hell yeah baby

Ragu alla Bolognese


I went to a wedding recently, and the man giving the homily said this thing that I wrote down, he said, "Tell each other the story of being someone who has been loved well." 

Or something like that. 
And I thought, what a beautiful thing. 
The story of someone who has been loved well. 


I've been thinking a lot about marriage recently, maybe because all of a sudden, people my age and a little older are starting to get married, and I’m seeing all these newlywed people pop up in my facebook feed, and also in my real life. 
Some of them are even having babies. 
And it's all so magical and wonderful, but at the same time-- 

what. 

I mean. 

What. 

And the sort of quiet realization that the people you meet and maybe wake up next to and spend your minutes and hours and days with, does it all suddenly matter more? Is this the big leagues of life? Has it always been the big leagues and I just haven’t been paying attention???

It all suddenly seems much, much more real. 

The story of someone who has been loved well. 

In addition to being recently obsessed with the whole concept of marriage, I've also been obsessed with recipes that are stupifyingly simple. Because painfully and perfectly simple things are usually the best. So fuck crazy spices, fuck elaborate and trendy and especially fuck everything to do with quinoa. (I keep trying and I keep wishing and the supposed actual taste-goodness of quinoa keeps not happening.) 


But this ragu. 
This humble meat sauce with pasta. 
This is it. 
Like most painfully perfect simple things, it takes time and a little heartache and attention and also confidence. Because you have to be gentle with it, and you have stir it for forever, and you brown everything, and let juices evaporate, and then, most importantly, you let it simmer for a million years.
By the end of making this ragu, you’re basically in a relationship with it. 
And that’s okay. 

Baby, I’m wishing you good things. 
But more than that, I hope you know that you already own the story of being someone who “has been loved well.” 
You are already that person. 
You really are. 
But if you feel like maybe you need a little boost of confidence, then make this ragu.  
You’ll like it so much, you’ll wanna put a ring on it. 



I love you. 



Ragu alla Bolognese 
via TheWednesdayChef.com and her book My Berlin Kitchen 

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large yellow onion, finely minced
2 large carrots, finely minced (you want roughly equal amounts of minced onion and carrot)
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup red wine (open a fresh bottle and drink the rest with dinner)
1 28-ounce can peeled San Marzano tomatoes, pureed
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1) Put the oil and butter in a large cast-iron pot over medium heat, to melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for about 7 minutes, until the onion is well cooked. Do not let it take on any color. Add the minced carrots and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring now and then.

2) Add the ground meat to the pot, and using a wooden spoon, stir and chop up the meat so that it cooks and breaks down into uniformly tiny pieces. Raise the heat to medium-high or even high as you do this. It takes a good amount of elbow grease and a little bit of time. Continue to stir and cook until the meat is no longer pink (at no point, however, should the meat be browning). There will be liquid at the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until that liquid has mostly evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes.

3) Add the wine and stir well to combine. Simmer until the wine has mostly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

4) Add the pureed tomatoes and the salt and stir well to combine. The sauce will come to a simmer almost instantly. Lower the heat to the lowest possible setting, put the lid on the pot, and let the sauce simmer for as long as you possibly can, stirring it occasionally. Seven hours would be wonderful, 5 hours is pretty good, but any less than 3 and you're really missing out. The longer you cook the sauce, the richer and more flavorful it will get. At some point in the cooking process, the fat will separate from the sauce and float at the top, so just give the sauce a good stir every so often to reincorporate the fat.

5) At the end of the cooking time, taste for seasoning and add more salt, if needed. Then serve tossed with pasta or use in a classic lasagne (this recipe makes enough for a 9 x 13-inch pan).

Almost Fudge Gateau

Dear one,

I'm in France, and I just drank a beer, and ate a crepe. 
Everything, intrinsically, by default of simply being, is beautiful.
I'm in Paris for several weeks, and am then cruising around Europe, for the next few months. 
Mostly alone. 
I'd be out of my mind excited, if I weren't so terrified. 
Doing what you want and being autonomous, it's amazing and necessary. 



And fucking scary. 

I've been spending a lot of time in my head and walking and looking at people.
I feel very quiet. 

Something I want to address: 

We are all aware, that this being a "food blog" is mainly a shameless charade that allows me to write about myself and growing up and love, etc. 
Because, somehow, this tiny space went from windy exposition about cake, to much windier exposition about things like feelings.
And I want to acknowledge this, only because, I'm going to be traveling, and I don't know if I can always promise you recipes, or that stories will tie back to the table, or that the state of things can be summed up in a few words that conclude with a flavor.
 I don't know if I can promise that.

However, I do promise to be hungry, if only for you. 
I promise that I will write you more, and soon. 


This is a cake I baked right before I left Austin. It's mostly chocolate and eggs. It is, apparently, a very French cake.

And finally, because it is long overdue, I want to thank you, you strangers who find me here again and again. The surprise, that anyone cares to return to this URL, it humbles me. 
Whoever you are, you're magic. 
And for my beloved family and for my tribe of beautiful people, thank you for all the hand holding and letter writing and sweet mornings and afternoons and nights and tequila and twinkling light.  
There are not words enough in this language to convey my gratitude. 

I love you. 

You make me feel fearless. 


XOXO



Almost Fudge Gateau

from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

5 large eggs
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unslated butter, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons coffee or water
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt

For Glaze (optional) 
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Center a rack in th eoven and preheat to 350 degrees F. 
Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the plan with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or on a silicone mat. 
Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl. 
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar, butter and coffee. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may still be grainy, and that’s fine. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for 3 minutes. 
Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour. 
Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer, or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm but glossy peaks. using the spatula, stir about one quarter of teh beaten whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest. Scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter. 
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has risen evenly (it might rise around the edges and you’ll think it’s done, but give it a few minutes more, and the center will puff too) and the top has firmed (it will probably be cracked) and doesn’t shimmy when tapped; a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5 to 10 minutes. 
Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove teh sides of the pan. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the pan bottom and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack and cool to room temperature right side up. As the cake cools, it may sink. 

To make OPTIONAL glaze:
First, turn the cooled cake over onto another rack so you’ll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper to catch any drips. 
Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. 
Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave oven-- cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup. Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula. Don’t worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cake-- it will just add to its charms. (Sidenote: This is why I love Dorie. She’s all about the charms of cake related imperfection.) Allow the glaze to set at room temperature, or if you’re impatient, slip the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. If the glaze dulls in the fridge, just give it a little gentle heat from a hairdryer.