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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.)