April 2011


I celebrated Passover this year by figuring out the most unholy ways I could think of to eat matzo balls. I came up with (1) deep-fried with bacon fat, and (2) wrapped in bacon.

1. Deep-fried

2. Wrapped in bacon

I think people very slightly favored the bacon-wrapped version, but it was a close call. Both were sacrilicious.

I also feel compelled to note that a half slice of bacon is precisely the right size to go around a matzo ball, which I take as a sign that the two were meant to be together.

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At approximately the same time that my cooking hero, Smitten Kitchen, was beset by a bout of francophilia, I—independently, I swear—had a similar one of my own. It resulted in a number of lovely things, but the most notable was, go figure, a Smitten recipe.

Chocolate, butter, eggs, cream. Fin.

It is unclear to me where this chocolate mousse has been my whole life. It is, as she says, silky, decadent, and old-school; it is also appallingly easy to make. The only hard part is washing the mixer. The rest is cake. Er, mousse.

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For a basic pasta dish using mostly pantry staples, this is just about as good as it gets.

I do like some pasta with my vegetables.

Technically, I suppose mushrooms aren’t a pantry staple, but ever since I learned (from Cook’s Illustrated, I believe) that plain white button mushrooms actually get deeper, more mushroomy flavor from a longer stay in the fridge, I tend to keep them around.

Also, this recipe highlights one of my favorite ways to cook mushrooms: roasting them. They get browned and shriveled and intensified in a way that sauteeing just can’t match. Plus, various wild mushrooms cooked this way can get an almost smoked, bacony flavor. I highly recommend them.

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Apologies for my absence, blogfans—I’ve been super-busy. And being busy has meant not cooking and, accordingly, eating out and eating lots of frozen meals, including crappy frozen burritos for lunch.

It finally occurred to me that it was silly to be reheating inadequate frozen burritos when I could make a giant pan of burritos, to my precise specifications (vegetables! whole wheat tortillas! lots of cheese!), in about half an hour. And then reheat those for lunch.

Apologies, Amy's--these are better.

I require lots of vegetables in my burritos, but if you require meat, or rice, or just beans, then have at it. This recipe is endlessly adaptable, and a cinch. These burritos aren’t fine dining, but they’re a whole lot better than the alternative.

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