Tori Ritchie Tuesday Recipe
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Tori Ritchie Tuesday RecipeWelcome to Tuesday Recipe  — so called because I send out simple recipes on Tuesdays and because Tuesday Recipe has the same initials I do (you can find out information about me, Tori Ritchie, here). Sign up at right to join. It's free and it's fun. Here's what's cooking:


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tuesday, April 15, 2013

Here’s a snap of me with Ina Garten right after interviewing her onstage recently. She’s exactly in person as she is on TV: lively, never tired of talking food, and unpretentious (despite her beautiful home and kitchen). We cracked up at the sound check beforehand because the chairs they had put out were so huge, her feet didn’t touch the floor. By the time the show started, there was a new set of chairs that fit much better. I teased her about her husband Jeffrey and his cameos on the show, and how her dark shirts are always spotless, even when she’s rolling out pastry on a flour-covered counter. I told her my favorite recipe of hers is frozen berries with white-chocolate cream from Barefoot Contessa at Home. I’ve come up with my own version over the years, using some coconut milk and chopped crystallized ginger. It’s the contrast of hot and cold that makes this so phenomenal, not to mention it takes about 10 minutes to make. How easy is that?— as Ina would say.

to print this recipe, click here

tuesday, march 25, 2013

I've got Ina Garten on the brain. And tomato paste. Yes, Ina Garten and tomato paste. Let me explain. 

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Next week I'm interviewing Ina onstage in Santa Rosa and I've been reading everything I can about her and watching her shows and videos on Food Network. Everything she makes is delicious and now I'm starving. So I just went to the fridge to see what I could rustle up for dinner and there it was: an open can of tomato paste (with plastic wrap pressed on the surface to keep it from molding — I should have transferred it to a plastic container, but, hey, I can be lazy too). I keep tomato paste on hand because it's my secret weapon for adding umami to recipes where you wouldn't expect to find it, and one of those is salmon with lentils by none other than...Ina Garten. It epitomizes her philosophy of taking a classic and making it better by tweaking it ever so slightly. In this case, that's with a touch of tomato paste in the lentils. Her other brilliant trick is pre-soaking the lentils in boiling water. That way they cook quickly without getting mushy. The addition of a spice rub to the fish is my touch; you can leave it out if you want.

So here's what I'm making for dinner tonight and you can be sure I'll tell Ina about it when I meet her next week.

to print this recipe, click here

tuesday, march 11, 2013

Enough with the chard stems. It’s time for some chicken. Some really easy Moroccan chicken.

Is that an oxymoron? No, because this is a throw-it-all-in-the pot deal that lives up to the claim. You don’t even have to brown the onions or the meat. In fact you don’t even have to do the “let stand” step if you don’t want to (although this will give the meat deeper flavor). And you don't have to own a real tagine—a Dutch oven or other heavy pot works great. Conical clay tagines really are better to present food in than to cook in (see how I did that in the photo?) Plus you can make this exact recipe with 3 pounds of lamb stew instead of chicken. And you can serve it with couscous, which takes minutes to make. And you can finally use those preserved lemons that I know you all made last month per my instructions…ahem.
 
Here you go. The easiest Moroccan recipe I know (and despite the fact that I went to cooking school in Marrakech, this actually comes from an old issue of Saveur).

To print this recipe, click here.

tuesday, february 11, 2013

Binge seems to be the word of the moment. People are binge-watching TV, binge-reading books, bingeing on the Olympics, and no doubt bingeing on chocolate later this week. Sorry to be a bore, but I’m bingeing on Swiss chard. It’s partly because I’m writing a cookbook and chard recipes are on my to-do list, but it’s also because I can’t get enough of the stems. Yes, the stems. You know, these guys…

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In fact, I made the chard recipe for my book with only the leaves so I could have the stems all to myself. Sometimes I add them to minestrone, sometimes I pour cream over them and bake them as a gratin, and sometimes I saute them with herbs and soffritto—that’s Italian for onions, carrots, and celery, aka this stuff…

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To this, I add the chopped chard stems, plus some garbanzo beans for heft then fresh herbs and chopped preserved lemon (if you made those when I posted last, they should be ready right about now) or you can add feta to make it even mo' betta...

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If you’re wondering what to do with the leaves in order to have leftover stems, strip them off and saute them in olive oil and garlic like spinach and serve them alongside this dish. It’s all very virtuous and delicious, so eat and earn all the chocolate you want on Valentine's Day.

To print this recipe, click here

tuesday, january 28, 2013

When life gives you lemons (or your neighbor does), preserve them. That’s what I did this weekend and it took me about 20 minutes. That’s because you don’t have to “can” these the way you do other preserves – there’s no boiling of jars or lifting with tongs or popping of lids. All you do is toss lemons with kosher salt and stuff them into a jar. Then you wait 3 weeks for the lemons to cure to the point where you can dice the peel and use it as a salty-tart condiment for a Moroccan tagine or other stuff. Once you get through that first period of waiting, preserved lemons can be stored in the fridge for several months and they only get better and better.

If you look around on the internet, you’ll find a thousand recipes for preserving lemons. This one, which I learned in Morocco (why not go to the primary source?), is the simplest and for my money (or for nothing, since the lemons in this case were a gift), is the best.

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First you cut the lemons into quarters. The traditional method is to do this without severing the parts so you can open each lemon like a flower (as you see in middle, above), but a chef gave me the tip that you can just cut them apart and toss them with salt in a bowl and the whole process will be much faster and the results essentially the same.

