An (Armchair)Adventure with Some Seriously Sexy Food

I’m thinking I need to take a trip soon to help quell the over-flowing wanderlust I’ve been suffering from lately. And not one of those well-planned out trips with reservations and logistics. I mean the kind that happen because you’re on the verge of sleep deprivation and someone starts off with “You know what would be epic…?” and ends with you waking up to the sound of sheep under the shadow of Stonehenge (because it’s the one not-cloudy morning in England for the month).

But in the meantime I still have over 1,000 emails to clear out of my inbox at work and I’ve been in bed by 10 pm all week (and it’s already Monday!) so I’ll just have to make do with this little treat I found during this evening’s browsing (follow the link to travel photos that go with the amazing looking recipe pictured below):

 

Raspberry Brown Butter Cake with Goat Cheese Buttercream & A Raspberry Port Reduction, from Adventures in CookingRaspberry Brown Butter Cake with Goat Cheese Buttercream & A Raspberry Port Reduction, from Adventures in CookingRaspberry Brown Butter Cake with Goat Cheese Buttercream & A Raspberry Port Reduction, from Adventures in Cooking

Raspberry Brown Butter Cake with Goat Cheese Buttercream & A Raspberry Port Reduction, from Adventures in Cooking

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GastroPorn Menu: June.2013

GastroPorn Menu: June.2013

It’s getting warm and slightly uncomfortable weather wise but things are also growing in the garden and we’re planning to get an umbrella for our back yard so we can actually enjoy our outdoor furniture. Now if only my back yard looked a little something like this:

Santorini-blue-and-white-paradise

This month’s menu is inspired by a little Mediterranean Island sun. Meant to be enjoyed outside with with lots of loud friends and family.

Goat Cheese with Olives, Lemon, and Thyme

“Goat Cheese with Olives, Lemon, and Thyme” From Leite’s Culinaria

Beefsteak Tomato Salad

“Beefsteak Tomato Salad” from Martha Stewart

Eggplant Salad with Chickpeas and Feta

“Eggplant Salad with Chickpeas and Feta” from Martha Stewart

Mini Spiced Chicken Burgers with Mint Greek Yogurt

“Mini Spiced Chicken Burgers with Mint Greek Yogurt” from Applemint

Zucchini Patty Sandwiches

“Zucchini Patty Sandwiches” from Whole Living

Lamb

“Lamb” from Joseph De Leo Photography

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Honey-Lime Dip

“Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Honey-Lime Dip” from Our Best Bites

Lime, Yoghurt and Olive Oil Cake

“Lime, Yoghurt and Olive Oil Cake” from Simple Provisions

Honey-Ricotta Turnovers

“Honey-Ricotta Turnovers” from Martha Stewart

Let Them Eat Cake!

Marzipan Cake with Poached Pears

“Marzipan Cake with Poached Pears” Cioccolato Gatto

My cooking philosophy is that if you have time and energy to cook or bake something you had better go all out. You’ve already set aside the time and you’re already going to have to buy ingredients and expend the energy and resources so why not just go ahead and turn that quick and easy dump cake into something grand enough to be offered up to royalty? Because you are royalty in your own right. You are ruler of your own domain. Own that kitchen and get those serfs in order!

Cake Break

Black Tea Cake with Honey Buttercream

“Black Tea Cake with Honey Buttercream” from Pastry Affair

So this is the last week of school before final exams and people are starting to lose there cool. All those students who slacked off all year are running around trying to figure out some sneaky way of getting away with all that non-productivity they indulged in all semester and the “good” students are busy trying to finish papers and prepare for exams while faculty and staff are so ready to flee this place and perhaps never come back that it’s really just a big pile of messy nonsense. I don’t like that. So I’m enforcing a strict “Do you see this mug in my hands? That means I’m not ready to talk to you right now.” period of time every day. My little way of saying to this little mini-ecosystem of messed up-ness that “You may pay me to work but you don’t pay me anywhere near enough to give a crap.”

So I’m bringing cake to school. My brother and I decided that instead on one sake for our family birthday lunch, or even to halves of cakes put together, we were going to get 4 quarters of different cakes to put together. 3/4 of this monstrosity of wonder is a variation on chocolate cake (black forest, triple chocolate, and chocolate raspberry). And then there’s my carrot cake. Because, YES, I like carrot cake.

And this black tea cake looks good too. And what would go better with my mug of tea then more cake? Well possibly some pecan pie but then it’s sort of like a trump dessert that just wins against everything. And since I’ve got the cake and no time to make pie I’m going to choose D: MORE CAKE!

