I don't know if it is my favorite season, but I do love fall.  I made a trip up North to visit my mom.  The pre-trip conversation went something like this.  Mom, "Make sure you pack warm clothes because it's going to be 50."  Me: "at night?"  Mom, "no that is the high."  If she hadn't promised to get me cider donuts, I'm not sure I would have traded in the 70 degree dc Indian summer for true fall. 

It was worth it.  I don't even like doughnuts, with the notable exception of cider donuts.  Cider donuts are (shockingly) made with apple cider.  The donut is only as good as the cider used to make it.  It should be light and fluffy, not greasy, and not too spicy so that you can really taste the apple flavor.  If you are in NY in the fall, I recommend stopping at Golden Harvest Farms for a donut and a glass of cider.  Your waistline will forgive you.

Panko Crusted Veal Medallions with Prosciutto, Tomato and MozzarellaBecause one can't live on cider doughnuts alone (or can they?) my mom and I made Panko Crusted Veal cutlets with tomatoes, prosciutto and mozzarella.  I had seen Panko crumbs used on TV shows before, however I never experimented with them.  What a mistake.  Panko crumbs are Japanese style bread crumbs made from the center piece of the bread so they are bigger and fluffier then normal bread crumbs.  I dredged the veal in a mixture of flour, garlic, salt, and thyme followed by a quick dip in an egg bath and then the panko crumbs.  The crust was flavorful, but the most significant difference was the light yet crunchy texture.  Thanks mom for introducing me to a fun new ingredient!

By the way, I am dedicating tonight and tomorrow night to updating the recipe page! 


The Demise of Gourmet

I was pretty surprised today to learn that Conde Nast will no longer publish Gourmet magazine.   As of October 20th, instead of browsing through the articles about food and cooking, you can read "Details Magazine," a new magazine that Conde Nast is launching which advertises, "More Celebs.  More Styles.  More Douchebags."  Seriously.  I'm not joking.  

I am not a subscriber to Gourmet, although I have purchased the magazine on occasion.  However, I hope that this closure doesn't harken the end of the food magazine.   One reporter, who clearly has not heard about the newest exciting addition to the Conde Nast family, speculated that Gourmet is ceasing publication after 68 years because more people get their recipes on line.  While this may be true, and as a blogger there is a part of me that hopes this is true, this commentary misses the point of food magazines.  Food magazines aren't simply about the recipes.  It's about about looking at the pictures, reading about new ingredients, and learning about new chefs and restaurants.  Above all else, it's about inspiring cooks to create new dishes and be passionate about food.

Gourmet Magazine, rest in peace.  I hope that Klutz in the Kitchen will survive for half as long!



I'm definitely a lucky person.  I have a great family, great friends, and a great life in general. Good things seem to just happen to me.  That is until I get on my bicycle.  It all started several years ago, when the most reliable bike shop in New Mexico improperly installed the rear derailleur on my bike.  There I was practicing clipping in and out of my new pedals when all of a sudden the bolt fell out of the derailleur and the derailleur lodged itself into the back wheel of my bike, leaving me and my bike in a tangled heap on the ground.  Since then there have been multiple crashes, one including a Mac truck (I won't go into details) and a particularly spectacular crash today while I was biking with my husband, enjoying the beautiful day and the WO&D trail.  Since the incident with the truck, I prefer bike trails to the open road.  My mistake.  We were under a bridge biking along a pastoral little stream when a biker shoots around a blind turn IN MY LANE heading straight for me.  There was nothing I could do except yell several profanities and brace for the head on impact.  It wasn't pretty.

MoussakaSo what does any of this have to do with food?  Absolutely nothing except for the fact I really need to cook dinner tonight to decompress.  I purchased some beautiful eggplant at the farmer's market this morning, so I think I am going to make moussaka with roasted garlic pasta.  I love moussaka.  It is a lot of work--not difficult, but just involves many steps.  The results, however, are worth it.  Instead of frying the eggplant, I bake it in the oven.  It's less greasy and the results are just as good.  For my filling, a use a combination of lamb, tomatoes, red wine, cinnamon, mint, nutmeg, cloves, garlic and onions.  It is savory and delicious.  I bought some nice looking mushrooms in the market, so I think I will throw those into the filling as well.  As is traditional, I place a layer the eggplant on the bottom of the pan.  I then add all of the filling followed by another layer of eggplant and then bechemel sauce on top.  You cook the moussaka until it is golden and bubbly.

It's already 5:30!  Unless we want a midnight snack, I better go cook!


Celebrating the Last Day of Summer

Chili with Homemade CornbreadI am sad to say goodbye to summer, especially the long days. However, I am excited about fall foods--apples (I prefer mine firm, not overly juicy, slightly sweet with a pronounced apple flavor), winter squash (delicatas are among the best), and local potatoes.    I am also excited about cold weather cooking--soups and stews and of course chili.  It was sunny and in the 80s in DC today, not exactly cold weather, but for some reason I was craving chili.  I make my chili with dried heirloom beans.  You have to soak the beans overnight which adds an extra step, but I think these beans have so much more flavor.  I use either beef or buffalo, but you could absolutely use turkey as well.  And yes, for you vegetarians out there, you can skip the meat at the expense of flavor and texture, however.  Other secrets to my chili--chipoltle chili pepper, a bottle of dark beer, a mixture of spices, and maple syrup.  Chipoltle is a smoked jalapeno.  I love the smokiness it imparts to the chili.  The beer speaks for itself, but I find that the sweetness of the maple syrup both dulls the spice and enhances the smokiness of the chipoltle.  I made homemade cornbread and I serve it with sharp cheddar cheese and some chives.  yum. 


Triathalon Food

My husband and brother competed in the nation's triathalon  last Sunday.  I promised both of them I would cook whatever they wanted for dinner the night before the race.  To all of you cooks out there, beware of what you promise.  I ended up making two different meals (meat for my brother, pasta for my husband) and a sweet potato pie for dessert. 

I decided to make a rack of lamb for my brother.  I love lamb.  Rack of lamb is delicious and actually is easy and quick to make.  I rubbed the lamb with olive oil, mint, garlic, thyme and rosemary and roasted it in the oven for 45 minutes until the lamb reached 140 degrees.  I made my favorite pasta with mushrooms (with homemade noodles of course).

Sweet Potato PieThe highlight of the meal was probably the sweet potato pie.  I was actually going to make a spiced pear crisp for dessert, but I bought local sweet potatoes at the farm market and the boys were carbo loading.  I use a Culinary Institute of America recipe, with a couple of modifications.  I added a Tbs of vodka to the pie crust.  The alcohol evaporates and makes the crust incredibly delicate and flakey.  The key to a good sweet potato pie is of course delicious sweet potatoes.  This may seem obvious, but it is important that you use real sweet potatoes and not yams. Sweet potatoes and yams look similar but they are not related.  Sweet potatoes are starchier, but not as sweet (and most importantly not as watery) as yams.  I also modified the recipe by using maple syrup instead of sugar and fresh ginger.

After all the calories I consumed, I need to run a couple of triathalons.