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The Best Pesto You’ve Ever Tasted

Something new and different, and perhaps just tangentially related to hooking up. It’s related in the sense that cooking is nurturing, it feeds the body and the soul. My husband fell in love with me when I cooked for him (late night picnic on a Tribeca rooftop), and to this day he loves coming home from work to discover what I’ve got planned for dinner.

I am not an inspired cook. I do not invent dishes, I could never improvise with a bit of this and a dash of that. I’m a very competent cook, however. By that I mean that I can follow recipes and produce very good food. I experiment with new recipes constantly and always rate the dish. If it doesn’t merit an A+ or A I never make it again. Over the years, this process has left me with a core set of dishes that are family favorites and my regular go-to meals. 

After my daughter requested a collection of recipes for the foods she’s grown up with, I decided to share the best of them with you here. I have never understood the desire to keep one’s recipes a secret – I hand mine out to anyone who asks. Consider these posts a gift from me to you, no strings attached! 

This is the best pesto you will ever eat, and it’s very simple to make. You must have a food processor, which is the one appliance I truly could not live without. It’s the perfect late summer meal, paired with heirloom tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and sea salt. 

First, go to the Farmer’s Market for basil and tomatoes to go with: 

Then assemble your ingredients. Please pretend there’s a pint of cream in this picture. I forgot it and had to run out:

Note that I always buy peeled garlic from Whole Foods, it’s a bargain. And I buy olive oil by the gallon at Costco. The cookbook is probably my favorite of all time, The Silver Palate.

Start by mincing the garlic. The best way to do this is by dropping it through the chute and letting it just zoom around the food processor bowl till it’s all stuck to the sides:

Then dump in the basil and pine nuts:

Pour in the olive oil:

Dump in the grated parmesan:

Isn’t that just the most beautiful green?

Whisk in cream and a bit of the pasta water:

Add pasta and voila, the best protein-free meal you’ll ever have:

Pesto is my go-to for quick meals (I made enough for six lbs. of pasta froze five), as well as entertaining friends who are vegetarian, vegan, and my brother who keeps Kosher :) 

Here’s the recipe:

Pesto

Adapted from The Silver Palate

2 cups fresh basil leaves, thoroughly washed and patted dry

4 good size garlic cloves

1 cup pine nuts (Trader Joe’s is cheapest at $8 for two cups)

1 cup EVOO

1 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

I lb. pasta

1/4 cup cream

2 T. pasta water

 

1. Mince garlic by adding one clove at a time through feed tube while food processor is running.

2. Add basil and pine nuts and chop.

3. Leave the motor running and add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.

4. Shut the motor off, add the parmesan, a big pinch of salt and a liberal grinding of pepper. Process briefly to combine, then divide in half – one cup for one lb. of pasta, one cup for freezer. 

5. Boil one lb. pasta.

6. Whisk cream and pasta water into 1 cup pesto. Add 1 lb. cooked pasta and toss well to combine.

 

There’s a real chill in the air here in Boston. Summer is ending. Grab the fresh basil while you can!

Have a great Labor Day Weekend. See you on Tuesday.

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    Will this dish get me laid?

    If not I’m not interested, it won’t be an A+.

  • http://dannyfrom504.wordpress.com dannyfrom504

    pesto with gnocchi or cheese ravioli is the devil.

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    Also it appears Susan is a lefty – that must explain her unique perspective.

  • OGRE

    The cream and the cheese make it non-vegan, although its definitely vegetarian.

    Personally I prefer romano and almonds instead, but the parm and pine nuts are the traditional ingredients.

    Add a little lemon juice to get some acidity, that also helps preserve color.

  • http://dannyfrom504.wordpress.com dannyfrom504

    Badger-
    of course it will. especially if you make the pesto while she watched. give her a glass of wine and got to work. she’ll be the dessert.

  • http://www.triggeralert.blogspot.com/ Byron

    Yep, that wouldn’t make the vegan grade. I’m not vegan, but I tend not to do dairy very much. I find creamed basil on its own can approximate pesto in a lot of dishes, though you do miss the pinenuts.

  • Stingray

    Susan,

    Thank you for the recipe! I have to tell you, it was really nice reading about your cooking experience as mine is much the same. I cook the hell out of a good recipe. I can even read it and change what I don’t like about it easily, but coming up with something of my own remains out of my reach after years of cooking. It is something that I have wanted to learn to do and my mom bought me “Cook Wise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed” by Shirley O. Corriher and it does a wonderful job of teaching proportions and why they have to be this way for a recipe to work. It has some fantastic recipes in it as well. Problem is, it is a lot of work which I don’t have time for right now.

