This week, we’re getting Mom something she actually wants: Some Goddamn Dessert. THREE Cook Instead recipes for the price of one, only at Shondaland. Go check it out!
Look, I don’t know if you’ve all got experience with ‘having ankles’, but I’m pretty sure I’m about to get my license revoked. Molly and I have been hiking around the park almost every day for a year now, but this weekend I finally got overconfident, tripped over my own feet, and then walked home on the same busted ankle I had previously busted in college. Hooray for me. Kids, don’t listen to the government. Working out is a trap.
Now that my right ankle consists of what I can only assume is a mixture of gravel and corned beef hash, I can no longer locomote under my own power – I have to get my hands on Molly’s shoulders in what we’re calling “Doubles Conga” so that I can hop around the house on one foot.
And until we can buy wigs and spangled costumes and a small alligator, we can’t take our act on the road.
So here I am. Hello. If you think I’m going to start doing my Elderly Flamingo Impression in the kitchen next to knives, flames etc., you are incorrect. Let’s talk about the only thing I can photograph from my current setup in bed: tea.
Americans make bad tea. Water is wet. Guess what, though, punks? British people make bad tea, too. Tea is easy to make bad for the following reasons:Continue reading “Tea”
Molly’s Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
So listen – I have called these muffins, and that is a lie. But it’s a lie we all agree on, right? Most muffins are cake, and these are no different. You won’t find me complaining – I’d be very into it if more things that were cake pretended not to be so we could eat them more often. Muffins are a top-notch disguise. Long live muffins, and by that I mean long live cake that we all agree we can eat for breakfast.
Most banana stuff, while delicious, is pretty dense. My favorite banana-themed baked goods are tremendously good, but also pretty heavy and mostly flavored with chocolate and/or peanut butter. And listen, there’s nothing at all wrong with that. Like, at all. I love you, chocolate and peanut butter flavored stuff. Never change.
But these little cakes, invented by Molly in a desperate bid to save some near-zombie bananas, are like no other banana cake I have ever had. Light as a feather, almost bouncy, due to some weird baking powder math that ended up working out, (and then getting simplified to just using self-raising flour), with enough chocolate chips to feel special but not quite full-on DECADANZA. The kind of little muffin you can happily eat 3 of and not feel like you’ve ruined your next meal.Continue reading “Molly’s Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins”
Classic Carrot Soup
People always want to jazz up carrot soup with something – cilantro or red pepper or orange or parsnip or curry – to distract you from the fact that carrots are “boring”. I hate this.
There is a difference between boring and familiar! They’ve got depth, they’re sweet, they’re a fun color!! Justice for Carrots!
Carrot soup is one of my favorite party tricks because, like most of the things I am sharing with you, it is both tremendously good and extremely easy.
Chop some carrots, let them hang out, drunk on a little sherry, with a softened, buttery onion in a saucepan sauna for an hour, and they will mellow out into a deep, rich, almost jammy sweetness that is the base of honestly probably my favorite soup.
For those of you playing along at home, that’s a whopping 5 ingredients to make a tastier, more satisfying soup than I’ve ever been served at a restaurant.Continue reading “Classic Carrot Soup”
Bone Broth is a SCAM
The difference between sad, salt-filled flavor-cubes, or, worse, a can of glop, and real, soul-warming, heart-filling soup is 3 hours of your time and a chicken carcass you already have. You do not have to pay $8 at the Whole Foods for the privilege. And you’re already going to spend those hours of your life puttering around doing something, so why not spend it on stock and buy yourself something really nice? Like, as I mentioned, soup?
The roast chicken is one of nature’s perfect units of people food. I realize this makes me sound nuts, but come with me for a sec. There are some foods, like an apple or an egg, that are literal perfect units of human consumption. You hold it in your little hand, and it has its little wrapper, and the insides are all delicious and just the right size for a snack.
A roast chicken is like that, but for 2-4 people: first roasted, then shredded in crepes or a pot pie, and then, miraculously, as STOCK in soups, stews, risottos, pilafs, pastas, etc. Only when you take out a 2-cup block of frozen chicken stock to make yourself a truly transcendent rice pilaf will you know true power. It’s intoxicating. (Not literally).
Plus, I find the more of the chicken I use the better I feel, not just because it’s extremely delicious, but because you’re making the very most of that little chicken who gave her life for your quesadillas. Whatever, it makes me kind of emotional. Thanks, little chicken. I will do right by you.
