30 November 2009

24 November 2009

I'm Not Making Pumpkin Pie.

I am making an Italian roasted pumpkin tart with chocolate and caramel, in case you were wondering. I am also making most of the rural Pennsylvania Thanksgiving recipes from Gourmet's final issue (I can't get over its end, by the way. I am completely depressed about it, as I was just learning how special Gourmet magazine was when it was taken from me). We are spending T-day in my father's newly built barn, so it seems appropriate. There will be fires, music, and an indoor grill. Its going to be a hell of a barn warming.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and always has been. I plug my ears and hum to forget what we are really "celebrating", and once I do, I focus on what we celebrate today: food. Food is my favorite! Hanging out with friends and family who love to cook and eat together sounds like a perfect day to me. To top it off with Calvados spiked Cider (Thank you Holly, via Carlyle), and who knows- maybe there will be dancing.

Photos, naturally, to follow.

photo via Gourmet.com

20 November 2009


We have been meaning to go into the Carlyle for a long time, and finally this week we did. We tried the tasting menu, a 5 course meal selected by the chef, Jake Martin. His specialty is fish. One of the plates that we had was hake with an uni soup- I do not know how he seared the fish in a way that it seemed to have a crust, while the inside was silky and soft- but it was perfect. Each dish was creative and thoughtful, and included ingredients not found in Portland restaurants very often. You should go there- get dressed up. It's fun.

18 November 2009


Oh did we eat. Do you see those homemade english muffins? They were SO. GOOD. Kevin and I were in charge of Bloody Mary's. We made ours with Aviation gin, a bottle of the new dark Sessions beer, a whole jar of horseradish, black pepper, dried chilies, fresh celery juice, salt and tomato juice. They were really good, and we garnished them with our host Jon's pickled green beans and meyer lemons.
Jon works with me and he has been responsible for some of the best staff meals I have ever had. It was no surprise that the brunch he fed us was perfect. The eggs were slow cooked at a low temperature for 3 hours. This resulted in the creamiest, softest eggs I have ever had.

My friend Nic and I have a goal for each of our 25th birthdays (we are a month apart- I am about to achieve my goal, hopefully). We decided that on our birthdays we would each saber a champagne bottle. This is when you use a knife to chop (shave? flick? It's a little hard to describe...) off the top of the bottle, leaving a clean cut in the glass that you pour out of. You can see a photo of the final result up there, except it didn't work this time and the cork stayed in the bottle, despite the glass being cut off! He did it perfectly on his birthday, but at brunch he somehow messed up twice. Ha! We only got a few tiny cuts in our digestive systems- the wine was still great!

12 November 2009

Black Pepper Spice Cookies with Glaze

I wanted to make Tartine's glazed gingerbread when I woke up last Sunday morning. It was cold and rainy (shockingly) and I knew I needed to make a treat for teatime at a friends. The problem was that I didn't have ginger or cloves- two of the most important ingredients! So instead of gingerbread, I made black pepper spice cookies with plenty of salt and a light glaze. They were amazingly soft and satisfyingly spicy, salty and sweet. I burned the hell out of one batch and we are still can't stop ourselves from eating them. But then, we are pigs.

Make the dough one day in advance for best results, or bake it right away and it's still great.

Black Pepper Spice Cookies with Glaze

3 3/4 cups AP flour
1 T cocoa powder
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp cardamom
1 1/2 tsp Jamaican allspice
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
2 T honey

1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 T water

Beat butter until creamy, and then add sugar and mix until smooth. Scrape bowl with a spatula and then add the egg. Next in, molasses and honey. Mix until blended, and scrape down the bowl again. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, spices, cocoa and baking soda. Slowly add this into the wet mix. Beat on low until a ball forms. At this point, you can either refrigerate the dough overnight or chill it for 20 minutes like I did. I'm sure its better if you let it sit overnight (it makes a world of difference with chocolate chip cookies).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flour your work surface and roll out dough to about 1/3 inch thick in the shape of a rectangle. You may now cut out cookies as I did, or gently roll over the whole thing with a patterned rolling pin. And if you have a patterned rolling pin, send it to me immediately and never expect to see it again! Cut the pattered dough into tiles that are 3" by 4", or whatever size you prefer. I made both teardrop cookies and circle cookies, and then I rolled over them with a fake ear of corn for texture. You can roll whatever textured items you may have laying around the house over the dough! This comes into play when you glaze the cookies and the glaze nestles into the pattern quite beautifully.
Place a sheet of parchment paper over your cookie sheet, and bake the cookies for about 7 minutes. I did one batch for 10 minutes and the bottoms were burned. The next batch I baked for a mere 7 minutes and they were slightly underdone. When they cooled down, they were perfect.
While the cookies bake, whisk together confectioners sugar and water for the glaze. After you take the cookies out of the oven, let cool for a few minutes and then brush the glaze over the cookies. Do not freeze these, though I don't know why you would even try.

Serve with coffee, or on the rim of a Guiness float with vanilla ice cream!

I can't wait to make them again.

11 November 2009

Vegetables- Big Wins and Hard Failures

We took all the vegetables we got from the farmers market and had Darling Nic cook them for us. As you can see, most of the evening was pure joy with lard fried spaghetti squash fritters and green leek sauce. It was when the waffle iron came out that things got rough. First the squash adhered to the hot surface, and then it wouldn't cook through. So it just stuck on there, burned and raw all at once. FAIL. Luckily we didn't need squash waffles. We had enough batter for dozens of squash fritters apiece!
We finished the meal with Guiness floats and spice cookies. Yes please.

10 November 2009


I love the soft lavender color of a peeled shallot. We put these on a pizza. Delightful.

09 November 2009

08 November 2009

60 Fucking Years!

Happy Birthday Bonnie!

Greens, despite the rain.

06 November 2009

Aperitif's for Peace

On the rocks with a twist or a torn basil leaf, anyone?