January 19, 2010
Have you tried The Kitchn’s banana “ice cream” recipe? You know, the one where frozen bananas are supposed to magically morph into creamy perfection? I had been meaning to give it a shot for a while, and was finally propelled into action when faced with three sad frozen bananas during our empty-the-freezer-for-Mr.-Repairman process the other night.
It really is as simple as it sounds: you blend frozen bananas. And, it’s rather decent. I mean, it tastes just like you imagine it would: cold, fluffy ‘nanas that you can effortlessly tackle even if you accidentally leave your dentures upstairs by the sink.
December 26, 2009
November 28, 2009
Remember how the witch in “Hansel and Gretel” kept Hansel in a cage and fed and fed and fed him to fatten him up? (Oh wait–is this another one of those stories that has a gentler American version?) Well, I’ve spent the last week feeling a bit like Hansel. First there were the four days in New Orleans, each of which typically started with something like this:
and ended with something like this:
with a bit of something like this in between:
And then we returned home to not one but TWO back-to-back Thanksgiving dinners:
Turns out, even a scrawny woman with a pro-wrestler’s appetite needs to rest after a multi-day food marathon like that. And you know what’s a restful, soothing, straight-back-to childhood dish that really hits the spot at a time like this?…
- 1.5 cup rice (combination of wild, brown basmati, arborio… or whatever you have)
- 3.5 cups milk (skim, in our case, since that’s what we had–but how could additional fat here not be tasty?)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- a splash of vanilla
- a dash of cinnamon
- Combine everything and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down and simmer on low until soft.
(If you’re using a pressure cooker–which is just perfect for this, because you don’t have to worry about the milk boiling over and making a mess all over your stove–wait until you hear the whistle. Once you’ve turned down the heat, 15 minutes in the pressure cooker should do the trick; it will take more like 25+, and some intermittent stirring, in a regular pot.)
This is a fabulous starting point. From here, you may decide that you want to add more sugar, or honey, or some powdered chocolate…
Best enjoyed curled up on a sofa with one husband, two cats, and three episodes of Mad Men.
November 15, 2009
The following were my sources of inspiration for this scrumptious bit of fall in a bowl:
- Last Saturday, mid-morningish, my husband staggered into the kitchen– squinting and yawning and scratching his chest–to ask, “What are you cooking?” “Nothing,” I said; the extent of my culinary prowess up to that point had involved starting a pot of coffee. And then I got it. Our home did smell mindbogglingly of apples and vanilla! …but only because I had just plugged in a Method air freshener. While I was pretty darn pleased that cheating made my home smell like I had just made something delicious, I did feel a little twinge of guilt for shattering Mr. Onepot’s morning enthusiasm, that most fragile of things.
- This Saturday morning, this motley crew stared at me woefully as I sipped my coffee, as if to say, “We know you’re going out of town later in the week and there’s no way we’re all going to get eaten by then.” They know me so well.
- Our dustbunnies had morphed into dustbears, and the most solid excuse I could come up with for ignoring them involved apples and oatmeal and cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Smitten Kitchen offered this idea some weeks back, and I was instantly onboard. But then, you know, I don’t plan. While our kitchen is well-stocked, it’s well stocked according to moi (capers! fillo dough! chutney!); that means that there’s no shredded coconut, for instance, at any given point in time. Almonds? Ditto. This also gives you some insight into the main reason why I can’t follow recipes: I typically decide to make something at the very last minute, once it’s dark out and I’ve had a glass of wine and no one is about to go out again. Or, it’s Saturday morning and I’m squinting and yawning and scratching my chest in my jammies. So, you know, I wing it. A lot.
This particular version of winging it goes something like this:
- 5-6 apples (see picture above to get a rough idea of just how much room for experimentation you have here)
- juice of a 1/2 small lemon
- dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp butter
- 3 tsp honey
- 1 + 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup flour
- Cut up the apples into any kind of slices; coat them with lemon juice, brown sugar, spices.
- In a small pan, heat the butter and honey until combined. (Thanks, Smitten Kitchen! Turns out it’s honey that my crisps have been missing all this time.) Add flour and oats; stir to combine.
- Spread the apples in a baking dish and cover with the crisp mixture. Bake on 400F for ~45 minutes; check the crisp around that time to see if the apples are blissfully gooey or need another 5-10 minutes.
Ta-da! Edible air freshener.
November 1, 2009
My grandmother always had a vast supply of baklava at hand: just as you thought a pan was about to be depleted, another plateful would emerge. And these were pans and platefuls of the largest baklava pieces ever! Since her mission in life was to fatten up her scrawny offspring, she had no use for those tiny diamond slices; instead, each baklava piece was the size of a grown man’s slipper. Then, if you moaned about not being able to have one more bite without bursting, she would remind you that you weren’t done because you hadn’t even finished a single piece!
My grandmother never did manage to fatten us up, but her baklava legacy lives on. Just the other day, my still-scrawny self recreated the nut-and-sugar wonder upon repeated requests of husband and friends. If you, too, wish to tackle this most meditative of buttery projects, this is what you will need:
- 1 package of fillo dough (unless you’re making it from scratch? so admirable! …but so unnecessary if you live near a market that caters to Southern Europeans and/or carries good old Athens)
- 1 lb ground nuts (a mixture of walnuts and pecans is highly recommended, but feel free to go nuts here)
- 1 stick of butter, melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 lemon
- While the oven is preheating to 375F, brush the bottom of the baking dish with some melted butter. Put down 1 sheet of fillo dough; butter it; repeat.
- Call your spouse to roll up your sleeves and clean the butter off your glasses.
- When you have 4 layers of fillo dough, spread a generous fistful of nuts across the top one. Cover that layer with another sheet of fillo.
- Repeat until you’re out of nuts and dough. You should end up with ~4-5 layers on the very top. Leave the last one loose across the top; this will be your sacrificial layer that you’re going to let dry out so that everything else underneath it will become lusciously browned and crisp.
- As your baklava goes into the oven for ~35 minutes, dump the sugar and lemon into a small pot and cover it with water. Bring to a boil ; simmer for ~7 minutes.
- When the baklava is done, pour the syrup you just prepared over it.
- While you can most definitely just eat the baklava right then and there, because you made it and it’s nobody’s business what you eat standing over the stove while sticky juice drips off your elbows, do try letting it sit to soak up the syrup.
- Eventually, you will probably want to cut the baklava into pieces. Polite tiny diamonds or large offspring-fattening slices? Your call.