January, 2009 Archive

Friday, January 30, 2009

chocolate whiskey and beer cupcakes

chocolate whiskey and beer cupcakes

Folklore says that if you order an Irish Car Bomb in an Irish bar, you’ll either be greeted with a smile and a drink or a black eye, so proceed at your own risk. The way the drink is made (I figure the black eye is self-explanatory) is that a shot glass with a mix of Baileys Irish Cream and Jameson’s Irish whiskey is dropped into a three-quarters full pint of Guinness and the insane person who brought this upon themselves it must chug this whole foaming mess down quickly. Before it curdles. Hey, don’t look at me — I don’t think I have ever been wasted enough to invent something so utterly brilliant.

guinness cupcake batter
baked chocolate guinness cupcakes

How exactly this cocktail came to pass in baked good form was that I was finally going to get to meet my friend Jocelyn’s cross-country fiance at her New Year’s Eve party last month and to give him a proper introduction to the Smitten Kitchen, I asked her what he liked. She said his favorite things were chocolate and Guinness (oh, and her, but I guess that is implied) and what do you know, I just happen to have a cake that combines those things into something greater than the sum of it’s parts. But in the weeks that followed, somehow, like a grade school game of telephone, became “car bomb”-style cupcakes and seeing how much I love Baileys, you weren’t going to get any argument out of me.

scooping out cupcakes

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

warm butternut squash and chickpea salad

butternut chickpea salad

I’ve confessed again and again that I’m just not the kind of person who likes to eat things repeatedly. What’s bad for, I don’t know, using up leftovers, however, is good for having the kind of site that updates three times a week with new recipes. So I’d say it all evens out. But every so often, actually — way too rarely, rarely — I hit on something that I cannot stop eating. For weeks, months. And now, we’re over a year and I’m telling you, if I had a butternut squash at home right now, we’d already have dinner made.

peeled butternut squash

I’ve mentioned this salad before but I realize that this is one of those recipes I’m going to refresh as often as I can get away with. The second I had these ingredients together — lemon, tahini, butternut squash, garlic, chickpeas — I couldn’t believe it was the first time. They were made to be together, and in the times that I’ve had them apart in other recipes, I always know what they’re missing.

butternut squash

Continued after the jump »

Monday, January 26, 2009

flaky blood orange tart

flaky blood orange tart

Have you ever lost a recipe? A couple years ago, a reader emailed me, sending me a link to a delicious-looking blood orange tart that she thought I might enjoy. The photo that accompanied the recipe was startling — fiery, purple and magenta coins of oranges with burnished edges laid over a rustic tart base and if ever a photo could reel me in, that one was it.

blood oranges
supreming blood oranges

Unfortunately, nearly as instantly as I fell for the tart, I lost it. And I know what you’re thinking: how do you lose a tart you’ve never made, never eaten and that is fully available on the internet? But somehow I managed to, and spent the next two years Googling it to no end, stumbling onto hundreds of blood orange tart recipes and never finding That One again. When I saw that blood oranges were once again in season this year, I vowed that this time, I would not leave my computer until I found it and it worked! Do you know where I found it? A totally random and very obscure Web site called Food & Wine.

blood oranges, supremed and sliced

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, January 24, 2009

chicken milanese + an escarole salad

chicken milanese

I have a new, colossal Food Network crush on Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and the first time I saw the show, I completely forgot every food personal crush that had come before. “Ina Garten who?” “Michael Chiarello? I never heard of him.” Because seriously, Anne Burell trumps all that came before. She’s got the kind of real cooking and fresh ideas you’d hope for from a television show, but too rarely get. I immediately want to make everything she does.

quick-pickled red onionschicken breading stationfrying the chickenfrying the chicken milanese

And if I saw chicken milanese on a restaurant menu, I wouldn’t order it. If you told me you were breading and frying chicken cutlets for dinner, I’d feign excitement but inwardly groan. Because if there are two foods in the world that will never hold my interest, they’d be chicken cutlets and anything that has been dredged in breadcrumbs and fried. I find the former bland and the latter makes everything taste the same, not that I need to learn how to form an opinion or anything. Yet, when Ms. Burell made it, I counted down the days until I could find an excuse to make it, which brings us to Tuesday night’s inauguration dinner party (where the caramel sauce was homemade, ahem, but that story for a different day).

escarole salad with pickled red onions

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, January 22, 2009

bittersweet chocolate and pear cake

torta di pere

Almost two years ago, Alex and I met friends for dinner at Al Di La, an always-packed, funky mom-and-pop Italian restaurant in Park Slope that not only doesn’t take reservations, it has no room for you to stand around while you wait for one (unless you go to the adjacent wine bar). It helps to know someone who works there.

Before we went, Alex dug up their menu online (does anyone remember life back when you actually had to arrive at a restaurant to find out what they served? Probably less tripe and rabbits feet on the menu, eh?) and decided at that very moment that we must order the torta di pere, a bittersweet chocolate and pear cake. “Fruit and chocolate together?” I said, “Why is this necessary?” as I had always insisted that they were better apart.

eggs, getting to room temppearspeeled pearswhipping and whipping the eggsbrown butter batterbatter, piled with pears and chocolate

Continued after the jump »


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