Elsewhere Archive

Friday, February 11, 2011

white and dark hearted brownies

white and dark hearted brownies

White chocolate brownies have it tough. They share a name with a baked good that needs no improving on; their chocolate is rejected by self-titled “real” chocolate eaters for being a pale imitation of the rich, nutty and bittersweet awesomeness of darker chocolates; this same chocolate is so sweet that you must dial back the sugar in your brownies to adjust for it, removing moisture, risking leaving them cake-like and if it couldn’t get much worse, they’re barely white. More like, pale-yellowish-beige. Yum, right?

white chocolate brownies
brown brownies

I was one of those white chocolate rejectors for a long time but I finally made peace with it when I stopped judging it through the lens of chocolate — which is bitter and complex in ways that white chocolate cannot be — and accepted it for what it is, a buttery sweet confection that, when used carefully, plays exceptionally well with others, like mint, berries, nuts and, well, dark chocolate. And since I’d come full circle with my reasoning, I made a batch of white chocolate brownies and a batch of dark chocolate brownies and hadn’t figured out what I was going to do next, only that nothing bad could happen from there.

ready to trade parts

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

espresso chiffon cake with fudge frosting

espresso layer cake, fudge frosting

Of course, there was also cake. I mean, you didn’t think I’d let my better half’s 35th birthday go by without some homemade, stacked and butter-laden goodness, did you? Right, I didn’t think so.

egg whites, soft peaksfrothy cappucino-like batterespresso chiffon cakes, coolingbrushing the cake with more espresso

Now, no introduction to a birthday cake for Alex would be complete without a brief tour of the cakes from years past, when there has been an Icebox Cake, a Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake, a Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake and the cake that you all liked so much, it broke the server’s back for a harrowing day or two last year, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Did you sense a theme or something? There Will Be Chocolate, Like You Even Needed To Ask.

instant fudge frosting

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

slinging slaws + summer salads

green bean and cherry tomato salad

I had a terrific and by no means life-altering discovery this weekend — er, unless you’re me, and the concept of ‘having a life’ is an abstract one, at best — which was that my favorite dead-simple green bean and cherry tomato salad was even awesomer when made with (I hope you’re sitting down this, people) a mixture of green and yellow beans. Really!

green and yellow beanstomatoes and onion marinating

And I know, why on earth would I bog you down with my most snooze-worthy discoveries? Because yesterday morning when I received a call asking if I’d like to be on Good Day New York today demonstrating some July 4th-worthy salads and sides, my first thought was, “ooh, I can make the prettiest green bean salad!” Followed, of course, by “wait, I have like three hours of free time today and no groceries a doctors appointment and zillion things to do and even more things to cook and I’m overdue for a haircut and my fingernails look like they’ve been through a paper shredder and not a single cute dress to wear and zomg I am not ready for my closeup!“, or you know, the usual neuroses. I said yes, of course. I am pretty sure that’s what you’re supposed to do when a morning show asks you to be a guest, not that my life has given me a lot of practice pondering such weighty conundrums.

Thus, if you’re coming here today because you saw Deb and her double-chins on Good Day New York this morning, welcome! Here’s what else I showed off today:

watermelon and feta salad with chopped vegetables not your mama's coleslaw
Watermelon and Feta Salad with Chopped Vegetables Not Your Mama’s Cole Slaw
broccoli slaw roseanne cash's americana potato salad
Broccoli Slaw Roseanne Cash’s Americana Potato Salad

Continued after the jump »

Monday, June 29, 2009

cherry brown butter bars

cherry brown butter bars

I don’t know what’s happening to me — maybe it’s third trimester dwindling energy levels and an accompanying desire to get the most bang from my feeble bursts of productivity — but all of a sudden, I find myself saying that I don’t want to cook this thing or that because it’s not practical. Practical! Who am I? Certainly not the girl who baked a wedding cake last summer in her tiny, overheated kitchen. Certainly not a person who has [shh, can't tell you]-making and a 12-layer cake on her summer cooking agenda.

sweet cherries

Take this recipe, for example. It was originally a delicious-looking raspberry brown butter tart from this month’s Bon Appetit magazine. And although I usually associate brown butter with winter cooking — hazelnut brown butter cakes, brown butter shorties, pear crisps and brown butter with chestnuts and brussels sprouts, yes please. — and although I’ve never met a dessert tart I didn’t like, all I could think was “these would be so much more practical as a bar cookie!” Practical, there’s that word again. It’s all over for me, isn’t it?

cherry pittingpits and stemscherries a-pittedliquid ingredients Continued after the jump »

Thursday, January 15, 2009

mushroom bourguignon

mushroom bourguignon

When it is as cruelly cold out as it has been this week, beef bourguignon is one of my favorite things. If there is anything better than a symphony of onions, carrots, red wine, broth and a scoop of tomato paste simmered for hours, I haven’t met it. I don’t want to meet it. I already know my favorite.

big grimy portobellosbig fat mushroom slices

Julia Child’s recipe was always my mother’s go-to dish for company and back in the day, the smell of it braising in the oven was enough to get me to reconsider my vegetarianism. I cheated more than once, ladling the braise broth over egg noodles, and never felt that I wasn’t missing a thing. In fact, I always argued that most of the things people thought they liked about meat they actually liked about the sauces and braises and spices they were cooked in, which is why I have been dreaming up a vegetable based bourguignon for ages.

reducing the winethickened up

Continued after the jump »