April 2011

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Yesterday, in addition to being my last day of law school classes ever, brought something utterly unexpected: a spot in the final round of the Saveur Magazine Best Blog Awards.  I’m up for “Best Cook-Through” – as in cooking through cookbooks (a stack of moldering vintage ones in my case). Many thank to Saveur, and to all who tossed my name into the hat.  If you have a sec to vote, it’d mean a lot!

Getting back to business…I have a cookie recipe for you: I couldn’t do the second half of my royal wedding party a la Mrs. Beeton without some of the rich cakes she declares a “must” at any ladies’ breakfast.  I was flipping through the tea cakes section when I came across a recipe for “Princess Cakes.”  Pitch perfect!

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We all knew it was coming: you can’t have a Royal Wedding Breakfast without scones. So, I chose to start with the obvious. And to add a curveball and make them gingery!


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As we all know, thanks to endless media hype, at an ungodly hour (American time), England will get a new Princess. I admit, I tried to resist the hype as long as I could – I didn’t seek coverage out, and had to Google yesterday to figure out what one writer meant when referring to KM’s hats. I have, however, given up and decided to just let myself stop thinking deep things about class and monarchy and just enjoy it.

Well, maybe I’ll keep thinking a few deep things to alleviate some of the guiltiness of this pleasure. But you won’t see them here. Instead, you’ll be getting some brilliant mid-century hostessing wisdom from Mrs. Beeton, a paragon of British housewifery.


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Passover has been going on for a few days now, and I’m sure those who had seders on Monday and Tuesday are starting to run out of leftover brisket and matzoh balls.  This is when things get dire; when the bread lust sets in and matzoh twenty ways gets wearing.  Ashkenazi Jews have it especially bad, since they’re forbidden from eating legumes and grains (called kitniyot), generally.  Thankfully, the New World presents a loophole: quinoa, the grain Medieval rabbis didn’t know about and couldn’t outlaw.  And enter quinoa chowder, a traditional Andean dish delicious even if you’re not observing Passover.  Vegetarian, to boot!

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In New York, we have a Chinatown in Manhattan…and then we have the real Chinatown, out in the borough of Queens, in a neighborhood called Flushing.  Some friends and I decided to get gluttonous this past weekend and eat our way across it; we took a little inspiration from an itinerary put together by Jessica at Food Mayhem


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This recipe is completely non-vintage; I came up with it while musing on a Horseradish Challenge over at Food 52.  If you’re still looking for a Seder dessert for Monday, here’s one that’s Passover-inspired, Passover-friendly, and totally new…

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Charcutepalooza has been trucking along for four months now, and I’ve had an awesome time with four delicious challenges. OK, maybe it’s more accurate to say I’ve had an awesome time with three, and an interesting time with one: I have a great talent for messing up the oh-so-simple duck prosciutto with which we started. I’ve tried twice and have yet to make a successful prosciutto. Enough of my woes, though. I’ve had enough success and gotten excited enough about this whole business that I started asking myself: Why?

Why am I doing this? Why have I gotten so incredibly into it? Why do I find it so unbelievably thrilling to get down and dirty with large chunks of meat that I devote time, money, and precious space in my under-sized Manhattan fridge to this? Why do I lavish precious time and money on expensive, intensive meat projects? Why has from-scratch deli become my hobby obsession instead of, say, knitting? You may have guessed I’m going to settle in for some philosophizing. I’m going to intersperse photos from April’s Smoking Challenge BBQ pulled pork adventures amongst my thoughts to keep you entertained. A bargain: food for thoughts.


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