It’s been about 3.5 years since I started this crazy project, and we’ve celebrated maybe a dozen family birthdays since then. So, I don’t know why it has taken me so long to make this birthday cake from Family Style. For a cake from scratch, it was surprisingly easy, and really yummy. The advantage of the sheet pan is that there’s not the unfortunate sinking that can happen in a 9×13 or round pan. The vanilla flavor was perfect, and the texture was just everything that a cake should be – moist and crumbly, not too dense and not too fluffy. The frosting was a little too rich for a kids’ birthday cake – it could have used a lighter, fluffier buttercream.
We marked with a B for baby Ben, who celebrated his second birthday last week. Lucky boy!
On Easter, we made a boozy version of these (from Foolproof) with prosecco, and a virgin version with sprite. The most time-consuming part of the recipe was straining the seeds out of the strawberries, so naturally, I delegated that job.
These (from Foolproof) were a lovely addition to Easter dinner. I doubled the recipe for 15 people, and we had just a little bit left over. Not bad, considering that half of our guests were under the age of 10. The freshly squeezed orange juice complimented the sweetness of the vegetables, but there was enough fresh thyme and crushed red pepper to keep them from being too cloyingly sweet.
This recipe (from Family Style) intimidated me for a long time, but other than dirtying virtually every dish in the kitchen, it wasn’t too difficult at all. It looked and tasted exactly like chocolate mousse is supposed to look and taste. See how it held its shape and “stood up” in the container? That is a thing of pure beauty.
This recipe from Foolproof was not so different from the recipe I made up using kale last fall. Since it still feels like winter here (don’t even get me started), this was a nice warm, comforting meal. I used all sweet sausage instead of sweet and spicy, and I crumbled it instead of slicing it. You know it’s good when my husband apologizes for taking all the broccoli rabe when he dishes out leftovers for himself.
I’ve used this recipe from Barefoot in Paris years ago, and I don’t remember it tasting nearly as good as it did this time. I had a long conversation with the guys at the meat counter about why chuck roast is the best type of meat to use for this type of dish, and I think they were right. I halved the amount of wine because I don’t like it too boozy, but I increased the amount of beef stock. It was even better the next day.
I saw this delicious photo in the thumbnails of the sites I frequent on my laptop, and I knew I had to click through to the article about it.
The title of the article was “In Praise of Pale Food,” and before I got past the headline, I knew it had to be about toddlers and their eating habits. A google search for “beige food toddler” will explain why I knew that. Apparently “eating the rainbow” sounds more fun in theory than in practice for the short people of the world, and not just in our house. The writer of the article apparently has a 4-year-old daughter who gravitates toward the white stuff, and so she (the mom) has developed a couple of kid-friendly recipes that are complex enough for adults to appreciate, too. I don’t know if I could pass off Brie in macaroni and cheese to my kids, or if I’d even want to, but I like the idea of what she’s doing there. (And I also don’t blame her daughter one bit for passing on the raisins in the rice pudding.)
The white food phenomenon makes me think of this project, in so many ways. Most of the time, I try to incorporate different colors into a meal, if only because I’m a little embarrassed to take a photo of a beige plate. But also, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from cooking my way through the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks is that I should start with an onion or two, and probably some garlic, too, when I’m making a savory recipe. I think that before I cooked all of these recipes, I underestimated onions, to my own detriment. Now, when I’m dicing one up, I think of an article that I read in O magazine a while back (similar to this one) about how onions, while white and not part of the “eat the rainbow” campaign, are really very good for us.
All hail white food!