- I got my bacon at Dickson's Farmstand Meats and they didn't have any rind left so I made it without. I didn't miss it.
- As I mentioned, I used 4 cloves of garlic instead of 2. Perfect.
- The recipe just said "fresh mushrooms" - I used cremini.
- I used grass-fed beef which doesn't brown nearly as well as corn-fed or -finished. This recipe says to sear over medium heat - I had to use high heat to get any color. Even then, I got very little. Be careful - if you leave the grass-fed on too long it'll get tough!
- I can't emphasize this enough: taste for seasoning! Before you put it on the table, make sure it doesn't need more salt and pepper!
- I didn't put this over rice, noodles, or anything else. Not my style. I served it as a straight-up stew with some sliced baguette on the side to soak up the juices.
4 thick slices of bacon, cut into a few pieces each
4 slices day-old sourdough bread
4ish slices of brie
1/2 cup milk or half and half
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
freshly ground pepper
Preheat your waffle iron or griddle. Cook and drain the bacon and for extra deliciousness/fattiness, reserve a little bit of the fat to brush onto the waffle iron.
Make two sandwiches with the sourdough bread, using the bacon and the brie. In a baking dish, whisk together the eggs, milk, parmesan, thyme and pepper. Place the sandwiches into the dish and let them soak for a minute or two. Flip and let them soak another couple minutes.
Grease the waffle iron or griddle with a little oil, butter, or bacon grease. Place the sandwiches on the iron, close, and cook until golden brown (or, if using a griddle, just cook for a couple minutes per side, or until golden).
So here are the particularly special things that happened at Midwinter:
- Meeting so many special authors. Linda Urban wandered into our booth and, being a huge fan of Crooked Kind of Perfect, I was able to gush and slobber all over her. I'm sure it wasn't as good for her as it was for me, but I loved seeing her. Loree Griffin Burns, author of Tracking Trash, was with Linda and they were both incredibly sweet and gracious, given that they were dealing with a crazy fangirl. I also met Stuart Murphy rather spontaneously and, as a librarian, I always found his books invaluable because they filled such a particular niche. Holly Cupala also stopped by the booth, as Harper is publishing her upcoming book Tell Me a Secret. She is a sweetheart with a smile that'll stop traffic (who also turned me on to Sock Dreams).
- Eating at Hamersley's Bistro. They had a crispy duck confit that stopped me dead. Perfect in every way. Kayleigh had the roast chicken and believe me when I assure you that it was in no way ordinary or plain. In fact, I never knew chicken could melt in your mouth. And I mean that in the best way possible.
- Eating (always food, right?) at Taberna de Haro. The food was pretty good, but the dessert...well, I had an intimate experience with the dessert. The server put the plate on the table with three small truffles and some small pieces of grilled bread. He sprinkled a generous amount of sea salt on the truffles, followed by a good shake of cocoa powder, and then poured olive oil over all of it. The olive oil and chocolate became this decadently goopy syrup and we used the bread to mop it up. The truffles were super dark and, combined with the salt, were small pieces of ecstasy. It was a once-in-a-lifetime dessert.
- The ALA Youth Media Awards. Even though it's a bit different now that I'm working for a publisher (I have a team to root for now!), I still experienced the same thrill and excitement as before. And I loved the Printz announcement - the room was in an uproar as there was one surprise after another. They shook it up big time, and thank goodness for that. It was a hoot.
- The ALA Tweet-Up. It was insane, just insane, but it was also a great chance for me to hook up with old friends (Liz, Heather, and Jen) and meet some new ones (Laura and Melissa Rabey).
- The Seaport Hotel. Need a place to stay in Boston that, frankly, is not terribly near convenient stuff? Stay here. The decor in the room wasn't anything spectacular, but the staff was super nice and there were all kinds of cute amenities: terrycloth robes, a "pillow library", an umbrella in the closet, and a black washcloth labeled "makeup" on the toiletries shelf. And the quality of the room service food was very good. And the "tip is already included" policy was awfully nice as well.
