February 21, 2013 |
"OH, MY GOD, I couldn't live without cheese!" Ever heard those words, or maybe uttered them yourself? I sure have. Back when I, a longtime vegetarian, decided to go vegan, the prospect of life without cheese yawned as a desolate, ascetic slog of eternity without such rich, gooey gustatory pleasure. What a martyr to cross the line into that bleak, barren world! A couple of dairy-free months later, I was already puzzling at such grandiosity. Cheese? Really? I didn't know then how casomorphins, a dairy component that's concentrated in cheese, act as opioids - that is, they confer a mild but habit-forming euphoria.
April 2, 1995 |
Cheesecake is one of my family's favorite desserts. We like many kinds of cheesecakes, from dense New York-style cheesecake rich in cream cheese to light meringue-topped cheesecakes to no-bake cheesecakes. The cheesecake I love best and make most often happens to be easy to prepare. This three-layered cake is creamy-textured but not heavy. The crust is the quickest, easiest type, made of graham crackers ground in the food processor and mixed with sugar and melted butter. Sometimes I embellish it with nuts.
January 24, 1996 |
Ann Hodgman has a lot of nerve, which served her well as a food columnist for Spy magazine and continues to serve her well as a cookbook author. She is not your traditional cookbook author: Named Seventeen magazine's Teen Gourmet of the Year at the tender age of 14, she went on to author 40 books for children, several humor books for adults, and two cookbooks - "Beat This!" and "Beat That!" that purport to contain "the very, very best recipe" for the dishes dearest to your heart: among them, potato salad, egg salad, beef stew, apple crisp and lasagna.
September 18, 2003 |
Fall table grapes are abundant in local stores now, and it's hard to resist buying a bunch. These days, any flame-colored grapes that make it past afternoon snack time at my house go into a dessert that's cool to look at and cooling to eat: a tangy ice or a grape tart. A long-ago issue of Sunset magazine inspired my idea for a lightened grape tart. A cook had mounded the crimson-hued grapes in a golden tart shell, topping them with a layer of creamy filling, then glazing with homemade port wine jelly.
December 12, 1999 |
Rich and creamy puddings provide the busy cook with quick and easy make-ahead desserts. Unfortunately, milk, cream and eggs are the traditional ingredients, and the source of the excessive fat, calories, and cholesterol found in this seemingly modest treat. There also are people who are unable to digest lactose, making it necessary to avoid desserts with milk. Natural alternative ingredients do a wonderful job of reducing and eliminating problematic components. My puddings rarely exceed 1 gram of fat and contain no cholesterol, yet still offer the richness, texture, and mouthfeel associated with creamy puddings and pie fillings.
August 30, 2012 |
I love cheesecake in any form, but this year I am most in love with a cheesecake with a surprise: Nectarine and Black Pepper Cheesecake. Ricotta brings a lightness that is unmatched to the classic New York cheesecake. I add mascarpone and American cream cheese to help balance the ricotta and achieve an ideal creamy texture. Near Modena, in Emilia-Romagna, nectarines are often served with black pepper and balsamic vinegar, a combination so deceptively perfect and balanced that it seemed a logical step to mix that combination with delicious ricotta and cream cheese.
December 4, 2008 |
With the world economy in turmoil, holidays and chill winds upon us, and no invitations to holiday soirees in the mailbox, I ask myself: What would Ma and Pa and their daughters, Laura, Mary, Carrie and Grace - you know, the intrepid Ingalls family of the Little House books and television series - do to cheer everyone up? They would host a party, serving only sweet potatoes from their Midwestern prairie root cellar if that was all they had. The Ingallses come to mind this holiday season because, as a child, I marveled at how they met hard times with resignation and resourcefulness.
August 9, 1989 |
For the 10th time in 60 years, the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book ($19.95) has been updated. It still has the familiar red plaid cover, but inside there's a new look to take the cook into the 1990s. According to the cookbook's editors, this latest edition is the result of one of the most extensive revisions in the book's history. The recipes reflect consumer trends and lifestyle changes by addressing a variety of cuisines and dealing with the contemporary cook's limited kitchen time and heightened health consciousness.
March 11, 1987 |
The leprechaun of Castor Avenue, unlike the wee people fabled in Irish song and poetry, is not a shoemaker. He's a baker. And this week, if you get up early enough and sneak into his bakery, you will see the leprechaun of Castor Avenue busy at work, making hamantashen. Yes, hamantashen. Hamantashen, if you're not familiar with them, are triangle-shaped, sweet-filled pastries eaten on the Jewish holiday of Purim, which this year starts Saturday night. Our leprechaun, better known as Mike Ryan, is an expert when it comes to making hamantashen.
February 1, 1995 |
With their high fat content and accompanying health concerns, the great noble cheeses seem headed for extinction. In their stead flows a stream of ersatz cheese foods, which are fat-free, cholesterol-free and also taste-free. There is, however, no need to resort to a rubberized, tasteless version of your favorite cheese, because many traditional cheeses - cottage cheese, mozzarella, ricotta, feta or chevre - are naturally low in fat. These fresh cheeses do not need the same fat content as aged cheese to give them flavor and smooth texture.