put it in my mouth

December 24, 2009, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

After being harvested from the bog, cranberries are transported to a processing facility where, among other things, they are separated into three quality grades—first grade, second grade, and unacceptable. If you drop a good cranberry on the floor, it will bounce higher than a medium-good cranberry, which itself will bounce higher than a bad cranberry. So to determine quality, the berries are dropped from a separator onto a downward-sloping bounce board with a hurdle at the end. If the cranberry clears the hurdle, it goes on to the good berries section. If not, it drops down to a second bounce board and has another chance. If it fails to jump over a few hurdles, its quality grade drops. This process continues until the berry either is assigned a quality grade or is considered unacceptable and trashed.

So this is why, as I was making cranberry pistachio wedding cakes tonight, I thought to myself, if I drop these on the floor instead of putting them in the oven, will I be able to tell which one is going to be the most delicious?

Recipe here. Most obviously, cranberries replace the cherries.


Today is the day I discover that everything is better with a poached egg
December 22, 2009, 1:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

For lunch: soba noodles in broth with spinach and a poached egg and a little bit of ginger and inordinate amounts of Sriracha.

Tricks to poaching: not letting the water actually reach a boil, adding a splash of white or rice vinegar.

December 20, 2009, 1:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

These cookies will fill the void you never even knew you had. This recipe for les scourtins aux olives nyons—olive shortbread cookies—came from Jean-Pierre Autrand of Les Vieux Moulins in Nyons by way of Susan Hermann Loomis. Make them once and I promise you will make them again (and then also again).

9 T. unsalted butter, softened
¾ c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 T. olive oil
1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. cured olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

Cream the butter in an electric mixer until it is soft and pale. Mix in the sugar, then the olive oil. Gently mix in flour until the dough is smooth, then add the olives and mix until incorporated. Put a piece of wax paper on the countertop, and roll the dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap it in the wax paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take out the hardened dough and cut off rounds that are about ¼ inch thick. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cookies are golden. Cool on wire racks.