    Anyway, I thought you might like it.

  • http://asinusspinasmasticans.wordpress.com MuleChewingBriars

    I have a pesto and mushroom pizza recipe I’ll share next Lent.

  • vioda

    Hmmm… I cannot find some of your ingredients here in our place. I’ll try to modify it. Anyways I just loooove post like this. Another list on my cooking journal.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @Badger
    The dish will definitely get you laid. But there’s a big caveat. It’s just incredibly garlicky, so don’t rely on it for the maiden voyage.

    @OGRE
    If I can find romano already grated, I often sub in some of that for some of the parmesan. I love the idea about a touch of lemon juice. Shoot, you’re right about the dairy, you can see I don’t hang out with many vegans…I’d love to try your almond version if you have a recipe handy!

    @Stingray
    Good to see you! Thanks for that recommendation, I’ll check it out. I think it’s essential to understand the chemistry of cooking to be a really good cook, and also to have an instinctive sense of how flavors interact. I’ll probably never have that, but there are so many good recipes out there. I’m thinking of buying a scanner and feeding all my recipes into it. It would be awesome to go paperless – I currently have a full file drawer of recipes, and it’s just so cumbersome.

    @Mule
    I love mushrooms, and I bet they’d be awesome with pesto! My husband is very observant about Lent – I’ll look forward to that recipe.

    @Vioda
    Welcome! I’ve been thinking of posting recipes on Fridays, because they don’t generate a lot of debate :) And of course it’s easier to try new dishes on a weekend. I’m going to try and post in keeping with the seasons, so definitely check back.

  • Stingray

    Susan,

    I am lucky that I do have a decent instinct in how flavors interact but I have no head for the chemistry that is required. I am hoping to remedy this one day. I have an ENORMOUS collection of recipes as when my kids were babies I used to spend their nap times on the internet searching out different ones to stay sane and to pass the time. ; )

    If you decide to do a recipe Friday an idea might be to have others post their own? Maybe have a theme and have interested commenters add to it. Just a thought. It is always fun to mix ones pleasures and cooking definitely is needed in hooking up and relationships!

    We also observe Lent and when the time comes I would love to see some of your meatless and fish recipes.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Stingray

      If you decide to do a recipe Friday an idea might be to have others post their own? Maybe have a theme and have interested commenters add to it. Just a thought. It is always fun to mix ones pleasures and cooking definitely is needed in hooking up and relationships!

      I love this idea. I’ve decided to have a forum here, with sections dedicated to advice seekers and humor. Let’s do a cooking one as well!

  • GudEnuf

    Random question for married people: how long did it take you to decide to get hitched?

  • Stingray

    My husband and I dated for three years before we married. We were both 23 when we tied the knot.

  • GudEnuf

    Stingray: Thanks. I’ve been trying to figure how long it will take me to know if I should get married to someone.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Byron,

    I’m not vegan, but I tend not to do dairy very much.

    I tend to stay away from dairy myself, but more because I love cheese almost as much as I love women. If you put an array of cheese at the table in front of me, I have to walk away or it’s going to turn into a cheese orgy.

  • GudEnuf

    So not only will Susan be imitating Amanda Marcotte with her weekly cooking posts, she’ll have a forum a la Manboobz.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      So not only will Susan be imitating Amanda Marcotte with her weekly cooking posts, she’ll have a forum a la Manboobz.

      OMG, Marcotte’s CSA posts are just embarrassing, I hope mine will be a cut above that. It’s true I don’t know dogsquat about photography, but her food always looks like she made it in the 90s and put it under her bed until now. She also has a most unfortunate habit of applying Instagram filters like “sepia.” Her pics remind me of bad late night TV commercials for local unpopular restaurants.

      I haven’t been to the manboobz forum. Evolvify has one I like the look of. I’ve been doing a lot of research on them ever since I admired the forum at Pioneer Woman, which is recipe based. Anyway, the good thing about a forum is that it enables people to post their own thoughts, funny stuff, recipes, etc. That’s otherwise impossible with a blog.

  • http://www.triggeralert.blogspot.com/ Byron

    I tend to stay away from dairy myself, but more because I love cheese almost as much as I love women. If you put an array of cheese at the table in front of me, I have to walk away or it’s going to turn into a cheese orgy.

    That could get messy.

