Sunday, April 10, 2011

My 100th Post!

I haven't blogged in the past month or so because it was really hard to find a spot that would one-up my 99th post of Blue Hill at Stone Barns. I've also been spending so much more time in the kitchen than in any restaurant. So I guess it makes sense to do something different here and post about a few food adventures I've had here in the 'ol Greenpoint apartment.

I've been using America's Test Kitchen recipe book as my home cooking Bible. I seriously love this book, not only because every recipe has come out amazingly well, but because they write a little "Why This Recipe Works" blurb for every single recipe. It gives great perspective on why one method or set of ingredients works better than another. And its made it even easier to go from Bisquick and cake mixes to the from-scratch school of thought.

Baking is a million times more fun when you're involved in combining every single basic ingredient. When making brownies, cupcakes or other chocolately desserts, its fun to melt butter and hand-chopped dark chocolate in a glass bowl over a low simmering pot of water. Just make sure the glass you use is tempered -- made that mistake (oops).

The kitchen can get messier than normal, but its definitely a more satisfying experience do it the longhand way.

We snagged my parents' pasta roller and ordered a ravioli maker a few weeks ago. The roller is still attached to the side of our kitchen table in case we want to make more pasta on a whim. The hand-made egg linguinis and other Italian basics are good, but ATK's 4-cheese lasagna with creamy bechamel sauce was a complete revelation. The best ravioli we've cranked out so far is the lamb and spinach; the butternut squash mixed with ricotta wasn't so bad, either.

Breakfast on the weekends has also been pretty good lately. It's been just chilly enough to deter us from going out to brunch, so I like to make the blueberry pancakes recipe from the ATK book. I add a little bit more lemon juice to the milk and let it sit 'til its thick; sometimes I'll add powdered sugar or ricotta cheese directly to the batter to lighten it up a bit. It's still a little early for fresh blueberries (plus, the best blueberries for pancakes are in Maine at the end of August anyway) so I use the frozen kind. They still look pretty while they thaw and drain.

And then there's the freestyle after-work snack. Rosemary pork roast and speck from Eataly, a medium-cooked egg, a few slices of Swiss cheese, a little whole grain mustard on lightly toasted rye, with a final drizzle of truffle oil. I think I'm getting the hang of this cooking thing!

1 comment:

Alice said...

ugh i miss being in a kitchen! i used to be a hardcore baker and now i probably can't remember how to cream butter and eggs. womp womp.

need to make sure the next kitchen i have is nice and roomy!

hahah and i used to watch america's test kitchen all the time. good geeky fun.