Why write a whole post on how to make pasta? Isn’t this a simple thing to do? Not necessarily. I get at lets one email a week from people asking my why their dry, boxed pasta is either crunchy or gummy. It appears that this simple food is not so simple for some folks. Since I wrote a whole damn book on cooking with pasta (and cheese) I thought it might be useful to spell out how to make pasta so that it’s perfect every time, so even if you’re cooking with the cheap stuff you’ll have the best possible eating experience. I still argue that the best pasta is that which you make yourself, and I’ve covered that in another post. For now, here are a few tips to get the most out of dried pasta.
Pronounced KAE-zeh-SHPET-zleh, this dish is a great example of simple German comfort food at its finest. While American renditions of this German dish may add any number of odd spices, such as nutmeg or mustard powder, a basic Kasespatzle consists only of soft, dumpling-like noodles mixed with melty, stretchy cheese and topped with a touch of caramelized onion. When made from scratch, Kasespatzle beckons to a simpler time when food didn’t have to be complicated to be delicious. It just had to be fresh.
When I was growing up we didn’t have grand and glorious decorations all over our house. We may have had a string of lights on the garage and a Christmas tree, but we didn’t have a lot of money to buy a lot of decorations for Christmas table settings. Even then our house was beautiful thanks to my mother’s creativity and ingenuity.
She would send us out into the yard to gather acorns, colorful leaves, red pyracantha berry sprigs, small branches from bushes and trees, etc. Everything could be turned into the most beautiful, natural decorations. We would go to the tree lot and ask for any discarded branches they had cut off trees which added the beautiful aroma of pine to the house. My brothers would climb into our huge oak trees and cut down mistletoe which became gifts for our family friends when tied with red yarn.
I’ve got a great recipe for swirly Cinnamon Honey Bun Cookies below, straight out of Irvin Lin’s kitchen. Below you’ll find the recipe alone with my thoughts on his new baking book, Marbled, Swirled, and Layered: 150 recipes and variations for artful bars, cookies, pies, cakes, and more. There are a billion baking books out there. This number may or may not be an exaggeration, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way when you walk into the cookbook area of your local Barnes and Noble. This section of most bookstores has expanded in the past ten years, now resembling an ocean of colorful spines crying out Cake! …
From Jennifer: Apple picking is one of my favorite autumn activities. Even though apples are often available all year at the store, seasonal apples have so much flavor and are wonderful in baked goods. Tart apples are especially good to use because they offer both sweetness and acidity. While I prefer to eat sweet apples, I use tart apples in almost all of my recipes. This caramel apple pound cake is sweet, eggy, and dense, but also quite soft. It has apples in every slice. And it’s covered in a rich, creamy caramel sauce that keeps the cake moist and fl
From Jennifer: Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that everyone seems to either love or hate. I stand firm in my love of them as long as they are cooked properly. Brussels sprouts are not meant to be boiled in water. They should be caramelized with high heat, either in a sauté pan or roasted in the oven. I often prepare them simply with olive oil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. But when I want a real treat, I like my Brussels sprouts with bacon and maple syrup for a tasty sweet and salty side dish.
The thing I like most about The Gourmet Kitchen is that while the recipes are indeed “gourmet,” most of them are also practical and approachable. Jennifer says that many of her dishes are “geared towards special occasion cooking, such as casual dinner parties, a leisurely weekend meal, or a romantic dinner for two.” And sure, some of the recipes in this cookbook are aspirational, but I’ve found that the vast majority could be made by absolutely anyone. Even those without a lot of cooking skills.
This apple spice cake recipe is my favorite part of the holidays. Each layer is drizzled with apple cider caramel syrup before the layers are covered with a buttercream frosting made with honey and sour cream. The perfect crunchy topping is a toasted honey walnut and oat crumble. This towering, 4-layer cake is impressive to behold. Folks will think you graduated from pastry school when they weren’t looking.
– Yay for Thanksgiving table decor and tablescaping ideas! – Since it’s just past the middle of November, Thanksgiving table decor and tablescaping ideas are a hot topic. I think it’s a welcome change in discussion from the insane election chatter that’s still filling our feeds — folks just want something else to think about, something fun and creative. I get it. I need a break from the melee, too. I’ve been rethinking the concept of tablescaping lately, especially when it comes to efficiently designing a table on a budget. I love a well-put-together table, but in reality I’m not willing to spend a …
What is tablescaping? Even with dinner parties being so popular, table setting seems to be a lost art these days. I’m not talking about the which-fork-goes-where kind of table setting, but rather a whole process of thinking, being creative, and designing a mood to be shared on a flat surface.
Learning how to chop an onion isn’t something I can really explain via text, so I went ahead and created a handy dandy little video for you titled, “How to Chop and Slice an Onion.” This is the very first video I’ve ever produced for Fearless Fresh, so be sure to click the thumbs up icon on YouTube and help make my new channel look a little more lived in!