season of delights

In ALL, FOOD LOVE, MY LISTS by Stephanie Klein39 Comments

It’s good to be home.  Especially when home is tied with order, where life is clean and bright, cozy and slightly inebriated, as it appears in the staged pages of food and decor magazines.  Where the dining table is always set, with bright table runners, fit with place mats and name cards, the silverware is polished, and all matches, the dishes–there are enough of one kind, and each type of wine has its proper glass, shining and clear of marks, prints, or dishwasher spots.  Cheeses are on a wooden board, netted in cheese cloth (oh, that’s what it’s for).  The music is piped in.  Clean socks, sheets, windows, and floors. There’s new wine to try.  Cab Francs and white burgundy.  New silky cotton sheet sets, crisp cold bedding.  The tater tots tucked into warm jammies, with new toys, and books, a big chair, the three of us cuddling as I read to them a new journey.  Homemade parsnip puree.  Apple pie with cheddar crust.

The weather is cold enough for mittens and bulky cashmere sweaters, scented lingerie, warm and clingy.  I’m making homemade hot cocoa kits, fresh tomato soup with gougeres (light and airy cheese puffs made with gruyere-laced pastry).  I love that I can make these, pipe them onto a baking sheet, then freeze them for future use, as they’re best eaten still warm.  Oh, how I’m enamored with this season of delights. I want to spend the next few days buying holiday ribbons and preparing the house for the season, a season of wreaths and homemade marshmallows.  I want to do prep work, so all that’s left to do is light some candles, and reach for that handsome and well=placed throw… and brush up on some good tasty books.

Ah the recipe for Gougeres from Artisinal

Ingredients:
4 Tbl. unsalted butter
1/4 C. milk plus extra for brushing
1/2 tsp. each salt and ground white pepper
1/2 C. all-purpose flour, sifted
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. grated Gruyere plus extra for garnish
2 eggs
Coarse sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a saucepan, bring the butter, 1/4 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of water, salt, and pepper to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the sifted flour and baking powder.  Stir well and return to medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball, about 2 to 3 minutes.

3.   Place the 1/2 cup of cheese and the milk mixture in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle, and beat until just warm.  Add the eggs slowly as the mixer funs, until the dough is smooth and shiny.  (Alternatively, stir to cool by hand and beat in the eggs with a wooden spoon.)  Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe in 1-inch mounds using a No. 4 tip, or drop with a teaspoon on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  (At this stage, the gougeres can be frozen and then stored in a plastic bag.  They do not have to be thawed before baking, but 1 1/2 to 2 minutes should be added to the cooking time.)  Brush with milk and sprinkle with cheese and sea salt.

4.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes; when the puffs are golden-brown, reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  May be reheated.  Yum… serve also as “croûtons” in any winter or autumn soup!

Comments

  1. How cozy it sounds – isn't it loverly that fall has finally arived in these parts? Can I get the gougeres?

  2. What a yummy post!! Hope you had a great time in Vegas; always nice to be home, though. Would you mind sharing the recipe for apple pie with cheddar crust? So German and yet so out of the loop!

  3. agreed to all except the cooking part (can't do it), but my house looks magazine-worthy for about an hour. And I don't even have kids.

  4. We actually woke up to a chilly morning today and I love it! I just got all of my soup recipes out yesterday and am trying to decide which one to make first. I think the gougeres will perfect…thanks for the recipe!

  5. Barf. This post reminds me of the lame-ass magazine text that goes along with a Martha Stewart magazine. My best holiday memories aren't of new everythings and how perfect the house looked, but of time spent with family and loved ones. If a home is filled with love it doesn't matter if the sweaters are cashmere or wool, or if the sheets are brand new, or if the couches even match.

    It's great that you like to cook, I think that's nice, I just don't get why all of your 'memories' or favourite moments seem to be tied to products and material things – handsome and well-placed throw? Who cares if it's 'handsome' or 'well-placed', as long as it's wrapped lovingly around your shoulders by the person who cares about you more than anyone in the world, because they know you always get cold in the evenings?

  6. And it's always nice to dream of the "perfect" decor, even when it's not really compatable with real life, at least not for more than half an hour at my house! I loved the description. And at least I knitted the cashmere mittens, even if my bulky sweater is wool and alpaca! LOL

  7. Uh, thanks Benja – I GET that she's an authour, hence the critique of her work. I kind of thought that's what these comments were for?

