Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

How to Make a Better…

I came across Ruth Reichl’s “How to Make a Better…” series on the Gilt Taste website by way of her post about the humble peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I grew up on PB & Js, but never loved them. Ruth’s words inspired me to make and eat my first PB & J since childhood. (They also may have inspired the purchase of wax paper…) To my delightful surprise, I discovered that I actually like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Last weekend, I was browsing through her recipes once more and decided to make a better pancake. I can’t remember the last time I made pancakes – certainly well before moving into Cheery Hill. I was so excited to try her technique that I immediately headed to the kitchen, even though it was three o’ clock in the afternoon. I whipped them up, and sat down to enjoy a plate. They tasted incredibly salty, with an offending bitterness that pure maple syrup couldn’t counteract. Was it because I used salted, not unsalted, butter? Or, maybe it was the baking soda? 4 teaspoons really did seem a bit much… I checked the recipe.  4 teaspoons. Of baking powder. For the first time in a life of baking, I inadvertently interchanged the two! I guess in all my excitement to make the world’s best pancakes, I overlooked that tiny detail. The result was the world’s worst pancakes…

To redeem myself, I made Ruth’s brownies the following day. I love chocolate. I’ve made and consumed countless brownies in my life. And these were amazing! They’re probably the best brownies I’ve ever made. Of course, everyone has their preferences. I’ve seen those all-edges brownie pans and wondered what the point is – I’d take a soft and fudge-like middle piece over a crispy edge any day! These brownies are almost more fudge-like than fudge itself, and pair perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. (Would you ever consider topping a piece of fudge with ice cream?) And that crispy meringue top is magical.

If you try any of these recipes or techniques, let me know. (Especially the pancakes…)


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Got Sprouts?

Earlier this year, I had lunch with my friend Sarah at Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis. She had ordered a quinoa brussels sprout salad, and offered me a taste. That was my first encounter with brussels sprouts, and to my surprise, I enjoyed them!

Tonight, I cooked brussels sprouts for the first time, with instructions from Sarah. At her request, I documented the process. This post’s for you, Sarah!

First, prep the sprouts by peeling off the outside layers.

Cut off the bottoms, wash and rinse, and cut them in half.

Saute them cut side down in olive oil for 5-7 minutes, or until tender, but still a little crunchy. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

Those were Sarah’s directions. I, however, failed to heed the suggestion to saute them cut-side down. There were a lot of little burnt pieces, which I happened to like. (Well, at least I ate them…) Next time, I’ll listen to Sarah!

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Ginger and Spice

Ever since coming across this magical recipe a couple years ago, it’s been a favorite. I’ve made countless batches. These were the cookies I baked to take to my new neighbors after moving into Cheery Hill. (I only made it to two houses–I ate the rest…) They’re a perfect cookie for holiday gatherings, an ideal accompaniment to a steaming mug of spiced coffee, great for enjoying while waiting out a January blizzard and a nice gift (if you don’t eat them all first).

Ginger Spice Cookies 

Dry Ingredients:

2 c. flour

2 t. baking soda

1 t. ground cloves

1 t. ground ginger

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. kosher salt

Wet Ingredients:

3/4 c. butter, softened

1 c. sugar

1 egg

1/4 c. molasses

WHISK dry ingredients in a small bowl. BEAT butter and sugar, then ADD egg and molasses. BEAT dry ingredients into wet. CHILL until firm. ROLL into small balls and DIP in sugar. BAKE at 350º for 8 to 10 minutes. Let COOL on tray for a bit, then transfer to cooling rack.


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