Homemade Garlic Naan

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I made naan for the first time a couple weeks ago. And much to my amazement, it actually wasn’t that bad. (This shocked me because I was totally convinced that I’d screwed it up.) It all started when I decided to make my parents vegetable korma for dinner. And because I was going to wuss out and use a jarred korma sauce, I figured I should redeem myself by making naan from scratch. I have been ogling Nicole’s naan recipe for the better part of a month now. And while I, as a first-time naan maker, was a little intimidated by her notes that the dough can be a bit tricky to master, it probably wouldn’t have stopped me. What did stop me, however, was discovering that the only yogurt in the house was flavored. As I researched other recipes, I found that many of them called for yogurt and talked of a sticky dough. Eventually, I decided to just google “garlic naan recipe” (because if my naan couldn’t be made of yogurt, it would at least be made of delicious garlic), and clicked on the first thing that came up.

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Crispy Wasp-Stings on Buttered Toast

That’s right! I know some of you are seeing this title in your email/rss feed and thinking, “uh . . . what?” Brace yourselves — things are about to get deliciously silly, because Thursday is Roald Dahl Day!

As many of you surely know, much of Dahl’s writing featured or revolved around food. This, in conjunction with his knack for dreaming up silly, bizarre, and (at times) rather disgusting-sounding dishes, led to the posthumous publishing of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes, compiled by his wife Felicity (and followed later by Even More Revolting Recipes). In the Introduction to the former, Felicity writes, “Treats were an essential part of Roald’s life — never too many, never too few, and always perfectly timed. He made you feel like a king receiving the finest gift in the land.”

I believe that, for me, being a Dahl addict at a young age instilled an early fascination with food as well. Or perhaps brought what was already there to a new level of wonder and silliness. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a sensory overload for my overactive imagination. And to this day, I can still imagine exactly what Bruce Bogtrotter’s chocolate cake would taste like. (This is also the reason why I can never, ever make the recipe for it that appears in RDRR. I contemplated it for a few minutes, but ultimately decided that there was no way anything on earth was going to taste as good as what my little 8-year-old brain had dreamed up.) But these crispy wasp-stings on buttered toast are far better than I’d imagined (and they’re actually quite good, too).

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Anatomy of a Really Good Grilled Cheese

So unless you’ve been living under a rock as of late, you probably know that it’s grilled cheese month. And if you think I’d pass up an opportunity to get in on the cheesy madness, you’d better think again!

I have some pretty strong feelings about what a grilled cheese should be.  And, at the risk of getting a bit up-on-my-soapbox-y, I’d like to share them with you. First: Butter that bread. No oils, especially if they’re “spritzed” on (good grief). BUTTER all the way! Second: Use a light, mild-flavored bread. Because the bread is just a crispy vessel that contains and delivers the delicious, melty cheese. Which brings me to my last, but most strongly-held belief: The cheese is the one and only star. I like a hot sandwich with cheese and other tasty things as much as the next person. But if you ask me if I want a “grilled cheese” and I reply, “yes!” (which I always will), I don’t want any of that extra jazz. No stringy greens smacking me in the face. No tomato chunks falling into my lap. And no, not even any delicious (but overpowering and tough-to-bite-through) slices of bacon. Just buttery bread and ooey-gooey cheese, please.

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Butternut Squash & Sage Dinner Rolls

Super last-minute Thanksgiving idea, right here!

Unless you procrastinate as much as I do, these probably won’t make it onto your Thanksgiving table on Thursday. Despite hosting again this year, I am lucky enough to have many food contributors on the guest list, and I’m reveling in the laziness it has afforded me. I’ll just be wrestling a turkey out of its brine bath and into the oven, mashing up some potatoes, and warming up these yummy guys. That’s it for the major stuff, which leaves time for fun side tasks, like making butter and ginger ale.

But hey, all is not lost, because these rolls are great whenever. This is a nice way to use up leftover butternut squash (or pumpkin, or sweet potato) purée, and they can always be frozen and reheated at a later date. These might not be replacing my go-to dinner roll recipe just yet (which has clearly influenced my methods here as well), but they’re a really nice, seasonal alternative. The flavor of the squash comes through subtly, and I certainly can’t imagine a situation where sage and goat cheese make something worse, can you?

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Homemade Egg Bagels

Do you want to know what keeps me from going on perpetual meringue benders? It’s not the thought of a rapidly expanding waist line, nor a fear of all my teeth rotting away to nothing. Oh no, none of that could keep me away from those brightly-colored macarons, or angel food cake covered in strawberries and whipped cream. Pavlovas. Baked Alaska. Noooooommm. The thing that holds me back: all those pesky, leftover egg yolks.

See, things like multitasking and planning hurt my head. I envy those of you who will throw together an angel food cake, pop it in the oven, then whip up a batch of lemon curd while it bakes. It’s one thing at a time for me. Otherwise my cake will burn, or I’ll accidentally put salt in the lemon curd instead of sugar—seriously, it’s too much. But then what to do with all those egg yolks? Luckily, I discovered that they can be covered with water and refrigerated in an air-tight container for a couple days. That gives me just enough time to collect myself and prepare for my next kitchen adventure.

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