Monthly Archives: August 2009


Chilled Gazpacho Soup
Source: Simply in Season


It has been ungodly hot around these parts lately. With a dry, baking desert heat shimmering through my house this weekend, the only thing I could imagine eating was an ice cube. Terwilliger was out of town, so ice for dinner was actually conceivable, but since that’s not particularly nutritious, I made myself a colorful batch of gazpacho with the last of our garden tomatoes. I had quite a lovely time with my own company — I put on some music, cracked open a beer, and then chopped vegetables for a few years. Continue reading


Thin and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thin and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
Makes about 5 dozen not-huge cookies


Count me among the thousands of bakers in search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. For me, it’s a thick, two-to-three-inch cookie with milk chocolate chips and a chewy, just-this-side-of-dough middle. To be frank, when I make chocolate-chip cookies, I find the dough to be the best part, raw eggs be damned. Maybe it’s because of childhood deprivation: when I was a kid, my teenage brother Tim would whip up a batch of cookie dough, throw some plastic wrap over it, and then leave in the fridge as a snack for himself. Had I been allowed to get my darling little hands on it, I’m fairly certain I would have eaten it all at once. But alas, any time I pointed at it with a whimper and pleading, glassy doe-eyes, my mother would chide me and say “That’s Tim’s. He made it for himself. Here, have an apple.” Continue reading

A trip east to eat

This recent lull in posting is because I’ve been visiting my parents back east in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. (Just so you know, you will never, ever see a recipe for shoo fly pie on here. I may have gone to high school in the land of Dutchy, but I have never much enjoyed the stick-to-the-ribs Amish eatin’.) My mom and I made ourselves comfortable in the kitchen and assembled spring rolls, tweaked the Toll House recipe to experiment with cookie texture, and beat up an excellent batch of chocolate fudge. On Saturday, we spread out a bunch of newspaper on the back porch table and picked half a bushel of Maryland blue crabs. (We lived in Maryland when I was much younger, and I’m pretty sure I was given a wooden hammer at age three and have been smashing and picking crab ever since.) Continue reading

Peaches & Cream Tart

Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart
Source: Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
Serves 6 – 8


First off: Go make this. Get thee some ripe summer peaches and put them in this tart. It is so, so good. I made it a few weeks ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it. Second: If you’re itchin’ to make a somewhat complicated recipe, let me give you one piece of advice: read the recipe the whole way through before you start, and then when you’re working, take your time. Continue reading

Blondie Fail

Oh, so sad.

Several months ago, I followed a recipe for blondies on the back of a bag of coarse sugar. The results were delicious. The coarse sugar didn’t dissolve but instead lent a crunchy-sweet texture that was hard to resist. Those blondies weren’t exactly thick n’ hearty, but they rose appropriately.

This time, they didn’t rise at all, and the outsides became crispy while the insides were pretty close to raw. I mean, it still tasted damn good — butter and sugar and flour is a pretty fail-safe flavor combination — but it’s not pretty. Not at all.

Behold: Continue reading

Mexican Lasagna

Source: Healthy Cooking for Two
Serves 4 – 6


This recipe is so, so easy to make. If you can use a can opener, you can make this dinner in less than 20 minutes (minus baking time). The most time-consuming thing is chopping the green onions and cilantro, which are both delicious and worth the slicing time. The end result of this faux-lasagna is more like a corn pudding — the tortillas soften as they cook, almost disintegrating when you bite into them. The cheese and beans give this dinner some heft. If you’re not excited about the prospect of a delicious, amazing corn-pudding-casserole, you can use flour tortillas in place of the corn; you’ll get a more sturdy, quesadilla-like consistency that way. Continue reading

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

Peanut Butter Blondies with Chocolate Chips and a Chocolate Ganache
Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Oh, ganache. How you perplex me. I just don’t know how to feel about you. By all means, you should tantalize me. Chocolate, cream, and butter — what’s not to like? But you are wily, and I expect you to harden and then you don’t, and you add an awful lot of richness to an already delectable treat… I don’t know. You are good, I suppose, but perhaps we are not meant to be best friends. (Especially since I’m nowhere near ready to bump ice cream from the top spot of my adoration.)

I’ve had my eye on these peanut butter blondies (called brownies on Smitten Kitchen, but, um, they’re blond) for ages, but I was deterred because of two reasons: 1) I didn’t want a whole 9×13 pan of these sitting around my kitchen, and the original recipe didn’t halve easily, and 2) I never have heavy cream on hand, and I didn’t feel like making a special trip to the store just to get cream for the ganache.


But one morning, I was ready to give it a shot. I would forgo the ganache, I decided, and I would figure out how to halve one egg yolk. The end result was thick, very good-looking pb blondies in an 8×8 pan, with kind of dry edges that made me think they needed the ganache after all. So after dinner, I made the special trip to the market for cream and high-quality semisweet chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger, which… wow. Damn good chocolate, that). Continue reading