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Then you pack the lemons – I mean, really STUFF them – into a clean jar and pour in lemon juice (top it off with boiling water if you need to fill the jar; this accelerates the curing process too). At this point you can doll up your jar with a pretty ribbon or you can slide a bay leaf (preferably a fresh unsprayed bay laurel leaf) inside the glass for a swashbuckle of color…

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Then let the lemons sit on your counter for a week, shaking the jar every day (or a few times a day) to keep the salt from settling on the bottom. Transfer them to the refrigerator and in 3 weeks, the peel will be softened enough to use as a condiment. Of course you can use them in Moroccan and other North African recipes, or to sprinkle on fish, toss with sautéed broccoli rabe or greens or roasted eggplant, or splash the brine into a dirty martini. So much more fun than turning lemons into boring old lemonade.

to print recipe click here

tuesday, december 17, 2013

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Here it comes: sugar plum time. Whether you see them dancing in the Nutcracker or have visions of them dancing in your head, you’ve probably never made them. But I do every year. Sugar plums are a Victorian Christmas confection for my decidedly 19th century father. Weirdly, they’re very 21st century, too, because they are vegan, they are gluten-free and they are made of fruits and nuts (that sounds so 1970s, I guess we have all our centuries covered). Not that any of that matters to my father. He is ailing and 89 and much of his time is spent in the past, where his memories take him to West Point, to his childhood as an army brat, and his adulthood as a rabble rousing realtor (yes, there is such a thing). But I will always picture him with a book, usually a moldering 19th century volume, perhaps a Baedeker guide to Florence or something by Robert Louis Stevenson. As he reads under a dim lamp, he is reaching out for his sugar plums, eating them all in one sitting. Maybe that’s what has kept him alive for so long. Because of all the things we eat at this time of year, these are actually good for you. Love you JR.

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tuesday, december 3, 2013

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Today is “giving Tuesday” and while the idea is to give to charities to offset the consumerist gorging of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I’m using it as an excuse to think about gifts I can give from my kitchen this Christmas. I’ll make Sugar Plums for my father (more on those soon), and maybe lemon-rosemary salt. One year I bottled homemade vanilla for everyone. But the recipe that popped out at me this year is Viola’s brownies with Baci — you know, those Italian foil-wrapped kisses that come in a blue box and have a multi-lingual love note in each one. I could go on and on about my love of Baci, how they come from Perugia where I once had a handsome Italian boyfriend, how I ate a whole box of them while sitting on the piazza (literally on the ground) in Siena when I was 18 and falling in love with Italy. But giving is supposed to be about the recipient and not about me, so let me just say that these brownies get better as the days go by, stored in the fridge. So cut them up and put them in a tin and tell your recipient to savor them one by one, maybe with a cup of tea, like I did.

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tuesday, november 19, 2013

Just in case you are still hemming and hawing about your menu this week, here’s an easy side dish of roasted carrots and parsnips spiced with cumin and caraway that works for Thanksgivukkah, too. Start with carrots and parsnips that are on the svelter side—you don’t want those orange clubs I call “horse” carrots (but if you can only find fat parsnips, use them):

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Cut the veggies either by hand into matchsticks about 3-inches long by 1/4-inch wide as in the photo below (which takes about 10 minutes) or push them through the tube of a food processor fitted with a 1/4-inch slicing disk to cut them into coins (this takes about 2 minutes):

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Have a great meal!

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tuesday, november 19, 2013

Here it comes again: the season of a hundred reasons to make appetizers. There are tailgates this weekend for big games all over the country, then Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, then December parties, then Christmas, then New Years. Since I think about appetizers a lot, I'm rounding up some favorites to get you started:
 
Take a plateful of cheddar wafers (aka "cheese johnnies") to a game:

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Put persimmons into the world’s easiest Thanksgiving or Hanukkah app:

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Drunken nuts? What holiday doesn’t need some of these:

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Pile on the crab and shrimp for Christmas or New Year’s Eve:

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tuesday, november 5, 2013

The power of simplicity. That was the cover line on the New York Times Style magazine this weekend and even though I’m not very style conscious, it caught my eye. I really feel that if we keep things simple, everyone would be a lot happier and it could have a domino effect. For instance, Sam keeps buying late-season figs and only eating the soft ones (we’re having a warm November in California and the fig trees just keep on giving — I apologize to the rest of the country if your markets have moved from figs to cranberries by now). So what to do with the remaining “hard canards” as we call tough, late-season figs? Toss them in the compost bin….or make a simple tart? Guess which route I took?
 
First I quartered the figs and laid them on pastry (which I had purchased…very simple). Then I brushed them with a honey–orange juice glaze made from ingredients I always have on hand…
 
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Then I pulled the pastry up and around the edges. I’m not good at geometry so my figs are a little off center (I said simple, not perfect)….
 
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Then I baked the galette until those figs became jammy and wonderful…
 
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I served the galette with a fresh cheese (Nicasio Morning Fog) and grapes as part of a Sunday lunch. My guests were happy. We were happy. Simple, right?

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for the recipe, click here

tuesday, october 22, 2013

Do you ever go into recluse mode? That’s where I’ve been of late. It's partly because Sam has been away and I’ve had the house (aka apartment) to myself. I start missing him by day 4, but days 1–3 have been a spree of sitting for as long as I want in the best chair (the one with the great reading light…you know what I’m talking about), taking baths at 4pm, watching TV late, listening to Italian rock, and never making the bed. Let me make something clear: Sam wouldn’t mind if I did any of those things when he was here (except for the Italian rock), but I mind it when I do those things…unless I’m alone.  