  • OffTheCuff

    Gud: 4.5 years until I proposed. She was a college freshman and I was senior when we met. I wouldn’t consider marriage until I found a job and settled down. Probably would have been shorter had we met as adults.

  • http://www.decoybetty.com Deidre

    This is very similar to the recipe that my mom uses – which I love.

    I just bought some basil plants the other day for the sole purpose of being able to freeze loads and loads of pesto (Nom nom nom!).

    Love the idea of posting recipes.

    On our third date, I made IC a gluten free vegetarian quiche – which when I just asked him if it was making that meal that made him fall in love with me he said “it must’ve been”

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Deidre

      On our third date, I made IC a gluten free vegetarian quiche – which when I just asked him if it was making that meal that made him fall in love with me he said “it must’ve been”

      IC is such a catch! He really is such a delight, how wonderful that you get to marry him. You have posted some absolutely awesome recipes – I’d love it if you’d share some here. By the way, I’ve been seeing gluten-free products everywhere lately – the selection has really grown. I think of you every time and smile. :)

  • jamie

    @Susan

    Yes lemon. just a little. Unless you really like the flavor, then use the zest so it doesn’t curdle the cream.
    I tend not to put fresh dairy in my pesto unless I need to stretch it to feed more people. Also, I like to put either pesto or avocado on pretty much everything.

    @Jesus

    I am very interested in this cheese orgy.

  • ExNewYorker

    @Susan

    I am not an inspired cook. I do not invent dishes, I could never improvise with a bit of this and a dash of that. I’m a very competent cook, however. By that I mean that I can follow recipes and produce very good food.

    .
    This sounds very much like my wife. She’s gone through a lot of recipes, but when she’s found something that works (and elicits from me a warm after dinner smile), she’ll add it to her recipe book.
    .
    I’ll give her this recipe…it’ll be worth trying as a late summer recipe. Maybe I’ll post her recipe for Paella Valenciana. If the asteroid were about to hit, that might be our final meal…

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @ExNewYorker

      Maybe I’ll post her recipe for Paella Valenciana

      Oh do! Years ago I carried home a paella pan from Spain and I’ve never used it. I would absolutely love to do that.

  • Stingray

    A cooking forum would be great! I love to share recipes and talk food, but it is not something I get to do often at all. This would be a fantastic place to do that. Thanks!

  • 108spirits

    Sorry but if a woman cooks me a protein-free meal, I’m outta there faster than she can say “whaaa???” I’m allergic to vegan foods or anything remotely resembling them.

    No dead animals, no commitment. :P

    Some wise man told me once (possibly my dad since he followed that advice to the letters): “Just find a woman who’s a good cook. Everything else is just details.”

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @108

      No dead animals, no commitment. :P

      Hahaha, love it.

      Some wise man told me once (possibly my dad since he followed that advice to the letters): “Just find a woman who’s a good cook. Everything else is just details.”

      I think men find cooking very feminine, because it is the ultimate act of nurturing and nourishing. A woman makes something with her hands that you eat, and you feel refreshed and fueled. It’s really hard to screw up feeding a man. It was my go-to strategy whenever I liked a guy, and I batted 1000 with it.

  • Dogsquat

    Susan said:

    It’s true I don’t know dogsquat about photography,

    Photography is the art, science, and practice of recording radiation on a radiation-sensitive medium. There’s also some stuff about the Rule of Thirds, saturation, and F-stops in there

    Now you know what Dogsquat knows about photography.

  • Stingray

    Not only does the man feel refreshed and fueled, but isn’t it a nice added bonus when you get that wonderful warm feeling when they smile at you and tell you how fantastic the food is? I love that.

  • http://dannyfrom504.wordpress.com dannyfrom504

    i’ve NEVER had a woman who isn’t related cook for me. EVER. no woman i’ve ever dated could cook to save her life. sad.

  • http://www.decoybetty.com Deidre

    Awww, @108 harsh words for us vegetarian ladies out there! There are lots of ways to eat protein…

    Susan, I would love to post some recipes here – you just holler when you want some…

  • OGRE

    Yeah like Jamie said, just a little lemon juice, maybe 1/4th of a lemon’s juice, if that, for the amount of pesto you are making. You shouldn’t even be able to taste it, as odd as that may sound. I’d also suggest white pepper instead of black, as you don’t want to taste the pepper you just want it to give a slight bit of heat to balance it all out. Its really all about getting the brightest basil flavor you can.

