If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably remember a post I did a couple of years ago in which I reviewed Eat Like A Gilmore: The Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of Gilmore Girls. Well, dear readers, author Kristi Carlson and her entourage of chefs are back with more eats for the diehard Gilmore fan, and I couldn’t resist sharing some of the recipes with all of you.The foods in Eat Like A Gilmore: Daily Cravings are much more involved than those of its predecessor, and some, like the lobster bisque, are too expensive to be accessible on a daily basis. There’s a lot more international cuisine, and in plenty of cases, a lot more ingredients and steps per recipe. It might seem daunting, especially to a novice cook, but in most cases the effort pays off. Hold on to your hats, guys…
Pizza Rolls (Season 3, “Haunted Leg”)
The Gilmores sure loved their pizza–it was almost a food group. They also liked mixing things up now and then with the old finger food standby, pizza rolls, and Daily Cravings brings us this DIY version made with won ton wrappers. These are cheesy, appetizing and crispy, but cook beware, because they do pop and crackle quite a bit when flipped over in the hot oil. The recipe also calls for too much filling per roll–a tablespoon of sauce, plus a teaspoon of cheese, plus a teaspoon of pepperoni if desired. I found the rolls folded better when all the filling together amounted to a tablespoon. And it’s easier to dab on the egg wash with a fingertip instead of a brush, which is too clumsy on a small surface. It’s all worth it, though–my guys wolfed these down.
Osso Buco (Season 1, “Paris Is Burning”)
Although ossobuco translates to “braised veal,” or the more awkward “bone hole,” I was thankful the recipe in Daily Cravings calls for pork instead. As we all know, veal is expensive, plus there are ethics issues, plus it’s highly acidic, which is problematic for gout sufferers, so pork is safer. Anyway, I had to make a couple of very minor changes to this recipe–bone-in beef shortribs for the soup bone, and biscuits instead of rice for serving. I also poured off all but a couple of tablespoons of the bacon fat at the beginning and skimmed the fat off the sauce before I reduced it at the end, because it would have been too greasy otherwise (The recipe doesn’t say to do that). It all worked out; this meal is decadent and awesome. The meat and veg are browned in bacon fat and olive oil, with everything cooking low and slow. It smells like garlic, rosemary, and sage, and the gremolata topping has lemon zest, which adds just the right amount of acidity. Very flavorful and very tasty.
Sweet and Sour Pork, Garlic Chicken, Chicken in Brown Sauce (Season 2, “Lost and Found”)
Chinese food is almost as popular at the Gilmore house as pizza and Pop-Tarts, and Daily Cravings has an entire section of Asian recipes. In honor of that time Lorelai and Rory ordered the entire chicken column from Al’s Pancake World, I thought I’d load up on everyone’s favorite bird, with a little pork thrown in for good measure. I like making Asian food, so this was a no-brainer. And…they’re not at all bad–the chicken in brown sauce was a big hit. They’re just a little boring. That, and the sweet and sour pork had too much sauce and the chicken recipes were so full of cornstarch that they turned sludgy as they sat. Like I said, they tasted fine, but my favorite Asian cookery is still Rhoda Yee’s Chinese Village Cookbook.
Chicken Piccata (Season 3, “Those Are Strings, Pinocchio”)
Eh. Why this recipe uses vermouth I don’t know, because none of the other piccata recipes I read had it–they either contained chicken broth or plain ol’ white wine. I don’t care for cooking with vermouth because the proof is too high to burn off quickly, and this recipe calls for almost a cup. For deglazing. And it only cooks for about a minute. Yikes. Since I’m not out to get my family all lickkered up, I used a couple of tablespoons of vermouth, making up the difference with chicken broth, and it turned out great. Delicious, actually. The sauce is very lemony and not too heavy. I just wish I had researched the recipe before I shopped for it, because now I’m stuck with a bottle of vermouth I don’t plan on using or drinking. Groan. Oh well. Hindsight.
Fiesta Burger (Season 1, “Love and War and Snow”)
Oh, this burger is good. It’s really good. It’s got a great blend of flavors. The beef is seasoned with taco seasoning and red pepper flakes, which smell fab. Don’t be put off by the raw sliced jalapeños on top, either, or the pepper jack cheese covering them–it’s not super-spicy, although the sum total has a nice kick, plus the sour cream and guac cool things off. Still, if anyone is sensitive to highly-spiced food, a whole canned chili or sliced bell pepper are nice substitutes for the jalapeños. Other than that, I didn’t have to change a thing for this recipe, although I forgot to buy lettuce. I think I’m going to try making a chicken or turkey version as well. Yum!
Fudge (Season 5, “Written In the Stars”)
When Luke and Lorelai got together at last, fans everywhere rejoiced. Luke and Lorelai’s fellow townspeople were cautious in giving their approval, though, regaling our lovers with the sad tale of the triangle between Margie the Fudge Queen, Art the Candy Man, and Fay the Flower Lady. Ergo, Daily Cravings boasts a fudge recipe. The first steps are easy, but woe betide anyone who lets their fudge set on the counter as the recipe says. Trust me, it doesn’t end well, even if the final product tastes good. I don’t know if I have the patience to try this fudge again (The AllRecipes one seems like a safer bet).
French Dip Sliders (Season 6, “Just Like Gwen and Gavin”)
Among the highlights of the Stars Hollow Winter Carnival are the French dip sliders, and Daily Cravings makes sure no one’s left out. It’s a good thing, too, because they are delectable–the jus alone is fantastic. But–and this is a big “but”–the recipe doesn’t execute very well. The idea is that all the sandwiches are baked together so they can be cut into a deliciously cheesy, Instagram-worthy, pull-apart delight. Problem is, there’s so much liquid from the onions, which simmer in the jus, that the sandwiches in the middle go to mush. What I think I’m going to do next time is caramelize the onions, pull them out, and then cook the jus in the skillet by itself. After that, I’ll probably make the sandwiches as we need them and broil them in the toaster oven until the cheese melts. Less IG-type showbiz, and more of a traditional French dip.
Homemade Mallomars (Season 3, “Happy Birthday, Baby”)
Mallomars aren’t a thing on the West Coast–the closest thing we have are Nabisco Pinwheels–so I didn’t really have a frame of reference when making these. I don’t think they even had real Mallomars on the show–they looked more like Snackwells Devil’s Food. Anyway, these little puppies are rich and yummy. They’re also a lot of work, because each part is homemade, including the marshmallow. The recipe is nicely composed, though, which helps. The only thing I would say is the wafer dough should be no more than a quarter inch thick when rolled out, and the finished cookies may need to be stored in the fridge. I had to leave mine to dry on the counter all night because the chocolate coating didn’t harden up for a long time. It’s more like ganache than anything. The payoff is big, though. Whatever real Mallomars taste like, they’d have a hard time living up to the ones in Daily Cravings. Plus I got a big plate of homemade marshmallows out of the extra fluff, which was very nice.
Daily Cravings is wonderful and diverse in terms of overall novelty. However, it has the same issues as the first Eat Like A Gilmore in that the recipes aren’t written precisely enough to ensure success. A more experienced home cook might be able to improvise, but the book may frustrate beginners. There’s not a whole lot of variety in the ingredients, either–seeing rice in recipe after recipe gets monotonous. Still, it’s fun, and it’s a cool way to vicariously visit Stars Hollow. I sincerely hope a third volume comes out someday.
Thanks for reading, all, and I hope you’ll come back tomorrow for the Claude Rains Blogathon. Have a good one…