Here follows, in no particular order, a list of things I have aspired to make but still haven't:
1. Almost everything, ever, from 101 Cookbooks because even though I love Heidi (Heidi, will you be in my rock band too?), I’m always short just one teaspoon of dried rose petals or a half cup of olive blossom honey or saffron harvested from Morocco.
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2. Cacio e pepe, but only perfectly cooked at 2 A.M. for some type of romantic guest. In my mind’s version of this movie, I say in my sultriest voice and with an Italian inflection I certainly do not have: Are you hungry? Do you want me to feed you cacio e pepe? Then I expertly whip it up and we slurp it from deep, fancy porcelain bowls I just happen to have lying around. I don’t need to explain more about why this has never happened, right?
3. Burnt Toast ice cream, which I thought would be cool to develop for the release of our ice cream episode of Burnt Toast, but clearly never did. “Make burtn toast ice cream!!!!!!!!!” [sic] can still be found on my Google tasks list, weeping like a cast-away cone but still holding on—because, you know, maybe one day I’ll wake up and actually own an ice cream maker. If that day ever comes, you will be the first to know.
4. Amanda’s beautiful quinoa yogurt thing, the swirl of which I have admired since I begged to be an intern at Food52. I'd stare deeply into that swirl and dream about being a clog-wearing food stylist with a cottage upstate, but I’ve never made it because I’ve never not felt twee reading the ingredient list. Don’t tell Amanda, but I will probably never cook anything that calls for five pistachios, two dates, and a half tablespoon (a half tablespoon!) of red quinoa. What if I only have white? What if I don’t even own a vessel that splits a tablespoon in half? Do they even make that? What if I want six pistachios? These are the questions I sob into my bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
5. Any ice cream, in the past 5 years. See #3. (But I have made this! Twice! That counts, right?)
6. The simple carrot salad from Orangette. Though, perhaps because I had read the post so many times trying to become Molly Wizenberg through osmosis I assumed I had made it, and began talking about it like I was some kind of old pro: This is so perfect for a picnic, but they key is that it gets better as it sits. Oh, and I love to take this on planes. Because I’m definitely the kind of person who makes salade de carottes râpées in advance of plane travel. I can’t even say salade de carottes râpées.
7. A cherry slab pie, cherry because I was going to Seattle and what else do you do in Seattle but buy road-side stands out of their cherries? Slab because I had a big group of people to impress. I would do it discreetly and quickly and calmly so it would be authentic when I later said “Oh, this? It was no big deal!” It was a big deal. Instead I made this blessed potato salad for the 80th time this summer.
8. This magical shrimp and radicchio situation from EmilyC, because even though I ate half the tray when we took its photo, I still have an internal struggle every time I try to buy shrimp, as in: Is my dinner happiness really worth $15 a pound? Should I also light myself some candles and get out the fancy wine? How much Cinnamon Toast Crunch do I have left? Last time I walked by the fish counter four times before walking out of the store empty-handed.
**Do you know how many days it takes to make cassoulet? I started the Sisyphean casserole journey last winter. On the first day, my spirits were high, my beans were soaking, my confit was prepped. On the second day, I started to talk about it like it was an annoying kid sister I had to babysit. It was so needy. On the third day, I threw caution to wind, dumped cooked beans and sausage into a cast-iron pan, buried them under a mountain of breadcrumbs, and ate the whole mess with an egg on top a day later. (David Lebovitz, shield your eyes!) I never was that good at babysitting.
What are the dishes on your list you still haven't made? This is a safe space.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).
I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.