Sunday, June 24, 2012

Deviled Eggs

A pointless story: my manager at the restaurant I work at was talking about wine, and he said to me, "Don't judge me for drinking rose." And I had to laugh to myself, because honestly, I know nothing about nothing, and I know especially nothing about wine, least of all rose, which I only know I like because it is pink, and I like basically everything that is pink. 

There is one thing that I know though. 

I know that I want to give you the truest thank you. 

How do you say the truest thank you?

This is a question that has been puzzling me for a while. 

Because you are so kind, and somehow you keep returning and reading about my pies and my dinners and my issues and my delights. 

I mean, 


I don't even have the words. 

If I knew who you were, I would give a present. This present would be wrapped in the comics section of the newspaper, and tied with some kind of satiny ribbon. Because I believe in attractive presents. Though I actually give them mostly infrequently. 

You inspire me. 

And I am not just saying that. 

At the restaurant I work at they make these ridiculously divine looking deviled eggs with truffle oil whipped into the yolk part, but I've never actually gotten to eat one.  Which just kills me. 

I spend a lot of time thinking about those eggs. 

I actually made some deviled eggs the other day because I had such a craving, but the pictures I took of them were so decidedly unfortunate that I painted a picture of them instead. 

Beloveds, if I could, I would give you all the truffled deviled eggs of the world. But I can't. Because I don't know who you are. 

So I say you make them yourself. And you can pretend that they're from me, a symbol of my truest thank you. 

I'm going to say it one more time. 

Thank you. 


Deviled Eggs
Gourmet 2002, via

Also, I have a THING for mustard, so I added more of it. A lot more. Also, I didn't really even follow the recipe. I just guesstimated the proportions. But I love you a lot. So I'm telling you, follow the recipe. If you want. You can also add truffle oil, if you have it and are feeling decadent. In fact, you can do whatever you want. 

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

  • Special equipment: a pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch star tip (optional) <--- Totally did not do this 
  • Garnishes: paprika; chopped fresh chives; whatever strikes your fancy 

Cover eggs with cold water by 1 1/2 inches in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, partially covered. Reduce heat to low and cook eggs, covered completely, 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Transfer eggs with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking and let stand 5 minutes.
Peel eggs and halve lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks and mash in a bowl with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, and cayenne and stir with fork until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Fill pastry bag with yolk mixture and pipe into egg whites.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Don't Know Pasta

I have been trying to write to you for an embarrassingly long time. 

But sometimes words just do not come to me. And so I sit and I type and I write many personal things that you do not want to know about that I do not want you to know about. 

I made pasta tonight:

Understand that this is something of a feat. Lately cooking for me has been things like, making toast, pouring coffee, adding water to raspberry Emergen-C powder, and buttering/cheesing/jamming/egging/putting-a-topping on said toast. 
And even this has felt like an ungodly amount of work. 

So. Pasta made: I grated three yellow squashes, and cooked them down in butter and bacon, and added some fresh basil, and then a spoonful of pesto, because I like extra basil. And then I wanted to make a cream sauce, but we had no cream. So I added a lot of mozzarella cheese and some parmesan cheese and some freshly cut tomatoes. 

And suddenly I had a meal that was not toast. 

I keep wondering what might happen have happened. 

Would I have succumbed to another toast meal if I hadn't made pasta? Might we have gone out to eat? What if I had made cookies instead? What kind of caloric difference would there be in my day if I ate cookies for dinner instead of pasta? Would I be asleep right now if I hadn't had that coffee at 2pm? 

This is what is so tricky about being alive sometimes. 

What opportunities do you take? Which ones do you hold onto? Opportunities are like friends, sometimes you slowly welcome them into your life, other times you let them go. 
But the knowing what to do? Knowing if you should make pasta or toast? Knowing which impulse or instinct to trust? 

It's so gosh-darn-well-dammit-I-don't-understand-why-everything-has-to-be-so-fucking-difficult.  

What do you do? 

I don't know. 

The point is. 

I made pasta. 


I Don't Know Pasta

I don't know how I made this. But there is bacon and grated squash and a lot of butter and cheese and some basil and pesto and pepper and salt. And tomatoes. Open your refrigerator door and use this as an opportunity to contemplate the confusion of opportunities. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Catherine Newman's Donut Cake

The recipe promised that if I made this cake, my house would smell like donuts. 

That was reason enough. 

So I made the cake. I beat the butter and sugar together, I was careful. I even sifted the flour. I put the cake in the oven. 

And I waited for my house to smell like donuts. 

It didn't. 

I wondered if it was because my nose had somehow gotten accustomed to the smell, so I stepped outside and crumpled sage and rosemary between my fingers, and smelled it, to try and freshen things up. And I came back inside, and for the briefest hint of a second, I could smell the donut smell-- like yeast and sugary glaze, which quickly faded into the background scent of my house and the eggs my father made for breakfast. 


Nothing is ever quite the way you think it will be. I don't know what I've expected for this summer, but it is different than I thought it would be. I don't know if I'm disappointed exactly, no disappointment can ever quite match the sadness of your house not smelling like donuts when it's supposed to, but there's a vague sense of something missing right now. And I'm not quite sure what it is. 

I wasn't quite sure what this cake would be like. 
It ends up that this is a very, very simple cake. 
A plain cake. There is no frosting, no extraneous steps. Just. Cake. It does not have the consistency of a donut. It does not waft donut smells, it's very name promises to be something that it's not. 

But you know what?

This cake is about as close to perfection as a truly simple cake can be. 

I think there is a moral or story here. 

I think I need to learn it good. 


Catharine Newman's Donut Cake

Makes one 9-inch cake
Darling, I am not kidding. This cake really is just beautiful. It would be especially lovely with some blueberries or strawberries, either mixed into the batter or served with a tall glass of cold whole milk or whipped cream. 
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, and set it aside.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition, then add in the vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Set aside.
3. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with flour. Make sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next, but don't over-beat it at the end. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top.
4. Bake until the top is puffed and golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving warm or room temperature.