I understand being intimidated by bread. Some doughs require you to have the patience of a saint, others need quick thinking and quicker hands, but all of them need you to have the courage of your convictions. Much like flipping a pancake, making bread only gets easier with practice.
In my humble o, there’s no better bread to practice on than this one. This recipe comes from a 70’s synagogue fundraiser cookbook that my parents got as a wedding gift. The page is marked in my mother’s perfect handwriting with a little star and the phrase “THIS ONE!”, because there are a billion different challah recipes in there. (No one wanted to be the Tzimmes Lady, apparently.)
Mum’s right, though. It is this one. This is the recipe.
Remember going to restaurants? My great aunt and uncle took me to this one place with cheese popovers so good that I blacked out and took down at least eight between one blink and the next. I don’t even remember what else they served there, and I don’t care. People always tell you not to “ruin your appetite”, but Red Lobster knows no one’s going there for the fish-fry free-for-all. It’s the biscuits. It’s always been the biscuits.
This week I present to you The Biscuits, and you don’t have to save room for anything if you don’t want to. No one cares if you ruin your appetite this year.
I got this recipe from a dear family friend who I think might be trying to kill us. This pie is a towering monument to peanut butter in its most decadent form: rich, fluffy mousse dotted with chopped roasted peanuts and topped with a dark, intense chocolate ganache. The original recipe was written, presumably, by demons:
This is an all-killer no-filler situation. There are no eggs or flour, no fig leaf of pretense that this is anything other than a full whipped-cream fantasy tethered just barely to this plane of reality by cream cheese and a prayer. This dream team of creams came here to make your tastebuds an offer they can’t refuse, when you were just trying to have a peaceful, relaxing afternoon in the steam room/at the bocce courts/wherever old mob guys hang out nowadays.
This recipe creates a substance whose ideal unit of consumption is the finger-swipe, and I’m giving you three ways to make it because most of us are not strong enough to absorb it in larger quantities, as its original form dictates. If you dive straight into what would usually be a normal slice of pie it’ll melt your face right off like the Ark of the Covenant. But, I don’t know, maybe some of you are into that.
Fried potato is one of the most delicious things you can eat, but I understand not wanting to make potato pancakes from scratch. When hours of work can turn so easily into nothing but grey-brown lumps of sadness and broken dreams, I fully understand the urge to rip off all your clothes and take to the hills, screaming, to live out the rest of your days as a hermit. Or at least, to run out to the store, pick up a pack of frozen hash-browns and call it a day.
And frozen hash-browns are delicious. They were a staple of my college dining hall brunch buffet, and they’re the one frozen potato product sold in the UK that doesn’t suck. (Why is this? This is a largely potato-based culture, you’d think they’d have it figured out by now.) But they are not the same as latkes. Hash-browns are for hangovers, and latkes are for joy.
Latkes are for special occasions. Latkes are for celebrating how great life is and how lucky we are to be living it. Your first thought on eating a latke should be “I can’t believe this is happening to me. I can’t believe I actually get to eat this. I need 5 more of these, immediately.”
There’s a phenomenon in British weather that I like to call “the swirly”, where a storm will come in over the Atlantic, hang out for a few days, shimmy over to France, bounce off of Norway, and come back for round two a couple days later.
I now get why small talk about the weather is a thing here. In Chicago, as unpleasant as it might get, at least you can look at Colorado and brace yourself for tomorrow. And it’s not gonna then rebound off of Pittsburgh and come back as its own sequel.
This week’s dunk in the metaphorical weather toilet MIGHT just bring us snow tomorrow, but today it’s just this:
That’s why my work-from-home setup looks like this:
This is the best hot chocolate I know how to make. Believe me when I tell you you don’t need a trendy hot chocolate bomb or a flashy pre-made mix.