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What I’m Reading, April 2012

I’ve been collecting these little links and iphone shots for a while now, planning to share them during a particularly slow cooking week. That up there is a little dish I riffed after our meal at Lupa – it’s salsify, braised in citrus and butter. It was delicious. Passover is usually quiet in the kitchen, though this week I’ve cooked a bunch: crisp-skinned roast chicken, beets with pesto vinaigrette, and my favorite Passover cookies. I’d tell you to check in for (another) chicken post later this week, but sadly that’s on hold, as I tried to spatchcock a bird for D’s birthday but people, I cut the wrong side of the chicken. Would you judge me if I posted pictures of a bird spatchcocked backward? Breasts on the bottom, legs on the sides – really, totally, backward.  No less delicious, but sort of goofy-looking. I can’t quite bring myself to share it. Meanwhile, I figure it’s time I shared all these with you.  Enjoy, and happy holidays.

The genius Kristen Miglore on moderation, April Bloomfield’s new book, and a lemon caper dressing I will be making asap: “It’s the simple law of diminishing returns. Grown-ups know better than to pack a whole avocado in their salad, lest they compromise the pleasure of finding a single slice in the bottom of the bowl. ‘It’s the difference between giving people what they think they want and giving them what will be truly amazing,” Bloomfield explains in the book.'”

Tamar Adler’s inspiring video on roasting the vegetables you’ll need for the week all at once. I’ve used this technique a couple times now, and it’s really perfect. I love having roasted chunks of beets, carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, and more, all at the ready for a grain or salad dish.

Just Hungry’s posts on basic Japanese cooking techniques. Somehow, the more I know about sushi rice, the more daunting making it becomes. These posts take the guesswork and mystique out of making sushi rice at home.

Zach and Clay over at The Bitten Word wrote a fantastic post about the Malaysian beef dish called Rendang, which I’ve always wanted to try. Theirs looks delicious, and the post is a testament to the juicy reward of a recipe that takes lots of time and hard work. Sometimes – and it looks like this was one of those times – the results are worth it.

There’s a great conversation over at Food52 about Control-Freak Eggs. Folks have weighed in with wonderfully anal-retentive suggestions, and I’m no exception. I’ll be blogging about my OCD egg method – borrowed from the Momofuku masters, Peter Meehan and David Chang – soon.

Homemade butter has always intrigued me, so when I recently stumbled upon this piece by Daniel Patterson, I became determined to give it a go. Patterson is chef at the lovely Coi in SF (where I had the most phenomenal — ok, the only — heirloom chile consomme I’ve ever had), and if he loves this butter, I know I will, too. I’ve got out to buy nice cream from the farmers market. I’m planning to try my hand at making butter this week. I’ll report back.

In the “recipes that aren’t for everyone” department, this black sesame pear tea cake from Lottie and Doof has me tripping to replenish my black sesame seeds. If I do actually make butter at home, maybe I’ll use the buttermilk left over for this cake.

Apparently I’m on a sesame kick, because I’ve been eyeing these Gilded Sesame Cookies from – sigh – Gourmet.

Some of you may already know and love The Canal House. Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton cook beautiful food and put out books – roughly 3 a year, I think – that are somewhere between traditional cookbooks and quarterly magazines. They’re beautiful, and worth checking out. In the meantime, get ye straight to their blog, Canal House Cooks Lunch, and feast your eyes.

As some of you already know, before Passover kicked in, I was having a ball with my homemade sourdough starter. I made some of the best loaves I’ve ever baked, and one of them was this glorious chocolate sourdough bread from Clotilde. It’s not an enriched bread – no butter, sugar, or eggs – so it’s rich in flavor without feeling heavy or like dessert. Highly recommended.

Lastly, for those of you who are food bloggers and/or who have contemplated a career in food writing, Amanda Hesser wrote a must-read piece yesterday that’s already gone pretty viral. It’s frank, somewhat sad, but very true advice to those weighing the prospects for making money writing about food. Lord knows I’ve thought from time to time about whether this blog might become a larger part of how I spend my day and earn my paycheck. For now, I’m keeping my day job. If you’ve thought about this too, please: read Amanda’s post. If you’re skeptical of her conclusions, you can join the club – but I think her piece started a conversation that’s been dormant for some time.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with something delicious to share.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • clotilde April 13, 2012,

    So glad you’re having good success with that chocolate bread recipe! I need to bake another batch very soon. 🙂

  • Hannah April 27, 2012,

    I’m finally catching up on reading and enjoyed seeing what you’ve been reading and checking out! Love the poached egg discussion – who knew there are so many ways to poach an egg? I discovered Ottolenghi’s method last summer and have been making poached eggs his way since (bring water and splash of vinegar to a boil, slip your eggs in and remove pan from heat – let sit for 6 min and they’re done…not as pretty as Amanda’s but quick and easy). I’m printing the chocolate sourdough recipe and starting it today – I’m excited for some loaves this weekend! Thanks for sharing – have a great weekend!

    • rivka April 27, 2012,

      Ooh, love the Ottolenghi egg method. Definitely will have to try it.
      Those loaves…I still dream of them. Must make again this weekend.

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