Blogroll addition: mmmmm

December 17, 2008 at 3:17 pm | Posted in gastronomy, tax law is sexy, weekend | 6 Comments
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Mark Bittman in his tiny kitchen. His appliances, however, are still nicer than mine!

This is the time of year when I want to cook. I want a Kitchen Aid mixer on permanent standby on my counter for cookies (see this great article in today’s Times about the perfect temperature for butter. I suppose Kara and my habit of tossing the butter in the microwave before making cookies or fruit crisps is not all that great for the final product); I want an orange Creuset dutch oven permanently bubbling with stew on the stove top. (Alas, my tiny city kitchen is big enough for neither — I can’t even store them as the cabinets are too narrow, the counter space too scarce! Although Mark Bittman’s recent article on his own tiny kitchen has quelled my whining, somewhat — I’ll just pretend I’m in Paris, no? Where people make five course meals on two burners?) 

Somehow I have found myself throwing a dinner party for 10 (four couples who are “Tim’s” friends, graciously trekking in from the ‘burbs…) this Saturday and am currently obsessed with the menu. I’m not a big meat eater nor, as a consequence, cooker, so while the Barefoot Contessa’s leg of lamb on potatoes (throw it in the oven for two hours with some rosemary) seems easy, it also calls for a meat thermometer, which kind of scares me. Several friends have recommended a pork tenderloin, which I’m not sure I’ve ever even eaten (so how could I cook it?) Risotto is always a good standby for me — the proscuitto and the butternut squash in the recipe I’m contemplating might be an acceptable replacement for real “meat,” but will it be enough for my meat-loving husband and his friends? And can one really pull off risotto for 10? So here are my two menu options for now (in both cases, dessert will be mini cupcakes ordered from Sweet Cupcakes, just down the street):

Menu 1:
Smoked salmon & black bread
Shrimp cocktail (the seafood in lieu of a real meat main course)
Butternut squash risotto
Roasted tomatoes
Wilted spinach with lemon
Cheese plate

Menu 2:
D’Avignon cheese with fig spread and rosemary crackers
Endive with caramelized onion spread
Rosemary leg of lamb on potatoes
Roasted tomatoes and/or wilted spinach with lemon

Fortunately, to help me through my dinner party crisis, I have found a new blog for my Google reader — “Three Clever Sisters.” Of course, I have a soft spot for families of three sisters.  These three not only knit and crochet amazing things, but are also quite formidable amateur cooks. And since I know for a hard fact that one is a tax lawyer with a baby, I feel a new resolve to reignite my former recipe obsession.

Also, Three-L and Fortune’s Feast have merged into a new blog by another lawyer-cook, here at Letters to a Young Attorney, a brilliant and poignant idea for a blog.

Anyway, any and all comments are most welcome!


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  1. As long as everyone is cool with lamb, I’d go with menu #2. It looks about 1,000 times easier than the first one. Plus lamb leg looks really impressive for being relatively easy to make.

  2. Pork tenderloins are delicious and the easiest thing in the world! Buy one already marinated at Whole Foods and pop it in the oven. Ina Gartner says you should always use easy things if they are good. So, in addition, I would serve Seabrook Farms creamed spinach with the pork. All you have to do is thaw it and cook it in the microwave for 6 minutes before you serve it.

  3. OMG! I let my butter melt all the time! That’s the advantage of Crisco.

  4. Risotto is supposedly difficult, but if you’ve done it plenty before I think it’s fine. I love lamb too–it really boils down to whether you think you will be angsting over the meat the whole time. According to Mark Bittman you don’t really have to stir it non-stop (so excited to see you like Mark as well. I refer to my favorite cookbooks on a first name basis).

    By the way I have a few cooking thermometers but they all read completely different temperatures so I’m not sure what good they do.

    Thanks for the shout-out!

  5. Hi, thanks for the shout-out! Pork tenderloins are super-easy; the Captain just posted a new recipe on our blog, in fact. (He even incorporates a viewing of “Law & Order” into the process so it fits in with our lawyer-cook theme.) Also, I vote emphatically for the acquisition of a dutch oven. You don’t even need the fancy Creuset; the ones from Lodge work fantasticlly for a fifth of the price. Make room!

  6. Thanks for the shout-out! The Captain’s the real expert on cooking meat so I’ll refrain from any advice here. That said, I vote emphatically for getting a dutch oven. No need for a fancy Le Creuset; the ones from Lodge are just as pretty and just as fantastic for a fifth of the price. Make room!

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