Archive | dessert RSS feed for this section

labor of love

24 Feb

  
There are five parts to this behemoth of a torte: Cocoa nib meringue, chocolate cake, homemade blood orange marmalade, mascarpone cream filling and bittersweet chocolate glaze. Whoa. And it takes a lot of advance timing n stuff.

One must make marmalade, grind cocoa nibs, whip egg whites and cream…

I made it for me.

I know Bon Appetit printed this recipe in a February issue so that I might make it to feed my lover.

But I have none. 

I could have made and shared with friends, my class, my improv group…but I did not. I made it. Ate two slices. Sliced the rest and froze for future delights. Because I am occasionally selfish when I make really delicious stuff.

And I like having ready-made treats waiting for me. 

I also think the cream filling will be way good slightly frozen.

The recipe is long. I made it exactly as printed and I don’t feel like re-typing what you could easily get with a click so go here.

Treat yourself. You are worth the time and work. Believe.

Advertisements

Goth Goodies + Goth Rice Recipe, sorry no pinot this week

13 Jan

IMG_0575.JPG
Yessssss. I love goth goodies. Things that speak macabre. Or dark. But if they shout Hot Topic I’m out. It’s a fine line, people.

But I dig:

Black jelly beans.

blood oranges.

Beets.

Red wine.

Red kool aid.

But then pink can be goth too.

Oh and DARK chocolate duh.

Pinot NOIR.

I could go for some of that right now.

That being said some prefab goth food is amazzzzzze. Like these skulls:

  
Rightttttt? FIKA also makes chocolate in pill bottles. The feel is like some sort of city grime darkness addict je ne sais quoi vibe. It’s hot. Plus goth.

Also I am into goth because that is when I am at my hottest. Obvi important. Everyone has a style that fits them best and when I am gothed out, well, sometimes people that only see me grimy (improv teams, dancers) are sorta surprised when they see me done up. Like, “Hey, I didn’t realize you were capable of being Attractive ” surprised. Which is semi-insulting: “if you just cover half your face in black eyeliner you’ll look great!”  But I take the compliment. I think it just suits my pallor.
So let’s have goth rice and chill.

Dark and Moody Rice
Adapted from The Athlete’s Cookbook by Corey Irwin and Brett Stewart
Olive oil spray
1/2 c. Diced yellow onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 small bay leaf
1/2 c. Black rice
1 1/2 c. Water
3 Tbsp. Diced roasted red bell pepper-I used jarred
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. paprika
Fresh cilantro to garnish
In a saucepan, heat the oil then turn heat to low and add onion, garlic and bay leaf. Cook about five minutes until onion is softened. Add the rice and turn heat to medium. Cook a couple of minutes, stirring periodically. Add the water, stir, and cover. Cook the rice undisturbed until softened but not overly so-around twenty minutes. Stir in everything else but the cilantro and cook about five more minutes, until the rice is done but still firm. Take off heat, dish up and garnish with cilantro.

food separation from a heart sick person

20 Apr

  
For years this recipe stared me in the face. I’d open the Bon Appetit issue to it and put it in my little cookbook holder stand thinking if I saw it, some day I’d get inspired early enough to get all components made and chilled in due time.

The picture you see above is just one reconfiguration of this Deconstructed Black Forest Cake. Much as I adore various pairings of sandwich material, I also love the idea that each bite of this cake can be a different combo of the cake, chocolate pudding, whipped cream, red wine cherries, and…all kept properly hydrated by the shot of kirsch:

  
Making this became a fantasy. One of those “some day” things I didn’t think I’d ever actually get around to.
Then I was dating someone and I knew I was into him because I started fantasizing about what I’d cook him. This was a likely suspect for pleasing what I knew of his tastebuds.
And then that prospect didn’t work out. As in, I never even got the chance to ply him with my womanly cake wiles. 
In a spate of “fuck that I don’t need ANYONE to cook FOR” the fantasy of making this became reality one Friday night when I got home earlier than expected.
I am all I need.
Except for sex. I could use a male for that but he isn’t here (as in doesn’t exist) at the moment.
But fuck it. I have cake and wine and a career (my true lover) not to mention my family and friends and stuff so I shall survive. And I have cake.

I cut my cake with a star cookie cutter because I am a superstar. Hehehe. As in “don’t you remember you told me you love me baby”. Except I was not that fond of the fellow. It never came even remotely close to the L word. Cause that is REAL scary. Hell, I have a hard time giving someone a second date.
Problem is, it is rare I start to think anyone is worth a romantic thought so when I do start to be even remotely interested in someone I take things too hard when they don’t turn out as I’d wish.

