Showing posts from January, 2007

What's in your freezer?

Freezers hold foods at -20C, extending the shelf-life of most ingredients by months. It is hard to imagine how people coped without it back then. The content of one's freezer speaks volumes about her eating habits, cooking styles, and really, the lifestyle. My aunt had a box freezer in her garage that kept bags after bags of microwavable hamburgers and hot pockets. There were also tons of juice concentrate and frozen vegetables. The content of my freezer changed quite a bit over the years. When I had a car and groceries stores were not within walking distance, I usually shopped on weekends and bought meat in bulk packages. I kept lots of frozen beef, pork, and chicken for use on any day of the week.

Now I don't have a car, and I pass by a supermarket everyday after work. I shop for food almost daily. This way the food is always fresh, and I avoid leaving old produce in the fridge and letting them go to waste. So presumably my freezer would have more room now. That is really n…

Thumbprint Cookies

Pepperidge Farm makes a really good version of these buttery cookies. Arguably, these store-bought cookies do taste a little better...the cookie's nuttiness, sweetness, butteriness, and its texture have probably been engineered to the optimal settings. But making these yourself really isn't hard at all, and you know for sure what goes into these little delights.

Recipe: Thumbprint Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1.5 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 egg, separated
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp fruit preserve of choice (I used raspberry)

1. Heat oven to 350 F
2. Blend well butter, egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl
3. Sift flour and salt into the bowl and blend everything together until just incorporated
4. Roll dough into small balls, about 1 teaspoon each
5. Beat egg white in a small bowl until it is a little more liquid and foamy
6. Roll each dough ball in the egg white and cover it with chopped nuts.
7. Place…

New Year's Eve Dinner

I had plenty of time to prepare for the New Year's Dinner this year. The original idea was to have a classic 5-course French dinner -- soup, fish, meat, salad, and dessert. But we were too lazy to get oysters for the fish course. Plus, I don't know how likely the fish store frequented by us has fresh oysters on a Sunday of a New Year's holiday weekend. Charles joined us for dinner and brought flowers. Most recipes are from the Gourmet Cookbook, except the dessert was from the Epicurious website and the chestnut/apple puree from Jacques Pepin's Fast Food My Way book.

We started with French pea soup. Leeks were softened in butter, simmered with chicken stock, peas, and Boston lettuce, then pureed into a smooth emulsion. The soup was finished with a few drops of heavy cream and fresh croûtons (cubed french bread, drizzled with butter, roasted for 25 minutes).

I have been waiting for an occasion to try this duck recipe for a while. This is a twist on the French classic Duck …