Monthly Archives: September 2010

A little cream makes everything better

Cream makes everything better.  So does butter.  We always suspected it, but more and more I realize that it’s an eternal truth.  In fact, I’m starting to suspect that primordial ooze was really sweet cream butter.  Yep, that’s right.  Full-fat dairy gave birth to the universe as we know it.

All right, well maybe not.  But it did give birth to these pancakes.  But don’t worry; it was a lot cleaner than you think, and with less screaming.

I’ve struggled to make good pancakes for a while.  I could do it when I was a kid but that was when we bought like, Aunt Jemima boxed mix and it was chemically engineered to be so easy that even a 9 year old could do it.  But when I try to make that kind of magic out of raw ingredients on my own, sometimes it doesn’t work out.  They turn out rubbery or chewy or whatever.  This is, of course, a travesty because Josh likes pancakes.  So Lauren practices her pancakes.  I have a go-to recipe that I trot out and it’s usually pretty good but a few weeks ago, I found a way to make it even better.  And then earlier this week, I tried it again for dinner.  And let me tell you, it works.  What’s the secret, you ask? Continue reading

Comfort Food: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

It’s getting to be that time of year again.  Football season is in swing.  That’s good.  School has started up again.  That’s bad.  The days are bright and cool.  That’s good.  It’s darker in the mornings when I leave for work now.  That’s bad.  This post comes with a free frogurt.  That’s good.  The frogurt contains potassium benzoate.  That’s bad. But it comes with your choice of toppings!

(That’s a Simpsons reference, by the way.  If you got it, that’s good.  If you didn’t, that’s bad.)

But fall is also the time of year where I start thinking about, craving, making and eating what I consider to be the ruling class of the gastronomical world: comfort foods.  And that’s good.

Comfort food is not just a universal cultural icon, it’s a necessity.  It’s an inevitability, really.  It’s not just about favorites, it’s about associations.  And I have a lot of associations.  For instance, baked mac and cheese is one of my very top comfort foods because it’s a dish we always have at family holidays.  Apparently that’s not very common, but it’s a must for us.  And then there’s barbecue, which is more of a summer comfort food for me but really works all year round (I mean, I don’t turn down barbecue for just about anything).  I used to watch my dad make his neighborhood-famous ribs and homemade sauce every summer as a kid and it stuck with me.  Sugar cookie dough–because my mom used to make sugar cookies at Christmas time and I used to swipe the unbaked dough and eat it while watching my sister play video games.  Chili, because it’s the first comfort dish I learned to make on my own–and the first dish I ever cooked for a friend, in middle school.  And chocolate chip cookies because…well, I’m alive.  That’s reason enough.

And these are all things I find myself wanting in the fall and winter, as it gets colder and darker and a slew of holidays begins to creep forward (or sprint—Costco actually has Christmas stuff on sale.  In September).  So the time has come, the Lauren said, to talk of tasty things, of stews and soups and casseroles, of comfort foods and drinks.  Continue reading

What I’m Eating: Simple Sandwiches

You know, there’s a lot of good cooking that doesn’t go in this blog.  Okay, maybe not a lot but a fair amount.  It’s not usually fancy, it’s not usually unique, but it’s generally really pretty good.  And I don’t want those things to go quietly into the gastronomical night.  That, I’m bored and I’m not yet prepared to write posts on recent experiments in buttermilk fried chicken (really good) and pancakes made with cream (really freaking good) until I’ve had a chance to eat some more try them again.

This weekend I’m on my own, as Josh is traveling in the Great Dark that is Ohio for a conference about Linux.  Yeah, I know.  I forgive him these little lapses in judgment.  Anyway, I was on my own, me and my two dogs…

Winston and Maggie

…and clearly they were going to be troublesome.  Not to mention, I was starving after a busy day at work and just wanted something right now, not a hundred minutes from now (which was actually then but I’m writing now so it all works out).  I had on hand some leftover roast beef from yesterday’s “Anticipate the Lazy” crockpot dinner, and most of a loaf of Italian bread, plus that Great Midwest leek-and-morel cheese that I am close to obsessed over and that I’ve been putting on damn near everything.  I also had a bunch of organic arugula that I bought specifically for this weekend because I knew that Josh was going away and for some reason, I thought that this occasion was in dire need of arugula.  I was right.  Totally an arugula weekend.  I had an arugula salad yesterday with just a bit of salt, pepper and some blood orange infused olive oil I picked up from Old World Olive Press in Plymouth.  I think later this weekend, I’m going to grill some pizza dough and top it with thinly sliced apples, the blood orange olive oil and I dunno.  Something else.  It’ll come to me later. Continue reading