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The other thing I don’t mind doing when I’m alone is eating reams of greens. Salad for lunch AND dinner. Heaps of Swiss chard with olive oil and Parmigiano. Kale smoothies. I couldn’t resist trying this recipe, which came by way of FeedBuzz yesterday. It’s called Torta di Erbe (Greens Tart), but it’s closer to a gratin with its crunchy breadcrumb-and-cheese crust. The filling is held together by eggs and the pancetta makes it a complete meal in my opinion, especially if you eat it straight from the pan...which you can do when you’re alone

click here for recipe on BuzzFeed

tuesday, september 17, 2013

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“2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 3 ripe bananas…”

I don’t have the patience to be a good baker, but I can still recite the ingredients for banana bread in my head. I learned the recipe in high school and I’ve never found a better version. In those days I made it over and over for bake sales, carbo-fueled excuses to bring goodies to school to sell to each other. The number one customer was Sr. McKenna, our principal, who had a hearty laugh and even heartier sweet tooth. Long after she retired, I’d bump into her at the grocery store and we’d talk about cooking. I haven’t seen her in ages and this weekend there was an obituary in the paper: Joan McKenna had died at age 81. Immediately the words “2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar…” popped into my head. So I’m baking this one for you, Sr. McKenna. I hope your life ended on a sweet note.

to print this recipe, click here

tuesday, september 3, 2013

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When people ask me what to make for dinner, I tell them to go shopping. The market will tell you what to make. Well, this weekend, it was the refrigerator that told me what to make. I had been on a trip and when I came home the last thing I wanted to do was go shopping (nothing kills a post-travel buzz like a grocery store). In the fridge I found a container of ricotta, a cob of corn, some mint. On the counter, some San Marzano tomatoes from the farmer’s market that were past prime. While I roasted the tomatoes (shriveling them into sweetness despite their shriveled skins), I unpacked and showered. Then I tossed together a quick pasta and put the corn kernels in a salad with romaine, feta, and torn croutons. The moral of the story? Even though the tomatoes were the star of the show (and the recipe below), CORN can also mean “Clean Out Refrigerator Night.”

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 tuesday, august 6, 2013

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photos by kathleen korb

I love living in a small town. Yes, San Francisco has a population of about 850,000, but it feels like a small town to me. See if you can follow this thread for proof: I pick up a copy of the current issue of Edible SF (I hope you read an Edible communities magazine in your area; they are wonderful publications) and I notice a recipe for savory buns made with pizza dough and fresh corn kernels. I slap my forehead and moan, “why didn’t I think of that???” I make the buns with dough from my favorite pizzeria, they are divine, then I do a search on Kathleen Korb, who created the recipe (and what a great name for someone writing about corn off the cob—where is Herb Caen when I need him*?). Turns out she works with my friend Amanda at Williams-Sonoma, who connects us personally. We chat, Kathleen mentions she is launching a beautiful app with Bruce Cole, the publisher of Edible SF, who I’ve known through years of food writing in this town…and all the pieces fall into place so that I can share both the recipe and the launch of the app with you. Oh, and Kathleen is a way better photographer than I am, so she’s letting me share her photos, too. I love that kind of generosity. It feels like the digital version a neighbor dropping by with a plate of savory corn buns and in this town, it really is that.

*that’s a namefreak insider joke for all you locals

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 tuesday, july 9, 2013

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I took my own advice this weekend (for once). Just as I suggested you do last week, I made one of the eggplant recipes in the NY Times. I chose Pasta alla Norma, a Sicilian classic that I’ve always wanted to try at home. When I saw a fat, pale-purple Chinese eggplant (like this one) at the farmers’ market on Sunday, I knew the moment was right. You’d think the moment would be right with an Italian eggplant (and you’d be right), but the plumpness of this particular specimen and the ease of frying 2-inch diameter slices versus 6-inch diameter slices appealed to me. You see, frying the eggplant in lots of oil is the key to this dish and smaller slices fit better in one pan (you can cube an Italian eggplant if that’s what you’re using). This is just one of the ways I changed the standard recipe to make my it my own; I also pureed super-sweet cherry tomatoes for the sauce, I used basil instead of oregano, and I used a tangy fresh cheese instead of ricotta salata (fresh ricotta or goat cheese also work). Sam declared it the best pasta I’ve ever made. Hyperbole? Probably, but take my advice… get an eggplant and try it.

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tuesday, june 18, 2013

You never know where a conversation is going to go at a party. Saturday night I was talking with a friend’s husband — yelling actually over the DJ — about how much I love cowboy steaks, the kind with a spicy-sweet-salty rub. But I haven’t been able to make them lately because my broiler has been on the fritz and I can’t do it outside because I live in an apartment with no area for that. Right there, in the middle of the buffet line, he gave me the best tip: use a panini press (yes, I know about Foreman Grills, but I don't have one and I do have a panini press). The next day I tried it and was blown away. The panini press grills the steak on the top and bottom at once and caramelizes the sugar in the rub really well. I had the juiciest steak I’ve ever eaten in 4 minutes. If you have a panini press, here’s the lowdown. If you don’t, just click over to the recipe. It can also be made on an outside grill or in a grill pan.

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1. Mix up your rub. You can be a mad scientist and play around with other spices or use chili powder instead of the paprika and ancho, if you want. Just remember that the sugar and salt are essential, while the coffee is not (I don’t use it, but it’s traditional). Pat this on the steak and cook it right away or rewrap it in the butcher paper and chill it for up to a few hours (be sure to let the meat come to room temperature before cooking if you’ve chilled it):

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2. Heat your press on HIGH (be sure the feet on the machine are in the extended position so the surface doesn’t slant or the juices will run all over your counter.) Slap the steak on the press and adjust the lid so it gently rests on the meat, but doesn’t squish it. Grill 4 minutes for medium rare (more for thicker steaks). You don’t have to flip the steak — the press cooks it from top and bottom — unless you want cross-hatch grill marks, in which case turn the steak over halfway through and lower the lid again (that’s what I did here):

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4. Dig in. I ate the steak with no accompaniments for lunch (very cowboy of me!).