    I also get that description is necessary in writing, it's Stephanie's choice of descriptors I'm challenging – i mean come on, she does say herself right in the post that she enjoys life… "as it appears in the staged pages of food and decor magazines", so it's not that far a stretch for me to say that her descriptions sound just as staged…

    And maybe Stephanie could have included a recipe for something her mom (or dad, or grandma, etc…) always cooked at this time of year, instead of cutting and pasting something from a NY bistro?

    It's these decisions that Stephanie made as an AUTHOUR that led to my interpretation of her post as cold and glossy, rather than warm and fuzzy.

    Listen, if y'all love it, then that's fine. I'm just expressing my opinion, which is also ok.

  8. Yum! Thanks for the recipe. I'm definitely going to try that. I can't wait to make homemade marshmallows, either. Peppermint marshmallows dipped in dark chocolate.. if you haven't tried to make them, do it. They're divine.

    This post has made me want to leave work and snuggle up with a soft throw, good book and hot cocoa. Oh wait, it's 72 degrees here. Hmph. :)

  9. Not jealous. Have a very nice life of my own, which affords me the luxury of time to read blogs such as Stephanie's, and occasionally comment on things that I like, or yes, even don't like. Audacious, i know…!

    Again, just providing a critique of the writing. I've read stuff of Stephanie's that comes across as way more personal – to me, this one sounded as if it was plucked out of a catalogue, (perhaps a bulk budget cashmere warehouse, Carolina?), that's all I'm sayin'…

  10. When I stayed home with the babies, each and every detail was vitally important to the enjoyment of the season. It's a gift to have time to strive for an attain perfection.

    Now – my favorite things are my crock-pot, bread machine and Tivo – and those days when I have the foresight to get all of them doing their respective jobs before I leave for mine.

    Love, love, love to come home to a home filled with smells of cooking food, fireplace and those big, ol' teenagers sprawled around. Bliss, I tell ya.

  11. I'm sorry but I'm with Tara. Puke.

    I wonder if Stephanie has ever considered working at a soup kitchen as part of her fall reverie?

  12. This post described exactly how I felt yesterday. I swear, I had butterflies in my stomach when I heard the wind howling outside in the morning, and I practically skipped to my car, I was so excited about the- gasp!- cold! In Austin! I, too, made soup, and I think tonight is pumpkin carving. I really, really, REALLY hope this weather keeps up!

  13. TARA
    WHILE YOU ARE HAPPY TO CRITIQUE, MAY I SUGGEST YOU BROWSE YOUR OWN COMMENT AND HIT SPELL-CHECK.
    IT'S SPELLED -AUTHOR, NOT AUTHOUR.
    JUST SAYIN…… WHY DOES EVERYONE GET WHIPPED UP INTO SUCH A FRENZY OVER WHAT SK'S TASTE OR WANTS ARE. WHETHER SHE DECORATES WITH PIPE CLEANERS AND POPCORN STRINGS OR BUYS OUT POTTERY BARN OR WEST ELMS'S SEASONAL AISLES, WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? YOU GET ONE GO AROUND AT LIFE, WHY NOT IF YOU HAVE THE MEANS,INDULGE YOUR WHIMS. IF STEPHANIE WANTS TO CHRISTMAS UP THE JOINT WHILE WEARING CASHMERE SWEATERS AND MINK LINED GLOVES AND A HERMES SCARF THROWN IN FOR GOOD MEASURE, AGAIN, WHO CARES. THAT'S WHAT DRAWS ME TO THIS SITE. SHE IS TRUE TO WHO SHE IS, I HAVE BEEN READING THIS BLOG FOR YEARS AND EVERYTIME SHE MENTIONS ANY SORT OF CONSUMER WANTS OR IMPULSES, OR DARES WAX POETIC ABOUT A PRODUCT OR GEE-GAW, OUT COME THE CLAWS. WHATEVER. I LOVE THE RECIPE
    I BAKED A BATCH LAST NIGHT AND THEY ARE FABULOUS.
    I COULD CARE LESS ABOUT THE ORGINS OF THE RECIPE.

  14. You've inspired me to go home and clean my house tonight. Watching Martha Stewart last night almost got me there. This post pushed me over the edge. Bring on the scented oil and the tablecloth!