Go get yourselves some cake and take a break Foodie Nation!

On Throwing a Grazing Party and Staying Sexy

From Monica Eisenman

So, as some of you might have remembered, I had a party this weekend. And yes there were some road blocks in the plan (like the fact that it was supposed to be last week but we had to push it back a week because of a funeral) but since when are good parties supposed to be easy and peaceful? If someone in your family hasn’t yelled at you needlessly while helping you prepare crusts for mini quiches than your party is going to suck. Because stress breeds good food ON TIME.

The menu, inspired by this month’s Gastroporn Menu, was labeled as a “Tea Party” but with most of my parties turned into an extended grazing affair that was really more like three or four smaller parties all strung together throughout the afternoon and evening. I also made something new that I surprisingly enjoyed eating about an hour or two after all the guests had left because eating them in front of people just isn’t sexy and a hostess should always be sexy: Blue velvet Cupcakes.

Blue Velvet Cupcakes

“Blue Velvet Cupcakes” from Sprinkle Bakes

Now… I like making cupcakes. I don’t always like eating cupcakes but I do like making them. Why? Easy dispersal. Try giving away cake at the end of the party and tell me you didn’t wish you’d made cupcakes. And if you aren’t giving away cake at the end of a party then don’t complain to me about your expanding waistline. Take that cake to work and give it away. It will make you more friends and fewer pounds.

Note: Don’t use a tablespoon of blue dye for the cupcakes. That’s too much and cupcakes that turn tongues a funny color…not sexy.

But you know what is sexy? Eating chocolate mousse from a tiny cup with a mini spoon. The recipe I used  can be found in “The Great Disappointment (of 2012)” post. A friend gave me the recipe and I have no idea where it came from but probably the Internet.

Note: I also piped some fresh whipped cream (made with a little sugar and a splash of vanilla) on top and put my brother to work with a piece of 100% chocolate and a vegetable peeler to garnish the tops.

There were also things I really don’t have a recipe for but if you’ve played around in a kitchen long enough you’ll just know what to do. Like stuffed mushrooms and mini-quiches. Watching my caveman-neanderthal dad trying to press rounds of pie crust dough into a mini-muffin tin was absolutely priceless.

And, of course, there were the scones we always make (the recipe is in the “Tea Time, Nap Time, Fun Times” post from many moons ago) served with the remaining fresh cream from above and berries. I love me some berries. I brought the rest to work with me today along with the remaining 3 scones (to give away). Everybody is always asking for that recipe and it’s ridiculously easy so there is no reason NOT to try it. Unless you’ve got allergies, in which case I am so sorry.

Anyone who knows anything about me and my party style also knows that I like complicated. I like the idea of doing everything from scratch and if I had the ability to gather and make all the ingredients by hand on my mini plot of land out back I so would.

But beware of making things complicated to your guests. Try to make things they can just pass by, pick up with a couple fingers, and just put in their mouths (which is where your party food SHOULD be going). Otherwise they will pass by the stuff with a dip or the thing that goes on top of that other thing and go straight for that stuff that just ends up in their mouths.

Here’s a recipe that looks good:

tartelettes chèvre et confiture d'oignons

“Tartelettes Chèvre et Confiture D’oignons (Onion Tartelettes with Goat Cheese)” from Vaniglia

There’s often at least a couple people at a party known as “grazers”. These are the folks that don’t take a heaping plateful and then start denying food while patting their bellies. These are those smart party goers that pace themselves. A min-quiche here, a cupcake there, caprese salad on a stick? Why not! Oh and then maybe another deviled egg. So set things up nicely for these folks. They know what they’re about. And, as always, stay sexy, Foodie Nation!

 

Because Breakfast Should Never Be Half-Assed (Bonus)

Oversize Breakfast Biscuits

“Oversize Breakfast Biscuits”

I know the “Make Ahead” Breakfast week has passed but here are some other recipes I’ve found that can be use for future breakfasts. The biscuits pictured above, for example. Just make the dough and keep it in the fridge. In the morning, stick ’em in the oven and let them bake while getting ready to go.

Lox, Eggs, and Onions Quiche

“Lox, Eggs, and Onions Quiche”

Zucchini and Olive Breakfast Cake, French-Style

“Zucchini and Olive Breakfast Cake, French-Style” from The Kitchn

"Baked French Toast" from The Fauxmartha

“Baked French Toast” from The Fauxmartha