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to print this recipe, click here  

tuesday, june 4, 2013

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I’m not going anyplace exotic this summer—unless you consider Squaw Valley exotic. But I had the pleasure of going to Persia—aka Iran—via the kitchen last week. I was cooking with a group of chefs, including author Louisa Shafia, to celebrate the release of her book The New Persian Kitchen. Since it was all women, there was a fair amount of gossiping going on as we stood around a big counter and chopped onions and plucked herbs and sauteed this and that and yakked. The whole time we were nibbling away at Louisa’s fresh herb platter, something served at the start of most Persian gatherings that is then left on the table during the meal as a salad substitute. The setup was casual, but so appealing: fistfuls of parsley, cilantro, basil and other herbs, plus walnut, radishes, and feta with a spice-soaked oil. You pick and pile whatever you want on flatbread then roll it up and eat it. It’s crunchy, salty, tart, and unctuous all at once. The ratio of prep (about 10 minutes) to pleasure (several hours) is ideal. I’ll be serving it all summer long.

to print this recipe, click here  

tuesday, may 14, 2013

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I saw an old friend for lunch last week who was fighting off a cold. Fortunately, we were at Nopalito in San Francisco where we could order Caldo Tlalpeño, a chicken soup with vegetables, queso fresco, and chipotle. She slurped it to get healthy and I slurped it to stay healthy. In short, it was “Mexican penicillin.” It reminded me of my recipe for tortilla soup where I sub in cooked rice and gabanzos for the fried tortillas. I call it Mexican Minestrone, which means “big soup” in Italian, but it’s much easier to pronounce than “Tlalpeño”!

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tuesday, april 23, 2013

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Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. I’ve been working on a new cookbook and I just handed in the recipes yesterday. It was a whirlwind project — 40 recipes in 40 days — and whirl is an apt metaphor because the topic is the Vitamix blender. Whoa, are those machines incredible! I’m a total convert. I’ll leave that story to tell in the book when it comes out in September, but I wanted to share one thing with you now. It’s chocolate mousse made with tofu. I know, sounds weird, but it’s rich and creamy and chocolately beyond belief and it doesn’t taste like tofu. It tastes like traditional mousse made with eggs and cream, only it’s vegan and cholesterol-free and lighter all around. You can make it in a food processor if you don’t have a mighty blender like a Vitamix, but you’ll need to whirl it a little longer. See? There’s that word again. Whirl away, kids.

To print this recipe, click here

tuesday, april 2, 2013

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The cocktail world, IMHO, has jumped the shark. Sure it’s fun to go to the likes of Trick Dog for a Straw Hat (vermouth, Calvados, cider, chestnut honey and rosemary), but if I’m gonna pull out that many ingredients at home, I’m gonna bake a cake. So I was very pleased when my brother-in-law and I stumbled on a 2-ingredient cocktail (well, 3 ingredients in his case) when he was here last. Elmer (yes, that’s his name…sort of) is a gin & tonic man, but he likes it “dirty” — in other words, with a splash of brine from the olive jar, which creates a sweet/salty effect with tonic. I had great gin on hand (Junipero, distilled right here in SF by Anchor Steam), but I didn’t have any cocktail olives. Rummaging around for something briny, I realized preserved lemons would do the trick. After all, lemons go in G&Ts, and preserved lemons just add the salt. So Elmer had a preserved lemon dirty G&T and I had gin on the rocks with a splash of the brine. We both garnished with a piece of PL. It was delish. I drank three. I felt gooooooooood.

to print this recipe, click here 

tuesday, march 19, 2013

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I get excited by things like carrots so fresh that the dirt still clings to them. I mean, what self-respecting, farmers' market–going, vegetable-loving cook could resist that? Not me. But the other thing that drew me to this particular bunch was the bright green tops. One look at them and I knew I could make a recipe that’s been on my list: Carrot Top Pesto. The recipe comes from my friend Diane Morgan's book Roots: The Definitive Compendium with more than 225 Recipes which was just nominated for a James Beard Award. Does she deserve it! This book is fascinating (and beautiful). It covers the root vegetables you’d expect, like rutabaga, radishes, celery root, and potatoes, but then she teaches you all about fresh turmeric, burdock root, galangal, Jerusalem artichokes, and more. My favorite chapter is on fresh horseradish. I attended an event where Diane was signing copies (she generously gave me one) and serving sautéed horseradish gnocchi from the book, which were phenomenal. Those take a bit of work, but the carrot top pesto is a cinch. I zipped up a batch for lunch today. Diane suggests serving it with goat cheese crostini, but I put it right back on the carrots after roasting them. That’s the kind of nose-to-tail vegetable eating I endorse.


To make the pesto, buy organic carrots with healthy looking tops (and maybe a little dirt clinging to them!)

