Saturday, January 23, 2010

Don't make these

I have a big problem.

I can't stop eating these cookies.

I was browsing the Smitten Kitchen website (which I am now obsessed with, by the way) and I came across this cookie recipe. I make oatmeal cookies all the time - usually these. But something about these called to me - I had to make them. Right this second.

Smitten Kitchen's Crisp Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies

Note: these are not really salted at all. Both Bryn (who I had a dinner date with on Friday night which prompted me to make these cookies - what kind of hostess doesn't make dessert?) and Zack had the same response to my lack of saltiness statement "um, that's okay with me." They don't liked salted desserts. I love them. But I love these too.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
6 ounces white chocolate chips (the original recipe really didn't want me to use white chocolate chips. But that was the only white chocolate that Key Food had, so I used them and it was fine)
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt (like Maldon or fleur de sel) (for sprinkling on top)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (usually I use tin foil. I'm not sure why. This was way better). Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and table salt in a medium bowl (in the interest of full disclosure, I did not do this. I just added it to the butter/sugar mixture below. Don't tell).

2. Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add flour mixture gradually and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add oats and white chocolate and mix until well incorporated (inspired by Zack's mom, I used a wooden spoon for this and not an electric mixer. Old fashioned cooking! Anyone can do it).

3. Divide dough into 24 (I made 39 cookies with this amount of dough - but they were perfectly sized) equal portions, each about 2 tablespoons. Roll between palms into balls, then place on lined baking sheets about 2 1/2 inches apart. Using fingertips, gently press down each ball to about 3/4-inch thickness.

4. Sprinkle a flake or two of sea salt on each cookie (if you really want the "salted" thing to come through, I'd add a tiny pinch instead).

5. Bake until cookies are deep golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool.

I can not stop eating these. These are literally the only things that I have eaten today (except for a bowl of matzo ball soup). I plan to punish myself by going to the gym for a long time tomorrow. Or maybe ritual flogging.

Monday, January 18, 2010

This is my comfort food

So over the past week, someone asked me, "what's up? Aren't you cooking anything?" and I realized that the answer was "No." So after a boring week of lackluster food, I decided to take advantage of my voice lesson being canceled and make one of the recipes that I've been staring at for several days.

Marcella Hazan (you may remember, I read her book a while back), and who is known (at least in my mind) as that Italian lady on PBS with the lame arm, is a genius. I got her essential cookbook for Xmas (thanks, Margie and Hugh!) and there is one recipe in it that people seem to go wild for. Smitten Kitchen and the Amateur Gourmet both love it. I've always been skeptical. For one thing - the only ingredients are tomatoes, an onion and butter. What kind of crazy list is that? For another - it's a tomato sauce that takes over 45 minutes to make. My tomato sauce usually consists of some sauteed onion and garlic, a can of whole peeled tomatoes and salt, maybe some dried oregano, pepper, whatever. It usually takes about 20 minutes.

However - I like tomato sauce. I have extra time today. Why not? So here goes nothing.

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion

28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes (I used a 35 oz can. Whoops)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

The neat thing about this recipe? No chopping. Enjoy.

Put the tomatoes, onion, a bit of salt and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion (I know! Crazy! But just do it), add salt to taste.

Marcella says people have been known to just eat this sauce with a spoon and let me tell you, that couldn't be more true. That's pretty much what I've been doing all afternoon.

Here's the sauce (mixed with some whole wheat linguine):

It's messy. It's delicious. It's simple. I am so making this again.

Also, I'm already predicting my dad's comment on this post. Something along the lines of: Why do you add butter to everything? Ruining a perfectly good healthy dish. I only weigh 120 pounds. Blah blah blah.

To which I preemptively reply: Shut it. I cook what I want. I like a little butter now and then. And so do my readers.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Half Straddle Sings!

Come see Half Straddle Sings!

HALF STRADDLE makes plays, performances, videos and music—often about girls and usually an attempt to portray the weird, sometimes unsettling ecstasy that emerges in the everyday. Half Straddle’s The Knockout Blow, a girl-glam musical mashup, had a sold-out run last summer at the Ontological Hysteric Theater and ran at HERE Arts Center in February 2009. In the past year, Half Straddle has also shown work at Dixon Place (Corey and Pam) and in the Catch! performance series (Amazing Miracles, or Nurses in New England).


Saturday, January 9th, 2010
from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

FREE! (with Complimentary Cocktails!)

Heather Christian * Erin Markey * Joseph Keckler * Lena Moy-Borgen
Becky Yamamoto * Eliza Bent * Rae C Wright * Julia Sirna-Frest
and MORE!

See shining stars of downtown theater sing and shimmy to favorites from the Half Straddle cannon– including songs by Chris Giarmo from FAMILY by Tina Satter– just chosen as one of the TOP 10 of 2009 by Time Out!

It’s simple: make an early evening pit stop for fabulous entertainment that comes gratis, sip on a Plotzed Plunker (the signature Half Straddle cocktail) and enjoy the awesomeness from a company "full to the brim with killer talent…" – Helen Shaw, Time Out New York.

Home Sweet Home Bar
131 Chrystie Street
(between Delancey and Broome - F V trains to 2nd Ave or Essex St., J M Z to Essex St., B D to Grand St.)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I love Julia

So, long before this Julie and Julia movie craze happened, I was a devoted fan of both Julies - Powell and Child. I read Julie and Julia and My Life in France long before Nora Ephron ever decided to make Julie Powell bland and not very funny and Julia Child into a national obsession. So, years before all this (back in 2006), when I first read Julie Powell's book, I said "Hey, I want to go see Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian" because it's on display there, don't cha know. Fortunately, the boy I was dating (who is now my husband, yes) had parents who lived in the Washington DC area! "Let's go!" I proclaimed! Zack, ever the pragmatist, made me look up the hours on the website, where we found....that the exhibit was closed. For years.

Finally! It's years later. I'm in DC with Zack for the Xmas holidays and his parents very graciously offer to take us to the Smithsonian so that I can finally see Julia Child kitchen (almost four years later). Let me tell you, it is a cool kitchen.

It doesn't look like much, but just think of all the cool things made in here! Plus, it is very well thought out and designed for Julia specifically. For those of you who don't know, this is Julia's actual kitchen from her house in Cambridge, moved and recreated in the Smithsonian. I love all the pots hanging on the wall. She had a whole pegboard wall for all her things so that she could find them.

In case you were wondering, this is what I dream about my kitchen looking like. Except there is also a kitchen island. It is my lifelong dream to have a kitchen island. Sigh.

I got very caught up watching the video on Julia Child while I was there. Zack got bored and left me there but I just liked it so much. Why don't I own any French Chef dvds? I should have asked for some for Xmas.....