Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires

GarlicandSapphires

I wonder how often Ruth Reichl sits back and thinks, “I can't believe this is my life.”

Because as I read Garlic and Sapphires, like when I read Comfort Me with Apples, I had several moments when I could hardly believe I was holding a biography. The characters, the anecdotes, the whole story arc…too good to be true, it seemed.

In Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl writes of her time as the New York Times restaurant critic — a job she made all the more interesting by adopting different personae to go unrecognized at the city's finest establishments.

But beyond Reichl's extraordinary experiences and enviable career, I suppose I'm so in awe of her life because she is a brilliant storyteller. Her memoirs are a thrill to read, and the restaurant reviews peppered throughout Garlic and Sapphires show Reichl's range and skill. New Yorkers might have disagreed with her gastronomic opinions, but they all ought to have admired her narrative style.

I loved the book. I only wish there were photos of her in costume because I'd love to see this woman as blonde and polished Chloe, hippie redhead Brenda, 68-year-old Betty Jones or tweed-clad meanie Emily Stone.

I can't wait to hear more of Reichl's great stories when she comes to speak at the Skirball Center in LA next month!

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Indian-Style Scrambled Eggs

indian-scrambled-eggsWhen someone asks me what my favorite type of food is, it's hard to narrow it down. I love so many kinds of cuisine, and I don't know enough about them all to make a definitive declaration.

Indian food is always on the list, but it just might be the top. The more I learn about it, the more I taste it, the surer I feel. Ginger, garlic, chilies and cilantro…what a combination, those ingredients should be in everything.

And in much of Indian food they are. Even scrambled eggs!

I read about this dish in Mangoes and Curry Leaves. The authors said it was something they had in a small tea shop in a rural area of India. I made it for lunch yesterday and loved it.

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Sweet Cardamom Yogurt with Pistachios and Pomegranate Seeds

indian-yogurt-pistachio-pomegranate

Saffron, cardamom, honey, pistachios and pomegranate seeds mixed with yogurt? Yoplait is a long way from ever putting out this flavor. As I ate this for breakfast, I thought of how rarely I, and other Americans, eat sweets so…floral.

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In the Middle East and South Asia, saffron and rosewater are common in desserts. Orange blossom and lavender are also less familiar here as they are in other countries. These ingredients, along with spices like cardamom, are so much more aromatic than anything popular in the U.S. (Mashti Malone's Iranian ice cream shop in Los Angeles, aside.)

But if you'd like to taste something deliciously different, try this yogurt. It's an example of harmony in flavors you might not find often.

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Fudgey Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

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For years, whenever I smelled almond extract, I thought of these chocolate-cherry http://paydayloansusca.com cookies my mom used to make for Christmas. Michael bought me a Burt’s Bees almond milk hand cream payday a while ago, and every time I use it, I start thinking of chocolate and Christmas.

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Now that it’s actually Christmastime, I pulled out the cookie recipe only to find that

it doesn’t call for almond extract. And my mom doesn’t think she ever added it. I guess the smell of maraschino cherry syrup is similar to almond extract, and the whole thing got mixed up in my memory.

Nonetheless, I payday loans added almond extract to the cookie dough this time around.

chocolate-cherry-cookies

The cookies are brownie-like and best made small enough to be eaten in one or two bites. We served them to guests last night with online payday loan vanilla ice cream.

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BLT Orzo

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Tonight, with my parents out for the evening and my little brother satisfied after a bowl of Cap’n Crunch, I set out to make dinner for my sister and I. My mom had suggested we make some BLTs, and though that sounded more like lunch than dinner, the idea stuck.

When I saw some orzo pasta in the cupboard, I decided it would be perfect for a warm and hearty reinvention of a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

I crisped the bacon, then cooked tomatoes and garlic and wilted some arugula in the sauce just before tossing it with the pasta and serving with a little parmesan. To me, it was exactly what I wanted from a dinner adaptation of the lunch classic.

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Vanilla Black Tea Whiskey Ice Cream

black-tea-ice-cream

Last Christmas, Michael’s mom bought us some loose-leaf black tea from Mariage Frères. The blend smelled sweetly intoxicating with strong vanilla and caramel notes. Mary got it with ice cream in mind, and her idea was dead on. Problem was I looked to a recipe that called for eight egg yolks, and the result was nearly too rich to bear. The flavor was great (especially with the shot of brandy we added), but I felt sick after eating what was essentially a scoop of frozen cholesterol.

The idea of tea ice cream stuck. This summer I made green tea lychee and Thai iced tea flavors.

Then last week I found a Tealosophy Vanilla Tiger tea in my parents’ cupboard. I made myself a cup with milk and sugar, imagining it as ice cream with every sip.

Using a combination of heavy cream and milk, along with a more reasonable four egg yolks, and this time a shot of whiskey, the resulting ice cream was lusciously, but not sickeningly, creamy.

It doesn’t have the warming properties of a nice cuppa tea, but the flavor is just as comforting.

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