UGH.
And UGH.
And UGH FUCK!
And someday my cake and wine loving prince will come.

I’m gonna get a cat.

Fuck this cake is worth it. 

Also no more writing recipes when high on no sleep/sugar/wine.

Enjoy.

Deconstructed Black Forest Cake adapted from this Bon Appetit recipe

For cake:
1/4 cup butter
6 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1/2 beaten egg
1 1/2 Tbsp. natural cocoa powder
scant 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/16 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. sifted cake flour
2 Tbsp. and 2 tsp. yogurt (origial recipe calls for sour cream
3 Tbsp. hot coffee
For chocolate fudge pots:
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli’s)
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2 (recipe calls for heavy whipping cream)
pinch salt
1 1/2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. sugar
For sauce:
1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. sugarplus a pinch more
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. dry red wine (I had a pinot noir on hand)
To finish:
whipped cream (I used Reddi-whip_
A shot of kirsch
For cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Create an approximately 35-square inch baking pan. I did this by taking foil and pressing it into half an 8X8 pan. Butter or use nonstick spray to grease. Beat the butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Toss in the sugar and egg and beat until light and fluffy. Hurl in the cocoa, baking soda, salt and vanilla and incorporate. Blend in the half the flour then half the yogurt and repeat. Gradually blend in coffee until smooth. Add to the pan and bake about 25 minutes, until you put a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean. Let cool on rack and then chill until cold. Bon Appetit says 4 hours but I sped this up with my freezer.
For fudge pots:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Put the chocolate in a bowl. Bring half and half and salt just to a oil then pour over chocolate and whisk it until all is nice and smooth. In another bowl whisk the yolks and sugar. Slowly whisk in the chocolate mixture. Put back into pot over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly until somewhat thickened, about 5 minutes. Don’t let it boil. Distribute into 5 ramekins (1/4 cup each) and put ramekins into a deep pan. Add water to into deep pan halfway up the sides of ramekins. Cover the whole shebang with foil and bake until set, between 35 and 40 minutes. Take ramekins out of pot. Cool 15 minutes then let chill in fridge, uncovered until cold (3 hours?).
For sauce:
Put cherries (unthawed) and sugar in a small pan and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add wine and stir and simmer until ever so slightly thickened. Strain over a bowl. Pour juices back into pot and put cherries in a bowl. Boil the juices until reduced to about 2 Tbsp. then pour over cherries and chill.
To serve, slice (or get fancy with cookie cutters) the cake. Each person gets some cake, a pudding, a spoonful of cherries n sauce, a bit of whipped cream and a shot of kirsch. Whee! Yah. Since I made this for me I ate a huge portion of cake and sauce, one pudding, a whole container of whipped cream and, well, a shot of kirsch was enough. But then I had also indulged on extra wine.

Candy, Jason and Reese’s

9 Mar


This week’s episode of my dear darling Girls on GIRLS web series was Bridgid-less but guest-full.

Are you ever weirded out by art imitating life? The day I happened to have Jason Stuart, a comedian who is quite at home talking about being gay was the day that a character on the show we were discussing comes out to his wife. Whaddaya know. Jason and I both were into the serendipity of that moment. For all Jason’s work including his own web series go here.

And then there was my need for a dessert drink.

And along came Candy Washington, who I have the biggest woman crush on. She’s spectacular. Check out her goodness here. And Candy’s taste in candy is top-notch. We share a favorite: Reese’s peanut butter cups. You really cannot do better in the candy game. It is the simplest and the best. Like her!

The Candy Washington. Now with more alcohol.

Shake it up.

The Candy Washington an original by Ellen Clifford

2 oz. dark creme de cacao 1 oz. vanilla vodka

1 oz. Bailey’s Irish cream

1/2 oz. 1/2 and 1/2

1 Tbsp. powdered peanut butter (I used Just Great Stuff)

1 tsp. Dutch process cocoa powder (I used Hershey Special Dark)

mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

Shake all but the peanut butter cups. Strain into chilled glass. Spear mini pb cups on toothpicks to garnish.

YUVE Got Smoothie

21 Dec

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/eea/17077161/files/2014/12/img_0838-0.jpg
I confess I half live off smoothies. Therefore it is only fair I share what I’ve been drinking, because I am thoroughly addicted. I should also share that my smoothies are so thick and rich they require bowls and spoons and really it’s more like I made myself soft-serve. Except this soft serve has redeeming health factors. My most frequent concoction is a beet-cherry-chocolate protein extravaganza and it is tremendous.

