The Home Front

When Tobias, all stricken, announced that this week’s one-day work trip to Moscow had been turned into a Monday-through-Thursday sojourn to Moscow and Kazakhstan, my first thought was not, “What will I do when Frida (aged 15 months) and Max (aged 5 weeks) are both awake and screamy in the middle of the night?”, nor was it, “Oh, how difficult for you, Tobias! Two night flights in the same week when you already have an accumulated sleep deficit the size of Charlie Sheen’s!”, it was, “Kazakhstan? Are we even trade partners with Kazakhstan?” Which is why the engineering firm where Tobias is something like Viceroy of Europe, Energy Division, chose as their international representative one T. Rosenbaum rather than his wife. Apparently my skills are more domestic.

Ha! Seriously, though, folks, let’s talk about fancy homemade cookies and a great new casserole recipe, shall we? Yes, let’s.

Tips of the week:

  • if you’re going to make French macarons (the meringue sandwich cookies made with ground almonds,) you can safely ignore the oft-repeated instructions to sift and resift the sugar and almond meal if you, instead, buzz them together in the food processor. Set the processor on medium speed, do this in small batches unless you love cleaning powdered sugar off the cabinets, and set your expectations to low so that you are sure to exceed them (there will be some tiny bits in the final product, but you just made French macarons with your own two hands! You’re awesome!) Also, use the best raspberry jam you can find as a filling, and stir some into the cookie batter. Fun! Yum!
  • When making eggplant parmigiana, unless you love your grandmother’s recipe and also love trying to figure out what to do with the 2 cups of oil leftover from frying the eggplant, bake that shit. Dip eggplant slices in beaten egg, dredge in a mixture of equal parts grated parm and breadcrumbs plus some oregano, basil, salt and pepper, and bake the slices at 400 degrees on well-oiled baking sheets for 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Layer the slices with heated marinara, top with mozzarella and some more parm, broil until the cheese is browned in spots and you’re done! This only took about an hour from start to finish.
  • Ways to reduce dishes in the recipe above: microwave the jar of marinara* rather than reheating the sauce in a saucepan on the stove, and use a lipped baking sheet for the eggplant so that you can pour the marinara right onto the eggplant instead of removing the works to a separate pan to bake.

*I am assuming you don’t make marinara from scratch every time you need it, preferring instead to use that kind of quality time reading the internet, and that you either spent many happy hours last August canning marinara or that you are familiar with the commercial availability of canned tomato-based sauces.

 

Ah, yes, and what would this post be without a referral to the source recipes for the macarons and eggplant parm, located, of course, at MarthaStewart.com. It is noted that Ms. Stewart, in addition to various kinds of fluffery related to homemaking, served on the board of the New York Stock Exchange, and that her husband introduced the Gnomes book to the world. I find her difficult to hate.

This post has been edited to reflect the correct spelling of Kazakhstan, (I had an i in there somewhere,) and to announce that my ignorance is not the fault of my dear mother, who excels at both history and geography, nor my father, whose college girlfriend later served as the U.S. Ambassador to… wait for it… Kazakhstan! Small world, indeed.

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