Happy Valentine’s Day. Today seems like the day to reveal this: I have a serious new celeb chef crush. Rene Redzepi. You know, the best chef in the world. David Change and Peter Meehan (no crushes there, but a serious want to BE them) ate chanterelles on toast and live fjord shrimp and “beach cilantro” and “old fennel” and chicken skin sandwiches with him in Copenhagen. Bon Apetit took pictures of his expectedly airy Scandanavian home and his expectedly adorable blonde baby girl and expectedly lovely walnut cake-baking wife. Ok, so maybe not so much crush as general life-envy. Love, nonetheless. The Lucky Peach bit about him and Noma and innovation might make you squirm with delight as you imagine Redzepi and Chang, on a houseboat, whipping up dishes with 200 year-old clams. (Redzepi waxes a little poetic-nerdy, talking about WWII submarines gliding over these clams…swoon.)
More love: This article, about Chicago food writer and his true love… Anne. Kevin and Anne’s love over pork rinds and Alinea. This is sweet.
Even more: This is 0% food related, but my parents sent me a Valentine and it. is. the. best. (Family tradition of animals smoking on cards…)
More love yet: On Sunday I baked a cake. And made a new rule: She who bakes the cake gets to eat four pieces of cake. I have officially embraced the facts that: A. I am a piglet and more importantly, B. I am a sloppy baker. I don’t really follow recipes when I cook (more just read the ingredients and sort it out, reading while cooking exceeds my multitask skills) so it feels funny to level off quarter-cups of flour and daintily sift things together when I bake. Nope, not doing that. But I had bought a new spring-form pan (buying nice bake ware makes me feel very adult) and felt the need to bake a cake. Going with the Orangette obsession, I was going to make this apple tart-cake deal, but was led by Mollie (we’re on first name basis) to Sweet Amandine’s take on Teddie’s Cake, an old NYT recipe.
Amandine made it heartier, subbing half whole wheat and adding more vanilla and cinnamon. I took it a little further down the granola-y path, using only whole wheat (we only have whole wheat), subbing half the sugar for maple syrup , adding bran (then it’s classified a “health cake” and you can eat it for breakfast), and pears (chopped up far teensier than the big apple chunks with the hope that they’d diffuse into pear goodness– they did), orange zest, even more cinnamon, and grated ginger. And? Yes, success. Unless you’re baking macarons, you really don’t have to be that careful. (So say I.) Except the baking soda/powder and salt. Don’t mess with that. (Once I forgot the salt and figured I’d just artfully put it on top of what would become the WORST chocolate cookies ever.) Also: I have a plan to change the world. With recipe formatting. Why the list of ingredients then the recipe? It’s inefficient. I say combine the instructions with the ingredients.