November 27, 2009

Even Wikipedia Doesn't Know

I love it when my Mom visits. We cook, we shop, we have serious heart to heart talks where we try to solve all the existential crisis of our lives like, "what does savory mean?" Really, define savory, without using the phrase "not sweet" or "umami." Even wikipedia is iffy on the subject.
Well next time someone asks me what savory is I'll say, Rosemary Lemon Shortbread.
Sweet but not too sweet, but herb-y too, these cookies will leave you scratching your head while reaching for another. You know, for research.
For the recipe go here, or out this month's issue of Sunset.

November 25, 2009

Precious Cargo

You wouldn't know it from the food blogs but we are in the throes of a pumpkin shortage.
Recent heavy rains in the Midwest are putting pumpkin pie in short supply this holiday season.

On Tuesday, food giant Nestle, which controls about 85% of the pumpkin crop for canning, issued a rare apology and said that rain appeared to have destroyed what remained of a small harvest this year and that it expected to stop shipping the holiday staple by Thanksgiving.

- Los Angeles Times, 11/18/2009

When I got my hands on 2 large cans of Libby's I planned to stash it in the back of my pantry to save for rainy day but it's just not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. I used one whole can to yield 2 pies, one for some cousins taking a trip up north, and one for us- because tomorrow is as much about being thankful as it is about giving.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

November 17, 2009

Preferential Treatment

Freelancing on tv shows has it's pluses and minuses. Higher day rate, plus. Never knowing when you are going to work again (or get paid again), minus. Avoiding the drama that comes from knowing everything about everyone- huge plus. People not knowing you well enough to trust your judgement, minus. Having the time to bake and then bring cookies to work, thereby generating happiness goodwill in current/prospective co-workers and employers while allwoing me to pawn off baked goods on others so I don't have to eat them...ginormous plus!
Immediately after getting booked for a recent two day job, I received the following text:
What's for dessert?

Needless to say my first thought was, what is coming up for Tuesdays With Dorie? Sugar Topped Molasses Spiced Cookies fit the bill perfectly. Easy to make (can't stay up late baking when you have to get up at 6am and work for the next 15 hours) seasonal, and totally transportable, they were a big hit.

On my next day off I used the remaining dough and some leftover pumpkin buttercream to make Molasses Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.

Oh yes I did.

November 10, 2009

Fall Back Position

Daylight Savings time is wreaking havoc around here. While I get decent light in my house, there are only a few areas that work for food photography. I spent most of last winter repeating "I need a light box" over and over but of course then we sprung forward and I forgot all about it. Now that we've fallen back again, and I'm working 2 jobs, daytime photo ops have grown scarce Luckily this weekend I had a free afternoon to sneak in a November TWD, Cran-Apple Crisp.
I've never met a fruit crisp or crumble I didn't like and this one was no exception. This recipe is short on work (and dirty dishes), big on deliciousness and halved perfectly to yield 4 small servings in my ramekins. I omitted the dried fruit, reduced the sugar and substituted whole wheat flour for AP because I would be topping them with a scoop of David Lebovitz's outrageously good Cinnamon Ice Cream.

Cran-Apple Crisp is so good it's a serious contender for Thanksgiving. Or Veteran's Day, Sunday night dessert, perhaps tomorrow's breakfast...don't judge.

Cinnamon Ice Cream
adapted from The Perfect Scoop
1 cup 2% or low fat milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks

Warm milk, sugar, cinnamon sticks and salt in a medium saucepan then remove from heat, cover and steep one hour.
Pour cream into a large bowl and set aside. Warm up milk again then strain out cinnamon sticks. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs together and slowly pour warm milk into eggs whisking constantly, then pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan. Stir constantly with a spatula over medium heat until it is thickened and coats the back of the spatula. Strain the custard into the bowl of cream and stir until cool over an ice bath. Refrigerate.
When custard is thoroughly chilled, freeze it in your ice cream maker.