Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ginger Cake from Room for Dessert by David Lebovitz

Yesterday was a lovely Christmas. We spent the morning opening gifts and enjoying the tree. Then we spent the afternoon baking for our dinner with friends. Rick assigned gingerbread to me so I of course made the ginger cake from Room for Dessert by David Lebovitz.  This is a moist, rich, spicy cake that I served with soft whipped cream. Everyone had a piece and seemed to enjoy it. Even the teenagers ate their servings so you know it was good; they tend to be pretty honest when it comes to food.
Here's the recipe, if you try it let me know your thoughts. Happy holidays!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Provençal Tomato and Bean Gratin from Recipes for Health/NYTimes

The Times has been publishing a vegetarian recipe weekly now for a couple of months. They are posting them under Fitness and Health instead of in the Dining and Food section which I find to be a peculiar distinction.   They are labeled Recipes for Health. I really like this one because it doesn't rely on pasta which could be easily added if you so desire.

Provencal Tomato and Bean Gratin
By Martha Rose Shulman

1 pound (2 heaped cups) chick peas, borlotti beans or pinto beans, washed, picked over and soaked for six hours or overnight
2 onions
2 whole cloves
4 to 6 large garlic cloves (to taste), 2 crushed, the rest minced
A bouquet garni made with a couple of sprigs each parsley and thyme, a bay leaf and a Parmesan rind
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 28-ounce cans chopped tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon sugar

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Creamy Gorgonzola Pasta

The strangest thing happened this week. We were having a couple over for dinner that I really like and I mentioned that we would be cooking vegetarian.  The wife paused and told me she wasn't sure how that would go because they prefer meat. Then she listed off all the vegetables and soy products that they hate, none of which I was going to cook except maybe roasted cualiflower, but no big deal. Then, the day before she sent me a text inviting us out to dinner on the same night I was cooking for them with a larger group of I being paranoid? Was it the vegetarian menu that drove them away? We love eating out so switching to a restaurant was not a problem.  I had bought groceries but I hadn't done much prep. I wanted to cook vegetarian for them just to show them that it can be a good meal. Oh well, next time.
I was going to make this creamy gorgonzola pasta that is very satisfying for them, instead I made it a day later for other friends who also aren't vegetarian and they loved it. I found this years ago on the Splendid Table. That's a great site for recipes and food info if you're ever desperately looking for something new to cook.

Creamy Gorgonzola Pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots finely chopped
1 large pinch of hot pepper flakes
Black pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chocolate crinkle holiday cookies

Today is our dessert party so we've been baking since yesterday...not too bad. I tried out the crinkle cookie recipe that we found on epicurious.  At first glance the recipe seems daunting but if you measure everything out in advance it's actually pretty painless and the cookies are worth it. I made mine with hazelnuts and combined with the bittersweet chocolate they taste like a much better version of nutella. Definitely roll them in tons of powdered sugar otherwise they won't look like snowballs, they'll just look weirdly dusty. We also made a cheesecake bar and caramel ice cream. Should be lots of fun!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Vegetarian thai red curry

I recently read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and because of his compelling argument, backed up by strong research, I am not eating meat or seafood. I have been both vegetarian and vegan in the past but I always coasted back to the omnivore lifestyle. This time I feel much more committed. I am trying to find satisfying vegetarian and vegan recipes to help keep me on this new path which is why I purchased the Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health Cookbook.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday worthy apple tart

For the first time in years I spent Thanksgiving at home with close friends from college. There were so many best parts; catching up, hanging out, talking non-stop. But the best-best part was having extra hands in the kitchen. I didn't have to touch the turkey or the stuffing or the mashed potatoes. Instead I made ice cream and the pie. But not just any pie, I made a recipe from Epicurious that I love. It combines an apple pie with a tart. I had a little trouble with the apples so I had to make then twice. I used local honey crisps and they were terrific. I cooked mine a little less so they were firm and I think that helped. Don't leave out any of the spices. They contribute to a wonderful subtle flavor that is perfect with the apples and the crust is a stand-out. Here's to making the most of the season with friends. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

David Lebowitz Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

I am a huge fan of David Lebowitz because his recipes aren't too difficult and the results are always delicious. I have been making his salted butter caramel ice cream for a year now and you can't believe how good it is. It doesn't matter what else was on the menu, people leave loving this the best. I am publishing the recipe here so that foodies continue to find it and, more importantly, make it. Don't skimp on the salt whatever you do!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Spicy Cashews

This is one of my favorite Christmas gifts to make for friends. Spicy cashews! They are so delicious and really easy to make. I like them plain, they are good served alongside beer, and I also chop them up over vanilla ice cream. The original recipe comes from The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook by Christopher Kimball. I always add more cayenne and cumin. I will publish the original recipe, you can make your own variations.