In this very special — or not, depending on how you look at it — edition of ROTW, I am taking over in Claire's absence. She had to deal with some important family stuff this week, and so we decided to allow her time off. That, and she wrote this review of GRILLED CHEESE STUFFED PIZZA already, so we figured she would be in a food coma until sometime next week anyway...
You might be thinking, What the hell does Dan know about food? And you'd be right to think that, since I've never written about food here. But I assure you, I actually know a whole lot about food. I enjoy food, which is usually a good start. My favorite cuisines in no particular order include Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese, Peruvian, Thai, pizza, White Castle (bonus points if you agree with me that those last two are, in fact, cuisines), but never Indian. I dislike curry, and I know there is more to Indian food than curry, but I cannot convince my taste buds as such.
In an attempt to move away from eating out, say, seven or more times a week, I have taken small steps to learn how to make everything from breakfast (I make a mean frittata) to dinner (risotto is probably my most popular dish). I even was a food editor in a past life, responsible for being on the launch team of a Latin food–focused site called The Latin Kitchen.
I will, however, admit I am more of a baker and less of a chef, like my boyfriend who can literally pull out random ingredients from the fridge and create a Michelin-star-worthy meal. My culinary skills are better utilized with more exact, foolproof measurements than "put a dash of salt" or "add lemon zest." (I still don't understand the logic behind shaving a lemon's skin off for flavor. That's gotta hurt.)
For that reason, most of the time when I'm with a group of friends, I like to make dessert or bring dessert. This weekend, five gays packed into a two-bedroom share house in Fire Island, where I had previously made something called Dirt Dessert, which is arguably my favorite dessert right behind Bananas Foster and tartufo and trifles. Only half of us enjoyed said Dirt Dessert on a drunken night of singing/screaming early-aughts karaoke in our backyard during the previous Fire Island trip, and I came to the conclusion that "dirt" was awkwardly too heavy of a dessert for a humid mid-August night.
Side note: There is also an "underwear party," and I'll let you use your imagination about what exactly goes on at such a party on Fire Island during the summer, so I think people were trying to retain their figures.
This time, to make something equally carby that would get consumed during or after a late night of drinking on a barrier island with no vehicular traffic or 24/7 food options, I decided to pick a healthier ingredient than Cool Whip, Jell-O pudding, and Oreos for my dessert.
I came to pistachios. Why? Pistachios are a healthy nut, so I could convince the ab-obsessed gays they were eating something "healthy," despite the fact that a shortbread is basically somewhere between a muffin and a cookie. Pistachios are also green-ish, which makes them an interesting color to bake with, and I had an abundance of leftover Wonderful Pistachio nuts that needed to be consumed.
As I started to frantically look through the cabinets of the rental house, I landed on this gorgonzola and pistachio shortbread recipe from Closet Cooking because I realized I would probably have to buy all the ingredients since the cabinets were a barren wasteland of ground black pepper, Sriracha, and confectioner's sugar left over from my previous Dirt Dessert. Also, gorgonzola.
Gorgonzola and Pistachio Shortbread, reprinted with permission from Closet Cooking:
- 1 cup gorgonzola, room temperature and crumbled
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/3 cup pistachios, chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Cream the cheese and butter.
- Mix in the flour, cornstarch, salt, and cayenne.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, followed by the pistachios and lemon zest.
- Shape the cookies as you like and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet with an inch of space between them.
- Place the baking sheet in the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Bake in a preheated 350˚ F/180˚ C oven until they just start to turn a light golden brown, about 8–14 minutes, remove. and let cool. (Note: The shortbread will still be rather soft when it is done, but it will crisp up as it cools.)
Look, I'm not Claire. I don't recipe test, but I can vet that this recipe is good. And we all like sharing a good recipe.
So in channeling Claire — and don't worry, she'll be back next week — I chose this cheesy goodness from last week's mac and cheese party just to keep the spirit of ROTW going and because I'm guessing Claire would have probably landed on this one too:
Now tell me about the recipe you go NUTS over (that was a pun and Jane hates puns, don't tell Jane) in the comments.