Photo by John Ross | Grilling the dough for an individual pizza.
As we begin the New Year, I have thought about the place of cooking in our lives. Yes, we have to feed ourselves and our families to live. But most of us know that food plays a much more important role. That role differs from day to day and occasion to occasion. For me, cooking is therapy that keeps me grounded in something tangible and always gives me a degree of satisfaction. Part of that satisfaction is the ability to sit around a table with others and share the experience of our lives. (more…)
Photo by Charity Robey | Chocolate orange pound cake and ice cream await the fork under this insulating layer of toasted meringue.
When I was 10 years old, living in rural Florida in a cinderblock house, my parents decided our family of five should go on a cruise. It was a pretty low-end cruise, but on the last night at the end of dinner, the lights were dimmed, a hush fell over the dining room, and waiters bearing flaming plates emerged from the kitchen. Baked Alaska! (more…)
Biscotti holds a large portion in my heart based on its demeanor. The exterior is hard when eaten alone and it takes a particular level of delicate gnawing to crunch through the cookie. When dipped in coffee, tea or hot chocolate, the biscotti slowly softens—it has met its perfect match. I usually avoid dipping cookies or brownies in my beverages, because I hate the crumbs that get left behind, floating like water bugs and leaves on the surface. When it comes to biscotti, it’s the perfect versatile treat—it can be dunked, leaving no traces of itself behind, or eaten alone, being hard enough that it forces me to slow down and savor. Sometimes when things are so good, I rush them. (It’s a minor little thing called self control that even the best of us sometimes ignore.) (more…)
Photo by Katharine Schroeder | The pork roast, surrounded by vegetables, is ready for serving. For dessert, festive baked apples.
We are always searching for traditions in our holiday celebrations. Tradition creates a comfort zone that we can fit into and it seems to give meaning to our existence. Thus, when we cook we honor our backgrounds with Italian, French, Polish, German, Scandinavian, Hispanic and many other geographical, ethnic and religious traditions. Here on the North Fork people from many diverse backgrounds can enjoy a tradition of plentiful food that dates back to the Native Americans and the pilgrims. (more…)
One of my least favorite mistakes to make is the simple ones when baking. Sometimes I find I focus so much energy on executing harder details only to then mess up on the easy aspects of a recipe. Take these macarons for instance—with particular care and precision I weighed my ingredients, finely ground them and sifted them gently. When it came to the eggs, things went south (I’ve never understood this metaphor—I find Florida to be a really nice place). I rushed the whipping and was impatient waiting for a stiff peak and settled for less. Needless to say, my carelessness resulted in a batch tossed into the trash. (more…)