    If you want to try the almonds just substitute that for the pine nuts. Almost any nut could be used. I’ve seen walnuts used a lot. I just prefer the slight sweetness of the almonds. I don’t have any actual pesto recipe, its mostly just balancing everything out in the robo-coupe till it tastes right.

    I didn’t know Ms. Marcotte posted on food, so I had to check it out after what was said. One reason her food looks like crap is her plateware. The avocado plate she keeps using will make any food look dull. And the faberware is just awful. I’m glad to see you are using nice white plateware, that always helps the food look its best.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      OGRE,
      You sound like a professional! You’re exactly the kind of cook that I’m not, and I happily defer to your expertise. You got me thinking about romesco sauce – I’ve never made it but have had it out. This is a great time of year to try that.

      I am really going to have fun with this cooking bit. I’m already thinking of next week’s recipe – I think maybe the Israeli couscous with roasted cherry tomatoes and olives. That one always gets raves, and I want to make the most of tomato season. Heirloom tomatoes were actually $1.50 a pound at the Farmer’s Market – compared to $4-5 the rest of the year. I also bought a whole bagful of plum tomatoes to make a fresh tomato sauce with.

  • http://www.nomadicneill.com NomadicNeill

    I think this recipe qualifies as ‘primal’ as well (paleo but dairy is allowed).

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Nomadic Neill
      The pasta is obviously a no-no, but pesto is a wonderful condiment in general. It could definitely fit nicely into a paleo regimen.

  • http://bloggingbellita.wordpress.com Bellita

    @Susan
    Here’s my own tangential contribution for the week, with a question.

    I actually just finished a batch of cookies that I’m going to FedEx tomorrow to a man I’ve been growing close to. I’m not the best baker in the world, but these cookies are my specialty, and I’ve wanted to make them for him ever since I realized I was developing feelings for him.

    Two of my married friends have been encouraging . . . but a single friend has warned me that it might blow up in my face. According to her, a certain relationship blogger who is very popular among young Catholics has said that a woman shouldn’t give a man anything unless he has given her something first. The rationale behind it is that a man will be scared off if he’s not sure of his feelings and suddenly a woman starts giving him romantic stuff. What do you think of that?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Bellita

      a woman shouldn’t give a man anything unless he has given her something first. The rationale behind it is that a man will be scared off if he’s not sure of his feelings and suddenly a woman starts giving him romantic stuff.

      I think the topic of gifts came up in a recent thread, with the guy saying he liked it quite a bit and was impressed. Here are my guidelines:

      1. I don’t think it matters whether you’ve already been given a gift by a man.
      2. Something you’ve made or baked yourself is a nice gesture, not a lavish expenditure. It’s an excellent way to express affection or thanks. For example, baking for someone might be a great way to thank them for a lovely date. I once baked a peach pie for a really terrific (and hot) tennis instructor. Homemade cookies say “thinking of you” and there’s nothing wrong with that.
      3. As a caveat, I would not send cookies to a man if I wasn’t sure of his interest in me. In that way, your friend may be right. If you know he likes you, by all means go ahead, but I don’t think it’s a good way to initiate a relationship – it smacks of trying to hard to look wifey and domestic, IMO. Once you’ve entered into romantic territory and genuine affection, I think he’d be delighted and appreciative.

  • OffTheCuff

    The rationale behind it is that a man will be scared off if he’s not sure of his feelings and suddenly a woman starts giving him romantic stuff. What do you think of that?

    Depends on the guy, I’d say. And that’s why the advice you get is all over the place.

    I remember in college one girl starting giving me chocolates and stuff. It was sweet, and I liked her, but at the time I was a bit weirded out. Then again, that was only because I was young and inexperienced at the time. My head was filled up with the whole useless Christian ideal of how dating was supposed to work, and that left me incapable of dealing with college reality.

    If I had my ex-Christian 30-something brain in that 18-year old body, I would have asked her out, just to see where it led. I would have been open to lots of things with no real expectations or goals.

    An experienced guy will realize it for what it is. If you get no response, then he’s not into you. If he respond positively and confidently, then he know he “has hand” and will take advantage of it. From there you’ll have to see if you’re just getting played or if the feeling is mutual.

    An inexperienced guy will just get a gut feeling something is off. If you get no response, then either he’s not interested all, or he is, but scared off. If you get a positive response, then it’s a good sign, because it means you’re so overly hot to him, that it’s overcoming that fear.

