the reasons why (fish cooked in brown butter)

I tend to keep mental lists of reasons I like things. Is that weird? It's true of avocados---loaded with good fat, make creamy smoothies, taste absolutely perfect smashed and salted on toast, were just $3-and-something for four at Trader Joe's yesterday. It's also true of places---Boston has those historic streets, the North End filled with great food, a beautiful autumn; Colorado doesn't only offer 300 days of sunshine but is also surrounded by those incredible, breathtaking, larger-than-life mountains. And of course it's true of people, like my mom, whom we're celebrating today. My mom's list is filled with things like: makes me laugh, is a killer cook, knows just how you should and shouldn't plant tomatoes each year. She can quote random phrases in Hebrew, knows facts about old theologians, listens to her favorite preachers while she gets ready every morning. Though I struggle to be 100% honest and blunt with most people, Mom is one person with whom it's easier. I'm … [Read more...]

close your eyes and eat

The truth is, I have more to tell you about D.C.---like about the crazy-sweet frosting at Hello Cupcake, which was tall enough to catch on the tip of our noses when we bit into the cake; the breakfast crepes across from our hotel, filled with Nutella and strawberries; the Neapolitan-style pizza at 2 Amys, a restaurant more than one of you recommended and that makes some killer prosciutto and potato croquettes. But that will all have to wait, maybe for a day when you and I sit down in person instead, because right now, there are bigger things to talk about. Things like this brown butter shortbread. I actually made these shortbread cookies in December, and as for why I haven't posted them until now: all I can offer is a pathetic nod to the seemingly unending cookie recipes that were flowing around here at that time. It had reached the point where, one day, I had to promise myself to stop---no more cookies!---in an effort to keep from being the Blogger Who Only Talks About One Thing, … [Read more...]

Clipped Recipes and Brown Butter

Sometimes I go through Grandma’s recipes, organized by me into two card-sized tins, and when I do, I find two things: (1) stained, cryptic notes in cursive penmanship and (2) torn clippings---from newspapers, from magazines, from the boxes of butter or oatmeal of decades ago. I have no idea, usually, if she’d tried and liked these torn recipes or if she’d been meaning to, but I keep them because, well, they were hers, things she thought worth trying. My mom and I carry on this tradition, she with her labeled folders of cut-out recipes; I, with mine. This cookie, from Gourmet circa 1961, is one of those clippings. I caught it in the magazine’s recent Favorite Cookies 1941-2008 round-up, and I knew I’d like them, both because they are made with the complexity of brown butter and because of the simplicity of ingredients, all things you probably have on hand. It took one whiff of browning butter, set in a pot on low heat to slowly melt and darken, for me to love it the way I love … [Read more...]