I was inspired to get off my lazy bum and get around to writing this because I got to try some tasty new protein powder made by a very cool and possibly even tastier woman.

I have been using MRM Veggie Protein, to which I thought I’d never find an equal in terms off decent vegan protein powders. AKA ones that are not chalky. But I did! YUVE is danged tasty. I’m also pimping it here because it has a cool origin story.

And chia seeds.

But origin first:
Once upon a time a woman left Russia for New York City. Her name was Lola. She wasn’t a showgirl but she danced. Except ballet. This stunning makes-me-rethink-being-hetero woman, Lola Sherunkova, wanted a quick enjoyable way to get nutrients and such in the Big Apple.

Lola talked to a nutritionist who recommended a rather large list of nutrients. I do not blame her for not wanting to take a gajillion supplements a day. If I were as gorgeous and brilliant as she ALL my time would be spent lounging nonchalantly while lithe goth men held my parasol for me. Fortunately for you Lola was much more enterprising. And YUVE was born.

My only wish is that it came in more than just the one chocolate-raspberry flavor. Mainly because then I could have even more excuses to use it. Because when you can’t decide between two flavors of shake you are forced to just have both. I am surprised I didn’t overdose on chewable vitamins when I was a kid.

Anywho, I am a big proponent of female owned and created business, and Lola is truly one of those came-from-nothing success stories. It helps that her product is great too. Go Lola! Big hugs. And such. And…more?!

Ps I too am creating my own shiz-nit. It is a web show. It involves making drinks and talking about the show “Girls”. That premieres January 11th so “Girls on Girls” should be out on January 12th. We made the pilot episode in the meantime which you can see here:

I beg of you to subscribe to the channel. Or SHARE it on Facebook or Twitter or whatever social media you like. Youtube makes it super easy to do that. It won’t force you to watch or anything. You’ll just see it in your list of subscriptions.

Now more YUVE. I tasted YUVE unadulterated first. Just to see. It was great. Then I started plugging it into favorite smoothie recipes. Like the one that follows. Also delish. Addictively so.

Here be what I make:
Beety Choco-Cherry (plus occasional raspberry) Smoothie
1 few small cooked beets or one big one
1/2 cup dark sweet cherries (I get them in the freezer aisle)
1 serving chocolate protein powder or YUVE chocolate raspberry protein powder
1 Tbsp. Cocoa powder
Dash salt
A squirt or so of liquid stevia (NuNaturals is the one type I’ve found not to be bitter)
Heavy dash of almond extract
1/4 cup cottage cheese (omit if you are vegan)
7-ish crushed ice cubes
1 cup water or chocolate almond milk
Blend it good. If not thick enough either stick in the freezer a little while or blend in some anthem gum

Pssst! I got YUVE for free. But would not be telling you about if I didn’t think it was worth it. I’m ordering more for myself!

How To Find The One

5 Dec

IMG_0731.JPG
We’re all on a quest for the one. Let’s go all caps on that–THE ONE. The One that will complete us, reflect our best self, that will make us a better person. The One our friends will love being with almost as much as us. The One we can take home to our families. The One we can’t wait for our parents to meet at Thanksgiving dinner. The One. You know…The Pie.

This pie is my One. I would like to think it reflects me-delicate on the outside, but multilayered, sweet yet tart, complex, relatively perfect if untidy…friends asked me to make this pie for them to take to parties I can’t even attend. That isn’t an exaggeration. This is the pie I’ll go out of my way to share. And my family adores it. They’d ask it back to dinner and send it Christmas cards even if we broke up.

There were 5 pies at this last Thanksgiving. I made a pumpkin pie. A guest brought a yogurt-pumpkin pie and some sort of pineapple-coconut confection. My aunt made an amazing pecan pie that actually made me like, nay, flipping’ crave pecan pie for the first time in my life. And then there was also…MY PIE.

A total of 11 guests were present at dinner. Naturally there were leftovers of everything. Except MY PIE. That got devoured. We sent some leftovers of other pie home with guests, yet still had portions of three leftover pies. But as I said, not My Pie. THE PIE. The One. Through that evening’s haze of sugar and alcohol my family insisted that I make another one the next day. And even once clear-headed the next morning, in the frigid air of St. Louis, my family was willing to go to the store to get more cranberries, apples and flour. I promise there are no drugs in My Pie. Love, perhaps. Once you get it you don’t wanna be without.