    My advice would be: if you’re not sure it would be accepted, then *talk* to him and let him know. Sending it unrequested would be strange. Something like “I’m making cookies, want some?”

  • Lavazza

    I play by ear when I make pesto. From my experiments I have gathered that it is easy to overdo the garlic and black pepper (because of the grating) and to underdo the olive oil. I also prefer a softer cheese (but still salty) than Reggiano. Some lemon is a must. I have also found that sun flower seeds are a decent substitute for the expensive pine seeds. I have also tried the non electric route, but hat did not work out at all (the basil variety in my garden is not the large soft one).

  • SayWhaat

    It’s really hard to screw up feeding a man. It was my go-to strategy whenever I liked a guy, and I batted 1000 with it.

    Ha. I once cooked Indian food for this guy I really liked. He enjoyed it. A few months later he got a girlfriend in Tel Aviv.

    If I ever cook for a guy again it’ll be when he’s been my boyfriend for at least a year.

  • jamie

    @108 Spirits

    LOL.
    I had a boss who got a kick out of cooking all his “vegetarian” side dishes with duck fat.

    @OGRE
    You said Robo-Coupe. <3

  • jamie

    Re: Cooking for a Guy you Like

    I often struggle with whether or not to do this. One one hand, cooking is easy and natural for me. I cook for all my friends, so naturally I would extend that hospitality to a guy I’m dating. For me, it’s not that big of a deal.

    But my last boyfriend read waaaaay to much into it. He thought I was being all “wifey” for him when really, I was just hungry and figured I might as well fix dinner for two since it’s the same as cooking for one.
    (I mean, like, really, what am I going to do? make myself a steak and caesar and tell him to heat up something out of the freezer while I eat it in front of him?)

  • A. L.

    basil-based pesto, de-luvely :)

    just FYI, if you wish to be on the “authentic” side : pls. do not put either “Eevo” nor cream or parmesan into your “basil-pesto” sauce-prep.
    you may wish to use italian pecorino cheese (the “middle-aged” or “aged” type, not the fresh pecorino) in the mix and then grated parmesan on top of your freshly-prepared dish just before serving/eating.
    the original combo keeps in the fridge with olive-oil cover for many days (weeks in my case)
    enjoy.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      just FYI, if you wish to be on the “authentic” side : pls. do not put either “Eevo” nor cream or parmesan into your “basil-pesto” sauce-prep.

      That just leaves basil, garlic and pine nuts! More of a mash than a sauce…

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Jamie,

    You’re not into casual cooking, too, are you? Friends with cooking benefits? You hussy.

  • 108spirits

    Reminds me of my dilemma a while ago: the girls who slept with me wouldn’t cook me anything (cos they can’t) and the girls who cooked / baked me delicious foods wouldn’t sleep with me. /*firstworldproblems*/

  • 108spirits

    @ Deidre

    Awww, @108 harsh words for us vegetarian ladies out there! There are lots of ways to eat protein…

    I don’t mind my woman being a vegetarian (dated a couple) but if she tries to cook me that rabbit’s food stuff, she’s gone! I want a dead rabbit, or a dead something that used to swim, fly, run or hop around on my plate! :P

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    Bellita,

    First, your handle reminds me of one of my favorite songs:

    “On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
    Warm smell of Bellitas, rising up through the air…”

    As to your dilemma.

    “According to her, a certain relationship blogger who is very popular among young Catholics has said that a woman shouldn’t give a man anything unless he has given her something first. ”

    On its face, this sounds like “The Rules”-type BS. It’s a formula for combat dating, and usually reflects a baseline of fear one will be taken advantage of. I wouldn’t take this advice.

    What’s important is the level of intimacy you two have. If he’s a dude you talk to and you have a crush he doesn’t know about, then he may very well be “scared off” by intimate gestures and see them as trying to trap him into reciprocating (a la Susan’s point #3). It goes both ways, we beta guys know all about how romantic, personal gestures can push the woman away.

    But if you guys have really been connecting, by all means send him something from the heart.That you are fedexing suggests a long-distance type of thing. If you have been growing close from afar, sending stuff is one of the ways you escalate that process of discovery and connection and it’s more effective as a gesture than if you are in the same place.

    If a pair goes on a couple of dates, fools around a bit and one of them starts doing uber-romantic stuff, that’s a but forward and funky. But if a couple is really coming together and starting to develop serious emotional intimacy, hate to sound like a romcom scriptwriter, but talking about your pasts, your hopes and dreams, your favorite bands and dishes – then somebody has to take the risk of escalating and cookies are a good low-risk move.

