Thursday, August 25, 2011

Broken Mayonnaise Zucchini Muffins

As you may recall, in our last episode, we had just left our heroine with the remains of a broken mayonnaise: namely, two eggs, a cup of oil, salt, lemon juice, and a spoonful of Dijon mustard, whizzed together into a frothy, not-at-all-mayonnaise-like, oily mess.

What else has lots of oil and eggs? Muffins! (I concede that the Dijon mustard is not traditional.)

A friend recently brought these amazing cream-cheese-filled carrot cake muffins to work. We didn't actually have any carrots, but what did we have spilling out of our crisper? Zucchini! (Literally. We had extras piled up on the counter because they wouldn't all fit in the fridge.)

Since we were making carrot muffins out of zucchini and mayonnaise anyway, it also seemed like a good day to try to use up a bag of homemade-cake-mix-gone-wrong. (We had a giant ziplock containing 2 parts sugar: 3 parts flour, with 1 teaspoon each baking soda and baking powder for every 5 cups of the mixture, so, you know, pretty easy math.)

We also had only half the cream cheese called for in the recipe (and, OK, yes, it was in the bottom of the freezer, left over from December). I will say, it wasn't so little that it didn't start erupting from the center of the muffins while they baked. (See center muffin in photo.)

Everything considered, it would have been a triumph just for the muffins to come out not tasting of mustard (which they didn't) ... but they were actually pretty darn good.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cape Ann Fresh Catch

A couple weeks ago, we had the chance to try the Cape Ann Fresh Catch CSF (community supported fishery). As in a CSA, CSF members pay upfront for a weekly share, in this case of "local, sustainably caught, and wicked fresh" seafood.

Cooking (and possibly gutting and scaling) fish weekly has never seemed like a good match for our vegetarian household. But we'd been curious to check the CSF out, so we jumped at the chance to pick up one week's share for a member who was going to be out of town.

Jogging home -- through hundred-degree weather -- with two pounds of icy raw striped bass fillets under my arm (running errands, if you will) was a less-than-glamorous part of the whole affair.

(Should you want your own fresh fish, the fall CSF season starts at the beginning of September. See the site for a mind-boggling array of conditional options -- whole fish or fillets or both, every week or alternating weeks, numerous distribution points.)

We like to fry, so we did a straightforward fish and chips, and yes, that's an enormous mound of mixed greens (chard, kale, and anonymous) behind them. Jack had discovered a super-easy immersion blender mayonnaise he wanted to make again, and we learned that tartar sauce is apparently just mayonnaise + chopped pickles or capers and lemon juice. So we had a plan.

However, when it came time to actually make the mayonnaise, Jack was attending to the french fries' second fry. Since, regardless of foolproof technique, previously-worked-in-our-kitchen method, or even precise following of directions, I only manage successful mayonnaise half the time, this time, doing it in a rush, for an audience, I was doomed to fail.

Let me just say, fish and chips are good with ketchup, too.

Tune in next time to find out what we did with the broken mayonnaise ...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Zucchini and Corn Fritters

Friends, I usually like to mess with a recipe, but this one (Zucchini and Corn Fritters Rule the World. For Reals) from Serious Eats was too perfect, from its using up of a giant zucchini (after salting and squeezing, I'm pretty sure I poured 70% of its volume down the drain) to its showcasing of just-picked not-really-cooked CSA corn to its just-enough-flour-and-egg to barely hold the thing together. Also: the combination of fresh and fried.

Not to mention! The feature's assonant name ("The Crisper Whisperer") or its brilliantly overwrought prose:
Zucchini is the Brangelina of seasonal produce. It reproduces like mad and is inherently and unabashedly plural.

When they borrowed the word from the Italian, English speakers wisely dispensed with the singular "zucchino," realizing they would never use it. There's no such thing as just one zucchini, see? Not anywhere. Not ever.
 Maybe that's only funny if you've been in our refrigerator recently.

(We've frittered before; some background on fritter types there.)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lazy Tomato

As you may have noticed, we sometimes love cooking complicated and well-Internet-researched recipes for whoever shows up to the house.

Know what else I love? When no one else is home at dinnertime and a sliced tomato and a handful of mixed greens or basil on toast can be my meal. (This one with mozarella and fried egg for added oomph.) I don't think there's much to say about making a tomato sandwich, but here's the New York Times's appreciation of the form.

Not much cooking (and even less blogging) recently because of too much work and too much summer fun. A small gem from the cookbook copyediting work keeping me busy recently: "Portion the pasta using tongues, twirling it onto the plate to create height."

(Incidentally, if you like that sort of thing, you might enjoy Love, Your Copyeditor.)