July 2012

Cannoli Ice Cream

July 31, 2012
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My very first restaurant job was in part, by accident. I was in college and was interested in becoming a chef instead of the psychologist I was studying to be. Ever practical (having 3 jobs to put yourself through college will do that to a person), I decided to try working in a restaurant before spending even more money on a culinary education.

I found myself in a local Italian place which was hiring for a prep cook. Unfortunately, the chef took one look at me, 21 years old and female, and said “no.” I don’t remember what else he said but it was along the lines of “I don’t have anything for you” which wasn’t exactly the truth.

Suddenly, he reconsidered and said, “Can you bake? My pastry chef is leaving and I need someone for that position.” I said “Sure, I can bake!” This may have been …

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Cherry Clafoutis

July 23, 2012
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I’ve always wanted to make a clafoutis, but never had until recently. Something about the name sounds so romantic to me (maybe because it’s French?), which is odd considering this is really quite an easy, homestyle dessert.

What is a clafoutis, you ask? Think of a cross between a dense custard and a thick pancake, baked with fruit. Some recipes call more more or less flour or fewer eggs which will, of course, change the texture on direction or the other. My version, based on one I found in Saveur, has quite a few eggs, so it leans more toward custard with a nice crust. I think it’s a perfect summer dessert, but it could also work on a brunch or breakfast menu.

Apparently the French tend to make this without pitting the cherries first. It’s thought that the cherry pits impart an almond flavor, but frankly, …

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Moroccan Chicken With Eggplant Tomato Jam

July 16, 2012
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Morocco has become a bit of an obsession lately. Maybe it’s cooking from Paula Wolfert’s book, The Food of Morocco, or maybe my trip to Turkey just whet my appetite for that part of the world, but now I’m planning a trip to Morocco in the fall.

Paula Wolfort’s book  is fantastic and I even had the good fortune to hear her speak in person and have her sign my book a few months ago. Most of the recipes in the book are fairly straightforward, and while I wouldn’t say “simple” they aren’t that complicated. Wolfort strives for authenticity in her ingredients and recipes and while I’m all for that, sometimes “authentic” can get in its own way.

What do I mean by that? At times striving for authenticity can prevent people from even cooking at all. If it’s presented in a way which seems too complicated, or if …

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