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Pinch the leaves off the stems until you have a cupful

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Take the topless carrots and roast them in a 375° oven with a little olive oil and salt for 25-30 minutes

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Meanwhile, whirl up the pesto, then spoon some right back on the roasted carrots.

to print this recipe, click here

tuesday, march 5, 2013

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I cook.  A lot (nearly 200 recipes on this site alone). I’m not complaining — I cook for a living and I live to cook — I’m just trying to make sense of the fact that of all the things I’ve cooked lately, the simplest was possibly the best. I was going to an event and I wanted to leave something healthy in the oven for Sam. I shuffled through the veggie drawer and found a head of cauliflower. I cut it up and sprinkled it with curry powder, olive oil and salt, and threw it in the oven to roast. When I got home he said it was the best thing I’ve ever made. Four ingredients vs. hundreds of recipes. That’s what I call uneven odds!

Start with a fresh, tight head of cauliflower (it’s an artpiece on its own, isn’t it?)

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Use a paring knife to cut out the core, which will also remove the leaves. The deeper you cut, the more the florets will come apart.

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You can either slice the head into cauliflower “steaks” or cut (or break) it into florets. The more core or stem you cut off, the smaller the florets.

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Toss the cauliflower with olive oil, salt, and curry powder (you don’t want it too strong or you won’t taste the cauliflower).

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Roast until tinged with brown at the edges. Go further if you want, almost to caramelize it. Try not to eat the whole batch yourself.

To print this recipe, click here

tuesday, february 12, 2013

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I’m still in Italian mode this week. I’ve got pasta on the brain, partly because my friend Pen was raving about a recipe she saw in Bon Appetit last month. It involves kale and anchovies and since my garden is still bursting with kale (see above), I had to make it. But I don’t love anchovies (in fact, I only barely like them). So I decided to substitute bacon. Bacon or anchovies? Bacon or anchovies? Is that really a hard decision?

to print this recipe, click here

wednesday, february 5, 2013

Tuesday is martedì in Italian and Wednesday is mercoledì. So let’s just say I got my “m”s mixed up, which is why you are getting a Tuesday Recipe on Wednesday. I’d like to say I’ve been in Italy, which is why you haven’t heard from me lately, but it’s not true. The closest I’ve been is to the Fancy Food Show where I went berserk on Italian cheeses and prosciutto at a tasting I attended.



My favorite was a cheese called Montasio from northeastern Italy (where Asiago also comes from). I was blown away by its lush, creamy flavor (it’s made with rich cow’s milk). Granted it was the Montasio that was aged 25 months (paired with an amazing Tenute Sella Lessona red wine) that put me over the top, but I also loved the Montasio Fresco (aged up to 5 months), which may be easier to find. It’s a great cheese to add to a cheese plate and impress your friends with your ability to go beyond Parmigiano or Gorgonzola.



By the way, a great way to use Montasio is to melt it into a frico or crispy cheese wafer. You just mound the cheese on a baking sheet lined with parchment:



Pat it into little disks:



And bake until crisp. Beyond easy.

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Here’s a recipe for my spiced-up version. If you can’t find Montasio, use grated Asiago, Parmesan, Grana Padano, or even pre-grated packaged cheddar. I’m not kidding. They all work.

PS to locals in SF: they sell Montasio at Lucca Deli on Chestnut St. and you can find it occasionally at Rainbow Grocery, too.

To print this recipe, click here

tuesday, january 8, 2013

What did you get for Christmas? I got a ham, a perfect little pink ham that was cured and smoked by my friend Charlie in Portland. While ham may not be the gift of dreams for you, it was for me. There’s so much you can do with it; the lean, salty meat goes a long way to depth of flavor — I’d even say umami, that mysterious element — to a recipe. I was able to stretch my ham into several dishes including this healthy New Year’s soup with soba (read: gluten-free) noodles; I used a scant cup of chopped ham rather than the chicken.

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I also sliced the ham and fried it along with some eggs to serve with leftover pizza for an amazing breakfast. But the pièce de résistance was my ham-cheddar gratin, a simplified version of a recipe from my book Cabin Cooking. I served it with a crunchy kale salad with greens from my garden. I'm feeling good about 2013 already.

  tuesday, december 18, 2012

Somewhere along the line I learned the expression “loving hands at home” and this is a loving-hands-at-home recipe if there ever was one. First of all it comes from a corny recipe booklet out of Genoa, Nevada, with a kick-up-your-heels cowgirl on the cover. Second, it’s only three ingredients. Third, it looks kind of rough and bumpy…but it's the best thing you'll put in your mouth all season.

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The reason I'm making this is because when I asked my aging, ailing dad if there was something from the booklet I could make him for Christmas, he immediately said Rocky Road. This weekend when I went over to see him and asked how he felt, he said “Well, I feel rocky [pause]...road.” And therein lies the gift of humor in a year that’s been pretty rocky. I’ll be glad when 2012 is over. There’s been way too much illness in my family and in those of my friends, I lost a beloved pet, and there’s been horrible national news of late. I’m ready for 2013 and I think the 13-ness of it is a sign of good things to come. Meanwhile, I’m cranking out batches of rocky road.

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tuesday november 27, 2012

Who knew the best idea for Thanksgiving leftovers would come from a Greek guy in Canada? But Peter Minakis of Kalofagos knows his audience and last week he sent around a recipe for soup that will be my annual go-to. I realize you may be leftover-less by now, but you can make this all year with deli turkey or cooked chicken (or leave the meat out). It’s especially good with homemade stock, but yes yes yes, you can use canned broth. (I made my stock with the turkey neck from the carcass).

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And because I can’t leave well-enough alone, I had to modify his recipe to fit my needs. I’ve made traditional avgolemono (Greek lemon soup with rice) many times and it’s the same procedure he uses — whisk some hot broth into beaten eggs and lemon juice, then whisk this back into the soup to thicken the whole thing. Love it. But I had leftover egg yolks this weekend (I had folded the beaten whites into mashed potatoes to “soufflé” them) and lots of cream, so I nixed the whole eggs and used egg yolks + cream to thicken the soup. And you know what? It was like the best cream of chicken soup ever. With kale in it! (Okay, that was Peter’s idea, but I had kale on hand from a harvest party in our garden with my nieces so in it went.) You can make it his way or my way…any day.

