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.
January, 2010 Archive
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.
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.
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.
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.
I could no longer resist this sauce, and frankly, I don’t know why I even tried to: food bloggers obsess over it, and they’re not a bad lot to base a recipe selection upon. Adam of Amateur Gourmet fell for it five years ago. Molly at Orangette raved about it over two years ago, with a bonus approval marking from Luisa at Wednesday Chef. Then Rachel Eats fawned over it too, and Rachel, you see, she lives in Rome right now — I want to be in Rome right now — Rome, where you can get authentic, perfect tomato sauce a zillion places every single day. And yet she stayed in and made this one. That sealed the deal.
Almond cake, schmalmond cake… Can we just talk about this syrup? I got briefly and over-enthusiastically into making fruit syrups this summer when this September arrival forced me into a mocktail kinda lifestyle. I had quickly dismissed all of those new grown-up sodas everywhere; they were either too sweet or their so-called “natural” nature was a theory easily poked holes in upon a cursory glance at the ingredient label. Wouldn’t it be easier to just make my own fruit syrups and stir them into a glass of seltzer? I did alright with a rhubarb and a mango syrup, but they were really nothing to write home, er, I mean to you all, about. It took me a while to get back to the drawing board.