ANYWAY, this is not the Get Sad About Farm Animals Variety Hour. The point is, despite what many online recipes tell you, you don’t have to buy sixty chicken wings, or use 3 whole uncooked chickens (looking at you Ina), or get 4 chicken’s worth of bones from the butcher. You don’t have to put whipped egg whites on top of it to make it extra-clear like that guy on TikTok, or strain it through a lace wedding veil. You just have to throw some stuff you already have in a pot and let it burble away happily on the stove while you go about your life like the busy and productive cottage witch you are.Continue reading “Bone Broth is a SCAM”
Roast Chicken for Dummies
There’s no excuse for not knowing how to roast a chicken. If you can make mac and cheese from a box, you can roast a chicken. If you can microwave popcorn, you can roast a chicken. If you can toast a pop tart, you can roast a chicken.
Not only is it a life skill, I genuinely believe there’s no more satisfying meal. There’s a reason why literally every culture has a version. You can do it with any kinds of flavorings you want, you can do it with rice or potatoes or cabbage or noodles or all of the above. My problem with roast chicken is… none, I don’t have one. But if I had to make one up, it would be that people find it intimidating when it’s actually the least-risk, highest-reward meal I know how to make. I know you think I’m exaggerating about the popcorn thing, but I’m not.Continue reading “Roast Chicken for Dummies”
We’re moving to Mondays!
No new post this week, as you can probably tell. I’m working out a new posting schedule, which means new posts will be up every Monday going forward. Happy Easter if you celebrate, happy long weekend if not, and I will see you this Monday April 5 with a brand-new recipe!
Simple Summer Salad + French Vinaigrette
Vegetables. Even the word is high-maintenance. Other food groups have simple, iconic, one-syllable names, like Cher. Fruit. Meat. Bread. Cheese. You expect me to chew my way through the entirety of “vegetable”? I’m already exhausted.
Salad can be such a bummer. Bad salad tastes like licking a hedge clipper and feels like a punishment, and yet people eat it all the time.
I used to bring those pre-washed bagged salad mixes to school as preteen, as if middle school isn’t miserable enough already. Stabbing a plastic fork into a bag of tough, bitter “spring mix” covered in enough ranch to kill a horse is a sensation I think we should all leave behind us as we age, like Linkin Park and studded belts.
Really good salads are usually full of things that aren’t salad – meats and croutons and cheeses and interesting nuts. You think people are going to Sweetgreen for the kale?
And listen, I’ve made a Sweetgreen harvest bowl at home from scratch. Technically, it’s possible. But by hour 4, after roasting a chicken and two sweet potatoes, making brown rice, chopping apples and massaging kale and sprinkling chopped almonds and forgetting to not eat the goat cheese, I’ve determined that only Olympic athletes and the guy from Free Solo have the stamina to do this on a regular basis.
Actually delicious, lick-the-bowl-clean make-at-home salad is possible, and it doesn’t involve trying to keep an entire 50-garnish salad bar alive in your fridge.Continue reading “Simple Summer Salad + French Vinaigrette”
Ghosties (Chocolate Chip Meringues with Toasted Walnuts)
At its best, cooking is a magic trick. Clearly you can make something amazing with a beautiful, organic, lovingly massaged pork butt, but using fancy raw materials means everyone expects mind-blowing results. It’s so much more satisfying when you start with something unprepossessing. If you’re a magician making a tiger jump through a flaming hoop, it’s way better if you know that tiger started life as two raw, jelloid egg whites in a metal bowl.
Luckily for all of us, two egg whites and half a cup of sugar will net you almost two dozen startlingly chic little pure-white light-as-air cookies with all of the natural architectural sophistication of the majestic iceberg. You don’t even have to pipe anything.Continue reading “Ghosties (Chocolate Chip Meringues with Toasted Walnuts)”
Cupcakes with Orange Icing
What can I say about cupcakes: They are small cups of cake. By now everyone knows that cupcakes, like donuts, have been absolutely done to death: filled, topped, swirled, glazed, drizzled, sprinkled.
I, for one, am over it. They’re only small cakes, Darryl, they can’t be expected to carry all that extra foofaraw and still taste good. If you want to make six caramels, a streusel, and a swirled marshmallow filling, you totally should do that, but you should do it Somewhere Else.
What I want is a small buttery cake with a lively, fresh icing, about the size of the cup of very good tea. That’s it. Make Cupcakes About Cake Again 2021.Continue reading “Cupcakes with Orange Icing”