|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
Lynn Andriani (187 posts)
My mismatched set of flutes--born when a friend organized a small birthday gathering--has grown over the years, and the best part is that it actually gets a fair amount of use. It doesn't sit in a display case, but in one of my kitchen cabinets. I break the glasses out every time we're drinking bubbly (which isn't only on New Year's Eve). And, you can find champagne flutes anywhere, from Ireland to your local dollar store. They are are my version of snow globes, available at any and all tourist traps, though they don't get dusty. They're akin to a snow globe you can use.
Sarabeth Levine, who runs the New York and Florida bakery and restaurant Sarabeth's, would agree that collections can be practical: Levine collects cookie jars (they must have stable lids and be light enough that they're easy to lift). Former American Heritage editor Richard Snow collects plates from New York City restaurants he used to go to with his dad when he was a child, prowling eBay for items like a butter dish from the Horn & Hardart automat. "Most antiques, you have to take care of," Snow wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal. "[But] my family eats off [the plates] every night."
Here's the thing. If it were just about practicality, we'd buy the champagne flutes/cookie jar/dinner plates we needed and get on with life. But when there's more to it: the attachment I feel when I take a sip from the very glass that held prosecco as I listened to my sister's speech on my wedding day. That's a feeling a display case of fancy antiques just can't match.
Debbie Reynolds' Hollywood Treasures
Break Free from the Collectibles Cluttering Your Home
How to Start Collecting Art
When's the last time you really thought about the experience of cooking? Not the sensations you feel when you warm up leftovers or pour cereal into a bowl, but what it actually feels like to crack an egg open or pat strawberries dry? Chris Kimball, founder and editor of Cook's Illustrated, made me consider the physical act of preparing a meal recently, in an editorial in the July/August issue of his magazine. The essay, "Zero Degrees of Separation," isn't available online, unfortunately, but it reads, in part, "we cook... to remind ourselves that we are alive, because we want to run our fingers across a silky side of salmon or grab hold of a bloody point-cut of brisket." Me? I love the tactile pleasure of shucking corn; mixing ground meat with eggs, cheese, herbs and breadcrumbs with my bare hands for meatballs; and pulling open the oven door, giving a pan of smashed potatoes a stir and feeling a blast of heat mixed with the scent of roasted garlic and rosemary.
So...why do you cook? And what's your favorite sensation from cooking?
When Congress decided to ban the energy-sapping bulb, though, Hasbro engineers were faced with a challenge. But kitchen-minded kids (and their parents) can relax: The oven isn't going the way of the Atari 2600. It's evolving--something that's actually very much in the spirit of the Easy-Bake, which has spawned a gourmet Easy-Bake cookbook with recipes from famous chefs, recipes sites that include such creations as Wild Mushroom Flan, and even a PC that let you cook pancakes at your desk (okay, that one isn't real, but wouldn't it be fantastic?).
The latest incarnation of the Easy-Bake, which goes on sale this fall, has a fancy internal heating element instead of a light bulb, and doors on the left and right sides instead of in front. Such innovations--plus a larger cooking chamber and baking pan--blow the menu of baking options wide open to include cookies, red velvet cupcakes, pizza, pretzels, cinnamon twists and brownie sticks.
As much as I love the idea of an almost 50-year-old toy getting a modern makeover (and we're nothing if not fans of constant evolution), I think Michelle Paolino, VP of global brand strategy and marketing for Hasbro Girls Brands, put it best. She has strong ties to the Easy-Bake, having played with one as a kid in the early '80s, and she was excited work on the update: "A lot has changed," she says, "but that feeling of creation is still really relevant today."
When In Doubt, Bake
7 Decadent, Retro Desserts
Common Baking Pitfalls
Sauteed lettuce. This is part of a ramen-crusted skate recipe, but I'd skip the fish (leave dredging skate in instant-ramen breadcrumbs to Chang) and go straight to the vegetable: Add a head or two of iceberg or butter lettuce, torn, to a skillet that's already sizzling with a tablespoon of grapeseed oil and a "nice big knob of butter." Toss in a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until the lettuce is wilted but not completely slack, one or two minutes. Chang gives bonus points if you season it with a dash of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon.
