I no longer receive any food magazines. When those fools at Condé Nast shuttered Gourmet (ending my 20+ year subscription), I gave up. Sure, I’ll read Martha Stewart Living at my mom’s or leaf through Bon Appetit at my sister’s, but no magazines come to my post office box any more. What I read instead are the weekly or monthly newsletters that come to my email box. The best, in my opinion, is the NYT Cooking newsletter from Sam Sifton; his writing is both erudite and accessible, and I appreciate his links to items of cultural interest—whether music, books, museum reviews, or Instagram accounts—that don’t necessarily relate to food. It’s also a treat to get a newsletter from David Lebovitz, Joy the Baker, Anna Jones, or Leite’s Culinaria. The first three usually send chatty notes and a list of links, while the Leite’s Culinaria newsletter is a collection of recipes that are a great source of weekly inspiration.
And the latter is where the recipe for today’s soup came from. Karfiolleves, a cauliflower soup from Hungary, jumped out at me with its neon-red paprika color and the promise of sour cream. I made a few changes, totally altering its authenticity I’m sure, but the result is pretty yummy, and more kid-friendly. It’s supposed to be made with fiery hot paprika, but I used sweet Hungarian paprika instead, and added a pinch of red pepper flakes for just a hint of heat. The original recipe calls for dumplings that get formed one by one and dropped into the soup; I made things easier on myself (without sacrificing deliciousness) by making spaetzle instead. We made spaetzle at cooking camp last summer; it is one of the most instantly gratifying foods to cook. You stir flour, eggs, and milk together into a thick mixture that walks the line between “dough” and “batter,” then drop bits of it into boiling water using a spaetzle maker. As soon as the little dumpling-noodles float, they’re done. For those of you that are having a hard time waiting for borscht (yes, you!) this soup, with its Eastern European flavors and tangy creaminess, might help tide you over until Valentine’s Day.
In addition to the new soup, we’ve also got a new salad dressing: raspberry-poppyseed. There’s a nice sweetness from raspberry jam, a good hit of mustard, and those cute little poppyseeds with their delicious crunch. It wasn’t quite pink enough for me, so I added a slice of beet—not enough to taste, just enough to change the color. Now it’s pretty as heck.
A new dessert, too! I usually make sponge cake for these layered-in-jars treats; this time, I made chiffon cake, which is basically a sponge cake with the addition of oil. The filling is a delicious concoction of caramel, cream, coffee, and ricotta, and then there’s a thin chocolate glaze on top. This one might be a new favorite—let me know if you like it as much as I do.