James and I made popovers Sunday morning and sprinkled them with vanilla sugar, and this sugar made the popovers appealing in a surprisingly effective way.  Like fleur de sel on caramel.  It brought the flavors and textures together without overtly calling attention to itself.  When I’d posted a while ago in a recipe to discard the vanilla bean, I got what amounted to a scolding from Shuna, who found it appalling that one could so easily waste an opportunity for the pleasures of vanilla sugar.  She was right to scold. I had never really taken the time to appreciate the wonderful aromatic flavor of sugar but now I always will.  It deserves a place in the spice rack.  That it is born of economy makes it all the more enjoyable. If you’ve just made some Read On »

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“There’s no cream in anglaise sauce,” the beachcomber said.  He spoke with what sounded like genuine disdain. “What do you mean there’s no cream?” said I, waves lapping at my ankles, cold mojito in hand. “There’s no cream.” “How do you know?” The man paused as if this were self-evident.  “Alice told me.” The man was David Lebovitz, for many years a chef at Chez Panisse.  (David just emailed to clarify: Alice did not say cream was verboten, but rather that she liked a very thin Anglaise.) Our conversation did not devolve into a Thomas-said, Alice-said schoolboy spat, though it did make clear that vanilla sauce, crème Anglaise, deserved another post.  I wrote Vanilla Sauce In Black and White last spring (mainly to show off Donna’s awesome B&W photographs that spotlight texture) and I’m told Read On »

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Photos by Donna Last Sunday morning, my son James said, “Dad, what if you made a bowl out of cookie dough?” I’m the first to admit that there are almost no truly new culinary innovations or ideas, only variations on what’s come before us, and I also know that making a cookie to serve ice cream on, such as an ice cream sandwich, is a common one (some great recipes will be in Ad Hoc At Home, now at the printers). But when James said it, I said, “Very cool idea, James.  Let’s give it a shot.” And so we did.  We posted a Twitpic and fellow Twitters were likewise enthusiastic. It’s taken a few different methods to figure out the best way to bake them and how much to put in our bowl-in-a-bowl makeshift Read On »

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