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Posts Tagged ‘gluttony’

. . . and I’m back.

Both from several very full days in New York for work–where I attended a great, geeky, publishing conference and where I of course managed to find lots of good things to eat–and back to the blog as well. I won’t bore you with my tales of winter woe that has kept me from feeling inspired to do a lot of things, especially blogging. Suffice it to say that spending a good chunk of time in the city revived me, and hanging out talking about social media got me itchy to get back to G3.

Since I spent a few days thinking about new modes of writing and reading for the web, I thought I’d try a different composing tactic with this post and write up my food highlights in a Google Map. (So 2006, right?) Just drag the map around and click on the blue pins to find my little blurbs, or just go directly to the larger map view.

I’d love to know where you like to eat when you’re in New York! Feel free to add them to my map, or mention some places in the comments.

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A little over a year ago,* I tempted you with a tantalizing description of these brown-black beauties, the Williams Sonoma Chocolate Crinkle Cookie. I wrapped it up in a tale about how I hadn’t been able to cook in my kitchen, due to a nasty roommate situation, which was a rather lame thing for me to write about. Even more lame — I hid them from your sight, and didn’t even share a recipe with you. Shame on me. Do you (few, brave) readers come here looking for stories about unpleasant roommates? I believe that you do not.

Today, I remedy these wrongs.

I can hold out on you no more.

Behold, the recipe:

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Baking

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cocoa
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
4 large eggs
2 c granulated sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 c chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli bittersweet)
1/2 c confectioners’ sugar

Melt the butter and chocolate on top of a double boiler, over simmering water, and stir often. Remove and set aside to cool a bit.

In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients — flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, granulated sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate mixture on low speed until blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat until incorporated. The dough will be stiff, but you must persevere: mix in the chocolate chips by hand.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a good long while, at least 2 hours. I sometimes leave the dough in the fridge overnight.

Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 325, though if you have an old, tempermental oven like I do, you might need to settle for 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl.

Roll a rounded tablespoon of dough between your palms into a 1 1/2 inch ball, and toss it around in the powdered sugar. Place the cookies about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until the tops are puffed and crinkled and feel firm when lightly touched, about 13-17 mins. (My oven usually gets them done in about 15 mins.) Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

*Yes, you read that right. G3 is a year old (plus a little bit). Thanks for reading!

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More, please

Well, that certainly didn’t last long.

Yep, I’m (half-) sorry to report that my post-holiday plan to eat more modestly was scuttled the other day, when this chocolate bread pudding popped out of my oven.

chocolate bread pudding

I had really good excuses for baking up this dessert, like:

  • When the temperature dips down to teeth-chattering levels, my drafty apartment feels best when the oven is on.
  • A half a loaf of bread was going stale.
  • Half of a carton of heavy cream was ready to be used, or else.
  • Ditto for a carton of whole milk.

Something had to be done. And when you think about it, making this dessert was a virtuous act — using up all these ingredients in such an efficient way. Is it my fault that it was also ridiculously decadent?

Before sharing the recipe, I should note that bread pudding has only recently made its way into my repertoire. It never really spoke to me, probably because it has a tendency to get mushy; however, any doubts I had are now a mere memory. This bread pudding, with a healthy sprinkling of raw sugar, makes the top all sparkly and crunchy–a nice counterpoint to all that chocolate-custard-y goodness lurking underneath.

3/5 chocolate bread pudding

And did I mention it has tendency to disappear on you?

Consider yourself warned.

Chocolate Bread Pudding
adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2003, by way of Epicurious

1 c whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (or semisweet, depending on your desired level of intensity)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups bread with crust, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used stale Zingerman’s farm bread — French bread would be great too)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bring cream, 1/2 cup sugar, and milk to simmer in heavy medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.

Add 1 cup chocolate chips and whisk until melted and smooth.

Whisk egg and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot chocolate mixture. Cool chocolate custard 10 minutes, stirring often.

