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Posts Tagged ‘Perfection’

Landed (or Sweet Dreams, Part 1)

It’s been three crazy days since my second year of college officially began. My schedule’s still not complete, but my room’s nearly decorated, I have 5 amazing suite-mates, and most importantly of all… I have a gas stove! A lucky lottery number landed the 6 of us in a legitimate apartment (with a hallway and everything!) and while we had literally no water pressure for the first two days, I hardly noticed because we were making Tilapia Tacos with Lime Guacamole on the first night, then Pesto Pasta with Crostini topped with Goat Cheese and Bruschetta on the second. Ding dong, the meal plan’s dead. Peace out tofu meatloaf, I’ll be seeing you never.

 

This is none of the things I just mentioned ;)

 

So what does this mean for you? It means a year full of budget-friendly, schedule-friendly, super flavorful recipes. Because we’re not going to let our small city kitchen, busy schedules and utter lack of money get us down – we’re going to bring you apartment gourmet at its finest. I didn’t exactly pick my suite-mates for their culinary sensibilities… but that’s probably I’m friends with them in the first place.

 

It's a ricotta mousse. But it will all make sense in a second, don't worry.

 

Unfortunately, the card reader for my camera got lost in the moving process, so the kitchen escapades will begin as soon as I can get a new one. Meanwhile I’d like to share a recipe we developed in the final days of summer. Mom, Isabella, Francesca and I went to Le Cirque this past July, because we wanted to celebrate (belatedly) Isabella’s middle school graduation, and Francesca’s impending birthday… and because we are not the types to let $25 prix fixe Restaurant Week deals at (arguably) the city’s finest restaurant pass us by. Between the four of us, we ordered all of the desserts… except the ricotta mousse cake, which sounded kind of mediocre. Yet somehow, at the end of the meal, we had Plum Tarts in front of mom and me, Rocky Road Panna Cotta for Isabella, Crème Brûlée for Francesca (I kid you not) and a Ricotta Mousse cake in the middle of the table. Now, I’m not sure how that happened – kitchen mix up, superior charm, or divine intervention – but all I know is I have never tasted such a perfect cloud of wonder in my life. It was smooth, it was creamy, it was light, it was airy, it was pretty much Heaven… only it was a food.

 

 

See, told you so. And just for the record, you know you want one.

 

It was only a few days later that Isabella suggested we start a series called “Sweet Dreams,” to share our favorite baked goods. And when she said that, all I could possibly think of was this mousse. Then Vinny, the cheese guy at our local Italian store started bragging about how amazing their ricotta was, and all the pieces fell into place. And so the recipe that you see before you was born. And can I tell you a secret? It’s probably the easiest dessert I’ve ever made. So moral of the story? Your kitchen has the potential to be a five star restaurant. So as you wait on pins and needles to hear more college adventures (you know it’s true) whip up a batch of this ricotta mousse, and impress all your friends. You’ll be glad you did, and so will they. I’ll be back soon. Meanwhile, sweet dreams!

 

(click on recipe for printable version)

A Better Beignet

It doesn’t take more than a trip to a carnival (or really an imagination) to know how great fried dough is, but a really great beignet can take one of the world’s best street foods to a whole new level. Last year we went to New Orleans and visited Café du Monde, the French Quarter’s premier beignet shop, but we found it to be a bit over-hyped. Like, no question they were worth every Calorie, but fried dough generally is.

 

This beignet could model, couldn't it?

 

When we began to formulate our version of Tiana’s “man-catching beignets” for Francesca’s birthday party, we knew we had to take it to the next level. Our recipe is inspired by a Buttermilk Beignet recipe we found on epicurious.

 

 

This one particularly struck our fancy because buttermilk gives so many Southern treats moisture with just a touch of tanginess. They’re quite easy to make (much much much easier than we expected) so we should warn you:  it will take a lot of willpower not to make this sometimes food every day.

 


Wordless Wednesday – Chester Sunday Market

A Hen of the Woods Mushroom from CT's best forager. Don't try this at home ;)

The most delicious flag I ever did eat.

From Holy Cows (I'm so sorry)(I couldn't resist)

We took home a book on barbeque and a book on bread baking... as if we needed more cookbooks ;)

Your guess is as good as mine... don't you kind of want to be this guys friend though?

Baguettes with Sea Salt. The sea salt is now all over our kitchen floor but the bread is in our tummies so it's totally worth it. We just say the salt gives the floor a kind of... rustic crunch ;)

Flowers to brighten up the rainy day

A local musician serenades the crowd and sees us on our way

This, by the way, is a picture of the pie.

It wasn’t taken on location, but the sentiment is there. If I haven’t already mentioned, and if I have it’s worth repeating, this is the best pie you will ever have.

You should also know that two days later, I went back and the boys were still scraping at the remaining crust. Which is both a testament to how good the pie is and a reminder to butter the pan.

Recipe at the bottom of this page.

Lights, Camera, Action

College is a never ending whirl of excitement. Classes are crazy but fascinating, the weather in New York is beautiful and perfect for exploring, and most importantly of all, Restaurant Week was extended to Restaurant Month, so I’m finally full (albeit out of money).

But most exciting of all, this weekend my friend Alex has commissioned me to feed his film crew! Which means I’m cooking! For people! In a kitchen! Last night they had their first production meeting, tomorrow they’re shooting and by Sunday they’ll have a movie. Team Fishmonger is entering a 48-hour eco-friendly film contest for an opportunity to screen at Cannes. They’ll receive prompts tomorrow morning and in two days they have to have a film. I’m responsible for making sure they don’t die of hunger along the way.

(No Pressure)

To celebrate the project, I started them off with a pair of Miss Mary’s [Multipurpose, Magic] Fudge Pies, a remnant of our trip to Tennessee. Last night they were good luck pies, but they can serve every purpose, from “please be my friend” to “sorry you just got dumped.” I’ve used them in every situation possible. And they never fail. They’re magical.

I’m sorry to say I didn’t even a little bit make up this recipe – all credit goes to Miss Mary Bobo and Jack Daniel, for creating something that cannot be improved upon. Once you try this pie you will never make any other pie again. It puts a positive spin on the world. And that is how I know this team is going to win. And why I will accept full responsibility when they do.

Stay tuned for more photos and recipes from the set!

 

Miss Mary’s Fudge Pie
Adapted from Jack Daniel’s Website

¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
1 (9-inch) graham cracker pie crust (See Below)

Heat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour in bowl and stir in sugar and cocoa powder. Stir in eggs, evaporated milk, and Jack Daniel’s. Pour into the piecrust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until set. Cool completely. Serve slices with a dollop of whipped cream sweetened with sugar and a little Jack Daniel’s.

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

10 Graham Crackers
5 Tablespoons Butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Break graham crackers in food processor until they reach a sandy consistency. Don’t over process them. Melt butter in saucepan and stir in graham crackers. Press graham crackers into a 9-inch pie pan and pre-bake for 10 minutes. If you’re making this for a pie that doesn’t go in the oven, bake for around 15 minutes, or until golden brown. But honestly you shouldn’t be making other pies.

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