19 January 2012
10 November 2011
See that photo there? That's a picture of a meal I made (and ate) sometime in early September.* I have an embarrassing stash of similar photos--pictures of meals gone by, snapped hurriedly just before digging in, on the off chance that I might want to write about them someday. Usually they end up gathering cobwebs in iphoto, never to see the light of day. But not this one. This one lives again because I want to tell you about something special, something delicious, something you see right there in the lower left corner of the frame.
16 August 2011
When I studied abroad in Florence, Italy for a semester during college, I ate lunch at the same place almost every day. I'd avoid the mediocre offerings and clique-ish scene at the college's little in-house cafe and instead venture to a little coffee shop and bar about a block and a half away. If I ever knew the name of this place it's long forgotten now, but I will never forget the courage I had to muster to place my order in Italian, choosing a sandwich from the offerings behind a small glass case, and later when I had a better command of the language, from the daily menu written on a chalkboard. I will always remember, and continue to crave even now a decade later, the delicious sandwiches that were my reward.
Posted by Nisa at 7:38 PM
30 May 2011
The Bean: not exactly a food that gets a lot of people excited. Luckily, I've eaten some really amazing beans in my lifetime and am convinced that humble though they may be, when cooked well they can be nothing short of a revelation.
Posted by Nisa at 9:04 AM
17 April 2011
Posted by Nisa at 10:15 AM
26 January 2011
There's no denying it: new is sexy. And the same old thing? The old standby? Not so much. I've been thinking about this a lot ever since a friend of my neighbors' backed into my car last week, leaving a significant dent. The poor girl was already quite battle scarred and, by most accounts, OLD for her 11 years, but still runs just fine. The financially prudent thing to do would be to just keep driving her trusty wheels on into the sunset. But, instead, all I can think about now is how soon I can trade her in for a new, sleek, young thing. The temptation is too great...someday soon, I will succumb.
Posted by Nisa at 10:09 PM
15 November 2010
A few weeks ago the weather shifted from ridiculously hot to ever-so-slightly cool; a shift that signals fall here in Texas. Seasonal transitions always inspire me and this one was particularly welcome because it meant I could finally have another dinner party. (My house is so tiny that any group of four or more for dinner requires dining al fresco.) Anticipating that this day would eventually, mercifully arrive, I've been drooling over the "sunday suppers" in this cookbook, dreaming of making a whole menu for friends some Sunday this fall. The cool breezes, however, did not blow in a windfall for the ole bank account and instead I settled on a far more humble, but no less delicious menu.
11 October 2010
When it comes to all things food, I like to think I'm pretty well informed. I spend a lot of time (probably an unhealthy amount) reading, daydreaming, and writing about food, so when something totally new and unexpected in the foodie realm crosses my path, I usually perk up and pay attention. When a mysterious ingredient called saba made its way onto my radar, though, I was pretty slow on the uptake.
28 September 2010
Posted by Ciel at 1:47 PM
26 August 2010
I hadn't had mandelbrodt in years and for some reason recently had a craving for some. The craving sent me digging through my binder of family recipes where I discovered that it certainly wasn't just my grandmother who had a fondness for these dry, biscotti-like cookies. Among the recipes I found no less than four takes on mandelbrodt, all slightly different, from several women of my grandparent's generation on both sides of my family. I'm guessing the dessert's popularity and sticking power has to do with the fact that it uses relatively inexpensive, easily-obtainable ingredients, can be made in large batches, requires no refrigeration, and gets better with age.
When I baked up my first batch recently, I decided to go with Mrs. Harry H. Berman's (aka Aunt Buck, my mom's great-aunt from Chattanooga, TN) version. I liked the look of her recipe and I liked Aunt Buck. In addition to Harry Berman, she went through several husbands in her life, and in her youth was a formidable fisherwoman. By the time I knew her she was an old woman who wore a wig--a fact that fascinated me endlessly as a kid. She gave me little diamond earrings. Surely her recipe for mandelbrodt would be awesome.
The basic process of mandelbrodt-making is to mix up an eggy batter, roll or spoon it into a log or multiple logs, partially bake and then slice the logs, and then bake the slices, turning once so they become golden brown on both sides. Then, while the cookies are still warm you toss them with cinnamon sugar. They are especially tasty with a cup of coffee or tea, or dunked into bowl of ice cream.
Aunt Buck's Mandelbrodt
**be warned--this recipe makes a lot of cookies--probably 4 dozen, depending on the size 'logs' you make. the good news is that they keep well in a covered container and will earn you sugary kisses when you pawn them off on friends4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups unsifted all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup blanched almonds (I used toasted whole almonds and chopped them up a little)
(cinnamon sugar coating--I eyeballed this--I don't like it very cinnamony but you can make this to taste)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Measure, then sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Beat first five ingredients thoroughly, then add sifted dry ingredients and then nuts. Beat thoroughly.
Using a tablespoon (Buck specifies a tablespoon--I say use whatever spoon you want), spoon mixture onto an ungreased cookie sheet making about 4 strips (or logs) about 1 1/2 inches apart (I made 2 larger logs rather than 4 small ones). Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or when firm and slightly brown on bottom. Remove from oven and slice into small slices diagonally. Loosen from pan with spatula and then turn each piece onto a sliced side. Return to oven and brown for about 15 minutes or so. Remove from oven and flip each cookie over to the other side and bake for another 15 minutes. When golden brown on both sides, remove from oven, let cool slightly. Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a large ziplock back. While the cookies are still warm toss them into the bag with the cinnamon sugar, seal, and gently shake around to coat the cookies. You may have do do this in several batches and will have leftover cinnamon sugar.
Will keep well in a covered container for at least a week.
Posted by Nisa at 10:16 PM