    My advice in that case would be to never get more than one step ahead of or behind the other person. Expect him to reciprocate somehow after the cookies, if he doesn’t he might not be that interested. If your cookies aren’t well received, or conversely if he starts escalating and you’re not comfortable, there needs to be a discussion of how much intimacy is welcome if at all.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      My advice in that case would be to never get more than one step ahead of or behind the other person.

      Excellent advice from our favorite Badger Lord.

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    SayWhaat,

    “Ha. I once cooked Indian food for this guy I really liked. He enjoyed it. A few months later he got a girlfriend in Tel Aviv.
    If I ever cook for a guy again it’ll be when he’s been my boyfriend for at least a year.”

    Shirley this is tongue in cheek?

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    “This is the best pesto you will ever eat”

    One of the things I love about HUS is Susan’s humility.

    “I’ve been thinking of posting recipes on Fridays, because they don’t generate a lot of debate :)”

    I call dibs on posting my oven-made BBQ ribs (perfect for the northeastern winter season).

    “It was my go-to strategy whenever I liked a guy, and I batted 1000 with it.”

    You’ve been riding the stove carousel.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      One of the things I love about HUS is Susan’s humility.

      Well at least I’m completely honest about being an attention whore. Keep in mind I’ve made and tasted many crappy pestos to arrive at this one.

      I call dibs on posting my oven-made BBQ ribs (perfect for the northeastern winter season).

      Excellent. Consider yourself in the queue for cue.

  • Dogsquat

    Bellita,

    If you ever need to borrow a platoon of Marines or 4 BLS and 2 ALS ambulances for a couple hours, the going rate is 6 dozen homemade cookies. I know these things.

    If the guy likes you, this is going to green-light the heck out of the relationship. It’s a door wide open for him to escalate.

    On the flip side, if he doesn’t like you “in that way”, he’s going to feel awkward and he’ll pull back and/or reinforce the “just friends” thing in some way.

    Either way, it’s worth knowing, innit?

    Think of it as a litmus test.

  • SayWhaat

    “Ha. I once cooked Indian food for this guy I really liked. He enjoyed it. A few months later he got a girlfriend in Tel Aviv.
    If I ever cook for a guy again it’ll be when he’s been my boyfriend for at least a year.”
    Shirley this is tongue in cheek?

    Lol. Which part? The former actually happened. In fact, I’ve done a lot of affectionate things for guys I was involved with (getting them a Hannukah present, spending time just to find them the perfect birthday card and buying them dinner for special occasions) and they all broke up with me before it was time to reciprocate in kind.

    I’m so fucking beta it’s ridiculous.

  • Taline

    You’re JEWISH?! I LOVE IT! Time to shep nachas!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      You’re JEWISH?! I LOVE IT! Time to shep nachas!

      Nah, I’m not, but I often fool my neighbors. I can’t tell you how many times people have said, “easy fast” to me the day before Yom Kippur. My family and friends are a diverse mix, and I truly feel enriched by my considerable exposure to Judaism. Love the food, love the culture, love the tradition of questioning and studying. My daughter feels the same way, and would love to be some nice Jewish boy’s “shiksa goddess.” If you’re Jewish you probably don’t appreciate that. :(

  • Lavazza

    Stephenie: First I would say yes, but after reading that super tasters “tend to dislike strong, bitter foods like raw broccoli, grapefruit juice, coffee and dark chocolate” I would say no.

  • http://dannyfrom504.wordpress.com dannyfrom504

    Badger-
    “I call dibs on posting my oven-made BBQ ribs (perfect for the northeastern winter season).”

    they wouldn’t happen to be boneless BBQ pork ribs, would they? i better not recognize that recipe. lol.

    i need to post more recipes on my site. it’s starting to cool down. might have to make some andoullie and chicken gumbo soon. and yes…..the recipe will be posted.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @danny
      I have to say those snickers brownies looked absolutely deadly/heavenly. I dare not make them.

  • http://bloggingbellita.wordpress.com Bellita

    OfftheCuff, Stephenie, Susan, Jamie, Badger and Dogsquat:

    Thanks to all of you for your advice. This man and I have been connecting (even over the long distance), and I really believe these cookies will be welcome to him . . . but there’s nothing like an emphatic NO from a relationship blogger whom everyone reads but you to make you suddenly second guess yourself. :P

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    Bellita,

    Well, I’m a relationship blogger that “everyone” reads and I say send the cookies. So there!

