Jenn Smith

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  • Favorite foods: Pine nuts, capers, olives, anchovies

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What Five Foods Can't You Live Without?

1) The precedent has been set: beverages count. Anyone who has woken near me knows that I can not possibly live without that meal-in-a-beverage, coffee.

2) I won't eat a regular tomato after September, as their flavor is a lonely ghost once they are gone from the greenmarket. Grape tomatoes get me through the 9 months of the year that full-sized tomatoes are unavailable, as they taste passably good, remind me of the real thing, and are a filling zero-point snack. Which I eat by the pint. I'd surely be dead (or at least very overweight) without them.

3) I eat at a steakhouse maybe once a year, so I can live short-term without a triple-decker forkful of creamed spinach-on hash browns-on a bite of rare rib eye. But if you told me I could never have it again, I might lose the will to go on long-term.

4) Mom's lasagne. It is in my blood. Take it out I die.

5) Bananas. Not my favorite fruit, but readily available, filling, and healthy. Thanks to bananas, when I worked as an editorial assistant making $15 a year I was always able to afford to eat lunch. I undoubtedly owe Chiquita my life.

What Should Replace Roast Turkey as the National Thanksgiving Dish?

BaHa, that sounds lovely and the only thing I'd change would be to serve Durgin Park's warm, spicy, cornmeal-based Indian Pudding as a second dessert.

Store-Bought Stuffing Mix Showdown

If there is one thing I learned during this test it is that it is undoubtedly worth the effort to make stuffing from scratch.

Ren, AG3208 and Butterface - good additions to the list.

Wide Lawns, I'll give you that not all suggestions will work for all tables. My mother would not be pleased with any of the suggestions aside from the sweet sausage. And I wouldn't add eel to Stove Top. But. Oyster stuffing (as Windjunkie notes) is traditional in some families, and eel has a less controversial texture than oysters do. Smoky meats like bacon also often make stuffing appearances. The combo of eel, apple,herbs and bread tastes good. And once upon a time, garlic was considered exotic and weird. So I'm standing by it!

JerzeeTomato, the fancy Canterbury Organics brand instructions "suggested" a whole bunch of things that you might want to add, to the point that you are buying not a premade mix but a box of pretoasted bread. I wonder if Williams-Sonoma is similar.

Curlz, good idea, I dabbled with the (toaster) oven when I reheated the stuffing for the testers, and it does get the traditional crust.

Does Anyone Really Love Pumpkin Pie?

For those of you (Ed) who like pumpkin-whatever-else (ice cream, cheesecake, bread etc.): Is it the custardy texture of the pie you don't like?

I love pimpkin pie so much that as a kid I used to ask for it as my birthday cake, thus ensuring that I would get it at least twice a year.

Apple Cranberry Crisp with Pecan Topping

I'm for pumpkin desserts. Is your recipe in essence the addition of pumpkin puree to a standard mascarpone cheesecake recipe?

New England Clam Chowder: Awesome or gross?

I'm a New England girl so this may be scandalous, and I acknowledge that the right hands NECC can be sublime, but your run-of-the-mill NECC is a hot, milky mess with unidentifiably clammy rubberband bits.

Raw Pecan Pie

One of the things I find interesting - and appealing - from some of the published raw food voices I've read is the acknowledgement that adopting a strict raw diet may not be realistic or desirable for everyone. Doing what feels good and sharing what feels good is a bigger priority for Alt and the authors of Raw Food/Real World than getting converts is, and as Stumbler noted, both Alt and (Sarma Melngailis, author of Raw Food) openly admit to eating a variety of cooked and non-vegan foods on occassion. I like the idea of options and experimenting with food, and believe in a balance of bacon, beet juice and seitan. I really did like this pie, although I'm looking forward to the sticky, corn syrup-laden pecan job mom makes for Thanksgiving, as well.

And a note from experience - germinating nuts (soaking them) makes them tangibly easier to digest, less bloat-inducing for people used to a more processed diet.

Long Underappreciated, Cecilia Chiang Releases Charming Cookbook

Hey maggiesara - you clearly have lots of knowledge about cooking Chinese food - thanks for the cookbook author leads. Chiang's book rekindled a many-years dormant desire to practice making some of these things at home.

Restaurant Girl Bloopers

Every week she plants some bizarrely-phrased observation or glaring error somewhere in her review - almost as if on purpose. This week it is the ceviche, last week she coined the phrase "consumer-approved recipe for success", which I'm pretty sure is as tautological as it gets...and so on each week prior. Don't get started on her descriptions of seafood. She only has a few words to work with each week, so...could it be that she is toying with us?

Cook the Book: Turkish Flatbreads with Spinach and Cheese

I've read this cookbook and cooked a couple of recipes therein - they are competely comfortable for a home cook. I recommend the sfincione, which is a Sicilian foccacia topped with olive-oily breadcrumbs and sauteed onions.

Time for a Drink: Marconi Wireless

This rocks my world.

Every year I make an apple cider punch with Laird's for pumpkin carving festivities. There is often some leftover unmixed, and it is fantastic to have a new recipe in which to use the last bits. (It otherwise gets used medicinally in hot toddies during the first cold of the season.)

Laird's isn't that hard to find. In New York CIty you can find it at a surprising number of neighborhood liquor stores, and it is always in stock at Astor Place. In Boston, Marty's on Washington Street in Newtonville has it. The NH state liquor store carries it, as well.


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