Category: Cooking

Challenge: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Rules

My good friend has spent the last four months being told, bit by bit, to cut chunks of delicious options out of her diet as her doctors try to figure out what the hell’s going on with her and why she’s having such a terrible reaction to stuff she eats. So… goodbye onions and garlic. Goodbye chocolate. Goodbye dairy. Goodbye soy. Goodbye gluten. It’s difficult to watch, and I’m only seeing it now and then. I can’t imagine living it.

Meanwhile, Halloween’s here, and that means I’m ready to hunker down and make my annual pumpkin mini cupcakes. So when she sent out invites to her annual pumpkin carving contest, I had a dilemma.

Slaying the Dragon Fruit

I was wandering through the Whole Foods produce aisle when I stumbled upon the strangest looking item. As soon as I saw the sign reading Dragon Fruit (ignoring the crazy expensive $9.99 lb price tag below it), I grabbed two and decided I’d figure out what to do with them later.

That evening I looked them over and it was clear that I needed to keep that gorgeous, scale-like rind solid for a colorful bowl to hold some vanilla ice cream. The rest I decided to bake into cupcakes to accompany (and to be eaten on their own).

10 Silly Kitchen Gadgets (Justified)

For someone who lives in a modest Brooklyn apartment, I collect kitchen items as if I own Martha Stewart’s personal kitchen. Of course I’ve never seen Martha’s digs, but I imagine her cooking nook is as large as my entire abode.

Some of my cooking doodads do elicit appropriate ooohs and aaahs of admiration, but many have been denied the respect that they so rightly deserve. Which is to say, I’ve been mocked mercilessly (often by my own partner) for owning not only unnecessary, but “ridiculous” gadgets. Here are ten maligned items that I will shamelessly defend.

Herb-an Studies: Experiments with Rosemary and Thyme

I recently bought fresh rosemary and thyme to season some vegetables I was roasting. Typically I just settle for the dry variety since these are “second-tier” herbs for me. Needless to say, I had plenty to spare once the dish was done.

One of my nasty habits is buying things I only need for one dish and then forgetting about them until they’ve gone bad and I have to throw them away. Determined not to let the leftover herbs go to waste, I decided to experiment with a series of recipes that would use them up (or at least make a dent) while they remained fresh. To up the ante, I vowed to accomplish this using only ingredients I already had in hand.