January 2009 First Thursday: A for Effort

I may have played the insanity card to wuss out on really challenging myself, but our participants didn’t. Behold, our brave souls (and don’t skip the poll at the bottom):

Morsels and Musings tackled this chocolate chestnut cake and creme fraiche parfait, something I’m pretty sure I could eat in its entirety in one sitting. There are crystallized violets and everything, so you know it’s fancy. And it’s a Nigella recipe (from Nigella Bites), so you know you can lick your fingers and moan suggestively while you’re cooking and she would still approve of you.

Be very, very impressed by this one: homemade croissants from Dark Side of the Fridge using a recipe from The Nero Wolfe Cookbook. From what I can tell, it’s a cookbook of classic recipes consumed by fictional character Nero Wolfe, which I find somewhat bizarre but if it produces homemade croissants who am I to knock it? I’d still invite them over for brunch.

Too Many Cookbooks took on a personal nemesis that I know dogs many of us: pie crust. How can something with so few ingredients be so infuriating? But she did it, filled it with blueberries a la Mark Bittman (whose 10th anniversary edition of the classic How to Cook Everything is now out), and produced something that “definitely didn’t taste retarded.” Huzzah!

Newcomer Effort to Deliciousness made the recipe I’d been thinking about making had I not been insane on Thursday night: The Zuni Cafe Cookbook‘s braised duck with red wine and prunes. I am not to blame for the sudden deluge of people asking her if they can come over for dinner that will follow the reading of this post.

Poor Yorick’s Pub, one of my favoritely-named blogs – alas, we hardly knew ye – used perennial favorite The New Best Recipe out the Best Tarte Tatin, using the oft-used equation French = Hard. Their caramelizing may have tread close to the boundary of appropriate caramelization, but the post teaches us all the valuable lesson that French often = Gossamer Veil of Difficulty and is able to impress friends at the drop of a hat.

Being blogless does not stop TNS reader Erin from challenging herself. This month, she used old-time workhorse Joy of Cooking to make sauteed cardoons. Her success level is thrown somewhat into doubt, as this is the whole of her description: “Cardoons are bitter. And a lot of work.” Frankly, I had no idea what the fuck a cardoon was It’s related to the artichoke and is a source for enzymes used in vegetarian cheese. And they’re bitter and a lot of work.
So here’s the thing: First Thursdays are fun, but they don’t really generate a lot of participants.   So I ask you (If you pick #3, take a minute to learn.  and if your pick #4, leave a comment: how do you think you got here.)

0 thoughts on “January 2009 First Thursday: A for Effort

  1. Hey, I just wanted to add a comment to my “yes I do give a fuck” vote. This is my first time participating in any kind of well, whatever this is. It’s fun. It amused me. And note that there was at least one other First Thursday virgin besides me. . . But the point is that this is YOUR place. If it amuses you, then screw it, keep doing it, whether anyone else participates or not. If it’s become more trouble than it’s worth, then, hey, sucks to be me. You know?

  2. Hello! As a person who lives with people that might…might…let me try the garlic chicken, and only that, I love watching the First Thursday! It makes me happy to see what everyone else will do, no matter how few entrants. And I keep hoping I can participate one week. It would require the planets to align, and many small miracles to happen….but I keep hoping!

    I did de-lurk cuz this is that important. Like ToyLady said, its your site and you can do what you damn well please!

  3. Who cares about us? YOU think it’s fun, and it’s YOUR blog. That said, I like to see what other people are willing to try cooking. I would probably never do it myself, because I’m a pussy like that, but I admire the tenacity of others in the kitchen.

  4. Nero Wolfe was a detective with several distinguishing characteristics. One was that he raised orchids. Another was that he was a serious gourmet. If you haven’t read any of the Nero Wolfe mysteries, try “Too Many Cooks.”

  5. hey all, i know it’s my blog and all, which is why i don’t feel at all guilty about making you read the occasional post about how i ate cheerios for dinner. but it also want to people to read it, and it takes time to put the roundup posts together, even if it’s just 6 people, so if no one gives a flying fuck that would be useful info. but if people still think it’s fun, then i’m all for it.

  6. Just wanted to chime in on the Nero Wolfe bit. He has a serious gourmet palate… but he doesn’t really cook (except a few hilarious times in the books). Instead, he has a Swiss chef named Fritz, whose character is long-suffering and just as exacting in the kitchen as his master.

    Also, food is a recurring theme in the series, and not just as it relates to Nero Wolfe’s own preferences. I assume that author Rex Stout was quite a foodie himself, though I don’t know for sure. Apparently he was a friend of PG Wodehouse (Jeeves and Wooster series).

  7. hey, nothing like public failure to keep you motivated. plus, a first thursday failure can always do double duty as The Frig?!, right? wow, a triple punctuation mark…gotta love that. and i apologize to all for making michelle work triple hard this time around because i failed even more spectacularly as a photo editor than i did as a cook.

  8. I have just started reading this site, but if anyone can play, I must say I have enough cook books to rummage around in and find something to experiment with.
    I want to play too. Please.

  9. I love the first Thursday. I dream of participating. I have planned on participating. I deeply want to participate. I … I … I’m a full time working teacher with a ten month old son who wants me to HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD HIM HOLD HIM DON’T PUT HIM DOWN! and a 2 1/2 year old girl who needs to be potty trained and “Mommy, would you like to read a story, hm? hm?” and a lot of other cooking responsibilities. Also, I’m not good at shooting pictures of food. And the computer onto which we upload the photos off the camera is in the back room which is actually an add on porch and is very ,very cold this time of year, so cold that not one Christmas photo has been taken off the camera’s memory card, NOT ONE!

    Someday, I will participate. Like, maybe this summer. When teaching is over and I get my Mom to come over and read the stories and do the holding. I promise. I just need a lot more chances to get my act together.

  10. YES!

    I love first thursdays…would love to do it one of these days. but i’m the dork ass girl stuck to the side wall of the club nursing a drink saying she’ll get out on the dancefloor soon enough, but you know its a fucking front. she’ll meander and she’ll set her foot out there just when the song is ending, and be all “ah man…to late…next time!”


  11. OK – I’m officially in. C’mon all you bitches and wannabes – let’s make Michelle proud and have some fun in our kitchens.

    Will the challenge for February be the same or will you have a new one? I need to start thinking about this…. Can’t wait!

  12. oh yeah – and major kudos to Dark Side of the Fridge on the croissants. Much effort and challenge on that one…uz doin it right

  13. I voted 1. I just found out about first Thursdays. Right this very second. I found you because you have somehow ended up, as have I, on a blog with the unlikely but descriptive url: http://linksandupdatesfromfavoriteblogs.blogspot.com/ I went to see where some extra visitors had come from, and I could not resist clicking on “It’s On Like Donkey Kong!” I would like to play. Yes, I would. I think I will. Let me go peruse my cookbooks….

    Fantastic site, and I heartily approve of your liberal use of the word fuck. I was a special ed teacher for many years, and, oddly, nobody wanted me to curse around the children. That’s why I went to culinary school. You ain’t heard cursing ’til you’ve been in a professional kitchen! I felt right at home:)

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