January 20, 2013
It’s story time with Miss Diane! Gather ’round kids.
Once there was a little girl who was a very picky eater. She didn’t like spicy foods, she didn’t like foods that were “too green,” and was generally scared of foods she’d never tried before. Eventually, the little girl grew up to be a college student who, while still being a picky eater, loved to eat.
One day, the girl had a realization. If I get over my pickiness, she thought, I can eat more food! Maybe I don’t actually hate the things I don’t think I like… maybe I never gave them a proper chance.
And so she started with mushrooms. She took some plump, pretty mushrooms, and stuffed them with everything she liked: bacon, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic…
If I don’t like them stuffed with all these good things, she thought, then I probably actually hate them. She took a fat, juicy stuffed mushroom between her fingers and took a bite. She’s been loving mushrooms ever since.
November 21, 2012
Hello from Nice! I’m spending a few weeks here on the French Riviera to get away from the gloom and doom of Paris. Sad part? Spending Thanksgiving alone. That does feel a bit wrong, even if I did go to that awesome Friendsgiving party last week.
This is a dish I made a couple weeks ago, but I think it would be great to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck or, as in my case, to have as an alternative to a huge turkey (because turkey for one isn’t really plausible, is it?). It’s vegetarian but substantial, with the meaty texture of the mushrooms mixing with the crunch of the nuts. And sage mixed with nuts always tastes vaguely like sausage to me, so I don’t really miss the meat.
If you want extra credit, make this with my recipe for homemade pie crust, but it works just as well with store-bought. Since it’s a rustic galette, there’s no pinching and shaping of dough, just a pretty, lazy folding up of the sides.
November 13, 2012
This is one of the appetizers (besides the copious charcuterie and cheese) that I served at our last little get-together.
It’s simple, seasonal, and extremely flavorful — the sweet butternuts squash is accentuated by the chile-infused honey and the crispiness of the puff pastry is mirrored by that of the sage. When I made it, I used an entire bird’s-eye chile and found it a bit too spicy — I’ve scaled that down to 1/2 a chile here to rein it in a bit.
October 31, 2012
My boss once said to me, “You know, you are probably the most outwardly normal-seeming person who is actually completely batshit insane.” He said something on this order once a month or so, usually because I had said something heavily nerdy, such as reciting the first few lines of The Canterbury Tales in Middle English, or was eating something that he considered weird, such as raw corn on the cob or roasted bone marrow. Nothing like walking into the office and seeing your assistant chowing down on a hunk of cow bone.
Bone marrow is one of those divisive dishes. You either get it or you don’t. I’ve been trying to convert people to the gospel of marrow for years now, ever since I read about it in college and immediately went out to the local grocery store and to roast my own. “It’s like warm, gelatinous, beefy butter!” I would say. I would get weird looks.
Later, via Anthony Bourdain, I learned to pair my marrow with a parsley salad, dressed simply in lemon juice and shallots. Later still, I began experimenting with that salad and have landed on something a bit more peculiar, with a base of fig-infused white wine vinegar and minced preserved lemons for a citrusy kick. It cuts through the unctuous fattiness of the marrow perfectly.