Like everyone, I cycle through recipes. I try a lot of new ones for my job at The New York Times, and I shuffle through a pile I keep as inspiration for other writing projects. Some I try only once. Others, I come back to again and again, until I get it right or get bored or both. Then there are the recipes that I always use. They are family recipes or dishes that were so good -- or so easy and so good -- that they became part of the rotation at my house. Here are some of those constants, including recipes from Spoon Fed.
This is from a conversation I had with my mother about her date nut bread. She read it to me over the phone, referencing a stained index card. She offered comment along the way.
Mix 1cup dates, chopped with 2 cups water and boil for 2 minutes. “Mine always tries to run over.”
Remove from heat. Let cool slightly. Add 3 teaspoons of baking soda. “Watch it or it will puff right over the pan.”
Beat two eggs. Add 2 cups of sugar and beat some more. “That’s in a big bowl. It’ll be a light yellow.”
Stir in 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
Add to the eggs mixture:
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla
Then stir in 1/2 cup chopped nuts and add the date mixture. “You’ve still got that sitting around, you know.”
Grease and flour four coffee cans. Fill half way up. Or fill six or seven little loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
“But if you’re doing a big one you just have to look at it and judge.”