Sunday, January 03, 2010

Restaurant Dessert at Home


I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I have to save money. This isn't easy for me, because I love food and books. I love to eat out, not because I don't like to cook. On the contrary. I love to eat, first of all, but I also like eating out because it can inspire me in the kitchen. Especially desserts. But, with the beginning of the new year, business is slow, and so hours have been cut. This whole not eating out thing sorta got me down. And I've been wanting to go to my favorite little place, Bistrot Zinc, which is only a couple of blocks away. It's the one French restaurant that I must visit when I return from Paris (sadly, might not make it this year), because of the ambiance and the food. And every time that I eat there, no matter how full I am, I have their Tarte aux Pommes. Yesterday, I had a craving that almost drove me crazy, but instead of charging a meal on my card, I cooked at home, and made a little tart of my own. It was almost like eating theirs, if I say so myself. I was rather proud. I had some left over tart shells from the Orange Cardamom Tarts I made the other day. I took the last two apples I had, diced them up, caramelized some sugar, deglazed with butter, tossed in the apples and cooked al dente. Then, after dinner, I filled the shells, drizzled some caramel sauce over, warmed them in the oven, and topped them with some Dulce de Leche from Haagen Daas. I was nervous to eat it, you know that often times what you try to duplicate falls short of the "ideal." But after that first bite, I was in heaven. And I usually don't pat myself on the back. The crust was nice and tender and the caramel was delightful.

And, on a savory note . . .

I've always had an interesting time pan frying fish. S. cooks it so well, I figured I should learn from him so that I could cook it more often. So, I bought sole from Whole Foods yesterday and cooked dinner tonight. With his supervision, I was able to cook the sole (and sauce!) without "stir-frying" it to pieces in the pan. See, I never let my pan get hot enough, afraid I'd burn the place down or something, so it always stuck. So, dinner was successful and I'm a full, and proud cook. And, I guess if I was making resolutions, I'd have to say that tackling kitchen challenges will be the one this year. What's next? Who knows, but I'm excited to start!

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