How do you find The One? Time and an open mind. I’m sorry to say there is no Tinder for pies. Unless you count the epicurious app? This pie really came to be because of a shortage of necessary ingredients. Rather than abandon plans for my stellar apple pie, I rummaged in the fridge. Despite Thanksgiving performance anxiety (this is NOT the time you want to screw up) I made an adaptation or two or four from the recipe I was going to use and created the first iteration of this pie. Then over the years our relationship has blossomed. But I knew from first bite it was gonna be My Pie. Sometimes love is so easy.

I have come to believe in butter crust for most things but I stand by the shortening crust for this one. It is the perfect delivery system for the filling and topping. Let me compare it to an exquisite bit of brie you are going to eat on a cracker, perhaps with a touch of quince paste or something. You need the right combo of sounding board, ooze, salt and sweet. If you put the cheese on a massive flavorful cracker that cracker is all you will taste. This is also why I don’t like a lot of sandwiches-it is hard to get the bread to work in harmony with the filling. But for that Brie a thin, delicately perfect bit of toasted baguette? It’s bland on its own, but transforms when paired with its toppings. That is how I see it with crust. To each pie it’s own crust style. And My Pie goes shortening. As a super-duper bonus, if you use a vegan butter substitute in the streusel this pie will be vegan. Not that that made Moby give it awards, alas.

I’m debating whether I should tell you my secret ingredient. Hmmm. Okay, I’m gonna leave one ingredient vague in the directions. It seems small but this ingredient IS THE DIFFERENCE that makes it My Pie. Whoever guesses what, of the one vague thing, is the secret and can guess what I use gets drinks with me if the timing is right. Or just my utmost respect for their culinary acumen. We’ll see. But I’ll keep an open mind. My Pie and I have an open relationship.

THE PIE
crust:
1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I stir and spoon into the cup), plus extra for rolling
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening (I shamelessly use Crisco)
cold water
Whisk the flour and salt together. I use a fork to whisk. I know. Add the shortening and use your fork to cut in until floury lumps are forming the size of, say, a cocoa puff. Some can be bigger, some smaller. Feel it out. Now, sprinkle a few tablespoons of cold water over and toss it in. It will go further than you think. Add more water bit by bit until the dough is just sticking together. Don’t chill this dough or it will be really hard to roll. I just sprinkle some flour on a piece of parchment paper and roll it out there until it is big enough for the pie plate. Lift it up periodically and sprinkle more flour between the dough and parchment as needed. Now fold in half and gently ease in the pie plate. I use a Pyrex. If you are like me and not good at getting a perfect circle you may have to do a bit of patchwork on your crust but don’t worry. Cut off and/or patch in enough dough to get the same length of dough on the rim of the plate all the way around. You can make a pinched crust or use a fork to make a pretty crust but it will taste good no matter what you do. Put that sucker in the freezer.
For streusel:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (or vegan butter-y stick)
Put it all in a bowl and get in there with your hands. Pinch it together until it looks pebbly. I feel like you will know when it is right. Just picture what the top of streusel pies look like. That is how it should look. Put the bowl in the fridge whilst you cobble up the filling.
For filling:
2 granny smith apples
2 macintosh apples
some citrus fruits for squeezing (do not use jarred juice)
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
pinch salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of allspice and/or cloves
pinch of ginger
Cinnamon, as you are in the mood for. around a heaping tsp., if you need a ballpark figure.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Start with the apples but have the citrus halved and on the ready. Peel the apples, cut into quarters, cup each quarter into a few long slices then halve those. Every time you put a handful or or of apple into the bowl give a hefty squeeze of citrus juice and toss it until the apples are coated. Repeat, until they are chopped. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Take the crust out of the freezer and put the filling in. Make sure the apples and cranberries distribute evenly and there aren’t any weird nooks. Take the streusel out of the fridge and strew it on, pretty evenly. Put in the oven. If worried about overflow you can put the pie plate on a baking tray. After about twenty minutes check the pie. The minute the streusel starts to get brown tent aluminum foil over the whole thing. Trust me, if you don’t your streusel will burn. Keep the pie baking about 45 minutes total. Delish.

Jurassic Pie Party complete with Dinosaur-Sized Wine

29 Oct

IMG_0560.JPG
Do you ever have a lot of things just sort of serendipitously collide at the right time?
I did not have a lot of these things happen but for name-related reasons I was absurdly pleased to receive wine from Modern House Wines to try. One of them was a GIANT bottle called, quite cheekily, “Go Big”. The name pleased me because I got this wine right before the next installment of Pie Party I was throwing with my friends Alice and Joel: Jurassic Pie.

