Monday, April 2, 2018

Around the Kitchen Table: What's on your cooking "bucket" list?

Welcome to our monthly Kitchen table talk, where we all chinwag on a chosen topic, and we look forward to your own thoughts in the comments. For our April giveaway, one lucky commenter will be showered ☂ with great reads from many of our mystery writing cooks. Find out more at the end of our post. And now we're off and chatting with this month's topic...


PEG: I've tried tons and tons of recipes over the years. I've made my own bread, I've made naan, I've made pate, I've completely boned and stuffed a chicken and I've even cooked in a tagine. But the one thing I've always wanted to try making is puff pastry or pate feuilletee. I know you can buy it in the grocery store and it works fine, but just once I’d like to try to make my own. I remember watching Julia Child whipping it up on her cooking show. She made it look so easy although everyone shudders when you mention trying it yourself. If I can master it, I’d like to make some Napoleons and maybe a pithiviers—a puff pastry creation that can be savory or sweet. 

What’s on your cooking or baking “bucket” list? Something you want to try to make that you’ve never made before but that maybe scares you a little?  


SHEILA: My daughter is now making puff pastry professionally, and I am insanely jealous. And I happily remember Julia Child's Pithiviers episode. (You don't really think it's a coincidence that I named my daughter Julia?)

But for myself, I think there are some recipes I should try, if I want to call myself a real cook, but I've never done it. Sweetbreads (my grandmother loved them). Tripe. A host of other internal organs. Octopus. And, oddly, my family's standby Sunday dinner: the standing rib roast. While I happily eat roast beef (rare, please), I cower at the idea of ruining a very expensive chunk of meat.


KRISTA: I have had some true kitchen disasters. I have to admit that I felt much, much better about failing at baking macarons when I read that the editor of Cook's Magazine had been just as unsuccessful. And I have decided that Danish (hmm, there's a theme here, isn't there?) are really best bought in a store. However, since real croissants are next to impossible to find where I live, I would like to try my hand at making them. And I really ought to use that pasta gizmo that I bought for my KitchenAid mixer a few years ago.


DARYL: Before I was diagnosed celiac (gluten-free), I tried my hand at homemade pasta. I failed miserably. Do you have to be Italian to do it? I'd like to make beautiful cakes with whipped frosting and using a piping tool so I could make roses and all sorts of fancy frostings, but for some reason I know I will be horrible at it. I can make  gluten-free cake no problem. Oh, how I love looking in bakery windows at  beautiful pastries. Sheila, I will never cook sweetbreads. I had them way back when and got very ill. Sigh. Tripe? No way. Octopus? Too chewy. I do make a killer rib roast. I'll be glad to talk you through the steps. The Gourmet Cookbook: Volume 1 is my guardian angel in this regard. Never fail recipe within its beautiful pages. FYI, I love going to a restaurant and trying to figure out one of their recipes. This one, a Chocolate Decadent Cake from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, is one of my greatest achievements. I got the recipe that served over 40! And tweaked for 8-12. Yay. I shared it on MLK a couple of years ago.


LUCYI never really thought of a cooking bucket list, Peg, but now you've reminded me that I paid for online course on puff pastry--it's a matter of finding the link and having the time! Gesine Bullock-Prado, Sandra Bullock's sister, was the pastry chef/teacher. I also must make lobster mac and cheese for the book I'm writing now. And here's my Pinterest board where I stick everything and anything I might want to cook...


LESLIE: We seem to all be agreed on puff pastry! I asked my cooking companion, aka Mr. Right, his answer and immediately he popped off with Confit de Canard, aka Duck Confit, which he discovered on our month-long trip to France a few years ago. (The month in which he ate duck so often, I started feeding the ducks on the Sorgue River as an apology.) Then he suggested we try it this weekend, but alas, no local source for duck fat. Like Daryl, I thought of homemade pasta. And then there's macarons, and cannoli, and eclairs, and ... Maybe I should just go back to France!

CLEO: In all my 18 years of marriage to my husband (and partner in culinary crime writing), I never asked him about his cooking fantasies. For this post, I did. 

Marc surprised me with a wish to one day have his own smoker. This, of course, poses a problem in urban areas like New York City, where we live, but Marc would dearly love to smoke his own brisket. His wish reminded me of my own. 

During the Great Depression, my father's mother baked bread every morning in an outdoor coal-fired oven (old-time Italian style). I'd love to do the same, not only with bread but also pizza. And while we're on the subject of fire and smoke, roasting my own coffee has been a bucket list wish for years. I'm finally close to doing it. Watch for a blog on home roasting in the near future! ~ Cleo Coyle, author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

☂ ☂ ☂



Leave a comment with your email
address or tell us how to find you on
Facebook, and here is what you'll win...

Congrats to our winner,
by random draw:

"Deb P."

TART OF DARKNESS by Denise Swanson (click to learn more)

SHOT IN THE DARK by Cleo Coyle (click to learn more)

BERRIED AT SEA by Peg Cochran (click to learn more)

DEAD COLD BREW by Cleo Coyle (click to learn more)

COLOR ME MURDER  by Krista Davis (click to learn more)

PRESSING THE ISSUE by Daryl Wood Gerber (click to learn more)

MURDER AT THE MANSION by Sheila Connolly (click to learn more)

Congrats to our drawing winner:


She is now "showered" 
with some great reads!