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tuesday november 20 , 2012

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Great fun was had by all at the Thanksgiving Side Dishes class I taught this weekend at SF Cooking School. We made a pair of great appetizers, one super simple (persimmons and warmed nuts), one more lavish (crab on spicy toasts).

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We made two kinds of dressing, one with cornbread and dried apricots that I made once on the The Early Show, one made with wild rice and chestnuts that I created for Bon Appetit (although I still make my mother's apple-chestnut stuffing at home).

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Everyone loved the wild mushroom soup with hazelnut gremolata. But you know what I’m looking forward to the most Thursday? A stiff cocktail, like this 2 ingredient ciderhouse whiskey from Saveur. Let's drink to that!

tuesday november 13 , 2012

There I was Friday night, “in conversation” with James Oseland for an event at the San Francisco Cooking School. He is the editor of Saveur magazine and a judge on Top Chef Masters. I suppose you could call him a celebrity, but he didn’t act like one. He was forthcoming and funny and insanely passionate about how food connects us. The conversation was about The Way We Cook, the newest book of images and recipes that he edited from the files of the magazine.

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photo by tony liano

It’s a glossy tome, a photo-lover’s book of portraits of cooks around the world. There are cassava pounders in Honduras, salad tossers in Laos, meat grillers from Arkansas to Romania to Istanbul, even a high-wire artist juggling oranges in his Manhattan kitchen. This is a gift book for the food- and travel-mad, and while they’ll show it off on their cocktail tables, there are 50 recipes in the back worth going into the kitchen to make. At the event, the knockout nosh was chicken wings from Smokestack’s barbecue in Kansas City. That’s what I love about Saveur. They travel the world to celebrate the most humble dishes at home.

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tuesday november 6, 2012

Nervous, nervous...that's what I am. Nervously crunching on granola as I await the outcome of the election. Granola I made myself this weekend as a distraction from pre-election jitters. I have two recipes on my site — one with almonds and maple syrup, one with honey and a bunch of nuts (that sounds like Congress). Both are healthy, gluten-free (if you use GF oats), cheaper than store-bought cereal ounce for ounce, and great as gifts at the holidays. I created a hybrid this weekend, using cashews instead of almonds in the first recipe. I'm eating some this morning before I head out to vote. I'll be eating more tomorrow, because tomorrow is just another day. I hope.

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to print granola with nuts and honey, click here

tuesday october 30, 2012

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It was a dark and stormy night…the boys were on the field, Sandy was spinning towards the East Coast and I was clutching one of these. I’m happy to say the boys — that would be the SF Giants — brought the trophy home, but I’m sorry that Sandy did what she did. Now Halloween is upon us and a Dark & Stormy cocktail seems appropriate, especially if you stick a fall apple slice in it and call it a FrankenStormy (thank you Fiona Dorst) in honor of all the brave and resilient East Coasters.

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tuesday october 9, 2012

Before blogging, I used to tell my food writing students not to write a story about their grandmother’s cooking unless their grandmother was Julia Child (and we all know she had no grandchildren). In those days, if you wanted anyone other than your best friend or your cat to read what you wrote, you had to get it published, which meant you had to pitch an editor. And most food editors — me included — rolled our eyes at stories that started with “I learned to cook at my grandmother’s knee.”

Now I encourage students to write about their grandmothers — if they’re blogging, they can write about whomever they want. Still, that doesn’t mean I’ve written about my grandmother. Probably because she was ornery and chain-smoked Virginia Slims and believed in well-done lamb. But this weekend I got a hankering for her apple cake, a  recipe she got from a vegetable-oil ad in the ‘50s. It’s foolproof and easy, no harder to make than muffins, but much more lovely. Here’s a couple of things to know:

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use green apples, even if God didn’t make ‘em (I got mine at a farmers’ market, so the grower did). They’re tart and firm and hold up best in batter...

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grate the apples and let them sit in sugar for a few minutes to draw out liquid; that’s what makes this cake so moist…

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sift the flour, cinnamon and other dry stuff; it helps keep the cake light…

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raisins are a must;* I like golden ones. Add walnuts or pecans unless someone has a nut aversion or allergy...

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bake in a glass dish; it helps brown the bottom and sides of the cake…

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serve the cake buck-naked or with a gloss of cream cheese frosting. That’s the kind of talk my grandmother would have liked.

*weirdly enough, one of my grandmothers was a Raisin — that was her last name — but this is not that grandmother

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tuesday september 25, 2012

I was at Rancho La Puerta last week, the beautiful spa in Tecate, Mexico, where I go annually to teach healthy cooking. We were most virtuous, filling ourselves on organic vegetables from the garden, eggs from free-range hens, no meat, a little fish and no gluten. I feel wonderful as a result, but I have to admit…the whole time I was secretly craving enchiladas. The way I see it, that dish can be as virtuous as spa cuisine. Here's how:

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Make the sauce yourself (it’s as easy as blending a smoothie) to cut down on sodium...

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use lean chicken tenders for the filling (they're cheaper and easier to chop up)...

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use corn tortillas to avoid gluten, substitute yogurt for sour cream,  and voilà (or should I say “olè”?) — green enchiladas with a side of virtue...but still as much cheese.

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tuesday august 28, 2012

Ah. The sun is shining on my fair city, so no need for roasted tomatoes (see last week's post).

