January, 2010 Archive

Saturday, January 30, 2010

best cocoa brownies

really dark cocoa brownies

People who really, really love chocolate are dubious about cocoa. Even if you buy the most resplendent cocoa in the world, baking things with it that taste as rich as treats with bars of 70% is a rarity. Thus, if you’d told me about a killer recipe for cocoa brownies a couple weeks ago, I wouldn’t have believed you, but since then, two things have happened.

cocoa

The first is that I had one. It was a tiny square, scattered among little tears of homemade marshmallows, near a puddle of homemade hot fudge sauce and carousel-ed around a cocoa nib buckwheat panna cotta at 10 Downing last week that nothing short of blew my mind because did you know that the opposite of sweet in the world of chocolate needn’t necessarily be bitter? Sometimes it’s just not very sweet, period, so you can really taste the chocolate. It was awesome*, all of it.

set upcocoa cascade w/creepy hand silouettecocoa, butter, sugar, salt"double boiler" around here

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

new york deli rye bread

new york deli rye

If you love rye bread, you probably live in one of two worlds: one where you can get it at the ready or one in which you long for it, because the supermarket stuff just doesn’t cut it. Realistically speaking, this post is for the the second group as I live in the first one — The Big Apple, Pastrami Central, A Place Where Bagels Are Fresh All Day And Night. And yet, even here I can only think of a handful of places with reliably good freshly-baked rye bread at the ready. And that may be a generous estimation.

first rise

So here is a recipe to satisfy all of us: New York Deli Rye Bread that you can make at home, no matter how far your home is from the Lower East Side. It’s hearty from all of that whole grain flour. It’s substantial enough to host your favorite sandwich. It freezes like a charm and it has a workaround if you’re one of those people (like me) who love rye bread but loathe biting into caraway seeds. And while it may not be the most traditional way to discover one enjoy bread with butter and a sprinkling of flaky salt, that is exactly what happened to me today when all I could think of was what I could put on this delicious bread next.

rye bread with butter, radishes, salt

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

edna mae’s sour cream pancakes

edna mae's sour cream pancakes

The short, fat and balding love of my life woke himself, and thus myself, up at 6:15 yesterday morning, all too few hours after we’d returned from date night dinner with a jaw-dropping four-dessert dessert course, and I briefly considered returning him. Then I decided to keep him, but informed him that we would not be on speaking terms until the small hand on the clock hit the 8. Then he rolled over and looked so pleased himself that it broke my will. So I rifled through the fridge, tossed some items left and right, found some sour cream leftover from last week’s muffins and decided I may as well make some breakfast.

gloppy sour creammixing the battertwo eggs and a bit of vanillamelting butter in cast iron

Pancakes, to be specific. And not just pancakes, but sour cream pancakes. And not just any sour cream pancakes but Ree Drummond’s Husband’s Grandma Edna Mae’s Sour Cream Pancakes, which I suspect were always served before 8 a.m. I mean, I’ve been out to that ranch, I know how early they wake up, and curiously, with a lot less complaint that yours truly. Maybe I can send Jacob out there next time?

stack of sour cream pancakes

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Friday, January 22, 2010

mixed citrus salad with feta and mint

mixed citrus with feta, mint and onion

Like many New Yorkers, I have a healthy fear of the Upper West Side’s Fairway Market (the Harlem one isn’t so bad, but the Pulaski Skyway is technically closer to my apartment). Sure, they sell everything in the world, but from my rough estimation, the store contains everyone in the world at any given moment and it turns out, the quickest way to turn me into the kind of person with plumes of smoke pouring from my ears as I white-knuckle a shopping cart is to ram into the back of my ankles with yours. Ahem. So yes, I don’t shop there very often.

the citrus lineup

But last weekend! Last weekend I went to their new store in New Jersey… ah, New Jersey with its wide-open spaces and aisles wide enough for two shopping carts in opposing directions and acres upon acres of refrigerated produce space. I about lost it when I saw more than a dozen varieties of citrus and suddenly this citrus salad idea that I had been kicking around in the back of my head became The Next Thing I Absolutely Had To Make.

cara carapale pink grapefruitcara cara, peeledpeeled, sliced into wheels

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ricotta muffins

ricotta filled muffin

These muffins are a labor of love, which is what I think you are supposed to call things that take a bit more work than you’d originally anticipated. I’m not sure if this muffin is to blame, however. You see, we’ve come to expect that muffins, or so-called “quick breads” are indeed speedy to put together so when one takes the smallest amount more time, it may feel like a chore. Especially if you do not do handsprings of joy over the results, which I confess I did not do immediately.

toasted fennel seedsdry ingredients, oil, yogurtbatter, ricotta fillingchopping toasted pecans

But today. Today I woke up and had one of these muffins and while I might be too sleepy, curmudgeonly and also feeling a zillion years too old to literally get my heels over head, I most certainly was on the inside because these are unexpectedly delicious. There’s so much going on, toasted ground fennel seeds scenting a hearty muffin base, a creamy ricotta and tangy sour cream (or crème fraîche, if you’re fancy) center and a hefty lid sprinkled with pecans that have been toasted nearly to the point of caramelization. The muffin itself has the kind of curiously crisp-edged crumb you get when you bake without eggs and while not savory, it’s not sweet either, a relief for people who find the first stroke of the morning to be a bit too early for the day’s first dessert.

ready to bakebaked, overflowed

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