    Again, as to delaying romantic moves until both sides are invested in the relationship, sure. But “don’t give a man anything until he gives you something” is silly. Men have feelings too, we need to know we are appreciated – besides, men are expected to make the first moves in dating so it’s nice when a woman initiates an escalatory step. Otherwise we’re in the position of doing all the work, and that devalues the joy of the relationship and turns it into work.

    Women are getting lots of really bad relationship advice.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Women are getting lots of really bad relationship advice.

      Always from other women. I’ve learned here that women should ask men for advice.

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    “Ha. I once cooked Indian food for this guy I really liked. He enjoyed it. A few months later he got a girlfriend in Tel Aviv.”

    Months later and in another country? In that case I seriously doubt the two had much to do with each other. Cooking is not going to get you a boyfriend/girlfriend per se, it can only serve as an effective escalating step when all the pieces are in place.

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    “they wouldn’t happen to be boneless BBQ pork ribs, would they? i better not recognize that recipe. lol.”

    I’m offended you’d even jokingly accuse me of stealing your shit. When one of your recipes gets me laid, I will post the +1 shoutout to you on Twitter.

  • http://dannyfrom504.wordpress.com dannyfrom504

    Badger-
    “I’m offended you’d even jokingly accuse me of stealing your shit.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! i knew that would get you. have you even cooked anything i’ve posted? Bb’s the only one i know who’s ever actually cooked anything i’ve written about. although, i do think someone will eventually try out the snicker-brownie recipe.

    and if anything i cook will get you laid, it’s my snicker-brownies.

  • http://bloggingbellita.wordpress.com Bellita

    @Badger

    I sent the cookies!

    One thing I didn’t mention earlier, because I didn’t want it to distract from the question of whether that other relationship blogger had the right idea, was that this man’s father passed away just a few days ago. If he does just think of me as a friend, I obviously don’t want to freak him out at a time like this, but when I heard the news, I wanted to do something to express my condolences, and even an old-fashioned pen-and-paper letter didn’t seem enough.

    (Oh, dear. Let me guess . . . If you had known that at the beginning, you would have told me not to send the cookies?)

  • Stingray

    Badger,

    I, too, have an awesome oven BBQ rib recipe. We should compare notes though, I would be willing to bet they are quite similar. Finish them off on the grill? Homemade sauce? I am drooling just thinking about them.

  • Stingray

    Bellita,

    This is based only on my opinion, but if you two are close and his father just passed, I think that is even better that you sent the cookies. It shows that you are thinking of him during a very difficult time and that you spent some time just on him. I think this will likely be very comforting to him right now.

    My condolences to your friend.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Bellita,

      This is based only on my opinion, but if you two are close and his father just passed, I think that is even better that you sent the cookies. It shows that you are thinking of him during a very difficult time and that you spent some time just on him. I think this will likely be very comforting to him right now.

      I agree. It’s a thoughtful gesture. Strong move.

  • Stingray

    Susan, I wondered about the EEVO too and I think maybe this poster means to use regular olive oil and not extra virgin. Doesn’t regular olive oil have a heavier taste?

  • http://bbsezmore.wordpress.com/ Bb

    “Random question for married people: how long did it take you to decide to get hitched?”

    @GudEnuf: he proposed in two months. I knew that I wanted to marry him in one week. We’d known each other, but not dated at all, for two years prior.

    Danny says “Bb’s the only one i know who’s ever actually cooked anything i’ve written about.”

    In the interest of full disclosure I did not cook the steak, my husband did. He is king in the kitchen. I am but a mere scullery wench. Here’s our review. (I also don’t go anywhere near Danny’s website past midnight. It just leads to hunger and hallucination.)

    Susan, pesto is one of the staples in our home. We’ll have to give this recipe a try. We are garlicophiles here.

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    “I agree. It’s a thoughtful gesture. Strong move.”

    +1. It’s just the right thing to do. Look at it from the other direction, too – suppose someone you cared about had gone through a traumatic event, and you DIDN’T send the cookies because you wanted to preserve whatever chance you had of getting together with him and you had been talked into witholding affection as a strategy. That would sound rather callous and selfish in retrospect.

    Besides, men are so shamed for having emotions, it’s a huge deal for a woman to show sympathy and affection to him because it tells him someone acknowledges his feelings. Party on.

