’s why I prefer talking to texting, and why I bring work home. It might also be why I scheduled this post to publish while on vacation. So when things take longer than I think they should, I get frustrated. And when things don’t work out the first time, to say nothing of the second time, I get equally frustrated.
In the kitchen, however, I’m a little more forgiving. In the kitchen, I’m usually willing to forgive a first mishap, and to chalk it up as a culinary rough draft. Some of my recipes even look like the galleys of a novel, with the characteristic cross-outs and line-edits. Ingredients are substituted or subtracted like unwanted sentences, cooking times expand or contract like secondary characters, and quantities increase or decrease as if page numbers.
As writing is to cooking, I’m willing to work through a few rough drafts. And this recipe took more than a few. In all, Continue reading
Summer is a good time for fresh fruits and vegetables. But it’s not the best time to spend stuck in your kitchen, laboring over a hot stove. The perfect summer salad solves this potential paradox.
The grilled peaches took me outside for a few minutes, and provided a sweet taste and a vibrant color for the salad. After that, I laid some arugula down as a base, topped it with roma tomatoes, feta cheese, toasted pecans, and a homemade vinaigrette. The salad was ready in fewer than five minutes – which left me plenty of time to enjoy a sunny Sunday stroll in Saint Louis.
Incidentally, if you’re looking for more salad ideas, Continue reading
Granita siciliana, as the name suggests, is a granular, semi-frozen dessert with Sicilian origins. (Granita means “grained” or “granular” in Italian). Granita is a simple dessert, usually made from pureed fruit and sugar. The mixture is then frozen, and periodically scraped to give the dessert its granular texture. Indeed, breaking up the ice crystals is essential: it gives the dessert its signature crunch, and works to enhance the flavors within the dish.
The sugar and alcohol in the recipe help prevent the mixture from getting too solid. Beyond that, it helps to Continue reading