On Sunday, while my husband went to a weirdly elaborate party for a one-year old with our son, I cooked. And regrettably, two of the three things I cooked SUCKED. So, gentle reader, take my advice: the Food Network's recipe for Mushroom Barley Risotto smells and tastes like a foot. Maybe it's the vegetable broth. Maybe it's the barley. Either way, the smell reminded me of Grandmother Merowitz's apartment in the Bronx, which smelled like extremely terrible Jewish cooking. I do not have good luck with slow cooker recipes. My husband, who simply uses the recipe on the back of a McCormick's Pulled Pork Seasoning packet, makes a great pulled pork, but otherwise, I feel I could use our slow cooker as a decorative planter and my life would not be greatly impacted.
I also made-- and this is probably going to distress people-- the Marcella Hazan tomato sauce recipe that has been floating around in the wake of her death. My mom used to cook from her cookbooks all the time, and the stuff was GOOD. Also, I liked the simplicity of the recipe. I like butter. I like onions. I like tomatoes. Maybe it was because I used canned tomatoes (although I did use the fancy San Marzano tomatoes all you young people seem to like), but it tasted like-- dare I say it?--Campbell's cream of tomato soup. I just discussed this with my mom on the phone, and she informs me that Marcella's recipes are hit or miss, so I feel less bad. Unless of course, she's lying to me because I am her fragile lil dumplin'.
That said, I will say the one recipe that came out well was a roaring success. It's from this month's issue of Bon Appetit and it is one of the best things I have ever eaten. Gateau Breton Aux Pommes (ie Breton apple cake for all you peasants) is not particularly hard to make, although it takes a while-- and the salted caramel sauce is SERIOUS, people. It calls for creme fraiche, but since this is not 1980 (my childhood seems full of stuff cooked from The Silver Palate Cookbook that always involved creme fraiche) I used whipped cream. From a freaking can. Although it was Extra Creamy, so maybe that makes it classier. Anyhow. It's only Wednesday and with solely my husband and I eating this thing, there's less than half of it left. I want to eat it all the time. In fact, at work, I contemplate telling people I am going to the bathroom and then actually quietly driving to my house, getting a piece, hiding it on my person, and then eating it in my office with the blinds down and the door closed, because I am not going to share, not even a little bit.