  • http://Dannyfrom504.wordpress.com Dannyfrom504

    I’m doing Texas brisket tomorrow night. Might as well, I have 6-7 hours to spare. I’m pAiring it with my famous frijoles borachos.

  • http://www.howtogirlblog.com Lucy

    I have been looking for this kind of suggestion. Something good that someone enjoyed. I am grateful that you shared such a delicious recipe. Sometimes I also have a need to share something I really like because I want someone to enjoy it as much as I did.

  • Escoffier

    “I think men find cooking very feminine, because it is the ultimate act of nurturing and nourishing.”

    I work in a restaurant on the weekend for kicks (and skillz development) and I can say that this is far from universally true.  Professional kitchens are totally male dominated and very high testosterone.  It’s not quite like what Bourdain describes in Kitchen Confidentail but it’s a lot more like the boys’ than the girls’ locker room (not that I’ve ever been in the latter).
    Also, this may be mean but whatever: all the best cooks I know are dudes.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Escoffier
      You are so right about the pros! I wonder why it is. I wonder if dudes are better at taking risks, or more up for the intense competition? However, on the amateur level, I think men do love to be fed by women. And vice versa – women love men who cook. Do you know the blog Cook to Bang?

  • Escoffier

    no, I don’t read that many cooking blogs.  I cook at home, elaborate french food mostly, but my wife hates it so I mostly cook for myself.  I have heard forever that women love men who cook and all can say to that is hahahahaha.  ha ha ha. Ha.  They don’t effing care, or, worse, they think you must be gay.

    So, you are right but not quite in the way you originally meant. Most men may find cooking feminine but the best cooks are still men and the dominate the pro scene.  They can also get all the waitresses they want.  Within that subculture, they are totally alpha.  But outside it, not so much.  Partly because, as hard as it is, cooking pays shit and women like money, and they like dudes with money.  Partly it’s that the modern female (not the men) view it as a fairy occupation.  (acutally, the gays in cooking are almost all in pastry, not on the line. the hot line is as masculine as the marine corps.)

    Anyway, I enjoy the restaurant a lot because I am the worst cook there and that is the way to get better: getting your ass kicked by people who know what they are doing.  Also, cooking without customers is like gambling without stakes.  If there isn’t an expediter at the pass and a paying customer at the table who may well say “this plate sux” and send it back (and be right to do so) you will not bring your A game.

    There are great female chefs, I don’t mean to deny that, and I have worked with some, but culturally it is a male dominated world.  The girls don’t have to be awful trash-talkers like Bourdain’s “grill bitch” character but they have to be tough and thick skinned.  The bosses in a professional kitchen are blunt and will reject stuff based on really nitpicky flaws that even the best home cook would not care one whit about.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Escoffier
      That’s fascinating. I’m in Boston and one of my favorite chefs is Barbara Lynch, who has built quite an empire. She grew up a cop’s daughter – she is tough, smart, and brilliant with food.

      I think it’s so cool you do this for fun. Your wife is crazy! (no offense, I just can’t think of too many things better than a husband who cooks French food).

  • escoffier

    I must admit, I sometimes get annoyed when I cook something difficult that turns out really well and her only comments are “that sure took a long time” and “I hope you don’t expect me to clean up.”

    She has a point about clean-up.  You do learn from restaurant cooking to “work clean”, that is, clean as you go and don’t let stuff pile up. The problem is that with French dishes there are often many components that have to be kept warm seperately and then come together at literally the last second.  So for one dish you might have four pots and pans on the stove, then you plate it, eat it, and look back at the stove and … oh crap.  Even if all your mis bowls and utensils were cleaned long before.

    Do a few courses (which I also like to do) and it gets out of hand very fast.  She hates courses.  lol.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @escoffier
      I always “work clean.” My husband always makes a point of offering to clean up, but there’s rarely much for him to do except stack our plates in the dishwasher. It’s funny because he truly sees this as a 50/50 division of labor. I let him think that :-)

  • escoffier

    also, a lot of french cooking uses very high heat in fats (butter/oil) which leaves carbon cooked onto the pan which can be very hard to remove.  So she naturally does not like to do that.

    in the restaurant there is a professional crew of dishwashers so we don’t have to worry about it.  They only clean the cooking surface, though, they don’t bother with the backside of the pans, so the carbon build-up over time can be horrendous.

    with my pans, I must get all the carbon off every time.  Which can be a chore.  So I do that.  But have very old pans that are too dull to look new but they don’t have any carbon beyond the little bit at the rivets that is just impossible to remove.  They will last more or less forever.