IMG_0561-0.JPG

Dinosaurs are big. So was this wine. It was meant to be! More about the vino in a bit but…this party. You guyssssss, this party!

This was a Jurassic Pie Party, so-themed because I had dinosaur cookie cutters I really wanted to use. I decided that gingerbread dinosaurs would be exceptional parading across a pumpkin pie. I was so very right. Jungle-ish attire was suggested-I only rummaged up some leopard print but that’s okay.

We were also going to have a velociraptor dance contest. Somehow large amounts of pie(s), gingerbread cookies, Manhattans, and wine got in the way of that. But I’m sure there would have been some priceless velociraptor action if we actually got around to it.

IMG_0559.JPG
This was the infamous high-brow/low-brow dual crusted Frito-crusted pie, partially responsible for lack of ability to dance.

I had cookie cutters for a t-rex, a velociraptor, a triceratops, a brontosaurus, a pterodactyl and my personal favorite, the stegosaurus. Since the upscale frito-crusted pie I’ve been perfecting is sort of tex-mex we re-christened the t-rex as a T-Mex. He listens to Ice-T. This pie was demolished rapidly, and the pumpkin pies and apple tart fell almost as fast.

Joel and I were pitting a couple of different pumpkin pies against each other. His was a classic condensed milk recipe and mine involved evaporated milk and sugar. We ended up agreeing one wasn’t necessarily better than the other because they are two different breeds of pie. Mine had a lot more spices and his was a bit lighter, I thought, and tasted more purely of pumpkin. So it all depends what you are after.

The biggest winner(s) of the night though were the gingerbread cookies. I usually have good luck with Baking Illustrated and seeing as their classic gingerbread is my favorite gingerbread, I figured they would not let me down in the gingerbread cookie department. Good lord did they not.

Another important thing learned was that if you want to give your stegosaurus candy corn spikes then you need to freeze the candy corn before baking so it does not melt and spread.

The dealio on the vino. They are made for Target. Oprah likes them. I like that vintner behind them, Alexis Swanson Traina is female. That is rare, being as the booze-world in general seems to be largely a boys club. That may just be my perspective, I dunno, but if you have proof that the ratio of women vintners to male is equal, I would like to see it.

These wines are the wine equivalent of shopping at Target: Too easily done and you will end up consuming more than you planned. All of which is to say I enjoyed the wine. Really, very pleasant wines. Juicy. Not very dinosaur-y. But that is okay. Sometimes it is about size.

The normally-sized bottle I received is called Help is Here: light bodied, some spice, berries, makes me think of eating fluffy gingerbread on a hill. Enjoyable. Mildly vegetal in a good way. Smooth. Sweet.

Both pair well with these wondrous cookies. This recipe makes a decent amount of them but they were devoured practically before the party started. Dinosaurs are not as filling as one would think.

Gingerbread Cookies adapted from Baking Illustrated from the folks behind America’s Test Kitchen
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (measured by stirring the flour then dipping the measuring cup in then leveling the top)
3/4 cup light brown sugar (the book say to use dark but light is all I had)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened but still cool, sliced up
3/4 cup molasses (pro tip:grease your measuring cup first and it will m=be much easier to get all the molasses out)
2 Tbsp. milk (I used almond)
In a food processor, process the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt just to blend. Strew the butter pats over and process until it looks sandy, around 15 seconds. With machine running, pour in the molasses and milk slowly and process until evenly moistened and forming mass.
Scrape it out and divide in two. Roll out each part between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/4 of an inch (I did some thinner to make them crisp enough to stand up) then put them on a sheet in the freezer for about 15 minutes until firmed up.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line baking sheets with parchment. Take out your first section of dough. Remove top parchment paper then replace. Flip it over and flip and discard that parchment. Cut yer cookies and bake ten-ish minutes give or take. They will be set and if you stick a finger in one the impression will remain. But DO NOT over bake. Molasses is horrible when burnt.Let them cool on the sheet a couple of minutes then carefully transfer to racks. They will firm up more as they cool. Repeat over and over with the rest of the dough. Every time I rerolled scraps I had to stick them in the freezer again for a while so this is a process but it is worth it. I cooked these one sheet a a time. If you want to decorate with candy corn freeze the candy corn first or you will have a sugary melty mess. It will still taste good, if you are into straight up sugar which obviously I am since I like candy corn, but it will not retain the shape. So freeze it up. Bake it up. Do the dinosaur.