Call Me Puff Daddy

Prosciutto-Parmesan Puffs Recipe

I knew I was different when I was seven years old. While all the other kids in the neighborhood were playing in the Jennings’ backyard, sniggering at stolen copies of Playboy and knocking back enough Pez, Twizzlers, and s’mores to make our dentist start shopping for a new ’67 Acapulco blue Mustang, I was hiding out in our kitchen.

“Don’t hang from the oven handle,” Momma Leite would yell, thwacking me on the back of the head with her constant companion, a wet dish rag. “And don’t open the door until they’re done.”

Inside were four Pepperidge Farm apple turnovers. One for her, one for my dad, and two for me. It was the occasional dessert she deigned to serve when I would purposely convulse at the grocery or pronounce in front of company that I was adopted and that my real family lived in a mansion by the sea.

I stood vigil, forehead pressed against the splattered oven window because I desperately wanted to watch the puffery in action. Too many times I’d grown impatient or distracted and stepped away from four flat, pallid triangles only to return to a quartet of buxom beauties, just a hint of their lovely juices seeping through the frills of their ruffles. But that afternoon, I was determined to study every tiny transition in this alchemy. I watched how the sealed edges were the first to blossom and split into a million layers. As the turnovers began to brown, I watched, spellbound, while they bubbled and heaved as though they were coming alive, becoming bigger and firmer until they’d risen, fully engorged! What can I say? While the Freeborns and Jennings ogled what Lynn Winchell, Miss December 1967, had to offer, I was becoming addicted to a very different kind of porn—one that  conveniently required no confession with Father Fraga at St. John of God on Saturday afternoons. Read more »

Bolognese Lasagne

Bolognese Lasagne Recipe

I’ve always looked upon making my own pasta as a virtuous endeavor. Like tithing, volunteering, or rotating my tires on a regular basis. So when I told The One I was going to make Giuliano’s lasagne with homemade noodles, he gave me a very impressed nod of the head. I liked that. He was even more intrigued when I hauled out all my new KitchenAid rollers and cutters along with a ruler, broomstick, and 00 flour. Clearly I meant business.

This recipe is a cinch to follow. Guiliano writes that you can make it over two days, but if you’re organized (which I’m not), you can make in an afternoon—which I did. My only problem was that I had to stop rolling the dough two settings before the narrowest setting that the recipe specified because the dough was stretching too thin. Thinking I perhaps made a mistake and had already rolled it into pasta oblivion (after all, I was picturing those hefty-hefty, thick-as-plywood lasagne noodles of days gone by), I posted a picture on Facebook in the hopes of getting feedback. And who should reply? None other than the doyen of Italian cooking—Marcella Hazan. She wrote, “Nice touch David, to lay out the pasta on checked fabric to display its transparency. Homemade egg pasta is at the top of the pasta pyramid, and homemade lasagne alla Bolognese commands the very peak. Why have so few refused to make that ascent? Congrats, D.L.” As you can imagine, I was practically vibrating with pride. Read more »

A Love Story, In 15 Cookies

New York Magazine Cookie

Sometimes the most memorable gifts are the most ephemeral gifts. Like flowers. Cookies made with a certain someone in mind. Sweet sentiments uttered in the presence of loved ones. This past weekend, David (aka our own Fatty Daddy) lavished all three of these on The One to fête his beloved’s 55th birthday. Though the presents themselves may be transitory, the thinking behind them began last year, when David made a rare appearance at a reception in Manhattan. Perched atop the requisite cake were cookies in the likeness of various New York City icons, each exquisitely fashioned by Gail Dosik. It was at that moment that David started scheming. Months later, David presented these 15 cookies, each of which symbolizes something near and dear to The One’s heart, to the birthday boy before his bash this past Saturday night. Actually, though, these tokens of love actually began long, long ago. As David explained to The One, in his words, “Once upon a time, when two princes fell in love the old-fashioned way….” Here, we present their love story, as told in those cute-as-can-be cookies. As for ephemeral? The One refused to share the cookies with his guests. Nor would he take even a single nibble. Instead, he intends to hold them near and dear forever. Can’t say as we blame him.–Renee Schettler Rossi

ONCE UPON A TIME there were two princes (well, one was really more of a princess when it came to temperament) who were searching for love in all the wrong places. This was the early ’90s and they were in their early 30s–can you blame them? But all they found were broken promises shouted over thumping house music. Tired and exhausted from years of looking for Mr. Goodbar, each of them at last decided to consult the ancient romance oracle known as the personal pages of New York magazine. (Yes, children, there was a time when people actually met and fell in love via the printed word–before eHarmony and Match.com.) Fatty Daddy, who wasn’t yet fat but rather gorgeously slim and sporting a thick shock of brown hair, placed a royal decree for a companion prince. Of all the princes in all the lands, not to mention a few nude creeps who had no sense of modesty, only one—The One—fit the bill. He was slender, with blue eyes flecked with gold, and just enough blond hair left to qualify as a receding hairline. He was perfect. Read more »

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