Add bread cubes and remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips to custard and toss to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes or so.

Transfer to 1 1/2-quart-capacity shallow oval baking dish. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over mixture. Bake until custard thickens and center is just set, about 50 minutes. Serve warm.

Try to keep yourself from picking at the crusty, sparkly bits with your fingers. Save some for your significant other, children, friends, and you will earn their devotion many times over.

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Enough already

carrot and radish pickles

It really must stop.

All this roasting and mashing and gravy-making, this pie-baking and eating and socializing. So many delicious and impossibly heavy meals in the space of a week has my tastebuds kind of tired. Maybe–dare I say it?–even a little worn out.

As you may recall, it all started with a pre-holiday dinner with the boyfriend’s family, which was equal parts fun and exhausting. Sunday night we played host to “help us eat leftovers night” with friends, and we sat around the table like grownups and talked politics and drank lots of wine and argued the merits of the 100 dollar laptop program. Wednesday night found me in the bosom of my family in western PA, kibbitzing over matzoh ball soup and beef brisket and carrot cake. (Because, you know, everyone needs to eat a three-course meal on the eve of a major holiday.)

Then, only then, came Thursday, the day that’s supposed to be dedicated to this kind of feasting and merrymaking. Readers, I was worn out, feeling as though I’d flexed my gastronomical muscles a bit further than is advisable. Yet I prevailed, gobbling up my third–third!–turkey dinner of the week. I even topped it off with a slice of sweet potato pie with marshmallow meringue, made by yours truly. It was all delicious, but I do not recommend this practice of so many poultry-centric feasts in one week. I trust it will be well after our next presidential election until turkey passes these lips again.

[Because it makes me feel full all over again remembering it, I won’t even go into the meal we had Friday night in Pittsburgh at a pan-Asian restaurant (I know, I know), and our feast the following day at the Haven, in Johnstown, PA, which may have some of the best bar food east of the Mississippi. I’m talking onion rings, pizza, wings, burgers, and beer-battered fries of the highest order. Oops–I mean I ‘m not talking about those things.]

By Sunday, it was high time to give up the gluttony. I kept threatening to eat nothing but broth and seaweed, but there were Tantre Farm vegetables to use up–and pretty ones, too–for which I am truly thankful.

purple, green, gold

So Sunday evening was spent on my own, making some healthy and humble food out of the bounty of our last farm share. It was soothing to be back in my own space, my impossibly tiny but cozy apartment, making and eating simple food.

The cauliflower you saw up there, in Technicolor? They’re real; I promise. And were delicious cut into florets, tossed in lots of olive oil and coarse salt, and roasted till crispy at 400F, for about 15 minutes. And eaten with fingers.

But in that bowl at the top of this post contains the real elixir–the true counterpoint to my week of indulgence: pickled carrots and radishes, courtesy of a recipe from Alice Waters’s The Art of Simple Food. They are refreshing and tart and sweet, a delightful corrective to so much over-feasting.

The recipe is super simple, and can be used with any vegetable you think would taste good pickled. (I imagine so, anyway.) I have a mind to try this next with turnips, red onions, and maybe even some cauliflower or celery. It’s also very malleable, so use what you have in the pantry in the brine — different types of vinegar, fresh herbs, or chiles would all be great. And they’re just refrigerator pickles; no sanitizing jars and canning equipment required.

Fresh-Pickled Vegetables
1 1/2 c white wine vinegar
1 3/4 c water
2 1/2 T sugar
1/2 bay leaf
4 thyme sprigs
Pinch of dried chile flakes
1/2 t coriander seeds (I didn’t use these)
2 whole cloves
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
Generous pinch of salt

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook each type of vegetable in the brine, and scoop them out when they’re cooked but still crisp. Set aside to cool. Once all the vegetables are cooked + cooled, and the pickling brine has cooled, combine everything together, place into a container, and refrigerate. Should keep for a week, if you’ll leave them alone for that long.

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