Just kidding. About the tomatoes, that is. I actually spent the past week on a tomato bender, dipping into the Tuesday Recipe files for my annual favorites and sampling a few from old media and new. It’s all in the name of “research” for a farmers’ market class I’m teaching at the soon-to-open San Francisco Cooking School. I’m also thinking ahead to my appetizer party class and my Thanksgiving sides class there. Join me for one of these or for any of the courses being taught by a group of fab teachers at this ground-breaking school.

Now back to the tomatoes. Speaking of appetizers, this tart went with me to a party on Friday night and was inhaled by all. I didn’t have Gruyere on hand, so I used Asiago, and you can use just about any melty cheese on it: shredded Parm, Cheddar, Gorgonzola…they all work.

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photo by Victoria Pearson courtesy of Chronicle Books

On the last foggy night of the week, I fired up the oven for baked tomatoes al riso, which, counter-intuitively, is a hot-summer classic in Italy. Use firm-ish tomatoes for this; you hollow them out and fill the skins with raw Arborio rice and herbs then slide potatoes in between to hold things up. It’s a brilliant side dish, lunch dish, even breakfast the next day.

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Then I got really ambitious and made the ricotta gnudi (aka gnocchi) with roasted tomato sauce that I saw in the weekend Wall Street Journal (love their Off Duty section). It takes time to do this one, but the results are phenomenal, even if you’ve never had much success before with gnocchi, which I haven’t.

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If that seems too complicated, Amanda Hesser over at Food52 offers up tomatoes in brown butter, a two ingredient wonder. Word is they taste mysteriously like lobster.

Okay, that’s enough to digest for one week. Did you forget where we started? It’s sunny in SF. See?

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tuesday august 21, 2012 

It’s Fogust* in San Francisco and nothing can cheer me up, not even a ripe tomato. But a roasted tomato is a different story. It’s the sunshine my city lacks, the warmth my apartment needs. This summer I learned the best new way to serve roasted cherry tomatoes, thanks to my friend Lynn and her bumper crop of sweet 100s.
*to quote Stephanie Rosenbaum

First you get a basket of these sunny little devils and give them a rinse.

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Then you cut them in half, toss them with good olive oil, salt and a smidge of red pepper flakes for added warmth. Spread them on a baking sheet and cook in a low oven until they are soft and sweet as candy. It honestly smells like cookies are baking in your kitchen while these babies roast.

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Then plop the whole pile of ‘maters while they are still warm over goat cheese (or ricotta or mild feta or any other fresh white cheese)  — this little trick softens the cheese for even more lusciousness. Scatter with some basil for color and aroma and serve with baguette slices or crackers. Now I’m happy.

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To print this recipe, click here

Comments

Martha P says: Just wanted to tell you how much I LOVE your recipe for roasted tomatoes over goat cheese. Fantastic - I made it 3 times in the last week alone and I live in a hot climate! Used cherry tomatoes from my garden and Laura Chenel goat cheese,plus basil from my fave farmer's market. Scrumptious, and an instant family favorite - thank you!

tuesday july 31, 2012

I don't have time to post something new today...partly because I'm too busy reading the new Saveur, which is entirely devoted to Mexico, at the same time as I'm eating my world-famous Mexican casserole. Yes, yes, it's a dish I've written about many times, but every year I feel I have to remind you, old-timers and newcomers, about the joys of Mexican casserole. It's my fallback recipe, my what-to-make-when-I-can't-think-of-anything-to-make, the solution to a thousand times when I've been at a loss for what to have for dinner. Even though it's utterly Californian and very '50s, I was totally satisfied eating it while reading about pambazos, frijol con puerco, caldo de res, chiles en nogado and the other regional dishes featured in those magazine photos next to my plate. As soon as I can get to my favorite Latin market for guajillo chiles and queso Oaxaca, I will make pambazos and maybe some of you will too. In the meantime, a pound of beef, some chile powder, tomatoes, rice and beans will get you a most satisfying faux Mexican moment, especially reheated the next day with a fried egg and salsa on top, eaten while reading about the real Mexico.

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tuesday july 24, 2012  SMOOTHIE FOR CLEAR SKIN

I was playing hooky, lolling in a chair and having my toes done. The plan was to read trash mags and catch up on celebrity divorces. It didn’t work. I ended up flipping by a recipe for a protein smoothie in a women’s health magazine and I couldn’t wait for the pedicure to be over so I could race home and make it. I was starving that morning and I’ve always found protein to be the best way to sustain energy. It worked and I’ve been making this a couple of times a week since.

But here’s the unexpected side-effect: this smoothie has made my skin really soft and clear. That benefit wasn’t mentioned in the article, but I have always heard that raw oatmeal is good for your face, usually in the form of a topical wash or a homemade scrub. Maybe it’s scrubbing away impurities from the inside, too (oatmeal is famous for sweeping away bad cholesterol after all). I figured if it’s working for me, it might for you. Here’s how to find out in minutes flat:

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Plop a banana (medium-size is good) and uncooked oats (old-fashioned are good — I use gluten-free Bob’s Red Mill) into a blender with kefir (milk cultured with healthy probiotics) or Greek yogurt (dilute it with a little milk if you want a thinner smoothie), add natural peanut butter and maple syrup or a pitted date or two as a sweetener, then whirl until smooth.

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Add some chia seeds if you want. This ancient ingredient has made a comeback lately. They add omega 3s and thicken your smoothie.

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Drop in a scoop of ice to chill the smoothie and let your motor run for about 1 minute if you have a cheap blender like mine (a VitaMix will do it in seconds).