  15. I always shake my head at how much people's own issues come through in their "critique" of SK. I remember when she said she got a Lexus(which is like the #3 best selling car) the claws came out bashing her like of environmental thinking. SHe writes a blog post…A BLOG POST of like 3 paragraphs and what is taken from it is that she likes describing cashmere and is what is wrong with the world. It's just comical. I'd place a bet that Tara has never written a positive thing ever. Not what she does. She complains and blames. Calls it critique but actually there is no critique at all just personal bias.

  16. Hehe, Barbara E! We don't want to give it back! I have been forever pregnant, and have managed to survive the past two day of contractions by sitting in a chilled house, in front of the fire. I love the changing of seasons!

  17. Chill. It's her blog, she can write about what she wants. You get a blog, and lets see what writing gems you come up with.

  18. Ah, the soup kitchen. If they had eggplant parmigiana soup, or even a decent tomato soup, I'd totally volunteer. But since they don't… oh well.

    Please. You'll be happy to know (actually, you probably won't) I volunteer plenty, especially during the holiday season. I don't just donate money (which I do), but I also invest my time for worthy causes. In New York, I worked for City Harvest, picking up food from Starbucks and taking it to churches. In Texas, I worked to design a tree for university co-op, to fund a school. I donate books, photographs, etc. along with hours. So now that's out of the way… hate me for loving recipes from Artisinal. Come all ye faithful.

  19. Have to agree that the author (however it's spelled or misspelled, ms. nastypants commentor) comes off as pretty materialistic. Or, in non-judgy terms, from at least from a pretty privileged context. "Not that there's anything wrong with that." Some readers will find the post fabulous, and some cringe-worthy. But I don't think she's ever tried to hide the fact that outward appearances, in addition to love, family, and such, are extremely important to her.

  20. I like when Stephanie has these types of posts because they conjure in such a beautiful and complete way the feeling and atmosphere of comfort that she's describing. Yes, obviously family and loved ones and the emotions take precedence, but that doesn't mean there aren't other things you can enjoy and appreciate as well. This blog would be pretty damn dull if it were only focused on how much Stephanie loves everyone, and everyone loves her, and yada yada. Just because it doesn't occupy every post doesn't mean it isn't there. Oh, and Martha Stewart wishes she could write like this. ;)

  21. Hey, I'm not sure why there's a link to Amazon.com in my previous comment. I didn't put it there. :(

    Tara, when I think of the images that surround Christmastime, my mind usually goes first to the covers of magazines like Southern Living, decor magazines, etc., which have pictures exactly as Stephanie described. Those images make me happy because they are displayed at Christmastime, and Christmastime makes me happy because of time with familiy and friends, relationships, yada yada yada. That doesn't make me materialistic (or necessarily anyone else). It's all so intertwined in our culture that one usually reminds the average person of the other. In my opinion, anyway.

  22. Hey, we could use your help with the Austin Children's Shelter Holiday sale – holiday cards designed by children at the shelters are for sale as well as large poinsettias which go to support the abused or neglected children they help. http://www.acsguild.org and if you'd like to help with the poinsettia pickups, that'd be great too! It's our biggest fundraiser of the year.

  23. i love being able to put cotton turtlenecks on again. and the smell of people starting to burn wood and leaves. and of course, with my wavy and frizzy hair, it's nice to have temperatures low enough to dry it and get it in order again.

    excited to make this recipe. always trying to find something other than greasy (but delicious) grilled cheese to go with my soups.

  24. not quite cold enough for mittens in Chicago yet, but we're getting there! I used to hate fall and winter both, but the older I get the more I love fall (winter, still not my fave – it lasts about 2 motnhs too long here).

  25. Robyn, I agree to a certain extent with what you've said… but maybe it's just me personally, but it really bothers me how someone from a "priviledged context" as you put it is somehow expected to apologize for it, or obscure it. She's not rubbing anyone's nose in it or putting other ways of life down, she's just describing her life, her home, etc the way they are — I think other people project their own issues onto that in a way that really isn't unfair. Sorry if I'm harping on this unnecessarily, it's just a pet peeve I guess.

  26. I like the visuals that comes off Stephanie's writing. It definitely seems to me to be a mixture of her likes and painting a nice visual with words. She keeps things interesting. Some of her writing is a writing exercise and I can see some pattern in her writing style – plenty of variety, lots of visual and lots of description and filling the senses with lots of different experience. She also gives ideas of things we might not hav thought of. Yeah, maybe expensive taste but it sounds like she can afford it so why not.

  27. Kim you got it right- it's very visual writing. It's a very pretty picture & nothing wrong with that.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.