Sunday, March 12, 2006

You Mean I'm Supposed To Organize Them?

Lindy has tagged me with a meme. She has very good timing. I'm generally reticent to write a post that doesn't have any recipes in it, and I've had no time to try anything new in the last week, and the meme gives me the opportunity to post without having to wash up afterwards or having to resort to blogging about how I took L. to the used book store at the local library and bought a book about Maryland cooking (it's a Junior League sort of cookbook, except that it was produced by 33rd National Square Dance Convetion, Inc., and I am not making that up) after opening it and seeing that the first recipe was something that was called something very like "Baloney Wedges" (note the charming spelling; one supposes that's what makes it a Maryland recipe) and that involved mixing cream cheese with pickle juice and then spreading it on "baloney," then cutting the slices into wedges, or perhaps you cut the slices into wedges first and then spread on the pickle-juice-augmented cream cheese. I will perhaps not be trying that recipe, though I could hardly be expected to resist buying the cookbook.

Anyway, the meme. In some cases, there will be multiple answers. You can choose whichever you like best.

1. Where do you obtain the recipes you prepare?

A. Every night before I go to bed, I put a 3x5 note card under my pillow, and when I awake, I find that the recipe fairy has paid me a visit and left me a new recipe. If I'm feeling up to making something particularly ambitious, I leave two or more note cards, though, of course, one must exercise caution: one night I accidentally left an entire pack, and that recipe was so complicated that it is unlikely to be finished this decade. The yak still has two more years to marinate, and that's just the third card.

B. These days, I get a lot of my recipes from the Internet, of course. I have a couple of sites that I visit all the time and that I use as gateway sites. I am not the voracious reader of cookbooks and food magazines that I used to be, but I remember a good deal of what I read in the past, and I frequently go back to those sources for something that I've been wanting to make for a while or just for something that I've been wanting to make again. And then there are plenty of times when I see a picture of something or I taste or see something at a restaurant or when someone just mentions an interesting food, and then I set out to recreate it, though in those cases, I often don't have a recipe and will either create something from the whole cloth or look up various similar or component recipes and synthesize them.

2. How often do you cook a new recipe?

A. It varies considerably with the time of year and other circumstances. During tax season, I rarely cook, though when I do, I like to try new recipes, so perhaps three times a month between early February and mid-April. When it's not busy season and when V. is away on business, I try new recipes as often as four or five times a week. When I'm not working obscene hours and V. is around, he does most of the cooking, but I will still try something new about twice a week.

B. Every other Thursday, at 7:45 pm.

3. How do you store your favorite recipes?

A. Each is written, in Braille, on a live swan.

B. If they aren't in a cookbook, then I generally store them on my blog, or they just don't get stored. I can usually recreate something that I've made before if I didn't write down the recipe. There was a brief time, perhaps eight or ten years ago, when I kept a loose-leaf notebook of good recipes that I'd clipped or copied from somewhere. I may still have it. I hope I do; it has an awfully good recipe for Cornish hen roasted with dried fruit. When I get recipes on note cards, they often just get lost. I do sometimes write directly in cookbooks when I've changed a recipe and it's turned out well, but writing the blog has for the first time really given me an easy way to retain recipes.

C. In a vault, at Gringotts.

4. How large is your "to try" pile? Is it organized? How?

A. 8.5 inches x 11 inches x 6 feet. It's organized alphabetically, by the recipe's third most prevalent ingredient (by weight, of course, not by volume).

B. My pile is entirely notional, except to the extent that I've written down on the blog that I wanted to try something. I am not a very organized person. I prefer not to think about how large the pile is, but it's huge. I am fascinated to see all this discussion about recipe writing and organization, and I hope that I can adopt some of the ideas I'm reading about.

5. What is the oldest recipe in your "to try" file?

A. I intend to try every recipe in The Forme of Cury which was commissioned by Richard II in 1390.

B. Croquembouche. I've been putting it off since I was a teenager.

C. Given the nature of my pile, I could only guess, and I would almost certainly be wrong.

6. Are you going to make everything in the pile?

A. Yes, by next Thursday.

B. Yes, but only if that yak ever finishes marinating.

C. I am more likely to walk on the surface of Neptune than to make everything in my pile.

7. Do you follow a recipe exactly?

A. I try to follow a few recipes almost exactly, especially pastry recipes, and anything that involves cooked sugar, though even then I often stray from the straight and narrow. Otherwise, I believe Julia Child's philosophy: "A recipe is a good idea, not a sacrosanct document."

B. Of course. If you don't, you really, really piss the recipe fairy off.

8. What is one recipe you are scared to try?

A. Anything involving marinated yak.

B. Gravlax. It doesn't seem technically difficult, but I have no faith in my ability to get salmon that's sufficiently fresh for me to feel comfortable making it. I am pretty much without fear when it comes to technique. If it doesn't work out the first time (and it almost always does), you can always make it again.

9. Can we please have that recipe for Baloney Wedges.

A. No!

B. Oh, all right

Baloney Wedges

16 slices baloney
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup drained sweet pickle relish
1 to 2 tablespoons pickle juice.

Blend the pickle relish and pickle juice into the softened cream cheese.

Spread a slice of baloney with the cream cheese mixture. Top with another slice. Repeat until you have four slices of baloney and three layers in cheese. Wrap and refrigerate. Do the same thing three more times. Chill for at least several hours.

When you are ready to serve, cut each stack into 16 wedges. Lay the wedges on their sides when arranging on the serving platter.

10. Why isn't there a picture of the Baloney Wedges.

They were so good that I ate them all up before I could bring myself to stop long enough to fetch the camera.


Anonymous lindy said...

So, are all the recipes on one swan, or is there a swan for every recipe?
Inquiring minds want to know.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous lindy said...

PS. I left this comment twice, but once on the wrong post. I was sleepy. sorry.

3:56 PM  
Blogger anapestic said...

It's mostly one recipe per swan, but I needed a whole flock for the marinated yak recipe, of course.

4:38 PM  

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