January 2013

Soup 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.31.13 Souped Up

Almost as elemental as fire is the warming soup we make from it. A big pot, a few gnarled vegetables, a rind of cheese, a crust of bread. From these humble ingredients we can coax something truly sublime and nourishing. The tender green vegetables of spring soften with just a kiss of heat, but winter's sturdy bounty must be stewed into submission. A heap of sliced onions—that mainstay of the cold-weather kitchen—collapses, then caramelizes, turning the rich, burnished brown of aged leather. Once crisp and biting, they develop a sweet and savory intensity that gives a plain broth spectacular depth. The ultimate peasant food, French onion soup is topped with well-toasted slices of rustic bread beneath a bubbling blanket of melted cheese. Time and tender care are all you need to make this simple yet soul-satisfying dish.

Pink Floyd (Another Brick in the Wall) —
How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?
Cut overhead 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.28.13 What's For Pudding?

As you may well know from being an Anglophile or watching Bridget Jones, the Brits use "pudding" as a generic term for dessert. It's a bit perplexing given that no shortage of actual pudding is served for pudding there, but it's a rather comforting word and in the end there doesn't seem to have been too much confusion. But to further complicate things, what we call pudding they would most likely refer to as custard. No matter; I think we can all agree that steamed puddings—the stuff of Dickens novels and old-time American holidays—are simply delicious. You don't see them on menus much any more, but with so many traditional folkways and recipes being reclaimed, it wouldn't surprise me if we were in for a resurgence. And we should be. If you've never made a steamed pudding, it will be a revelation. All you do is stir together a batter, pour it into a mold or casserole and steam it. It emerges thick, dense and slightly sticky, ready to be eaten warm topped with a cool cloud of cream. From the rich spices to the stovetop preparation, for dessert or breakfast, steamed pudding is the ultimate winter indulgence.
Henry David Thoreau —
Winter has a concentrated and nutty kernel, if you know where to look for it.
Toddy 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.24.13 Smokin' Hot (Toddy)

It's colder than a witch's tit up here. Brass monkeys, as they say in England. (As in, you could freeze the balls off a...) The car thermometer read minus-one when I was heading to yoga this morning. My husband stayed home from the office so he could toast himself in front of the fire. Thoughts immediately turned to hot toddies. Traditionally, these warming drinks were downed before exposure to severe weather—or after, to recuperate from it—and they were also believed to have a curative effect on flu and colds. A simple combination of spirits, hot liquid, a sweetener, some citrus and a bit of judicious spicing, they even seem to put a dent in the winter blues. Consider bundling up and going for a brisk walk on the icy tundra just so you can fix yourself one. Or stand outside the front door for five minutes to work up a chill. Either way, it will go down like a charm.
Brigitte Bardot —
It's sad to grow old, but nice to ripen.
Ls color 790 xxx
photo by george billard

1.22.13 Fifty Shades of Silverman

Today I am 50. It seems somehow inconceivable and yet it is merely the inevitable outcome of staying alive. (Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.) I’ve done more than that though—I’ve lived. And, as the inimitable Édith Piaf sang, Je ne regrette rien. I learned to play the oboe. I lived in Spain. I graduated from Harvard. I made my way in New York City. I moved to Los Angeles and back. I married 3 times, divorced twice and was widowed. I traveled the world. I found true love and married again. I bought a house in the woods and 5 acres on a lake. I started this blog. There have been some admirable achievements. There have been some spectacular flameouts. Much has been lost, but even more gained.

Jonathan Swift —
Promises and pie-crust are made to be broken.
Baked 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.18.13 Pot Luck

There is snow on the ground here and that means long treks on snowshoes. Which are inevitably followed by a fire in the hearth and a hearty meal. What could be cozier than a pot pie? Break through the golden crust and a finger of steam beckons you toward tender chunks of goodness bound in a creamy sauce. These are a great repository for leftovers—chicken, shortribs, even fish—or any odds and ends rattling around the vegetable bin. Think of this recipe as more of a template than anything, easily adapted to whatever you have on hand. Consider making the dough ahead of time and stash it in the freezer. That way, when the temperature drops, you'll be ready.
Homer Simpson —
Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.