Cooky Shortcake

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Almost exactly one year ago, I put forth this blog’s very first recipe. It was old-fashioned; it was fairly simple; it was, by all accounts, not much to look at.  But it was also satisfying in a homey, comfort-food sort of way, the way only something that’s homemade (and looks it) could be.

Which brings me to our 52nd (!) recipe: a dessert presented in Nonnie’s cookbook as “Cooky Shortcake,” a name that reveals just about nothing. Is it a cookie? Is it a cake? Is it short? The answers, in order: no, yes, and yes. Continue reading

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Shrimp in Beer

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When I was 10 or 11, my family took a trip to Club Med. It was my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary (!); to celebrate, they brought their whole brood—four sons, three daughters-in-law, a whopping 12 grandchildren—down to Florida, where we enjoyed a week of sun, sand, and scheduled group activities.

Years later, I can only remember bits and pieces from the trip: the thrill of taking a ride on the flying trapeze, my cousins’ brief but passionate obsession with bocce ball, seeing a group of leotard-clad women (who were either much younger or much older than I am now) perform a passable rendition of the “Cell Block Tango.” (I think I laughed pretty hard at “Lipschitz!”) Continue reading

Camembert Jack Cheese Ball

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Throughout the nearly 12 months (!) I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve crafted a duo of tuna casseroles, a full chicken with a can of pineapple dumped on top, and a jello mold that wasn’t really a jello mold.

Yet the glorious creation you see before you (the very first recipe that appears in Nonnie’s cookbook, in fact) might be the most proudly retro thing I’ve made so far—a onetime party platter staple that’s largely gone the way of crinoline and bomb shelters. Unless you’re someone who gets her recipes directly from Kraft’s website, maybe, or the sort of person who will eat what’s essentially a cheese ball if and only if it has a fancy French name and does not come in the shape of a ball. Continue reading

Broiled Salmon II

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If my mom had a mantra, it would probably be “I forgot my mantra,” à la Jeff Goldblum in Annie Hall.  Her true mantra, though, would be something a little more quotidian and practical: “All I want, when I sit down to dinner, is a big salad and a simply-cooked piece of fish.”

She’s fibbing, of course. She really wants a bone-in ribeye with shoestring fries, and when she’s finished with the steak, she wants to pick up that bone with her bare hands and gnaw every morsel of meat from it, maybe sucking out the marrow at the end as a grand finale. But because she is not Don Draper—and because keeping kosher means most of the time, when you eat at home, it’s just easier to leave meat out of the equation altogether—more nights than not, she ends up with a big salad and a simply-cooked piece of fish. Continue reading