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Lynn Andriani (187 posts)
Luckily, dessert master Lisa Yockelson has found a way to celebrate the less-than-ideal, if not the beauty of the jumbled and broken. Her Break Apart Cookies are all sharp edges and un-uniformly sized triangles, trapezoids and parallelograms—the cookie version of peanut brittle. They're also delicious: tender, sandy and crunchy, thanks to a cookie dough that's akin to shortbread, only softer. The combination of that smooth dough, which practically radiates butter, and those unexpectedly jagged edges creates a textural mash up that's wholly original. Yockelson—whose new book, Baking Style, features desserts so pristine-looking that even a "rustic" fig tart doesn't have a fruit out of line—has to admit the delightful relief of her purposefully flaw-filled cookies, "I find them irresistible, really."
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
The magic two: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and an egg
What they make: Thin cookies that are crispy around the edges and chewy in the center, perfect for stacking.
The magic two: Pumpkin puree and classic yellow cake mix
What they make: An incredibly moist muffin (really, who are we kidding? It's a cupcake) with a nice hit of earthy pumpkin.
Prepster Desk Set, $25. Notebooks in pink and white, a green ruler and set of pens, and a white tape dispenser will give your desk a little Palm Beach flair.
Apple Slicer, $40. Position this ingenious disc-shaped slicer on an apple and rotate it to release perfect slices for snacking or cooking. Even cooler: If you don't want to eat the whole apple, leave the disc pressed against the fruit, and it won't dry out or turn brown.
Printed Ballet Flats, $25. For this price, buy an extra pair of these adorable python slippers and keep one at the office for days when you just can't take another minute of wearing heels.
Vermont Rolling Pins, $45-$94. These pins are functional works of art, from the sleek Modern to the funky Beehive.
More taco nights!
Interactive meals add fireworks to a ho-hum weekday dinner. Grill pizzas, roll up stir fried pork and vegetables in lettuce wraps, assemble fajitas just the way you like them. Even fondue can be a filling supper if you dip cubed ham and vegetables along with bread. This post on how to be a dinner hacker has even more non-boring meal ideas.
One Equals Three
Stop putting pressure on yourself to serve the classic—and outdated!—meat and two full sides every night. At the same time, serving one meat (say, a roasted chicken) with a time-saving salad and baguette gets old fast. Our idea? Skip the meat altogether. Try this delicious pasta with roasted butternut squash and sage.
Pizza with Sausage and Whipped Cream
Nancy Silverton, co-owner of Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza and Mozza2Go in Los Angeles, was so in love with the sausage and cream pizza she discovered at an Umbrian restaurant that she asked the chef to show her how he made it. When she went back to the kitchen, she saw that the heavy cream had been whipped, so it was spreadable. This is her "number-one favorite" out of all the pizzas she serves, which appears in her new book, The Mozza Cookbook. Here's the recipe.
Whether you pick your own or buy them at the greenmarket, apples are hitting their stride this month. September varieties include Gala, Paula Red, McIntosh, Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Ultragold, Cortland, Jonalicious, Red Delicious and Jonagold. Find out what to do with these quintessential fall fruits--aside from eat them out of hand, that is--at OrangePippin.com, which catalogs more than 600 varietals, from Aceymac to Zuccalmaglio's Reinette.
A Concord Crush
Dark blue or purple-skinned concord grapes show up most often in wine or juice, but their tangy flavor also shines with vodka and lime juice. New York's Gramercy Tavern serves a seasonal concord grape cocktail made with whole grapes and a grape puree that's so tasty, you'll forget all about the end of summer margaritas by the pool. Beyond their lovely aromatics, concord grapes also contain a miracle nutrient: Polyphenols, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. Get the recipe here.
Art Smith's Make-Ahead Salsa keeps in the fridge for three days
Cream cheese and pesto unite in these Tortilla Spirals hors d'oeuvres, perfect for using up all that basil. Make them in the morning and serve them in the afternoon.
Marinate and grill this Beef Skirt Steak ahead of time and refrigerate it, then just slice before serving.
Bake Cat Cora's Jalapeño-Jack Cornbread Muffins the day before and let everyone eat them at room temperature.
Lee Bailey's fresh Curly Leaf Lettuce, Avocado and Bacon Salad can sit in the fridge, undressed, for hours.
You can prepare and refrigerate White Bean Salad with Tomatoes and Crisped Sage up to four hours before eating it; take it out and let the chill come off it before serving.
Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups are a breeze to make, and won the grand prize at the 2010 Pillsbury Bake-Off.
What you need to know to feed more than 5 people at once, without scorching anything
The single most important step to grilling the perfect steak
Sides that go with any summer BBQ
Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth, $50. Fashion yourself a scarf, carry your groceries or wrap a present using this quirky graphic fabric.
R2-D2 Ice Cube Trays, $9.99. These freezer must-haves are cheaper than a droid robot, and--we can't help it--cooler, too.
State Prints, $15. Letterpress shop 1canoe2’s whimsical drawings pay homage to American cities, states and regions--because nothing says Wisconsin pride like a poster that reads, “Cheese and crackers, beer and Packers.”
Farmer’s Market Basket, $14. Keep that fresh-from-the-market feeling going in your kitchen all year long with this stoneware take on the ubiquitous green cardboard basket.
Avocado Oil: With a mild avocado flavor, this brilliant, emerald green oil can be used the same way you use extra-virgin olive oil: In salad dressing, drizzled on a finished dish, or in stir-frying, frying, sautéing or baking. It's nutty and thick, so a little goes a long way.
Roasted Almond Oil: This healthy oil adds a rich almond taste to salad dressing, pasta, grilled meat or fish, or baked pastries. It's a good substitute for olive oil in situations where walnut oil and hazelnut oil are just too powerful.
Apricot Kernel Oil: Thanks to the subtle fruity flavor in this oil—which is pressed from the dried kernels of the apricot tree—it's delicious in sweet baked goods, from fruit cobblers to biscuits. But it's suitable for frying or sautéing, too, and can even be used to add an aromatic element to homemade mayonnaise.
The TopChips chips maker is pretty much as low-tech as gadgets come. It's just a silicone tray with holes in it and a wavy bottom that keeps it elevated above the bottom of your microwave. It comes with a little mandoline that's so simple to operate, I can see myself abandoning my much fancier version, which I rarely use because it's such a production, with all its parts and blades. The slicer makes thin discs out of potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, pears or mangoes (the company that makes TopChips, Mastrad, doesn't recommend any other fruits or vegetables, though thrillseekers might try parsnips or turnips). Then you place them in a single layer on the tray and microwave it for three to six minutes, depending on the food and your microwave.
Finally, Luisa Weiss, who writes the food blog The Wednesday Chef, decoded anchovies for me. "I used to think anchovies were hairy little fish bombs," she says. "They would crop up on the thick-crusted pizza that my Sicilian uncle would make sometimes, filling me with dread. Or I'd see them draped over a perfectly nice salade nicoise at a cafe in Paris, contaminating all the lovely green beans and boiled potatoes beneath." Weiss eventually figured out that raw anchovies were one thing, but that if you used them in your cooking, as a seasoning, they were like a secret weapon.