- I got a kick out of this: Saturday's top tweets as chosen by Library Journal. And here are Sunday's as well.
I have no complaints about this conference at all, though I do have to ask what the heck is up with Bostonian cabbies - they're infinitely more shady than the NYC variety. Wow.
Eat, drink, and finally get some sleep.
Here are some more reasons I'm excited to get up to Boston:
- Three words: Megan. Whalen. Turner. As you may know, her next book, Conspiracy of Kings, is coming out this year (Apr 2010). While we're not having her sign in our booth, she will be doing a signing at Harvard Bookstore on Saturday, January 16th at 12:00 pm. See more details at Megan's website.
- Foodie field trip! I'm going to score some sticky buns from Flour Bakery with Kayleigh (The Roaring 20s) on Friday morning!
- The fab ladies of the HarperCollins Children's school & library marketing team (that would be Patty, Emilie, and yours truly) will be presenting titles for our upcoming 2010 spring and summer season. There will be food, there will be laughs, there will be FREE BOOKS. See our website for the full details. All are welcome, no need to RSVP. Be there or be square.
- I love the Youth Media Awards. Love them. The anticipation, the surprises, the cheering, the crowds. I'll be there in person, but you can watch the live webcast here.
- In addition to Flour Bakery, I'll also be eating at Hamersley's Bistro and, tentatively, Taberna de Haro. Anyone else have any must-eat recommendations in the downtown Boston area?
Again, if you're in the Boston area and/or will be at the conference, make sure to stop by and say hi (just like Monica did at NCTE)! I'll be in booth #1404, waiting for you with a smile and free books!
Eat, drink, and don't be shy!
- Jamie calls for sultanas and pine nuts. Don't bother. The flavors without them are still intense, rich, and complicated. Adding the sultanas (raisins) and pine nuts would muddy it up. There is a lot to be said for simplicity and subtlety, Jamie.
- I used a half-bottle of Pio Cesare Barbera d'Alba for the recipe and drank the other half with the meal. Heaven. But should you want to pair beer with it, Adam's Brooklyn Brewery Brown Ale gave my Barbera a run for its money. Just make sure your ale isn't too cold - just above room temp is ideal.
- Jamie being Jamie, he didn't give a size for the duck. The recipe just says "a duck". For god's sake. For the record, I had a 5-pounder.
- My duck skin didn't get "thin and crisp" like Jamie said. So I took off the skin first and set it aside. I took all the duck off the bone and tossed it in the sauce, per the recipe. While the sauce was "blip"-ing for another half-hour, I put the skin on a cookie sheet and kept it in a 350-degree oven for that half-hour. Blissfully crispy skin was the result. I salted and peppered it and set it on the table (you can see it in the photos). It was good both as a snack with dinner and a topping to the pasta.
- There are lots of variations on this pasta. I probably won't use pasta next time. I'll put it over mashed potatoes, as Jamie suggests. Or better yet, I'm going to eat it as a stew with no pasta or starches. Maybe some crusty bread for soaking up the juices at the bottom of the bowl. Aaaaahhhhh...
- This was a stupid amount of pasta for only 2 people. There's enough for Adam and I to eat the whole week. Next time, I'll halve it. With the other half of the duck meat, I'll make something different later in the week, like Ina Garten's Warm Duck Salad. On the upside, here is what I'm eating for lunch on a Sunday, at this moment as I type this:
- Food as Memory Trigger
- Kitchen Dance review
- A Day of Loss (I miss you, Kate and Kathy!)
- Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles review
- Meeting Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
- My Favorite French Things
- This Week's Menu: Food as Life
- Bacon Fat Shortbread Cookies
- Losing gallbladder = losing weight
- Eat, drink, and read - all at the same time
- Eat, drink, and go out and smash it. Like, oh my god.
- Eat, drink, and get by with a little help from my friends.
- Eat, drink, and persevere in the kitchen!
- Eat, drink, and if you don't succeed, try again.
- Eat, drink, and always have bread available to soak up meat juices!
- Eat, drink, and use declarative sentences.