January 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
Exhale. Its all over. The glorious gluttony. The constant consumption. The indulgent imbibing. In place of the cream and sugar which has been dominating every nook and cranny of my kitchen I am happily welcoming my old friends, kale and quinoa back into my life.
Perhaps my body may have an unnatural affection for greens and vegetables, but for the past six days I have been yearning for the super nutritious whole foods which usually grace my plate. The future of my meals will look something like this: squash stuffed with quinoa and beans; kale and white bean casserole; sauteed greens loaded with nuts; garlic soup studded with brussel sprouts, onions and everything else cleansing.
Although, before I happily begin my post holiday purge, I would like to share some of my favorite indulgences of the past couple weeks. After all, extravagance may be my favorite aspect of detoxification.
10. Biz’s Cookie Party. Buckwheat and Quinoa Fig cookies, Mexican Wedding cookies, Peanut Butter chocolate chip, Basic Sugary bliss. Need I say more?
9. Every Excuse for Champagne. From Christmas morning mimosas, to raspberry champagne cocktails with dinner, to champagne shots at the stroke of midnight, this beverage has made an appearance
too frequently in the past week. My body always knows when I drank champagne the previous night.
8. Mallory’s Whiskey and Cider. If there is anything better to warm you from the inside out than a piping hot thermos of Barnard’s apple cider mulled with cinnamon, cloves, a little vanilla, and a large glug of whiskey topped with some fresh whipped cream (spiked of course) please let me know.
7. Morning After Whiskey and Champagne Breakfasts. Plates smothered with creamed chipped beef, cups filled with v-8 (and vodka?), ovens filled with stratta. Any of the above are (almost) proven to expunge most nausea.
6. Desert after every meal. Leftover cookies, cakes, and meringues, make this mandatory. Breakfast and that fourth meal between lunch and dinner included.
5. Phyllo Dough. What? Yes. Not the typical indulgence, phyllo dough has proven to be the perfect companion to everything oozy and gooy: baked brie au bleu, apple and brie quiche, feta and sundried tomato pizza, and endless cheese combinations (see below).
4. Cheese. Most of my cheese plates this year were compiled thanks to Talula’s Table. Favorites included: Sharp aged gouda, pungent and slaty shroppshire blue, lovely humboldt fog, smooth and delicate rosemary goat. Similar h’ordeuvres were compiled from layers of phyllo dough brimming with heavenly marriages of cream cheese and onion pepper jelly, brie with pears and brown sugar, fresh goat with cranberry and pistachio crumble, and gruyere with caramelized onions.
3. Bacon. It occurred to me that even as a see myself as a kind of closet vegetarian I somehow omit bacon from the realm of carnivorous consumption. My new favorite party trick is to fabricate bite sized bowls from a slice of bacon and load them with everything good * instructions below. Sliced mushrooms melted together with a gorgonzola cream somehow found their way into my cups of salted heaven.
2. My First Roast Duck + Duck Fat Fried
Potatoes Everything. A Classic Christmas feast, duck is actually quite easy to make and produces a ungodly amount of animal fat suitable for making the ordinary roasted potatoes exceptional. My duck was lucky enough to be smothered in honey and rubbed down with a blend of lavender and peppercorns leaving the skin insanely crisp and the meat dark and juicy.
1. The people and parties which provide the opportunities for extravagance. Maybe this is a cop-out or cliche but its true. Eating bacon, cheese, and dessert three times a day may be enough to make one sick, but somehow the wonderful company of friends and family keeps me feeling healthy. I supposed it could be the additional laughing and smiling around this time of year.
I used 2 packages of bacon but was not keeping track of how the yield or the actual number of slices needed. The thinner, leaner cut bacon works best. Fattier cuts will shrink more. I also used a very small muffin tin which makes the cups bite sized as opposed to awkward two bite sized.
Cut a slice of bacon into 3 pieces: first in half and then one of the halves in half.
Make a cross with the two quarters on the bottom of the muffin tin.
Use the long half piece of bacon to wrap around the circumference of the muffin tin and secure by pressing the ends together.
Experiment with what you have. This is simply what worked for me.
With all the cups wrapped, place the tin into a casserole dish and bake for 15 minutes or so at 500 degrees until the bacon is quite crispy but not burned.
Let the cups cool and then simply pop them off, possibly with the assistance of a spatula.
Load the cups with anything you heart desires.
November 18, 2010 § Leave a comment
Somehow, seasonal baked good have just as much appeal to me as seasonal produce. Sure they tend to go hand in hand Really, who craves pumpkin pie in May? No thanks. Sugar cookies in August? Pass (well probably not, but I would prefer coconut almond ice cream or frozen mango popsicles). Blueberry pie in November? Actually, I could never turn down blueberry pie, even when filled with questionable frozen berries. BUT in the chilly breezy months of November there is something exceptionally satisfying about the deeply spicy sweet tang of gingersnap cookies.
My mom adores the solid kind packaged in the telltale bright orange boxes. And while the taste is fine, their concrete texture has repelled me since childhood. Despite the fact that I know I will not enjoy the zesty little disks, every year, I drown the cookies in milk and try my hardest to find some delight in the bitty treat. All of the autumnal I love components are there the clove, the ginger, the cinnamon, the molasses, the butter. This year, I set out to truly savor this seasonal goodie which has been hiding all of its potential inside garish orange cardboard.
The recipe which became my map to glorious gingery goodness was developed by Kim Boyce in her book Good to the Grain. She has, in no time flat, become one of my culinary/baking luminaries. The book is broken divided into chapters each featuring a different whole grain flour. All in all there are 74 recipes. The base of the recipes rely on a foundation of all purpose flour for structure finding enchanting flavors and textures from the addition of less common flours.
The journey starts with the most established flour whole wheat in these gingersnap cookies then finds its way to recipes like figgy buckwheat scones, honey amaranth waffles, and quinoa crepes. The anticipation to create and experiment with this gold mine of recipes is almost too much for me to take.
All mixed upThe refrigerated dough.The cookies are double rolled in sugar and will be ready in 10 minutes.
Get this book. If not from a book store or online at least go to the library and take a look first hand. I am going to share pictures but no recipe just as encouragement. When my copy arrives in the mail you can bet that there will be endless amounts of mouthwatering baked happiness showing up here.