Monthly Archives: January 2014

We’re Not Alone

When Gourmet Magazine folded and my subscription was filled by Bon Appetit, I was-to put it bluntly-pissed off. I loved Gourmet’s focus on the food of other cultures and its emphasis on the then-nascent farm-to-table movement. But then, Adam Rapoport assumed the job of editor-in-chief, and I found a kindred spirit. Now Bon Appetit is my favorite.

Though he’s not exactly what I would term hysterical as a host, Rapoport obviously understands some of the time and energy issues that impede those of us who are, as he explains in his editorial in the February issue.

Hosting an intimate dinner party for his wife’s birthday, he felt no compunction about buying a rotisserie chicken and packaged puff pastry and dashing off a seriously delicious but doable chicken pot pie. He says that he focused on flavor and technique, just as the magazine does every month. He served the dish simply with a green salad, dressed with shallot vinaigrette, and champagne, and everyone left smiling.

If one of the leading lights in the food world can take such sensible shortcuts, instead of feeling compelled to sweat over something impossibly complicated or exotic, I figure that we can too.

Multi-Tasking Meals

In keeping with my commitment to increase my freezer storage of home-cooked meals, I decided to turn the two pounds of chopped bison meat I had just brought home from the market into a meatloaf, although I already had a small pork loin marinating for dinner that night. I was particularly pleased with myself when I realized that the two could be cooked at the same temperature and for about the same time. In the future, I’ll be alert to other multi-tasking possibilities.

This happenstance reminded me of an ingenious multi-tasked meal that my mom invented: Chicken and meatloaf combination. In those nutritionally innocent times, she’d allow a large chicken to roast until it released some of its juices. Then, she’d mix some of that flavorful, fatty liquid into her meatloaf mixture, add it to the same pan and let the two finish cooking together.

This efficient method probably yielded four dinners for the family and resulted in the most delicious meatloaf imaginable! Too bad, we’re all watching our cholesterol now.

Cappuccino, Anyone?

After dining out or seeing a movie with friends, it’s nice to invite them back to your home for dessert or a night cap. It’s a low pressure, almost effortless way of extending yourself and building intimacy. Now my husband and I have a new trick: Inviting friends back for espresso or cappuccino and biscotti.

Yes, we succumbed to the pre-holiday commercials advertising the line of Nespresso espresso makers, which use capsule technology to produce espressos or cappuccinos in a matter of seconds. On these chilly winter evenings, we’ve been having a ball trying out various blends.

I’m looking forward to sharing the fun with friends. They’ll get a kick out of this guilt-free indulgence, too, I’m sure, especially since the resulting treats are almost totally calorie and fat free. Even the decaf coffees are excellent and can be capped with zero-fat froth made from skimmed milk.