Everyday Gourmet (3/4/10)

It’s NOT complicated

March 4, 2010

By Kim Dannies

Oscar fever is at full pitch this week. Two of my favorite movies this past year involve Meryl Streep and food. In “Julie & Julia,” Streep reincarnates the cooking icon Julia Child with the grace and precision of an avatar. And I’m still salivating over her role as Jane in “It’s Complicated.” The kitchen and restaurant scenes, along with the sheer artistry of the casseroles and confections, made me weak with hunger and envy.

It’s reassuring to know that movie food is styled with glycerin and glue, rendering it gorgeous but inedible, and that whipping up attractive, great tasting food on your own is NOT complicated. With spring festivities just around the corner, here are two recipes that will help you create professional looking food that will thrill your very own fan base.

Snuffy & Boom-Boom’s Macaroons

This recipe is the combined effort of two dear friends.

Mix together 14 ounces of sweetened coconut, 14 ounces of unsweetened coconut, 1 14-ounce can of non-fat condensed milk, 1/4 teaspoon of almond and vanilla extract, each; and 1 cup toasted chopped almonds (optional). Mix well and shape into 20 flat-bottomed ovals. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Microwave 2 cups of chocolate chips for 45 seconds, stir in 2 teaspoons of canola oil.

On a fresh cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, drop a teaspoon of chocolate into a pool and set a macaroon on it, creating a chocolate base. Repeat; drizzle a little chocolate over each top. Macaroons freeze beautifully.

Springtime Asparagus

Buy a big bunch of fat-fingered asparagus and remove bottom stems by snapping their bases. Toss spears in a little olive oil. Fire up the grill and roast the asparagus spears until they blister and glisten, about 5 minutes.

Place asparagus on a platter and scatter sea salt and fresh pepper over all.

Serve a Rouille-styled mayonnaise on the side: Chop 4 garlic cloves and a big bunch of mint leaves in a mini-processor. Add 2 cups of mayo and some hot sauce, to taste. Blend.

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.