A crucial element to savory tomato pies is cheese: Art Smith's Tomato Pie uses grated cheddar or Pepper Jack and Parmesan, the perfect foil for yellow and red baby pear tomatoes. Bon Appetit's Tomato and Cheddar Pie is heavy on the extra-sharp cheddar, plus some Parmesan too. And Williams-Sonoma's Savory Skillet Pie gets some kick from the one-two punch of cheddar and bacon.
Why should sweet pies get all the love this summer?
The pie Oprah can't stop raving about
Beefsteak Tomato Tart with Asiago Cheese and Thyme
Stefan Gates, author of The Extraordinary Cookbook: How to Make Meals Your Friends Will Never Forget, is something of a pro at playing with food--he throws sushi-rolling parties, serves polenta right on the table (no dishes to do) and frosts his margarita glasses with Pop Rocks. He knew that the dishwasher's heat--between 130 and 150 degrees on most models--is enough to poach salmon and gently infuse it with the flavors of aromatic herbs. To make salmon, asparagus, noodles and mixed vegetable parcels, Gates keeps everything wrapped tightly in foil, skips the detergent and runs the dishwasher on the highest and hottest cycle (choose the "pots and pans" option). And he promises nothing tastes like soap. Get the recipe here.
5 Confounding Kitchen Appliances (and How to Use Them)
Ginger Salmon Recipe
The Way to Eat: Diet Tweaks That Make a Difference
About three years ago, they began food shopping for each other. It started as a favor, but now it's a game. They don't do it all the time, just every so often, and when they do, those normal conventions of what they always buy go flying out the window. No boneless, skinless anythings. Why buy chicken thighs when you can get the whole bird? Pasta: how about something different, like pappardelle? Into the cart go breasts of veal, ruffly savoy cabbage, ground lamb. "Doing the grocery shopping can be kind of dreary," Hamilton says, "especially if you're in a store that's not particularly inspiring." But shopping for a friend gets you excited about grabbing things.
Lambrusco Sangria from Chow.com
Be delicate when you stir otherwise you'll kill the bubbles.
Raspberry Thyme Sangria from Food Republic
Muddled raspberries and thyme go nicely with Prosecco (if you like your sangria spritzy) or Rose (if you prefer it more full-bodied).
Sake Sangria from Daily Loaf
Peaches and plums play up the flavors in sake and plum wine.
Sangria and Iced Coffee from the Women's Health blog
A non-alcoholic version that blends coffee, juices, fruit and soda water.
Summer White Sangria with Pink Peppercorns from Food52.com
Let muscovado sugar, cinnamon, pink peppercorns and mint leaves work their magic on fresh, ripe fruit and wine for a good half-hour before drinking.
Starfruit Sangria from Serious Eats
A cross between spiked lemonade and sangria, this drink can be made with club soda or ginger beer.
How to buy wine for a party
9 savory appetizer recipes
7 things to do before your party starts
After mixing the cake batter (and at Godiva, all cake batters are chocolate--go figure), pouring it into the pan and baking it completely through, Muret pulls the cake out of the oven and lets it cool on a wire rack until it is lukewarm enough that he can handle it. He removes it from the pan and then wraps the entire cake with cellophane wrap--and this is crucial--twice. You must wrap the cake tightly, he says. Then he puts it in the freezer overnight or for eight hours.
[Next: the icing on the cake]
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Hazan's one of the cookbooks I grew up with--my parents cooked from it--and it's a really good overview of Italian cooking, by region. The recipes are fairly simple, and Hazan uses ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. My favorite pasta sauce of all time is her tomato sauce with butter and onion. It's just canned tomatoes, butter and onion.