Monthly Archives: February 2010

A Happy Accident

 


I don’t know if I can even call this a recipe. It was a blatant, outright culinary mistake that yielded something delicious and kind of special. And when that sort of thing happens, is it really right to keep it to myself?

See, I don’t really know a whole lot about making frosting. Or icing. Or whatever you want to call it. I mean, I know that if you mix milk with confectioner’s sugar, you can create a glaze. I know that you can sweeten cream cheese and beat it into fluffy submission. But the whole frosting thing is just not something I do all that often. I take the shortcut with sugary crusts.

But I was making a cake. And I wanted a very special, very specific kind of frosting for this cake. In my mind, I was dreaming up an airy, buttery, vanilla bean-flecked delight. It seemed to make sense to me that if I creamed some butter and sugar, I could add heavy cream and continue to beat it until it was somewhere between a light whipped cream and thick buttercream. I’m still reasonably sure this is possible (I don’t know for sure because I switched off to mascarpone for round two, just to be on the safe side).

I had one of those moments, though, where I completely forgot myself. I combined the butter and sugar, added the heavy cream, grabbed my hand mixer and I let ‘er rip. Show of hands, anyone know what happens when you overbeat whipping cream? Almost immediately it started to look curdled. Well, surely if I keep beating it, thought I, it will smooth out all those tiny little butter lumps and turn into a pretty portrait of fluffy frosting. Not so much. As I continued to move the mixer around the bowl, the curdled white cream turned into thick yellow crumbles and I began to hear liquid sloshing at the bottom of the bowl. Damn it. Butter.

Those who raised their hands for butter get a gold star.

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My Favorite Banana Bread

 

This is culinary gold.

 

 

I brought this bunch home somewhere between a week and two weeks ago, when they were a bright, healthy banana-yellow. In that time I haven’t touched a single one. Not once was I even tempted to crack through their firm, supple peels. Because this….

 

 

This is far more delicious and holds worlds of promise. These mushy on the inside, leathery on the outside gems are full of sweet, concentrated banana flavor. You would be crazy to mash anything less black-on-the-outside into a baked good—be it muffins, cake, or the almighty banana bread.

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Valentine Redemption

 

I had a pre-Valentine’s Day post all lined up. I was going to tell you about how freaked out I get over it. How it wasn’t always this way, but how the days leading up to it now remind me of the feeling I get when considering a cartwheel since grotesquely breaking my arm mid-tumble as a child.

Romantic, right?

I’m glad I waited on this post. This year, Valentine’s Day was very, very good.

It was French toast good. Gluten-free French toast that I didn’t have to make good.

It’s not often that Chris takes up a whisk—probably in part (or, you know, mostly) because I tend to dominate the kitchen. It would have been easy for him to sit back and let me whip up some pancakes or something, but he cracked a few eggs and made breakfast for us. And look at how beautiful it turned out!

 

 

I think we need to get him in the kitchen more often.

Post-breakfast he surprised me with tickets for the Sunday matinee of Time Stands Still on Broadway. I won’t go into great detail, except to say that it was well-performed and I left thought-provoked with a lump in my throat. If you’re looking for a cry, this show is definitely a good option.

Our day culminated with an early dinner at a restaurant I’ve been wanting to visit for several months now—a raw, vegan, GF-friendly place called Pure Food and Wine. The restaurant was offering a four-course Valentine’s Day tasting menu, and while the options all looked great, it was the a la carte menu that really caught our attention.

 

 

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Lemon Nutmeg Cornbread

 

I have been withholding this recipe for far too long, and for that I apologize. But I make no apologies for what will result from following the recipe below. Absolutely none.

 

 

Everyone has their own version of cornbread. Some are sweet, some are cheesy. Some are spicy and dotted with jalapenos, and some are just plain corny, with whole kernels bursting throughout. I am personally a fan of the sweet variety. Anything you can do to enhance the natural sweetness of corn makes me a happy camper. And while this cornbread is certainly sweet, it’s got a sassy little personality of its own.

 

 

This, my friends, is a Lemon Nutmeg Cornbread.

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Cake Wreck

 

So you know the site Cake Wrecks (it's also a book)? Well if you don't, you should. I can't remember how I first found it but it's one of those sites that had me cracking up uncontrollably within the first five minutes. You know, the kind of laughter that makes your belly cramp and your face go funny? And then, because you're laughing so hard, your significant other looks at you curiously from across the room, and you want so badly to let him in on the joke, but every time you try to explain the hilarity your words sputter out in incoherent, tearful giggling? If you haven't seen the site yet, go now. I'll wait here.

Okay, see what I'm talking about? Now that you're up to speed on the reference, I can show you this. This is what my future husband gifted me with last night:

 

 

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A Happy Birthday

 

Today is my birthday.

 

 

I’m not saying this in the hopes that I’ll get a whole mess of Happy Birthday wishes dropped into the comments section below. In fact, I don’t much care for birthdays. Well, mine anyway. I have a long history of bad ones, some borderline horrific even. No matter what happens, I always seem to wind up disappointed or in tears.

I think this is the year that all turns around, though. (Knock on wood.)

In addition to being my birthday, this is also my first official day off of work. It feels good. Really good. I’m here, I’m free, and I feel fantastic. And I’ve been up since 6am. Most mornings I hit the snooze button until about ten minutes to eight, which was the very latest I could stay in bed and still make it to work at a semi-reasonable time.

Not today. Today I saw the sun rise. I had things to wake up for.

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