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Drink up and watch your skin g-l-o-w.

To print this recipe, click here.

Comments

Kathryn R says: I just now read your email and I liked it so much I immediately went into the kitchen and whipped it up.  It is OUTSTANDING!  I love it!! As a diabetic, I made one small change though:  instead of maple syrup I used some Torani (Sugar Free) Syrup (Brown Sugar/Cinnamon)  - and now it is guilt free!!

Beth says: I love getting your recipe e-mails. So easy & enjoyable.  Since I've been running & teaching Jazzercise several times a week I've been looking for a good-for-you morning protein food option.  When this recipe came into my inbox I was so excited.  I immediately went to the market to get my chia seeds. This morning I made "a double" one for my hubby & me!  A total and complete hit.  Absolutely delicious not to mention quick & simple.  Thanks for sharing such a fab protein smoothie!

tuesday july 17, 2012 MAPLE-SOY ALMONDS

As opposed to my long disquisition on pie last week, this post will be an all-time shorty. Not that I’m in a hurry; it’s just that these almonds are so simple to make, you don’t even need a recipe. Here we go:

1. Melt some butter in a nonstick skillet, throw in some almonds (whole, slivered, or sliced), splash with soy sauce (preferably low-sodium) and maple syrup (preferably Grade B – it’s maple-ier), cook a minute or two until very bubbly and the liquid is sticking to the almonds.

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2. Spread the nuts on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper to separate them, let them cool, then serve as an appetizer….

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3. …or as a garnish. I throw these into my awesome salmon salad or this Asian slaw.

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Summary? These take minutes to make, you can scale them up or down in whatever amount you need, and you can toss them in about any salad. Try them once and you’ll be making them for a lifetime. I guarantee it.

To print this recipe, click here (even though I said you didn’t really need a recipe…)

tuesday july 10, 2012  STRAWBERRY-APRICOT PIE

Step by step. That seems the best mantra these days (or is it just that I can no longer multi-task?). It's been my approach to the “renovation” of Tuesday Recipe and my first step was to get a decent DSLR camera and a good lens to take better pictures. Then I realized it was also the best mantra for making pie. So I put the camera to work on a step-by-step guide for you to making the best summer fruit pie ever:

1. Inspiration to use strawberries and apricots in a pie came from fellow blogger and bella amica Domenica, so I took a favorite recipe for peach-raspberry pie from my files and used apricots and strawberries instead. Mine is less sweet and spiced differently than hers: she flavors the filling with nutmeg and cinnamon, I use almond extract and half the sugar. They’re both insanely good, so try any combination of sunny stone fruit (apricots, nectarines or peaches) and colorful berries (straw-, rasp-, even black-) that appeals to you.

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2. Go slow with the dough: make it at least a half hour before rolling out and let it chill in the fridge. That resting period will make life much, much easier for you— or at least the part about rolling dough. When you do get rolling, dust your surface with lots of flour and keep lifting and moving the disk of dough as it widens. Rotate it a quarter turn after every few rolls and it will stay in a nice, even circle. Then gently wrap it around the pin and unfurl it into the pie plate.

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3. Be as sweet as you like: I want my fruit pies to taste like fruit not sugar, so I use 1/2 cup sugar in the filling. If you like a sweeter pie, sweetie pie, then use 1 cup sugar (as Domenica does).

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4. Relax about the top: only weave a lattice if you are comfortable with that (my strips aren’t even the same width; I can’t be bothered with perfect measurements). Otherwise, just lay the strips in a checkerboard pattern or roll the top dough into a solid disk and use as a top crust; be sure to put a vent hole in the middle. Or cut shapes with cookie cutouts and place those over the fruit. There are lots of options, including sprinkling coarse sugar on top. Use demerara sugar if you have it around.

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5. Protect your oven: bake the pie on the middle rack of the oven with a baking sheet on THE NEXT RACK DOWN. You want to cook it until it’s really bubbly, so the baking sheet is there to catch drips without blocking the heat to the bottom of the dish (so the crust will get nice and crispy down there). Let the pie sit for at least a half hour before slicing. I know, I know. It’s hard to wait while it’s sitting there calling to you from the counter, but it will run and bleed all over if you slice it too early (not to mention burn your tongue).

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6. Lick your plate clean: that’s the best step of all.

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tuesday may 15, 2012

Today is Tuesday Recipe’s 5th birthday so I baked us a cake — at least a virtual one (the real one I made for Mother’s Day). Here’s why you’ll love it: it’s meringue so it’s easier to make than a flour/egg/butter batter, it’s gluten-free for those of you who are sensitive to that, and it’s not fussy. Just take a look at the photo. Does that look like something I styled and labored over? Nope. I put it on a plate, slathered it with cream and plopped on berries. I took a photo with my iPhone as I put the real cake on my cousin’s real counter for real people to enjoy. And enjoy we did. It tastes like marzipan, but lighter, and has that contrast of crisp and smooth, tart and sweet, that makes everyone go, “oh god, this is sooooo good.”

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In honor of our 5th birthday, we're going to freshen up our look (“we” being me, myself and I…there’s no team behind Tuesday Recipe, except for my patient tech guy in Oakland). Over the summer, you’ll receive recipes from me, but not on a weekly basis (not that I’ve been weekly lately anyway — gotta work to make a living!) and most of them will be Tuesday Recipe classics. There are so many recipes on the site you’ve never seen, so check out the archives. Meanwhile, I’ll be cooking up a new plan with the same goal: one fresh recipe every week (or so) and a way to support many more years of them. Thanks for five fun years so far.

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